The Ultimate Guide to Unified Communications Part 2

nec-unified-communications-ultimate-guide-uc-gary-audin-ebook-part2iIn part one of our series, we took a dive into Gary Audin’s eBook, entitled “The Ultimate Guide to Unified Communications.”  Audin’s publication gives an in-depth look on how to evaluate which UC approach is right for you. Read along as we dive deeper into the rest of the book and the pros and cons of the approaches to UC implementation.


7. Your Business Model Defines Your Communications Model

Your organization’s business model will have profound influence on the implementation of UC. Ask yourself the following questions in the process:

  • Does my organization have the financial strength to use capital (CAPEX) funds or the ability to borrow the capital?
  • If the capital is not available, does my organization favor expensing the costs of IT implementation through outside services?
  • Does our IT staff have the training, knowledge, and experience to implement an on-premises system? If not, do we want to retain a VAR to implement and manage the on-premises system?
  • How are my competitors implementing UC?

8. The UC Implementation Decision

In the process of UC Implementation you may find yourself asking “should we install and manage our own system or use a completely outside cloud-based UC service?” The answer depends, not only on security, staffing and economics, but also what is the best method to introduce the UC menu of features to your users.

There are three possible solutions available to you for implementing and supporting Unified Communications (UC):

  • Purchase a complete system and locate it at your data center(s)
  • Use a service that is remote with access through a private network (MPLS) or the Internet
  • Combine these solutions into a hybrid implementation, gaining the advantages of both

9. The On Premises Solution

Implementing an on-premises solution provides high levels of security and control, and lowers the implementation and operational risks. A major risk you can run into with a cloud service provider is service availability/reliability, since the cloud provider is not likely to include Internet access in their Service Level Agreement (SLA).

The major cost component of buying a UC system is the software licenses. Once the first year of ownership has passed, the primary costs to your organization are software subscription, maintenance, and data center facilities. These latter costs add up to far less than subscribing to cloud services over time.

10. Subscribing to Cloud Communications Services

If you’re facing budget constraints, it can make the up-front costs of implementing on-premises UC solutions from scratch a moot issue. Like many enterprises, you will likely want to avoid any new capital costs, making a cloud solution that is expensed with little or no capital impact more desirable. Why? Because the cost is fixed per month based on the number of users and the individule features used, so is a predictable and more easily budgeted operating expense.

Cloud based UC services can also be subscribed to by feature set, such as providing video collaboration for a single department, allowing greater flexibility for your organization when determining what UC features should be offered to what users. Many enterprises implement a few UC features to begin with, and observe their use to determine what the feature benefits and ROI will be for other areas within the enterprise.


11. The Hybrid Approach; Cloud plus Premises System

A hybrid solution allows your organization to get the best of both worlds. With a hybrid solution you can integrate functions that are required for the entire organization, while using the cloud to offer specific functions unique to individuals or departments. This capability occurs without the expense of enabling functions for departments that do not need them. If cloud costs begin to exceed the cost of on-site implementations, you can convert functions from the cloud to premises-based. The hybrid approach can also deliver business continuity failover services at a much lower cost.

As you move forward in deciding how you will implement Unified Communications within your organization, keep in mind that there is no right or wrong approach — you have to choose what works best for you. If you are ready for a guide to UC, click below to download the eBook that includes a comprehensive checklist on evaluating the best approach for your business. The checklist highlights factors such as the financial, technical and staff support impacts each system can have on your organization.