Karl Hantho
Karl Hantho is president of the Americas for Videxio, a cloud-based video meeting and calling service that seamlessly connects devices...
Read Full Bio >>

Karl Hantho | October 04, 2018 |


On-Prem vs. Cloud Video Conferencing: What's Right for You?

On-Prem vs. Cloud Video Conferencing: What's Right for You? If your video conferencing infrastructure faces end-of-life, consider which migration strategy is best for your company.

If your video conferencing infrastructure faces end-of-life, consider which migration strategy is best for your company.

Many companies that invested in video conferencing infrastructure are rapidly approaching an inflection point. Over the next six to 18 months, their video infrastructure will face end-of-life and they'll need to plan a technology refresh and migration strategy before they lose support.

For some, this process may sound simple. After all, most manufacturers recommend an upgrade path when they retire their video conferencing infrastructure products, so why not simply follow their guidance? While this option may sound like an easy answer, consider whether it's right for your organization. This end-of-life process could provide a chance to reconsider your overall collaboration strategy.

Why Yesterday's Solutions Don't Cut It
The world has changed since your last major investment in video conferencing. Shifts in the way people work have unlocked incredible potential for better collaboration, productivity, and performance -- and tools have evolved to meet these changing needs. Not investigating the alternatives would be a disservice to your organization and, more importantly, your user community.

For instance, mobile workers and distributed workforces have driven demand for solutions that allow them to work from anywhere, and on any device. Teams want to join meetings quickly in a way that is convenient for them and expect a seamless workflow to follow them to each of their meetings. Modern work teams also need to meet with others who may use a different video conferencing solution, which has created demand for better interoperability between traditional room systems and desktop collaboration and productivity tools like Office 365 and G Suite. Lastly, the blurring of the line between Web conferencing and video conferencing has simplified the collaboration tool set, bringing the best features of both worlds into today's comprehensive solutions.

These few observations should tell you why it's hugely important to step back to understand your options and weigh them against the requirements of your users and organization. While it may be tempting to follow manufacturers' guidance, ask yourself whether the "latest and greatest" version of what you already have is actually setting your company up for success -- today and in the future.


Replacing Video Infrastructure: Cloud or On-Premises?
While there isn't a "one-size-fits-all" answer to this question, there are several factors to consider:

  • Capex vs. Opex: This is not a new consideration, and the pros and cons of the Capex/Opex discussion are well understood. Cloud services (Opex model) can deliver better ROI on existing video conferencing investments in a flexible, recurring subscription model that scales up or down with you over time.

  • Security: Perception is reality. If you perceive on-prem as more secure, or if your company's security posture is very strict, then on-prem may be for you. However, many of today's cloud services offer rigorous security and privacy standards. It's important to simply ask the right questions.

  • Support: Support requirements change when one moves from an on-prem environment to a cloud-hosted environment. Rather than spending time fixing what is not working, IT teams can instead focus on helping users get the most out of the experience. Cloud video services often appeal to companies who were accustomed to managing their own video conferencing infrastructure (see this case study).

  • Interoperability: This should be a key factor in your decision-making process. How will you protect your investments in video conferencing endpoints while embracing desktop collaboration and productivity applications like Office 365 and G Suite? How will you meet the requirements of a mobile and distributed workforce? While there are both on-prem and cloud options, consider a solution that breaks down communication silos.

  • Innovation: While an on-prem solution will evolve with new features and functionality over time, it's safe to say they won't keep pace with the speed at which new and innovative features and functionality can be deployed in a cloud service.

  • Aligned Objectives: One of the more pronounced shifts when moving from a hardware, transaction-based vendor relationship to a cloud service-based vendor relationship is the alignment of a win/win strategy. Usage, adoption, and customer satisfaction are critical factors that weigh in on renewals -- the ultimate report card for a service provider. To achieve success, end-users should have a seamless experience, whether meeting with others inside or outside their organization. Further, the collaboration tools should be flexible enough to evolve with the company over time.

The Time to Act Is Now
If your video infrastructure faces end-of-life, you have an exciting opportunity in front of you. History tells us that our industry is quite unique. Companies who want a high-quality, secure video experience no longer have to invest in and maintain their own infrastructure. Today, you have a choice. You can continue to invest in on-prem solutions to operate and maintain, or you can choose a cloud service that delivers the same security, quality, and performance you've come to expect.

Consider how this decision fits into your overall collaboration strategy, and whether that strategy is dynamic enough to meet users' needs both today and in the future. Whichever road you choose, the time to act is now. Plan your migration strategy today so you are prepared when your infrastructure support ends.

Related content:


October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

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

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.