Leveraging tools like unified communications (UC) is the key to maximizing your employees' effectiveness. When workers can use multiple modes of communication, they collaborate more effectively, affording increased productivity and innovation. Employees can share documents and discuss projects no matter which communications tools they use or where they are located.
While the value of UC may not be in question, some companies struggle over choosing the right mode of delivery. Should you keep your UC resources on-site or move them to the cloud?
MarketsandMarkets predicts that the unified communications as a service (UCaaS) market will grow to over $28 billion by 2021. They attribute the popularity of cloud-based UC to increasing use of mobility and BYOD in the workplace. This prediction seems reasonable, considering No Jitter Research found that 34% of companies surveyed are already using the cloud for communications while 20% plan to within a year.
Yes, hosted UC is gaining in popularity, and you’re definitely interested. But which delivery method is right for your business? The answer to this question depends on the nature of your specific company. Before you decide between hosted and on-site UC, you need to assess your company’s resources, objectives, and pain points.
Here are some of the questions you should ask to determine your UC delivery method:
Does your industry require you to meet certain security standards?
While companies in heavily regulated industries like finance and healthcare have traditionally kept their communications onsite, the cloud can offer robust security as well. While on-premises UC provides obvious ready access to sensitive information, state-of-the-art managed services offer peace of mind and industry best-practice compliance even from a distance.
What are the limitations of your communications budget?
Companies that have a larger budget for communications often opt for on-premises UC. A larger budget can accommodate the networking resources necessary to meet a larger company's communications needs. However, Finance departments are growing tired of these kinds of big-ticket items.
On the other hand, if your budget is limited, hosted UC eliminates capital expenses needed to provision and install equipment. With UC hosting, your business can also benefit from automatic upgrades and refreshes. Almost a quarter of the respondents in the Cloud Communications Survey reported reduced total cost of ownership (TCO) as an advantage over on-premises delivery of UC.
How wide is the geographical area you need to cover for your internal communications?
If your business is limited to a single office, on-premises UC may make more sense. However, companies that have multiple locations or a geographically distributed workforce would be better served by hosted UC. Cloud-based UC gives your company access to widespread networking and data center resources.
What skill level does your staff have with UC?
Managing a UC system requires a wide range of specialized skills. Not only do engineers need to understand voice and telephony, but they must know their way around video and networking. For small and medium-sized businesses or those with a limited IT staff, hosted UC will help bridge the skills gap. With a hosted UC solution, you gain access to a staff of trained communications experts.
Making the Most of Your UC
Knowing your business needs and goals is the key to choosing the right delivery method for UC. The objective of UC is to integrate all the ways your business communicates so you can get the most out of your employees and provide the best service to your customers and clients. Both on-site and cloud UC accomplish these goals.
Making the right delivery choice starts with choosing the right communications partner. Whether your business chooses on-site or hosted UC, FirstLight makes an ideal UC provider. We have created the largest wireless network in the Northeast, giving your business the reach you need to connect your workforce.
If you choose our cloud services, we offer superior levels of input/output per second (IOPS) for the performance power of real-time collaboration. With cloud-based UC, you also gain high availability and managed upgrades for enhanced business continuity.
For more advice on how to choose your method of UC delivery, reach out to FirstLight today.