SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Dave Michels
Dave Michels is a Principal Analyst at TalkingPointz. His unique perspective on unified communications comes from a career involving telecommunications...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Dave Michels | January 12, 2016 |

 
   

The Year the Cloud Premise Changed

The Year the Cloud Premise Changed Now that premises and cloud platforms have reached functional parity, providers need to think big on UCaaS strategies.

Now that premises and cloud platforms have reached functional parity, providers need to think big on UCaaS strategies.

Hosted VoIP has experienced steady growth since its emergence some 15 years ago. For most of this time, hosted VoIP offered the same value proposition as premises-based solutions with an outsourced and OpEx twist.

Gartner opens its 2015 Magic Quadrant report on unified communications as a service (UCaaS) by stating: "UCaaS supports the same functions as its premises-based UC counterpart. Only the delivery model is altered." While the functions are similar the approach isn't, and that became clearer in 2015.

We often cite scalability as an enterprise organization benefit of UCaaS, but it is critical for the providers as well. Many of the first-generation services were architected for thousands of users. In 2015, it became clear that success requires efficient and reliable service and support for millions of endpoints. In the UCaaS Magic Quadrant, Gartner reported on 20 of an estimated 250 total providers worldwide, yet only (and barely) deemed three as "Leaders."

portable

portable

Learn more about cloud communications trends and technologies at Enterprise Connect 2016, March 7 to 10, in Orlando, Fla. View the Cloud Communications track sessions here.

Register for an entire event pass or Tuesday through Thursday conference pass to save an additional $200 off the advance rate. This special discount, available using the code NJPOST, represents a total savings of $900 off the onsite price and is now available through Friday, Jan. 15! Plus, register three or more attendees from your company for even bigger savings.

UCaaS providers need to think big. Even the tiniest gains in efficiencies or cost reductions have exponential ramifications. Every aspect of the service, from provisioning to system updates, has to be optimized for millions of users. Premises-based and single-tenant solutions simply weren't designed for this scale. In 2015 we saw some significant shifts in cloud strategies from Microsoft, Cisco, ShoreTel, NEC, and Interactive Intelligence.

When Microsoft decided to add UCaaS to its Office 365 portfolio, it didn't just implement Skype for Business in its data centers. Instead it has been recreating the service and moving to become a carrier itself. The transition takes time, so Microsoft enables customers to connect their premises-based or hosted solutions with its hosted service to create a full-featured virtual system.

Cisco is following a similar approach with its Spark application, which is expected to expand into a direct UCaaS offer with partner-provided carrier services. As the company builds these features, it will also support hybrid services (with hosted or premises-based implementations of its mature solutions).

Evidently the companies didn't feel their current solutions were architected for where UCaaS is heading -- and they weren't alone.

ShoreTel expanded from UC to UCaaS when it acquired M5 Networks back in 2012. Though the acquisition did bring some first-mover advantages, it also burdened the company with two separate and incompatible platforms. The company realized a totally new approach was necessary for its cloud-centric vision, and released ShoreTel Connect this past August as a new, common platform.

Channel and go-to-market maturity was also a common theme for UCaaS changes in 2015. Last fall NEC relaunched its UCaaS offer, now called Univerge Blue, with a revamped channel program. Cloud services have tested many of the traditional channel programs because the discovery and evaluation of cloud services tend to take place prior to channel interaction.

Interactive was also early to move its premises-based solution to an OpEx model, and realized a totally new, cloud-first approach was necessary. In 2015, Interactive launched its PureCloud portfolio, which leverages messaging, communications, and collaboration with a cloud-ready split architecture using Amazon Web Services cloud infrastructure for faster and cheaper global expansion.

UCaaS involves both the UC technology (which is maturing) and the service delivery (which is emerging). It is not enough to only focus on features. UCaaS providers must offer frequent upgrades without downtime, self-enforcing SLAs, and the highest levels of security and encryption. Customers expect visibility to real-time metrics, detail-rich self-provisioning portals, and competent, live customer support.

"Cloud-first" broadly conveys a higher priority toward cloud in development or consumption of services. From a provider point of view, cloud-first means a solution architected for large, scalable, multi-tenant cloud delivery.

The cloud is emerging as the preferred model for enterprise communications, and it appears it will be dominated by large, multi-tenant, carrier-grade, cloud-first solutions. More often than not it will require a new solution rather than an evolution of existing products.

Dave MIchels is a contributing editor and Analyst at TalkingPointz.

Hear more from Dave on UCaaS in our upcoming webinar on January 20 at 2 pm ET. He'll be joined by NEC's Jay Krauser and will explore 2016 cloud trends and UCaaS success stories. Register today and join us.

Follow Dave Michels on Twitter and Google+!
@DaveMichels
Dave Michels on Google+





COMMENTS



April 19, 2017

Now more than ever, enterprise contact centers have a unique opportunity to lead the way towards complete, digital transformation. Moving your contact center to the cloud is a starting point, quick

April 5, 2017

Its no secret that the cloud offers significant benefits to enterprises - including cost reduction, scalability, higher efficiency, and more flexibility. If your phone system and contact center are

March 22, 2017

As today's competitive business environments push workforces into overdrive, many enterprises are seeking ways of streamlining workflows while optimizing productivity, business agility, and speed.

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.