How can you simultaneously maximize your investments in Unified Communications while capitalizing on the new benefits associated with the cloud?
To be sure, cloud services promise an opportunity to reduce IT costs, enhance delivery of applications and improve business agility. But how do you fully realize these benefits? New research from InformationWeek offers three guidelines that can help companies achieve success:
- Build on existing investments. Recognizing that you may already have deployed an IP Private Branch Exchange (or may seriously be considering one), you want to rely on this functionality and not duplicate it in the cloud. “Taking a hybrid approach is often the best way to reap the savings benefits of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model without throwing your existing investment out the window,” contends John Marchese, the report’s author.
- Understand the trade-offs and compromises you face. As you explore new functionality that may be available in the cloud (including SaaS-based offerings), you want to assess application integration options that are available. You’ll also need to recognize what functionality might need to be compromised as a result of limited customization. Consider your own business. What communication capabilities are critical? Can you gain new and valuable services by incorporating the hosted model?
- Make sure you have an escape clause. Recognizing how essential Unified Communications is to your business, you need to ensure you are “future-proofing” your relationship with cloud service providers. Some vendors, the report notes, will inevitably be weeded out by competition. You need to know the implications of such possibilities on your data and your investments. You also want to ensure you won’t be locked in to a service provider’s offerings should they prove inadequate in terms of quality of service or adoption of important new features.
The cloud is clearly going to be an increasingly important factor on Unified Communications in the coming years. In its recent Cloud ROI Survey, InformationWeek Analytics found that 71% of the of 393 business technology professionals who responded are either using or considering cloud technologies. “For 90% of those using or evaluating cloud, IT is in the thick of the decision-making process, putting to rest the idea that business is primarily driving this bandwagon,” according to InformationWeek.