"Cloud or on-premises?' has become a defining question for IT departments. With the rise of high-speed Internet and managed services, many of the routine chores of IT – everything from storing application data to deploying new servers – can now be easily performed at a colocation facility or via a cloud service provider's resources.
Leading consumer services such as Netflix and Airbnb have gone exclusively cloud to reduce infrastructure management and reach users at scale. Still, despite the cloud's rapid ascent, on-premises IT is alive and well, and in many scenarios it's the right choice.
Unified communications: cloud or on-premises?
Take unified communications, which can be deployed either way. Having the entire UC systems hosted by third-party confers many advantages, including:
- Lower cost of ownership: The platform is managed by the provider and requires no capital expenditures.
- Compatibility with multiple devices: Hosted solutions can be accessed by smartphones and tablets in addition to in-office PCs.
- Intuitive operating systems: It's easy to customize settings for each device and tweak the OS to company requirements.
These benefits can ease a small or mid-size business's transition from legacy telephony to comprehensive UC, with data and voice efficiently flowing over the same network. However, companies with high call volumes may need something more. To that end, on-premises UC provides the performance and reliability needed to deal with numerous concurrent conversations.
Never miss a call
Such a UC system can be designed and installed by an experienced provider to ensure its integrity. When put to the test, it can send calls to different devices, adequately distributing the incoming volume and relieving pressure on agents. For the business at large, this means quicker, yet higher-quality, responses to sales queries and support requests.
"The implementation of UC also ensures that employees need never miss a call again, as incoming calls can be routed to desk phones, twinned devices or apps," stated Jon Nowell, head of product management at TalkTalk Business, according to Information Age. "Reliability and dependability are major aspects of a business's reputation and are equally important to companies of all sizes."
Accordingly, the CAPEX of an on-premises systems more than pays for itself through a redoubtable communications infrastructure. As always, though, the "right" choice of cloud or on-premises depends on the organization. Some will want UC installed on-site, but, as indicated by a recent MarketsandMarkets report predicting that the UC-as-a-service market will top $23 billion by 2019, cloud solutions are also on the upswing.