The Strengths of a Single Hybrid UC Solution
Confidence in deploying unified communications (UC) in the cloud is growing as communications follow other applications to the cloud. While 75% of company data today lives in either public or private clouds, the amount in hybrid clouds or private, virtualized clouds kept onsite with public or Internet cloud services provided by third-parties is set to double in the next two years, according to the 2015 Future of Cloud Computing Survey conducted by North Bridge Venture Partners.
Analyst IDC underscores this momentum. A recent report predicts that more than “65% of enterprise IT organizations will commit to hybrid cloud technologies by the end of 2016, vastly driving the rate and pace of change in IT organizations.”
This rush to hybrid environments isn’t surprising. Among other things, hybrid solutions offer lower costs, less complexity and increased flexibility. Taken together, these strengths can make hybrid cloud deployments a means of differentiation for many businesses.
As the name suggests, hybrid environments offer the best of two worlds. Such solutions give organizations the ability to maintain local control over sensitive data and applications, even as they provide the flexibility to explore cloud services.
Comparing Hybrid Offerings: Past & Present
The issue with hybrid deployments in the past has been how to manage and deploy them since multiple solutions, interfaces and updates from different vendors are difficult to manage. The challenges are compounded for those companies looking to deploy their unified communications and collaboration applications in a mixed onsite and cloud environment begging such questions as:
- What devices are supported?
- Which applications are deployed where?
- How easy is it for IT to provide a seamless experience for employees, customers and partners who are on different telephony systems?
Let’s take a closer look at four ways a single hybrid UC solution available today addresses these challenges:
- Apps in the Cloud. As organizations look for new ways to increase productivity, they need to test apps in the cloud to determine which will achieve the greatest gains. Unified communications offers the potential to streamline processes and save time. For example, ShoreTel Connect HYBRID Scribe reduces the time employees spend managing voicemail. It transcribes phone messages into text and then sends it, along with a WAV audio file, to the employee’s email address. A hybrid cloud solution provides the flexibility to evaluate and add this type of feature on-demand.
- IT Resources. A single solution for a hybrid environment allows IT resources to be focused where they are needed most rather than being stretched to support every employee, remote site, and application or groups that fluctuate on a seasonal basis. When deploying Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), for example, third-party providers of cloud services can manage infrastructure, upgrades and support for communications services and applications in the cloud, freeing the customer’s IT team to directly control projects that are sensitive or may deliver a higher return. This also means that businesses recognize savings in both capital and operational expenditures, as equipment and licensing costs for an all on-premises infrastructure are reduced in favor of a monthly subscription model that can be adjusted as needed from the cloud. Plus, a hybrid UC deployment can ease the transition during a staged migration to the cloud as IT can manage the workload over a longer period.
- Flexibility. In dynamic markets, business agility is a must. A hybrid solution that can be managed and deployed from a single source provides companies with greater flexibility so they can more easily adapt communications needs to changing demands on the business. For example, seasonal demands on the infrastructure to support a temporary increase in employees and sales can cause havoc in IT planning and budgets. With ShoreTel Connect HYBRID Sites, new cloud-based branch offices can be connected to an onsite phone system easily, without an investment in remote hardware. And, unified communications applications can be added or disabled as needed to provide maximum flexibility.
- Financial Sense. When unified communications applications are deployed in-house, businesses are likely to face a hefty up-front investment even while they grapple with ongoing system maintenance and technology upgrade costs. With ShoreTel HYBRID Sites and HYBRID Apps, however, organizations can seamlessly manage their communications deployment and offload some of the workload to the ShoreTel data center which keeps the technology current and supports a 99.999% uptime and end-to-end encryption. This approach allows companies to retain a large measure of control in-house while also meeting security requirements.
Capabilities such as these enable businesses to move fast, take advantage of growth opportunities and profit from increased productivity—while lowering costs, protecting existing investments and lowering risk associated with the uncertainty of what is needed for the future. As a result, your company can be both more resilient and more flexible in vibrant markets.
It’s no wonder more organizations are taking a hard look hybrid UC. Take a look at Shortel Connect HYBRID here.