Cloud services may have increasingly become the norm for many organizations, but what about when it comes to Unified Communications (UC)? Some companies are simply not ready to make the move just yet.

Businesses of all sizes – from startups enterprise businesses have decided against upgrading their on-premises UC environments to the cloud, but why? Let’s take a closer look at why organizations have hesitations about incorporating cloud into their UC infrastructure.

Why Organizations Are Hesitant to Move UC to the Cloud

When an organization moves its UC assets to the cloud, there is a certain level of risk involved. First, you have the WAN design of your own network to worry about. Cloud traffic has to be prioritized in the fastest way to the cloud. Central Internet breakouts and Web Proxies are taboo. Then, you have to consider whether or not your internet service provider is performing at the level you need it to. The latter tends to be the reason many organizations have become hesitant to move to the cloud.

The objective of unified communications is to create strong, consistent and cohesive communication in the workplace no matter where in the world your team resides – whether you are in the same conference room or speaking with clients and colleagues halfway around the globe. If something were to happen between your internal network and your UC service that caused trouble in effective communications, collaboration and productivity could suffer. Due to this, organizations that do not want to risk these potential issues are beginning to look down other avenues – such as choosing UCaaS or building their communications setups in a hybrid model – or simply stick with what they already have.

Determining Which Environment is the Best Fit for Your Needs

If you’ve fallen in the camp that finds the cloud a bit risky, you should look into how you can make the transition. Let’s take a closer look at on-premises, hybrid, and UCaaS environments.

  • On-Premises – An on-premises approach to UC entails an internal infrastructure that is run and stored on the organization’s data center built to suit all communication needs. This means that phones, chat systems, video capabilities, and more are built out or hosted by the organization. An on-prem approach might be best for you if you value having more hands-on control or you are limited to strict data protection and compliance restrictions. Something to be aware of if you decide to stick with on-prem, however, is that it can take much longer than others to receive upgrades and other fixes to the infrastructure. On-prem also tends to saddle organizations with upfront infrastructure costs and limited scalability later down the road. Especially in the field of video communication, a rigid on-premises infrastructure can have a negative impact on the performance of the meetings.
  • Hybrid – A hybrid approach to UC means that your organization would be able to keep some of its systems on-premises while moving others onto the cloud. Hybrid approaches are useful because they do not require a full move to the cloud and they also allow your organization to continue to utilize its existing infrastructure. This type of environment might be ideal if your organization has hesitations about moving entirely to the cloud, but are interested in the scalability it provides. Stay cognizant of the fact that not every organization’s internet service provider has the necessary bandwidth to make this move, however.
  • UCaaS – Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) means that your UC would be moved to the cloud and outsourced to a third party. The third party would provide you with a UCaaS platform that you could support across your global organization. This may be a good fit if you are growing global and you need a more efficient team communication and speed in business decisions. UCaaS allows all of that, plus, there are much less upfront costs with UCaaS than other environments.

Learning What You Want Out of Your UC Environment

After you feel as though you have a good understanding of on-premises, hybrid, and cloud environments, it is time to align which is best for your organization. In order to do that, you will have to lay out what exactly you’d like out of your UC environment. Consider the following factors:

  • Cost – Effective unified communications can add up depending on the approach you have decided to take. With an on-prem environment or hybrid approach, you have to consider the costs that building your own infrastructure and support respectively escalation processes could entail.
  • Control – Control – When you use UCaaS, you’re giving up some of your control to a third party. With on-prem, you’re in complete control. Your organization has to decide how much you would like to be involved in this aspect, as it is a large component of what makes each type of environment different from the next. On the other side will a UCaaS vendor provide best in class security and service level agreements which you typically cannot deliver.
  • Ease of Use – Deciding how much control you have over your UC plays directly into how easy it is to use. When you have complete control over your network, you’ll be solely responsible for taking care of any issues that should arise. Deciding if this is a top factor in choosing your UC approach will help you weigh the pros and cons.
  • Bandwidth – With a cloud environment, you have to make sure that the bandwidth of your internet service provider is able to handle the move. This would require at least a few test runs before a full move to the cloud is completed. If you do not think that your bandwidth is large enough, a cloud solution may not be the right choice for your organization.
  • Collaboration – Finally, think about the way your organization collaborates. Will the occasional technical issue get in the way of how you work with your teammates? If you’re an organization that has plenty of remote clients, colleagues and distributed teams which need to communicate fast and efficient, then the answer is probably yes.

Where Cloud Can Play a Role

After you’ve begun to shape your UC wants and needs, think about where a cloud approach could play a positive role. If your technology and other hardware is becoming outdated, research how much money would be needed to replace and update it. After adding up those costs, you may find that a move to the cloud is much more cost effective.

Another factor to consider is whether or not you are a growing organization or have plans to expand. An organization of 1,000 employees could easily overcharge the infrastructure you had built up for 250 workers. With the cloud, your UC environment can eventually grow seamlessly with you.

Finally, think about the time it takes to stay on-premises. As your organization outgrows your infrastructure and your technology falls out of date, it can take months or even years to get your UC back up to speed. Moving to a cloud environment does not require nearly as much of the time and resources needed to update an on-prem environment.

Considering the Cloud

Deciding which UC route to take will have a huge impact on your organization. Do the necessary research into each type of environment and decide from there whether or not the cloud is too risky of a move for you. For many, the cloud is the way of the future, so it is always a good idea to keep it on your radar.