Companies are increasingly abandoning traditional PBX phone systems in favor of unified communications solutions, which enable consolidated phone, email, fax, chat, video and collaboration services through a single online interface. As this approach has become predominant in the business environment, new, virtualized data center solutions have emerged to make service more reliable and easier to manage.
According to one recent study, 84 percent of companies that do not currently use UC features are considering adding such services in the next one to three years. At the same time, a majority of respondents said they were struggling to find the right vendor. This frustration could arise in part from the changes in the way UC services are offered. Traditionally, UC was primarily an on-premises offering hosted on dedicated servers, which could lead to reliability problems.
For companies looking for a reliable UC solution, the preferred model is increasingly trending toward a hosted approach, in which a managed services provider offers UC services that are hosted remotely in a large-scale, virtualized data center. Virtualization allows service providers to host a large number of clients simultaneously and use resources intelligently, cutting costs while also accessing state-of-the-art, reliable infrastructure, a recent TechTarget article noted.
“Virtualization can bring a level of reliability not available on dedicated servers, while lowering the overall costs of the platform,” Brian Riggs, research director for enterprise communications at Current Analysis, told TechTarget. He added, “Service providers … are seeing virtual environments as a cost effective way to deliver hosted communication solutions for a wide range of clients.”
The cost advantages are particularly notable for small and midsize companies, which may not be able to handle the capital investment of installing servers for unified communications services on their own. With a managed services approach, companies can choose the specific solutions they need without running up substantial hardware costs.