Key Questions

Not all cloud communications offerings are the same, so due diligence pays rewards by properly aligning offerings with business needs.

With maturity and growing acceptance levels, the availability of diverse cloud computing options can make the selection process somewhat confusing. In fact, today almost every software offering is available as a service. This rings true when looking at the various options for deploying unified communications (UCC) solutions.

There are good reasons for the cloud trend—including cost efficiencies, scalability, flexibility and the ability to remain current by always leveraging the latest offerings. However, finding the best-fit means asking a few questions and embracing due diligence.

What is the difference between deployment options?

While each approach affords the IT organization freedom from dealing with ongoing maintenance or upgrades, there are distinctions between the various options, and it’s important to assess what the differences mean to your organization before making a decision. 

·      Public cloud – Usually the most cost effective model, and often the most popular approach, a public cloud approach leverages provider-owned infrastructure (hardware and application) and allows users to pay as they go. There can be added scalability benefits with a public cloud configuration that do not always exist with other alternatives.

·      Private cloud – While still pay as you go, this is often the most expensive cloud approach. Private cloud deployments can either leverage equipment housed in your own data center or on dedicated servers in a service provider’s data center. The biggest benefit is the dedicated hardware meaning applications are fully encapsulated and secure.

·      Hybrid cloud – By leveraging both the public and a private cloud organization realize unique benefits of each approach. Specifically, there is added security of housing some applications in the private cloud or on premises, while also realizing added cost efficiencies of housing less critical components in the public cloud. It’s ideal if you need to keep critical, security-sensitive information on-site, but still want to benefit from services delivered in the public cloud.

Is there flexibility as organizational needs change?

While due diligence upfront helps ensure that the investment aligns the selected deployment model with the strategic objectives of the overall organization, business needs change over time and for some organizations evolution can take place in mere months. One way to plan for the future is to make sure selected solutions allow you to seamlessly move licenses, devices and configurations among deployment models. This can be a lifesaver as your organization evolves both in in-house talents and business needs.

Does an operating or capital expenditure make more sense for your organization?

Traditional deployments often translate to capital expenditures including the purchase and deployment of on-premise hardware. However, most cloud alternatives register as operating expenses. This means that investing in a cloud solution allows a little flexibility by reducing the need for on-premise legacy hardware, through flexible pay-as-you-go payment models.

Regardless of which cloud approach you select, the potential to make a difference is obvious. In fact, 49 percent of executive leaders tell IDG that cloud commitments are transformational to their business strategies, while 40 percent have asked IT to investigate its potential impact. The key to success is in taking the time to answer the important questions to find the best fit. 

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