Since our inception eZuce has touted the benefits of flexible design and deployment options when it comes to unified communications and collaboration (UCC). The primary reason behind this philosophy stems from the old adage “one size fits all” (OSFA) not applying to enterprise UCC.
With the trendy Cloud based UCC movement in full gear, analysts and the media are fueling CIOs strategy to move to the Cloud. It is a good time to question just how much sense it makes for the enterprise to move all in.
In a recent blog post, Tim Banting, points out that there are a number of hurdles yet to be crossed. A few of these include higher operating costs than expected, inflexible IT models, and concerns about security and privacy. Notwithstanding these issues, the challenge is more fundamental when it comes to communications and collaboration.
Let’s start with pre-cloud, legacy hosted VoIP offerings. These services were built on multi-tenanted systems behind the closed doors of service providers. Traditionally a great fit for the Soho and SMB markets because “one size” makes sense for small business.
Moving up market to the SME and large enterprise, this inflexibility becomes problematic. Why would this constraint be any different for a UCaaS provider? Some might argue that the cloud is different. The API economy has delivered enterprise administrative and end user portal access for fleet adjustments to the environment providing an increased level of flexibility. No opposition here, but that is not the primary concern of CIOs considering the move to the cloud.
After working in accounts with hundreds to thousands of employees residing in a single facility or spread across the globe it is safe to assume that a cookie cutter approach will not work. Each account has a different set of corporate demographics, IT models, facilities, budgets and locations. Despite requiring the same technology components and services each solution is different and customized to meet the business requirements of that organization.
So how do you leverage the benefits associated with cloud based models and the unique requirements of the enterprise? The answer is by selecting a solution with the ability to deliver those requirements from the cloud, from customer premise or from a hybrid model.
A Software Defined Communications (SDC) platform can be implemented in a variety of models to meet different enterprise requirements. CEO Jeff Lawson of Twilio defined SDC in the following way. It’s the process whereby developers are empowered to be in control of the communication scheme, not the hardware manufacturers. The only concern with this definition is that Twilio is a cloud communication service provider.
So in the end, this model would eventually equate to the “hardware manufacturer” model in that you are dependent on the cloud service provider back end versus the legacy PBX manufacturers. The optimum model would be where the enterprise can select a la carte the communication system components that best meet their requirements and have the SDC platform bring it together:
- data center strategy (public cloud, private cloud, self-hosted),
- network services (carrier network, internal networks, network infrastructure)
- software applications (call control, media services, call center, voice, presence, instant messaging, audio/video/web conferencing, API integration),
- user interface/device (phones, soft clients, laptop, desktop, mobile)
- management applications (configuration, administration, monitoring, user self-service, analytics)
- service delivery (help desk, escalation)
Hybrid does not only reference your compute infrastructure it also addresses the overall system model. For example, contracting a third party cloud infrastructure provider to host your communication application, implementing your MPLS network through a global carrier and having all IT service delivery managed through an IT services management (ITSM) partner. This approach does not negate the need for your IT staff to control and manage the communications solution, it simply frees up their time to focus on more productive and strategic activities required by the organization.
Whether your enterprise IT staff is responsible for all aspects of the communications system or specific components, a hybrid communications solution will bring the best results and price-performance.