The Future of Enterprise Communication

Posted by Frits

The massive move to Cloud based services signals the death of proprietary telephony systems.

Proprietary telephony providers no longer control the market with the rise of VOIP (Voice over IP) and the standardisation of Unified Communication within organisations, as the demand for real time messaging trumps formal workplace communications.

The PBX (Private Branch Exchange) has been the standard for business communication for decades, but this is slowing down at a rapid rate. VIOP opened the telephony Industry to all players creating a new market space in which the consumer has the freedom to choose his delivery method off communication.

Newer lightweight solutions that are easier to deploy, maintain and scale with a lower entry cost are showing better market penetration and adoption rates than traditional Telephony providers.

With so many choices in IT, communication is no longer solely focused on implementation costs but rather on TCO (Total cost of Ownership). TCO calculations take much more into consideration than the initial purchase price, but also MAC (Moves, Adds and Changes), maintenance, IT support staff, upgrade costs, annual licensing fees, electricity costs, life span of the product and replacement costs to name a few.

The Cost

One of the biggest problems that IT leaders face is having to manage legacy hardware based PBX systems. These systems are very complex to manage, expensive to set up and configure and require specialised recourses to maintain.

As these legacy systems reach end of life, IT buyers are moving to more initiative UI’s (User Interfaces) offering mobile flexibility with easier integration and maintenance capabilities, requiring lighter IT resources.

As the price of storage and bandwidth continues to drop fast, cloud based services are becoming more attractive to a wider range of businesses. Software as a Service (SaaS) is expected to continue to grow by a faster rate than premised based solutions signalling a change in IT expenditure.

Lower upfront investment and license renewal costs are kept to a minimum. However, over a five-year period, these costs add up and can surpass on premise solutions.

Cloud vs On-Premise

Cloud Hybrid On-Premise

There are several considerations to take into account in choosing between a Cloud or On-Premise Telephony solution.

The platform should not only be limited to either Cloud or Premise based, but rather offer the flexibility of both.

Licenses must be easily transferable between the two platforms. The User Interface should be the same for both Cloud and On Premise Solutions, offering the same functionality and user experience, providing a single window to answer all collaboration needs: Voice, Video, Text and data.

Another essential industry trend BYOD (Bring your own device), will alleviate the need for Proprietary telephony equipment, enabling a soft phone on any smart device, disrupting traditional telephony allowing the individual to communicate according to his or her individual preference.

Unified Communication is now simply an application the individual adds on a smart enable device, allowing communication to take place from anywhere in the world, enabling a remote workforce, drastically reducing operational costs to organisations offering a competitive advantage.

What next?

Below are 8 questions that will help you to decide in taking the right path in deploying a Cloud or On-Premise based solution.

1. Does your company focus on short or long term TCO’s (Total Cost of Ownership)?

• Cloud – Offers a short term TCO, saving money on hardware investment.

• On-Premise – Offers long term TCO, ROI reached before end of life of product.

2. How extensive is your IT resources?

• Cloud – Fewer resources available to manage services.

• On-Premise – Experienced team of IT resources.

3. How complex is your phone system integration?

• Cloud – Well defined and understood.

• On-Premise – Many integrations of complex nature with bi-directional traffic.

4. Is your organisation currently deploying Cloud Solutions?

• Cloud – Other Cloud applications in place.

• On-Premise – CRM and ERP applications deployed on-site.

5. How does your business manage application upgrades?

• Cloud – Upgrades have been difficult with limited resources.

• On-Premise – Right skill set and resources available for upgrades.

6. Does your business require packaged or custom solutions?

• Cloud – Organisation used standard (off the shelve) applications.

• On-Premise – Heavy application customisation with unique business processes.

7. Where does your employees work?

• Cloud – Multiple locations and remote workers

• On-Premise – Centralised and network infrastructure already in place.

8. How does your company manage expenses?

• Cloud – OPEX model preferred.

• On-Premise – CAPEX model preferred.