Voip & Unified Communications f Matt Grech hAugust 02, 2018

Shifting UC To The Cloud: How To Ensure a Smooth Transition

Unified Communications has fully made its way into the cloud. Over the past few years, the trend for shifting communications platforms and applications to the cloud has grown, and even at this point large Enterprise organizations are making their way over. However, there are of course still some hold-outs -- and for good reason. While the cloud introduces a number of benefits, it can introduce a number of drawbacks and pitfalls as well.

Migration can be a confusing and difficult process for a number of reasons, including the sheer number of options available, and the critical importance of consistency. Yet even with the risks involved, adopting a cloud approach still offers enough to make the transition worthwhile. Now, we're not talking about adopting a UC solution from the ground up. But rather, we wanted to put together a quick guide to help your organization better position itself for an inevitable cloud migration.

On-Premise vs In the Cloud

Now, the distinction between On-Premise and Cloud delivered solutions has become fairly common knowledge. But, before we can address the risks associated with migrating from one to the other, it’s important to lay down a foundation to better understand what it is we are discussing.

These different solution delivery models bring with them a different host of benefits and downfalls, some that can be mitigated and some that might not be worth living with. Before jumping in, it is of course important to have as deep of an understanding of the solutions as possible. So, what exactly is the difference between On-Premise and Cloud hosted solutions?

On-Premise: Just as the name states, On-Premise solutions are installed in-house, on site. Traditionally telephony solutions, On-Premise platforms are often utilized by large Enterprise organizations. With an On-Premise solution, all of the hardware, devices, network infrastructure and security protocols are physically hosted and stored within your organization's building. This puts total control of the solution at your fingertips, but it also adds the need for a dedicated in-house team to maintain the solution.

Cloud: As opposed to hosting the hardware and infrastructure inside your organization's buildings, Cloud solutions are delivered through the internet. Instead of installing costly hardware and employing a team to maintain it, the "heavy lifting" so to speak is handled by the service provider. This enables your team to simply gain access to a tool, without the need to keep it running smoothly. Instead of paying a one-time installation fee, however, Cloud solutions are generally charged on a reoccurring subscription.

On-premise solutions naturally provide greater control over the entire system, with everything located in-house. On-premise solutions in a way can provide cost savings as well, by avoiding a reoccurring subscription cost -- but they will also require a rather large initial investment.

On the other hand, Cloud delivered solutions can reduce the need for a large capital investment both on the hardware side, as well as overall platform cost. Cloud solutions are also very easily scalable, without the need for additional hardware. Cloud solutions are also simple to maintain and can provide a greater level of flexibility. Either way you stack them up, the numbers are clear -- cloud based UCaaS is moving forward and will continue to do so.

Don't Forget Hybrid

While both solution platforms have their place, your organization does not need to invest heavily in one specific installation method. In fact, based on the specific needs of your organization, it might be worth adopting a hybrid approach.

Hybrid solutions enable your organization to maintain control over the platform in-house, while offering service and functionality through the cloud, around the world. In the same vein as an on-premise solution, your organization would acquire the necessary hardware and equipment to establish and maintain their own communications platform. In one form of a hybrid approach, service can then be distributed to other locations.

But in a more typical hybrid approach, some specific solutions can be kept on-premise while others are handled in the cloud. For example, your organization might still want an in-house PBX, but seek out a cloud delivered Team Messaging and Collaboration solution to support video conferencing.

Tips for An Easy Transition

At the end of the day, even with a 30-step plan in place, it’s entirely possible to run into different roadblocks and interruptions during a transition as large as moving communication solutions.

However, that doesn't mean your team should run in absolutely blind. It is imperative to assess the situation and arm yourselves with as much knowledge and understanding as possible to help ensure the transition is as smooth as it can be.

Downfalls to Avoid

A slow and methodical approach is absolutely the best way to ensure success for your organization. There's a reason that Unified Communication solutions have taken the cloud, and there's a reason the cloud will continue to expand and grow over time.

The benefits that follow a cloud-based solution will vastly outweigh the cons. By addressing the transition with the attention and resources it deserves, your team can help ensure a successful move. Attempt to avoid rushing into one single solution, or cut costs wherever possible.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, your team must come to decision whether or it a migration to the cloud will benefit the organization. Jumping ship from on-premise solutions just to follow the trend of cloud focused platforms isn't necessarily the answer. While the Fear of Missing Out is real, especially when your team is looking to gain an advantage over the competition, abandoning existing solutions and processes can cause more issues than they solve.

With the proper transition plan and period in place, your team can ensure that adoption of a new cloud deliver solution with run as smoothly as possible. By setting clear organizational goals and expectations, establishing a plan of action, and following through with the necessary investments, your team will be better prepared to handle this massive change.

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