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Moving Voice to the Cloud
Disruption is happening all around us in the incredibly fast-moving world of real-time communications (RTC). Over a decade ago, enterprise IT teams made a strong push to the cloud for computing and succeeded. They lowered costs, enabled innovation, unlocked the value of data analytics, and delivered a more secure computing environment than when they were responsible for running all computing on premises.
RTC has emerged as the second massive wave in organizations' transition to the cloud. Fueled by these past successes, enterprises today have greater confidence in adopting cloud-based voice and video communications, which are increasingly being integrated into business workflows and applications.
For many enterprises, part of this movement to the cloud RTC involves embracing communications platform as a service (CPaaS) and unified communications as a service (UCaaS), particularly as more and more communications are happening in a mobile-first world that requires flexibility and agility.
At the same time, the market is relatively new, definitely "hot," and therefore fragmented with many new competitive players looking to be an enterprise's vendor of choice.
So what happens when enterprises start comparing their options – especially those with the exact same platform? The price wars are on, and enterprise decision makers are in a "buyers' market." They must ask the right time-tested questions: Which platforms will deliver the reliability, quality, and guarantees of service our business needs – and at what price?
Everything Old Is New Again
It's easy to become enamored with easier and cheaper ways to do things, and freemium versions of applications might be enticing at a glance. But ask a seasoned enterprise technology or security leader why they haven't adopted a wild-west strategy by allowing employees to use consumer-style applications to conduct official business, and they will tell you straight out: These applications are free for a reason.
Consumer and freemium versions of applications typically have very limited controls and put businesses at risk of losing confidential information, private data, and overall visibility into communications--a particularly thorny issue given certain compliance regulations and corporate policies.
Instead, enterprise decision makers are pushing to implement modern business solutions, which better integrate with their cloud infrastructure, deliver the functionality required by employees, and provide the enterprise-grade security demanded by organizations. These decision makers also recognize that end-to-end solutions require them to fully think through the communications stack, into the applications layer.
Crafting a Migration Strategy
What should enterprises evaluate as they create their migration strategies to move away from premises-based and legacy hosted PBX solutions, and into the future of truly secure, unified RTC platforms?
- Execution: This includes understanding product and service capabilities, quality of service, features and support
- Operations: What happens once a solution is implemented? Operations must live up to the commitments made pre-implementation
- Sustainability: Is your solution going to be able to scale as your organization's needs change? Enterprises should consider resource availability, financial health, the ability to invest in evolving products and services, and willingness to define new improvements
- Economics: Initial pricing is one thing, but it's important to consider ongoing licensing and usage fees, help desk fees, and more
Ultimately, enterprises need to fully understand a solution's ability to meet their business needs, while ensuring new IP-based services are secure and won't compromise an enterprise's data or reputation. This involves evaluating which solutions deliver the higher-value capabilities you need, as well as which solutions can be extended to common business tools by leveraging CPaaS for RTC integration with Web-based and mobile applications.
A clear vision, improved economics, advanced capabilities, a proven commitment to service, and a track record of true partnership are key factors for enterprises in selecting a provider, especially when it comes to something as critical as migrating voice, messaging, and video to the cloud.