SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Marty Parker
Marty Parker brings over three decades of experience in both computing solutions and communications technology. Marty has been a...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Marty Parker | April 29, 2013 |

 
   

Hybrid Capabilities Crucial for Enterprise UC Cloud Planning

Hybrid Capabilities Crucial for Enterprise UC Cloud Planning Plan ahead using a UC&C roadmap; expect a hybrid configuration; and seek a provider who offers a hosted-instance, rather than multi-tenant, approach.

Plan ahead using a UC&C roadmap; expect a hybrid configuration; and seek a provider who offers a hosted-instance, rather than multi-tenant, approach.

Cloud UC options have many attractions. First, cloud implementation is often much faster than a premise deployment, so the prototyping, roll-outs, and initial benefits are more immediately available. Second, cloud configurations require little or no front end capital spending or approvals. Third, cloud offerings are often bundled so that core functions such as IM or conferencing justify the costs and then other UC features are available at "no incremental charge." Fourth, cloud offerings are usually priced on a per-user-per-month basis, so that an enterprise can start with just a small pilot group and then scale up as needed, when successful.

Based on all these reasons, and a few more, we can expect cloud options to be marketed very aggressively and then deployed by an increasing number of enterprises. However, there's usually one big catch: The users of the cloud systems still work for an enterprise! Consequently, there is a need for integration and interoperability (there's that word, again) between the cloud systems and the enterprise communication systems.

The amount of hybrid deployment and interoperation will vary widely, based on the cloud services being used. For one simple example, if the cloud UC functions are limited to e-mail, IM, and presence, then the cloud service might be an island unto itself. But if the enterprise wants telephony status (say, on-hook or off-hook) to show up in the presence indicators, it will be necessary for the enterprise PBX to have a presence server that can federate with the cloud-based presence engine.

Another simple case, which has been around for a long time, is cloud-based audio conferencing. In this case, users on the premise PBX system will just call into the conferencing service over normal PSTN trunks. If the e-mail system is hosted on the same cloud service, then integration of conference scheduling with the users' calendars will be easy. If not, then it will be important to integrate the cloud system with the user's premise e-mail system, such as is provided by the Cisco WebEx plug-in for Microsoft Outlook.

It gets more complex if the UC cloud functions include enterprise telephony. It is easy to find cloud UC services which provide the user with a direct inward dial (DID) telephone number and allow the user to make calls into the public network from their UC software client or SIP devices. But it gets complex if the enterprise wants their employees to keep their same DID number when using the cloud service. Can that number be ported to the cloud provider? Or will DID calls still need to land on the enterprise PBX and be forwarded to the cloud UC system? How much more trunk capacity (whether TDM or SIP trunks) be needed for that additional call routing? What is the administration load for managing the connections between premise and cloud and for administering users who move onto or off of the cloud services?

In many cases, these questions come up late in the game. In some cases, a cloud-based UC provider is awarded a multi-year contract for IM/Presence or for conferencing services without consideration of future requirements to add other UC functions such as enterprise telephony with mobile client support. The questions often arise when it is too late to do anything about it, creating a barrier to progress.

All these questions have answers, but they vary dramatically between various cloud service providers and even between each cloud provider's service offerings. Also, the answers vary dramatically depending on the current enterprise communications infrastructure. It is crucial to focus on these details in the planning stages for cloud-based UC. As we have said many times in the past, this is the reason to have a multi-year UC&C roadmap, rather than just racing from one shiny idea to the next.

It is also the case that answers to the hybrid questions become much more clear, practical and affordable if the cloud-based system is a hosted instance of the enterprise's chosen UC platform rather than a multi-tenant version of the UC solution. A "hosted instance" means that the cloud-based provider is operating the UC solution on a set of virtual machines, each set of which is dedicated to a specific enterprise. In that case, the cloud-based system looks like a branch office location to the premise-based UC system, whether that UC system is a document-centric system such as Microsoft Lync or IBM Sametime or is a voice-centric system such as Cisco UCM or Avaya Aura. Presence, call routing, dial plans and much more will work just as they would on the enterprise's own wide area network (WAN).

The action items are clear: 1) Plan ahead using a UC&C roadmap when considering cloud options. 2) expect a hybrid configuration that connects the cloud system to the premise systems. 3) Look for a cloud provider who offers a hosted instance approach based on your enterprise's incumbent or planned UC platform brand. Your time and effort to do these three things should be well rewarded by the benefits of the cloud.





COMMENTS



Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018
March 12-15 | Orlando, FL

Connect with the Entire Enterprise Communications & Collaboration Ecosystem


Stay Up-to-Date: Hear industry visionaries in Keynotes and General Sessions delivering the latest insight on UC, mobility, collaboration and cloud

Grow Your Network: Connect with the largest gathering of enterprise IT and business leaders and influencers

Learn From Industry Leaders: Attend a full range of Conference Sessions, Free Programs and Special Events

Evaluate All Your Options: Engage with 190+ of the leading equipment, software and service providers

Have Fun! Mingle with sponsors, exhibitors, attendees, guest speakers and industry players during evening receptions

Register now with code NOJITTEREB to save $200 Off Advance Rates or get a FREE Expo Pass!

November 1, 2017

Your customers (internal and external) demand that you offer them the ability to connect by any means. With the adoption of cloud communications tools you now have access to an expanded portfolio o

October 18, 2017

Microsofts recent Ignite event had some critically important announcements for enterprise communications. Namely, Microsofts new Team Collaboration offering, Teams, will be its primary communicatio

September 20, 2017

Customer experience can make or break your business. But how do you achieve outstanding customer service when you're dealing with outdated organizational structure, lagging technology, dated proces

October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.