Which UC Suits You Best?
Unified Communications (UC) is a range of systems, connections and services which improve an organisation’s productivity and collaboration. With a single, streamlined solution, conferencing, calling, messaging, and other useful features are all unified into a single, easily manageable system.
After deciding to implement UC, you will need to determine whether you want a premise-based deployment or cloud-based. Your solution must meet your current needs, and prepare you for your future communication needs.
As VoIP technology replaces older phone systems, more businesses are migrating to a cloud-based model. Cloud means that the voice and UC solution is largely offsite, residing in a data center and managed by a partner or service provider.
There are two types of UCaaS cloud delivery architectures: multi-tenant and multi-instance. Both architectures possess the standard cloud characteristics of shared infrastructure (for example, data centers, racks, common equipment and blades), shared tools (for example, provisioning, performance and network management tools), per-user-per-month pricing, and elasticity to dynamically add and subtract users.
However, in the multi-tenant version, all customers share a common (single) software instance, while in the multi-instance architecture, each customer receives its own software instance. The advantage of multi-tenant is that it is easier for the vendor to maintain, build and upgrade users when they are on the same software instance. In contrast, the advantage of multi-instance is that it allows customization to the needs of each organization, which is often favored by large customers.
Today, virtually all UCaaS vendors are embracing a multi-tenant, microservices, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) architecture in some form. In many cases, the applications reside in a public IaaS cloud, with the media running in traditional data centers. These platforms are built, operated and upgraded by the UCaaS vendor in public cloud data centers (such as Amazon Web Services [AWS], Azure and Google Compute Engine), as opposed to a data center controlled by a communications service provider (CSP) or system integrator (SI). This includes the megavendors like Cisco, Google and Microsoft, as well as applications specialists like 8x8, Fuze and RingCentral.
In the past two years, the market has witnessed better management tools with UCaaS offerings. They include IT administration portals, usage dashboards, network performance portals and onboarding tools. These tools are particularly effective in identifying and remedying service quality issues. They are also effective in enhancing the overall user experience of large customers, particularly those with sites spread across the globe.
Pros of Cloud UC
- Easier to afford - cloud unified communuications requires less capital expenditure and has fewer upfront costs.
- Fixed Costs - cloud UC is often based on a fixed monthly cost, making it simple to budget for
- Easy to Manage - a cloud solution usually takes a lot of responsibility away from an in-house service desk or IT department.
- Flexible - Easily scalable according to the increase or decrease in needs from an organisations
- Less complexity - simple to deploy regardless of the complexity of the underlying technology
- Always up to date - with the infrastructure entirely managed outside of the organisation, it's generally always up to date.
Cons of Cloud UC
- Less Control - an off site cloud service does mean relying on a 3rd party, it's infrastructure and your connections to it. You're also relying on a 3rd party's SLAs and service to get things done.
- New Technology - Cloud UC is a relatively new technology and there are some concerns about it's security and future.
- Vendor stablity - many new businesses offering Cloud UC do not have a long track record in service and stability.
- Data Security - certain industries must keep their data on site for security and compliance. Cloud UC can obscure where that data resides.
- Debate over Total Cost of Ownership advantage - depending on the system, sometimes outright purchase can lead to a lower TCO than fixed monthly costs forever.
Choose an in-house solution if you’d rather user Cloud Unified Communications. We'll help you design a bespoke package and you take it from there.