Elizabeth (Beth) English
Elizabeth (Beth) English is the founder and lead consultant of EE and Associates, LLC. She brings more than 30 years...
Read Full Bio >>

Elizabeth (Beth) English | September 06, 2017 |


The Case for Moving to Hosted Services

The Case for Moving to Hosted Services From photo storage to UC, the reasons for moving to the cloud are the same.

From photo storage to UC, the reasons for moving to the cloud are the same.

portable On a recent weekend, after years of mulling it over, I made the decision to upload all of my photos, new and old, onto a shared, hosted drive. Over the next few weeks, as I began the process of locating and uploading photos from variety of devices going back several decades -- which included everything from a Mac, to thumb drives, DVDs from photo printing services, and paper photos scanned into drugstore photo machines -- I pondered the similarities between my reasons for moving photos to the cloud and the reasons our clients are making similar decisions for their communications platforms.

So what made me decide to make the move, and why is it relevant to today's communications technologies? The same arguments can be applied to both scenarios.

Over the years of trying to maintain my own photo library, I eventually wound up with photos on multiple machines and drives, in different formats. To create the platform I needed myself, I would have to maintain separate drives that allow me to continue to access my photos over time, as new imaging programs and operating systems come along. With the rapid technology changes these days, things become outdated pretty quickly -- just ask my friend who is currently trying to find a way to access a few old photos she has stored on floppy drives. I would also have to maintain one or several backup drives at offsite locations to avoid a catastrophic failure in which I would lose all my photos, and have network access to all of them so I could view photos anytime I want.

Enterprise Decision Factors
When implementing a technology platform in a distributed, or even local environment, the variety of resources to maintain it and the points of potential failure are significantly higher than in the days of the traditional PBX. Care must be given to maintain the data center's environmental controls, connectivity, infrastructure, server stacks, and vmware. Every time there is a Microsoft or Linux server upgrade, skilled resources must be available to perform the upgrade, test, and communicate plans to the rest of the organization. And infrastructure resources don't usually stop to consider the impact of upgrading a server that is running real-time communications services. Facilities infrastructure must ensure power and connectivity are in place to overcome any potential disruption, often requiring professional engineering resources be on hand.

After ensuring that infrastructure is tended to, the intricacies of virtualization must be considered. Will the communications services be disrupted by taking a VM snapshot for example? With redundant VM stacks, will two data centers be viewed as one or two for failover purposes? Add on to that the manufacturer hardware, software, and licensing maintenance, and the recipe for complexity increases exponentially.

That's a wide variety of different skills and resources, most of which are not required full time. It's like a part-time combination of five to 10 different full-time employee (FTE) skillsets.

Thinking back to my photo project, I would either need to become skilled with a variety of platforms, hardware, and programs, and then periodically exchange backup drives and drive them to offsite locations... or hire resources to do it for me. Would I need some part of an FTE for hardware, another for archive, and another for image programs? Or could I hire one person who is an expert in all the various facets of storage, image programs, and archiving? Would I be able to find a person who is willing to contract these skills on an as-needed basis?

Similarly, for today's business entities, while the concerns about privacy and network outages are real, they are often outweighed by the number of moving parts and high demand for skilled resources. A great number of organizations are moving towards managed services as part of an overall strategy to allow internal resources to focus on the core business. These organizations range from state government to school districts, global medical and scientific manufacturing, and development organizations. So what's driving the decision?

When considering the move to a hosted platform or managed services, often at first blush hosted systems can look more expensive. But in addition to traditional capex and opex costs, organizations must consider the opportunity costs of maintaining a system themselves. While it may be cheaper to purchase and maintain an in-house solution, internal labor and infrastructure costs can tip the scale the other direction.

Again going back to our photo example and the sharing economy -- it boils down to the classic "make or buy" decision.

These days, advancements in technology allow resources to be shared in ways that were previously unthinkable. One of the latest disrupters in the sharing economy is an organization called Hello Tractor. Instead of taking out a high-interest loan to buy machinery, this startup is allowing locals to share farming implements.

For me, the bottom line was, would I rather spend my time on my core business (living life to its fullest) or spend my time maintaining a bunch hardware and software to see photos I didn't have time to take? There are so many easy, inexpensive and cool ways to store photos, it was a no-brainer. I can go about the business of living, knowing with assurance that I can peek back in time with the click of a button.

And organizations are making similar decisions for similar reasons. Their best and brightest can be focused on designing the next generation of their product, or finding ways to improve their interactions with customers, knowing their communications platform is humming along with highly-skilled, dedicated resources ensuring it will be there when they need it.

So when people ask me, "Are organizations really moving to hosted/managed/cloud solutions?" The answer is unequivocally "yes." And while the reasons may not be black and white, they are clear in living color.

"SCTC Perspectives" is written by members of the Society of Communications Technology Consultants, an international organization of independent information and communications technology professionals serving clients in all business sectors and government worldwide.


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 depl

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.