Time to Drop the Anchor
There are two times when it makes more sense to go with UCaaS than a premises-based UC anchor: always and now.
There was a time when premises-based solutions made the most sense - basically when there wasn’t a choice. UCaaS has been evolving now for over a decade and it now offers a robust set of benefits. Premises-based solutions are still more common, though this is largely due to old habits being hard to break.
There are lots of reasons why UCaaS stands out. Here’s five.
When you can’t predict the future
My garage is filled with stuff I once needed. Times change, kids grow up, and interests change. Those factors are reasonably predictable, but most aspects of life are not. Treasures turn to junk, and useful product life spans, especially in tech, are getting shorter. New technologies, and whole new approaches are changing communications faster than ever. The only thing predictable is uncertainty and UCaaS tends to offer the most flexibility.
I Want my UC Now!
There’s lots of words that describe the current speed of business. Words such as agile, fast, action, and lean. Gone are the days of “it’s in the mail” or “submit the request in triplicate.” For most of history, telecom work-orders were the epitome of delay and drag. A T-1 could take months to get installed and that was only one step in the work order. With UCaaS, new or changes to existing services can be ordered and received with a few clicks of the mouse. There is no burden associated with moving a line - say from the office to the home. There are no VPNs or firewall changes - as the shoe company says, “just do it.”
One thing that seems to be increasing these days is disasters, it seems every week there is some event such as flood, storm, hurricane, tornado, fire, earthquake, or a violence-related event that impacts businesses. All companies should have some level of disaster preparedness for business continuance that involves geo-redundant data centers. Most UCaaS providers have this capability built-in to their service (never assume). It means within the flat, predictable, monthly charge that disaster preparedness for communications is included. Make the local coffee shop your standby recovery site. WIth built-in mobility features, users can access UCaaS features from any location from multiple devices without requiring extra planning and preparation.
A Single Solution
There’s no longer any reason to have more than one UC solution. It used to be common to have different systems at different locations due to mergers, leases, and other life-cycle factors. The result is different systems, different integrations, different workflows, different devices, and numerous other factors that create different classes of service (and headaches). UCaaS solves this problem not only for different offices, but even home-based workers. Having everyone on the same solution is a powerful, though underrated, organizational benefit. Many UCaaS providers are now available internationally as well. Don’t allow IT to be subject to accusations of punishment or favoritism, and reap the rewards of consistent UC enterprise wide.
Most UCaaS implementations are more secure than most premises-based solutions. Many UCaaS providers are now offering security features such as encrypted provisioning, encrypted media streams, and compliance for HIPPA and PCI. Security is not a topic to be trivialized. UCaaS providers, due to the nature of their core business, are vigilant in monitoring network activity. Internet security issues must be a priority, and few businesses have the wherewithal to commit at a comparable or higher level.
I understand the other side of this argument. For years I too was on the wrong side. I was resistant to the change and (in my defense) UCaaS wasn’t as mature as it is now. I also acknowledge that there are indeed situations where premises-based solutions make much more sense. Hybrid solutions can also be compelling both as a migration and greenfield strategy. Cloud vs. prem is a complex topic with many considerations; more than can be fairly presented in a post.
But the move to cloud is not a lark. It is a trend that is revolutionizing not just enterprise communications but technology as a whole. The tech darlings today are cloud companies - including Amazon, Uber, Google, Netflix, Box, Salesforce, LinkedIn, Workday, and Zendesk. Cloud is also the key growth strategy for classic premises-based vendors such as Microsoft, Apple, and Oracle.
It’s time (or past time) to view premises-based solutions as the exception.