Blair Pleasant
Blair Pleasant is President & Principal Analyst of COMMfusion LLC and a co-founder of UCStrategies. She provides consulting and market...
Read Full Bio >>

Blair Pleasant | June 06, 2017 |


A Dissenting View on 'Cloud for All'

A Dissenting View on 'Cloud for All' The communications providers essentially forcing customers to move to the cloud model are being shortsighted.

The communications providers essentially forcing customers to move to the cloud model are being shortsighted.

I'm going to go against conventional wisdom and, for the record, state that in my humble opinion the future will not be 100% cloud-based. The more businesses I speak with, the more I'm convinced that while the cloud will be the sole answer for many, many organizations, others will take a middle ground. And even as the cloud communications market continues its strong growth, and cloud deployments soon overtake premises-based solutions, I believe vendors will still need to provide premises-based options for customers.

I have become even more resolute in my belief that premises-based solutions will have an important role to play for the foreseeable future based on conversations I've had with CIOs, IT professionals, consultants, resellers, vendors, and others over the past few months. Don't get me wrong, I think cloud communications and UCaaS are great, and provide tons of benefits for businesses of all sizes. But that doesn't mean that the cloud is for everyone, and providers and resellers shouldn't be pushing businesses to move to the cloud if it's not right for them.

UCaaS and cloud communications makes the most sense for SMBs and organizations with primarily remote and/or mobile workers, fluctuating staffing, or small IT departments that want to outsource management of their UCC systems. No Jitter readers are familiar with the myriad cloud benefits, including speed of deployment, ease of management, the ability to stay current with the latest releases, and increased flexibility. Organizations of all sizes have reaped the benefits of cloud communications, and the number of businesses moving to the cloud will continue to increase. Nevertheless, providers that are essentially forcing customers to move to the cloud model are being shortsighted.

Interest If Not Action
Several communication consultants I spoke with at a recent industry event acknowledged that while all of their clients ask about the cloud and want to investigate cloud options, the majority are still deploying premises-based or hybrid solutions. Many resellers are also finding that while every customer asks about the cloud, the majority still purchase and deploy premises-based solutions.

According to these consultants and resellers, hybrid seems to be the most popular model going forward, as businesses want to retain their existing investments. This is especially true for larger organizations that have a range of products from various vendors and suppliers.

Several reasons stand out as to why many of these companies are reluctant to move to the cloud. The most common are cost, loss of control, and security concerns. While the UCaaS and cloud communication vendors have done an admirable job of providing enhanced security features for their cloud offerings, many of the resellers and consultants I've spoken with confirm that a good portion of their customers, particularly those in industries like health care and defense, are not convinced. One consultant who specializes in hospitals and the health care market noted that none of his clients are moving to the cloud for the foreseeable future, as these companies want to have full control over their communications solutions and operations. Almost all of the consultants I spoke with reiterated this view.

The other key issue is cost. Once you do the math, you realize that the total cost of a cloud solution is much greater than the cost of a premises-based solution. While cost isn't the primary factor, and there are many other considerations favoring the cloud, many organizations can't rationalize paying more for a cloud offering.

All About Choice
I believe it all comes down to choice, and businesses should be able to choose the best solution that meets their needs. However, more and more vendors are pushing their customers to the cloud, whether the customers want it or not.

At a "Future of UC" session I moderated at UC Expo in London last month, I asked my industry panelists if the cloud is a foregone conclusion for business communications. While they all agreed that it was, they showed some subtle differences in their opinions. When asked about the balance between cloud and premises solutions in the near future, for example, Andrew Maher, customer engagement evangelist - EMEA at Avaya, said that while a lot of UCC is moving to the cloud, some organizations still want control of their own equipment. "I'm not convinced that everyone is ready to move to the cloud," he noted.

Alternatively, Snorre Kjesbu, VP & GM for Cisco Collaboration Endpoint Technology, and Kerri Hollis, senior product marketing manager for Microsoft Skype for Business in the U.K., each said their companies are pushing for 100% cloud, and that the future will be totally cloud-based.

Frankly, I was surprised to hear this, as both companies have significant installed bases of on-prem customers. While both companies are helping premises-based customers migrate to the new world of cloud, I got the sense that, going forward, customers won't have a choice -- it will be cloud or nothing.

Moving at Your Own Pace
At a Mitel event last week, I was impressed when Bob Agnes, president, Mitel Enterprise Solutions, acknowledged that not everyone is ready for the cloud -- and pointed to the company's new CloudLink technology, which will help companies move to the cloud if and when they're ready. "CloudLink lets you move forward at the pace you want to move, at the budget you have," he said. The Mitel executives I met with all said the same thing -- while they want to move everyone to the cloud, they know that it's not right for all companies, and they'll offer customers options.

As I noted, companies have many, many good reasons to move to the cloud, and I expect the vast majority will do so and will benefit from the many advantages that cloud communications has to offer. However, vendors and resellers need to recognize that some companies, for one reason or another, will want their communication systems to remain on-prem and under their control. If we still believe that "the customer is always right," we need to enable each customer to make the right choice for its particular needs.


September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

August 29, 2018

Moving your voice services to the cloud introduces new challenges for 9-1-1 services. These include the need to serve multiple locations, and the increased mobility that comes with having a phone t

August 8, 2018

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming a reality for your contact center. But to turn the promise of AI into practical reality, there are a couple of prerequisites: Moving to the cloud and integr

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
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 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.