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Great Cloud Communications Demands a Plan

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Great Cloud Communications Demands a Plan

October 14, 2013
By Doug Barney
TMCnet Editor at Large

Some technologies, enterprises can buy pretty much on a whim. One end user laser printer is often as good as another, as are white label servers. And unless you have custom corporate apps, FireFox is as good as IE - which is as good as Chrome.

Communications is different. Here a willy nilly approach can be just plain dumb. As one moves to IP telephony and unified communications and collaboration (UCC), a long term structured plan is an absolute necessity, or so says a new report by Frost & Sullivan (News - Alert).

Making a mistake with these technologies means substandard service that can harm your business, and the possibility of a rip and replace to get services up to snuff.

And whatever technologies you adopt have to adapt to new ways of doing business, such as an increasing mobile and remote workforce.

A plan that covers the entire communications infrastructure is best if it precedes major new investments, this to insure it is money spent well.

The plan then drives an in-depth analysis and evaluation of vendor solutions.

The report, “A Sustainable Approach to Hosted IP Telephony and UCC Services Deployment”, argues that hosted IP telephony and UCC solutions are highly effective, especially for smaller shops that struggle to maintain on -premises wares. Also shops with a large number of mobile employees are better off with a hosted approach.

"There are certain factors that typically trigger the evaluation of new communications solutions and, potentially, the decision to move to hosted communications," said Frost & Sullivan North America Unified Communications (News - Alert) Program Director Elka Popova.

According to Popova, these factors include the again of on-premises tools, the fact that a Centrex contract may be up for renewal, or the need to serve changing user needs. Other issues are the desire to use a new communications solution to drive competitive advantage, or the desire to react to ebbing and flowing capacity needs.

“Before deploying a new communications solution on the premises or in the cloud, businesses must inventory their existing assets. Age, functionality, feasibility of upgrade, and amortization schedules of existing investments must be considered before making a final decision,” the research house argued. “The next step is to evaluate IT staff capabilities. It is important to note that IT staff will most likely continue to play a key role, even in a hosted communications environment, especially in larger organizations with more complex needs and requirements.”

After this, the shop can then look at specific tools that fit today’s and tomorrow’s requirements. In many cases, this analysis will demonstrate that hosted solutions have far more capabilities than their on-premises counterparts.

“Most businesses begin their due diligence process with a feature/functionality comparison. For a more holistic assessment, however, they should also consider ease of use and management; networking and endpoint requirements; total cost of ownership (TCO); service quality and reliability; and security and regulatory compliance,” Popova said.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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