Shopping for the right Unified Communications solution is no easy task.
With the sheer amount of jargon that accompanys Unified Communications, it can be confusing to understand what you’re reading about or looking at, especially with the vast number of options between different providers and hardware manufactures.
Before you begin looking for a VoIP provider, your business must first decide how to establish and host your communications platform. Of course, Teleconnect Service are big advocates for the Cloud, with an endless list of reasons to move your business over. However, adopting a hosted solution isn’t always the best option for everyone — sometimes the old school in-house solution works best, or maybe even a hybrid combination of the two.
What Are The Options?
- On-Premise: On-premise solutions are in-house telephony and communications platforms, mainly used by the largest organisations. Instead of subscribing to another service, the business will bring in all the necessary hardware, and work closely with a provider to build a communication system for the entire business. On-premise solutions could be based off a Standard PBX, SIP Trunking, or more recently might include IP PBX and VoIP capabilities if building out a hybrid solution.
- Hosted/Cloud: With a hosted cloud solution, all the heavy lifting is handled by the service provider — your business may need to purchase some phones, routers or network switches, but other than that turning on the service is essentially a flip of a switch. The provider hosts the network and service in their data centers and provides access to your business with a reoccurring subscription fee.
- Hybrid: A hybrid solution allows a business to maintain control over their platform in-house, but also offer the service through the cloud. Just like in an on-premise solution, your business acquires the necessary telephone systems to establish and maintain their own telephony and communications platform. But, just like a hosted solution, your business can then disperse this platform to all other locations, through the cloud.
What Are The Benefits?
Depending on a lot of different factors such as the size of your business, the number of locations, the number of staff, capital to spend, etc, your organization will have to come to an independent conclusion on what the right solution might be.
On-Premise Solution Benefits:
- Enhanced control: With all the hardware related to your network located in-house, your business gains complete and total control. Your business will need IT professionals to setup and maintain the network with the ability to control every single aspect. This control allows for enhanced security as well.
- Cost Savings: When establishing an on-premise solution, a one-time purchase of hardware and services means your business won’t depreciate the costs over time. With a hosted solution, your business is always paying monthly and so the costs will only grow as you add more phone lines and features when your company grows.
- Stronger Integrations: Integrations that don’t yet exist could be built with in-house IT teams as opposed to relying on a cloud provider to offer an API.
- Regulation Requirements: Because of the enhanced control, your business can gain enhanced compliance and ensure the network and business is adhering to different regulations. An in-house solution can help ensure continuity. If a disaster strikes and hosted services go out, you better hope the provider can get it running quickly.
Hybrid Solution Benefits:
- Easy Transition: By integrating both a cloud and on-premises solution into one, a hybrid approach can allow a business to utilize existing PBX infrastructure and hardware to deliver UC functionality over the cloud.
- Disperse Services: With physical hardware located within the businesses main location, remote offices can be fed service through a cloud delivery model. Your business will be offering its own in-house communications services as a hosted solution, but only to your businesses other locations.
- Save Costs: Go cloud yet save costs by utilizing existing on-premises software to disperse the service. Your business won’t have to pay for any other hardware, or a recurring subscription to access the platform. With control over the system in the main location, your business can gain some financial flexibility as you can decide what features to stay on-premise.
- Security: Since the hosted service is still running off of your businesses own hardware, located on-premise in one main location, the business can maintain control over the network, and therefore the network’s security. It’s important to prevent telephony fraud.
Hosted Solution Benefits:
- Subscription Model: This eliminates the need for in-house IT and staff to maintain the service, only further saving cost for the business. For small teams, why pay extra for what you don’t need, like the expensive hardware for an on-premise solution?
- Quick and Easy: Establishing an entire communications platform with a hosted solution can happen in a matter of days. However, building an entire on-premise network can take months. With UC as a service, the setup is handled by the provider, and all your business really needs to do is login to the online portal.
- Simple Maintainance: There’s no costly hardware, no physical connection to the PSTN, no tricky server room that requires IT and cabling professionals. If your business needs to change a feature or add new lines, that can all be handled through simple online portals.
- Increased Flexibility: Since the service doesn’t require an expensive hardware installation to add new phone lines and features, your business can manipulate the platform in a matter of seconds. However, this increased flexibility can mean an increased cost.
While the options seem endless, at the end of the day the right choice depends on exactly what your business needs. There is no one right answer, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Each business has their own needs, locations and industry requirements. With an understanding of what options exist, your business can narrow down the different areas of focus. The best way to make a decision is to be informed on the decision, but also informed on what your business needs, and doesn’t need.
For some impartial advice, a system demonstration at our in-house state-of-the-art demonstration suite or a free quote on what you could save with Teleconnect then why not get in touch and see how we could help you.
Telephone: 0113 217 2000
Fax to email: 0113 217 2050