As everything moves to the cloud, from application services to customer service, it's no surprise that unified communications as a service (UCaaS) is also something that companies see moving to the cloud as well. The move from a traditional PBX (News - Alert) system in the office, to having everything being in the cloud, can be scary and put managers on edge, but Jay Brandstadter argues that it makes sense in many situations, today more than ever.
The original way for businesses to have an effective communication system used to be fairly straightforward. A new company would open an office, then install a PBX, which is a large, expensive solution that handles things like phone communications, voicemail, automated menus, and so on, for the whole enterprise. But as technology evolves, new communication means have started to be added to the mix. Email, IM, VoIP, and so on. These have either been added through different solutions, or integrated into the existing on-premise solution. But in many cases, it makes sense to outsource all of it to the cloud, and have a single portal where all your communications are available, for the whole business. This is where UCaaS comes in, and it's been creeping into the enterprise for almost a decade now.
But according to Jay's argument, the situation is different now. Back in 2003, where he first argued for UCaaS in the cloud, it was mostly a matter of comparing on-premise solutions to cloud based ones, and seeing which was more efficient for office workers, and which costs less. But now, the advent of mobile devices changes things. Employees use their smartphones for all sorts of communications, and even tablets, from within the office and elsewhere. All of this mobility and the different devices used make it much harder for an on-premise solution to fit the bill. The complexity goes way up, and so does potential security problems. A unified cloud solution on the other hands is usually much easier to apply to a new device.
So is cloud services the next stage of Centrex, and are online VoIP services the clear winner for any business who needs to setup a communication system? Not always, but increasingly this may become the case as enterprises evaluate their needs, and the type of solutions provided to them by the various players in the industry. This may turn out to be the decade of cloud based communications, and in turn lead to even newer solutions and technologies.
Edited by Juliana Kenny