Phone System Deployment Options: How To Avoid Buyer’s Remorse
Written by Pam Bednarczyk, ShoreTel Content Marketing Manager | June 29, 2016
There’s nothing worse than investing a significant amount of time and money in a new technology solution only to eventually realize the product will not live up to your expectations. For those with limited budgets, an investment that fails to deliver can damage both profits and reputations.
Your business phone system is no exception. And with today’s unified communications (UC) solutions that can take your phone system beyond telephony, you REALLY want to get this right. A UC solution is one of the best virtual collaboration tools a business can have because it can improve worker collaboration and productivity, resulting in improved business performance. But which UC deployment option – onsite, cloud or hybrid – is the best fit for your business?
The guidelines listed below can help you figure it out. Use them to help guide your buying decision and direct you to a solution that will deliver on its promises.
An Onsite UC Deployment
With an onsite UC deployment, the business owns and operates the solution. You might be a good fit for onsite UC if:
- You want to maintain control and ownership.
- You want to avoid ongoing financing costs.
- You have sunk costs in the current solution and/or are tied to a contract.
- You had past bad experiences with cloud-based telephony or UC or distrust the cloud.
- You are only looking for a telephony solution at this time.
- You have no plans to integrate voice with other applications or plan to go with other providers for these services if/when deployed
- You want superior voice quality and have concerns as to whether a cloud-based solution can deliver it.
A Cloud UC Deployment
With a cloud UC deployment, applications are hosted remotely, run either by the UC provider or a hosting partner. The business consumes the services on a subscription basis rather than owning the solution, and the cloud provider manages the service in varying degrees, relieving IT of most or all network-related tasks. In case you were not already aware, the subscription business model is a business model in which a customer must pay a recurring price at regular intervals for access to a product. Similarly, quite often subscription management software is a good fit for companies that use digital e-commerce platforms. Correspondingly, you might also be a good fit for cloud UC if:
- You have a hosted VoIP solution in place and want to add other cloud-based applications as collaboration needs become better understood.
- Your existing premise-based phone system is getting old, expensive to maintain and will be costly to replace.
- You have IT infrastructure limitations.
- You don’t want to invest in an onsite phone system that will become outdated before its time.
- You need to deploy the solution quickly and don’t have time for a gradual rollout.
- You have branch offices with simpler needs that don’t require a dedicated onsite solution.
- You want to provide remote workers or those working from the road with a consistent experience, giving them the same capabilities as those in the home office.
- You need the flexibility to scale and/or add applications based on staff needs and demand cycles.
- You need to control costs as your UC solution expands to support growth.
- You have limited IT resources and/or want your IT resources to focus on other higher-level priorities.
A Hybrid UC Deployment
Hybrid is a mixed deployment with some UC elements remaining onsite and others hosted in the cloud. You might be a good fit for a hybrid UC solution if:
- You currently have a mixed telephony deployment where the main office is premise-based, but smaller branch offices cannot justify the same.
- Your business is adding new offices and making greater use of remote workers.
- You want the flexibility of using both models to keep the cloud deployment within IT’s comfort zone.
- You want to provide a smooth path for going back to premise-based if hosted telephony doesn’t work out as expected.
- You want to a simple transition to cloud telephony when the existing phone system is paid off and deemed replaceable.
- You want control over local network conditions, with remote sites supported with cloud-based UC while maintaining premise-based UC for main offices, extending a consistent user experience for everyone
- You want a solution that will work with what you have today, preserving your investment while also giving you the greatest flexibility for the future.