Voip & Unified Communications f Matt Grech hAugust 29, 2017

What's the Difference? On-Premise vs Hosted vs Hybrid UC Solutions

I'll be one of the first to tell you that shopping for a Unified Communications solution for your business is no easy task. With the sheer amount of jargon and technical terms that accompany UC, it can be difficult to even wrap your head around what you're looking at, or reading about. Add on top of that the vast number of options between different vendors, providers, partners, hardware manufactures, and you need a map just to navigate this minefield that is Business VoIP.

And just to make everything even more confusing, before you begin searching for a VoIP provider, your business must decide how exactly to establish and host a communications platform. Of course, we're big advocates for the Cloud, with a growing list of reasons to switch your business over.

However, adopting an entirely hosted solution isn't always the best option for everyone -- sometimes the old school in-house solution works best, or maybe even a hybrid combination of the two.

What Are the Options?

Well, before you can even begin comparing different platforms and providers, your business must understand the different delivery methods, and the implications behind each. Depending on a number of factors from the business size, to location, to specific team needs well help determine the how large or small the investment must be.

For example, cloud solutions can help save costs up front, but reoccurring monthly charges will only grow as your business grows -- so a 10,000 seat Enterprise might want to consider a standard On-Premises approach. However, on-premises solutions can make mobility difficult in the is increasingly mobile world.

But before we bog you down with a list of generalities, lets clearly define the options and what they mean for your business:

On-Premise:

Pretty much just as the name states, on-premise solutions are in-house telephony and communications platforms, mainly used by the largest organizations. Instead of subscribing to another service, the business will bring in all the necessary hardware, and work closely with a provider to build an entire communication system for the entire business. On-premise solutions could be based off a Standard PBX, SIP Trunking, or more recently might include IP PBX and VoIP capabilities if building out a hybrid solution.

Hosted/Cloud

: Generally, when you think Business VoIP, you are thinking of a hosted solution. With a cloud solution, all the heavy lifting is handled by the service provider -- your business may need to purchase some phones, routers or network switches, but other than that turning on the service is essentially a flip of a switch. The provider hosts the network and service in their data centers around the world, and provides access to your business with a reoccurring subscription fee.

Hybrid

: Kind of like the best of both worlds, a hybrid solution allows a business maintain control over their platform in-house, but also offer the service through the cloud, all around the world. So, just like in an on-premise solution, your business acquires the necessary hardware to establish and maintain their own telephony and communications platform. But, just like a hosted solution, your business can then disperse this platform to all other locations, through the cloud -- remote locations in other cities can receive the same service without having to subscribe to another provider, or build their own infrastructure.

What Are the Benefits?

So of course, simply defining the solutions does not tell the whole story. There really isn't a "best" or even "better" option, but rather whatever works best for each particular use case. A one-size fits all approach would just be too broad and generic, falling short of the unique needs each business will have.

Depending on a lot of different factors, like the size of your business, the number of locations, the number of teams, capital to spend, and more, your organization will have to come to an independent conclusion on what the right solution might be. And to help you understand that, we can break down each solution and their specific benefits:

With an On-Premise solution, your business gains:

With a Hybrid Solution, Your Business Gains:

With a hosted solution, your business gains:

The Bottom Line

While the options seem endless, at the end of the day the right choice depends on exactly what your business needs. There is no one right answer, and there is no one-size-fits all approach. Each business also has their own unique needs, unique locations, and unique industry requirements.

With an understanding of what options even exist out there, your business can then narrow down into different areas of focus. The first step would be simply to understand what options exist, and why they exist. The best way to make a decision is to be informed on the decision, but also informed on what your business  needs, and doesn't need.

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