Collaboration Solutions: On-Premises or in the Cloud?

Posted 2011-04-28 Print this article Print

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Choosing the right consumption model

There is no one single answer that would fit all environments and needs. The decision on the best model for you will depend on several factors. Whether you want basic IP telephony service, IP contact center or federated presence, users can now obtain the productivity benefits of these and other powerful communications and collaboration services, regardless of your current set of circumstances. With the wide range of deployment options available, you can opt to deploy pure models (for example, only cloud or only premises solutions) or you can choose blended models according to your unique business needs. For example, consider these four scenarios:

1. If your company views technology as a competitive differentiator 

The traditional Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) model is ideal if technology is a strategic part of your value proposition and you want to handle everything yourself. Your company purchases and integrates the tools, building the knowledge, skills and processes to manage your converged network and the new UC and collaboration solutions that run on it. The IT staff, in essence, becomes a service provider for your organization.

2. If your company wants to focus less on IT and more on core competencies 

Managed CPE is something to consider if you want to own the UC infrastructure and software but the IT staff is lacking the required expertise. A service provider with UC and collaboration expertise can help you transform your organization and lower your operating expense because the service provider manages the hardware and software. This arrangement eliminates on-premises management and maintenance costs such as full-time help desk and server support, freeing your IT staff to focus on other tasks.

3. If your company is constrained by capital expenditures and uncertain about the future 

Consider collaboration as a service (CAAS) if, like many companies today, you need to do more with less; if you have fewer people, less budget and less lead time. A software-based delivery model provides UC and collaboration services through private clouds. Cloud services deliver rapid time-to-value and are typically paid for as they are used (some service providers bill by the second), and you pay for only the required capacity and features. This utility-based pricing model eliminates the cost of directly buying, installing and maintaining the needed hardware and software.

4. If your company is seeking investment protection and flexibility 

A blended or hybrid model may be the best option if you have older PBX and IP equipment and want to introduce new UC and collaboration capabilities without introducing additional complexity to IT staff. With an open and interoperable platform, you can use cloud and premises benefits for particular components. Blended models also help ensure state-of-the-art capabilities because solution providers typically use the most current versions of software and hardware.


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