As a Business Communications specialist, I’ve seen a great deal of change over the years as new trends emerge and grow. Despite our 70 years in the totality of working with Voice, Unified Communications (UC), IT and Connectivity technologies since our 2011 launch, the change went on. Admittedly my founding partner and I realise we must prioritise cloud-based solutions as part of our proposition.
We knew they were growing in popularity, for sure. But to be honest, we felt some of the claims of how they surpass a traditional on-premise Voice and UC solution were unrealistic, and in many cases, lacking in qualification. More recently, as hosted communications advance, it’s clear they now offer obvious benefits to certain types of organisation yet for many, these are still not fully understood.
As a business, we have become advocates of new ways of working and with the need to offer a comprehensive portfolio of Communications solutions, we have found that Hosted Voice and UC is not actually competing against on-premise, but in fact it very much complements our existing on-premise options to allow us to offer the best solution for each organisation we work with.
The Early Days of Cloud Voice
When Cloud Voice first appeared, its creators were quick to highlight its benefits over an on-premise platform, which include enhanced resiliency and disaster recovery features; no expensive hardware support; no expensive upgrades required; and a highly flexible solution which enables remote or mobile working. This sounds like a pretty revolutionary proposition when it first hit the market, in short. However these advantages don’t necessarily differentiate it from an on-premise solution in the present day.
In fact, on-premise technology’s evolution in the last five years has been significant. It’s typically deployed as a software-based solution on virtual servers. Moreover, they’re either hosted:
- on a customer’s own infrastructure or;
- in their service provider’s Data Centre.
It supports both home-based and mobile working in the same way as cloud-based solutions do. In addition, it takes very little time and effort to support (there’s certainly far less, if any, telephone system hardware involved anymore).
So how do you decide which solution best fits your business?
Whilst it still stands that cloud-based Voice & UC has exceptional disaster recovery capabilities, doesn’t require a costly maintenance contract and comes with free upgrades there are other reasons that make it the solution of choice for many SMBs today.
Let’s say you’re a business with a good quality, resilient IT infrastructure. You backup all of your critical services and data either onsite or even better offsite.
You had your last telephone system for 10 years, which features in-house support. So why wouldn’t you continue to implement an on-premise solution with cloud backup? It would have virtualisation, so there’s no expensive telephone system maintenance. Moreover, your technical team have the skills to support it in-house. You have an initial cost outlay, but you will own it and within 3-4 years it starts to cost you less than the equivalent ‘pay-as-you-go’ monthly solution would.
On the other hand, your IT infrastructure isn’t set up to support your own voice system reliably. Accordingly, there’s no disaster recovery system in place for your communications. You may have the need for some flexibility to support the changing needs of the business. Yet you know that comes with many complications to adapt the last on-premise system you deployed to meet these ongoing needs. The need to upgrade your on-premise solution drains your budget. Moreover, to get the most out of your new solution, you’ll need to implement mobile apps and home working features. In addition, these require in-house IT knowledge and experience that may not be currently available to you.
In such cases, a cloud-based solution will provide the full package both:
- the infrastructure you require;
- comprehensive Disaster Recovery;
- continual upgrades to keep the technology current; and;
- the additional technical support needed to enable your home and mobile workers to communicate more effectively.
Consider Hosted Voice & Unified Communications
Now it is in this scenario that it makes sense on both a practical and financial level to consider Hosted Voice & UC.
Whilst there is a place for both types of solution in the market these respond to very different needs and so it is getting to grips with both the technical and cost implications of each solution, against the on-going objectives of your business that will help you establish the right solution. The evidence shows that growth in hosted voice users is outpacing on-premise user sales by a significant margin. In short, you cannot ignore the effects of this.
Accordingly, I believe it’s a direct result of the positive experience SMBs are seeing of hosted services across the board.
In the world of technology, nothing is black and white. What is essential when you’re looking for the best business solution is to speak with capable professionals who offer:
- The relevant experience;
- an unbiased point of view, and;
- the qualifications to back it up.
A service provider who sells both on-premise and hosted communications is perfectly set up to establish the best option for your business.
For more information and some impartial advice on how to maximise your communications budget, please contact Everything Voice and we would be happy to help. Call us on 0330 055 3570, emailing us or Tweet us.