Author: Jim Machi – General Manager CCD, Sangoma
There are quite a few debates about where a business’s Unified Communication solution should physically be located. Should it be customer premise equipment (CPE) or hosted in the cloud?
What’s right for your neighbor might not necessarily be right for you. You might have sunk costs, different needs or skillsets. So, UC location is not a binary answer if you already have some form of real time business communication in place.
If you are happy with your PBX, voicemail or IVR for instance, and it’s not difficult or expensive to maintain, why move that to the cloud? It works, it’s paid for and it does what you need it to do. Maybe you are happy with all of that, but the original company either doesn’t support it anymore or is out of business. You’re concerned about keeping your business up and running in case the equipment fails, and you have decided to do something about it. This is an instance where you may need new equipment and need to decide on either CPE or cloud. In other words, there is a LOT of gray area, it’s not just a black and white decision.
Many businesses can’t simply stand still and are taking a hybrid approach to get new functionality in. Keeping what is already there if it’s working fine, and then migrating new or older functions, that may be hard to maintain, to the cloud. For instance, your 10-year-old on-premise PBX or fax solution may be getting less use, and you may not even be able to fix it if something failed. Those could be great functions to move to the cloud.
Or maybe you want to give your business instant messaging and presence. Move that to the cloud as you implement it. You may have a great need for video IVR, another place where you can use the cloud.
If your business is larger and you have multiple locations, there are also geographic reasons to not do everything the same. Perhaps it makes sense to host small offices in the cloud especially if there are no IT resources at that location.
In other words, do what you’ve always done. Make it a business decision. Cloud is getting a lot of press these days and it’s a great solution but understand the costs and your future business needs before making any decisions. If it make sense, then put a migration plan in place and go for it.