While deciding on your business’ path to Unified Communications (UC), you face a full spectrum of needs and challenges. And there’s no shortage of parties knocking on your door and offering to solve your problems. You’ll have to determine what type of partner can provide the guidance and support you require. You’ll be approached by product vendors and systems integrators, each offering their own complicated path to UC implementation. But it’s worth considering the strengths and weaknesses of these types of players when it comes to fulfilling your UC objectives:
These are the hardware and software product vendors that tout their suites or platforms as integrated solutions to UC problems. Strengths? Product providers can be useful when your requirements are narrow and focused. These vendors, after all, tend to be specialists in certain components within the overall UC framework.
Weaknesses? Product providers do not provide a complete suite of capabilities to address the full range of UC needs. They are unable to give you the best-of-breed in every category. In fact, they are financially incentivized to promote suboptimal product offerings in areas where they do not excel.
It’s worth considering both the strengths and weaknesses of UC players when it comes to fulfilling your UC objectives.
It simply doesn’t make sense to directly engage a product vendor if you are considering a more holistic, integrated and future-proofed UC solution to support your roadmap. The vendor will attempt to lock you in to their own proprietary roadmap, not yours.
These are consulting companies that specialize in either implementing on-premises systems, maintaining systems as a managed service provider or both.
Strengths? Unlike product vendors, systems integrators tend to have an independent perspective in relation to products. They can help you identify, implement and integrate best-of-breed technology in all areas of the UC framework. Such approaches can make sense when the technology is highly customized to your specific needs.
Weaknesses? Typical systems integrators either leave you to run your own systems or they lock you into a managed service plan. The problem with the on-prem solution is that you must continue to keep up with rapid changes in technology, not to mention the hard-to-find talent necessary to maintain it. The challenge with managed services is you are stuck with a huge upfront investment in order to get access to advanced technology. Systems integrators either walk away when they are done implementing or force you to trust them as they take control of your infrastructure with an expensive managed services contract.
Such approaches fall short in terms of preserving your option value and protecting you from technological obsolescence. At a time of dynamic and disruptive innovation, you may get locked into proprietary and suboptimal technology. Or you may surrender precious capital. Ultimately, you risk losing access to the most advanced infrastructure and services available to you. You surrender your options and become vulnerable to an onrushing future of continuous change.
One Way to Preserve Your Options: The Cloud-Enabled Solution
To ensure you are preserving your option value, you’ll want to carefully consider a third path to UC: the cloud-enabled solution. You’ll want a service provider that is fully committed to best-of-breed technology as opposed to proprietary lock-in. And you’ll want a partner that can provide UC as a cloud-enabled service — enabling you to shift from capex to op-ex investment as appropriate. But not every communication demand is necessarily met with a cloud-based solution. With that in mind, you’ll need a service provider that can support you across a spectrum of scenarios ranging from on-premises support to managed services to advanced, cloud offerings. With a solid track record, your partner should demonstrate:
- Commitment to best-of-breed technology on all levels.
- Operational excellence in terms of service provision.
- Flexibility in terms of capex and op-ex investment options.
These are the factors that matter most as you consider your short-, medium- and long-term options. You need flexibility and freedom to most effectively match advanced products and solutions to your business communications roadmap.
Cloud-enabled service providers enable you to focus on the activities that strategically differentiate you as an enterprise. But they also recognize and address the constantly transforming nature of technology. In other words, you’ll want to preserve the option to purchase a growing number of services on-demand — consuming them just-in-time as opposed to just-in-case.*
Corporate Technologies Group can be your Unified Communications Guide
Corporate Technologies Group can help you find the cloud solution that fits your business needs and goals. Whether it’s application integration, hosted phone, backup and recovery, or a total unified communications solution that integrates all of those, we’ve got the expertise to integrate it into your operations while minimizing downtime and wasteful spending.
Want to learn more about Cloud Migration? Download our white paper, “Cloud Migration Essentials”, where we really get into some critical information you need when considering a cloud shift.
*This article is from our partners at West UC.