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How to Decide Between an On-Premises or Hosted UC Solution

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How to Decide Between an On-Premises or Hosted UC Solution

June 20, 2014
By Laura Stotler
TMCnet Contributing Editor

Unified communications (UC) offer massive benefits to companies of all sizes. Being able to instantly meet, collaborate and conference through a variety of multimedia applications can lead to productivity improvements, time savings and improved innovation.

But choosing the proper UC solution to meet your company’s needs can be a challenge and one of the most basic dilemmas is whether an on-premise or hosted, or perhaps hybrid solution is right for you. Of course cost is always a dominating factor in making any sort of major technology purchase, but there are several other variables that should not be overlooked when making a decision, including staff support, overall work environment and compliance issues.

Capital budget is perhaps the top consideration when deciding to adopt an on-premises or hosted UC solution. On-premises offerings are inevitably more costly, requiring upfront investments in hardware, software and dedicated staff. However they can prove to be better long-term investments, particularly at larger enterprises that already have the resources in place to deploy, monitor and manage them. Hosted offerings are suitable for organizations with limited capital that don’t want to have to worry about updates and maintenance on their solution once it’s installed.

Of course, dedicated IT staff comes into play when making this type of investment decision. On-premises solutions require skilled staff that can spend a significant amount of time working on the UC system. If your IT department is already maxed out, a hosted offering removes the management burden and frees them up to focus on more critical tasks.

The overall work environment must be taken into consideration when choosing a UC solution. For instance, if your organization is large and most workers are in a central location, an on-premises offering will work well for you. If your employees are spread out in many locations, however, a cloud-based hosted offering will undoubtedly better meet your needs.

Performance and the ability to integrate with legacy systems are essential qualities for any new UC solution, since we’re talking about overhauling your organization’s phone system. If you have a large number of legacy applications like CRM and ERP that rely on integration with the phone system, an on-premises offering may be the way to go. However, if you already use a significant number of cloud-based apps and/or maintain an integrated voice and data environment, then a hosted solution will work for you.

The timeframe for implementation may be the ultimate deciding factor. If your organization is under the gun to implement a UC system to meet with regulatory or compliance mandates, then a hosted offering may be just what you’re looking for. If you can take your time making a decision and wait through a lengthy deployment schedule, then an on-premises offering may be better suited.

Of course, it’s possible you have a blend of requirements and may find that components of both on-premises and hosted UC offerings will best meet your business needs. In that case, a hybrid solution may work well for your business, offering the stability and performance of on-premises offerings with the multi-tenancy and hosted management capabilities of cloud-based solutions.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

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