Over the last 13 years, I have seen countless advanced technologies in the telecom world. Networks have gone from ATM and Frame Relay to MPLS and VPLS and even Layer 2 through the years as users demands have evolved.
In voice, we have seen the same advancements, from traditional POTS line to aggressive switch long distance services to Centrex to SIP trunking. Technology continues to advance in the areas of telecom, colocation and now cloud. Similar to the Steve Jobs school of thought of making aesthetically beautiful products that are elegant and easy to use, hosted UC providers are evolving in the same way. Game changing technologies are here to stay and technologies like hosted UC are leading the way, making things simple and providing many benefits.
Some of the benefits customers have seen are:
- Lower upfront cost: CAPEX is no longer the only choice. The ability to move into an enterprise platform and have a flexible payment-on-consumption-based billing is here.
- Maintenance is now a thing of the past. Breaks patching new phones, new hardware and the cost to maintain it is now gone and all part of the hosted package.
- More advanced features: Hosted VoIP services offer on-demand access to advanced features. With the costs shared among the community of subscribers, large and small companies can get far more features at a cost in a fixed monthly price for the life of the contract.
- Customized feature packages: A la carte pricing enables you to pay only for the features you use. It also lets you create features your company needs. The providers that developed this infrastructure from the ground up have made this very easy with turn around times of months instead of years.
- Greater flexibility: Hosted VoIP services offer an ideal choice for businesses whose workers are mobile and/or dispersed across multiple locations. These companies are the leaders – doing hosted UC and only hosted UC. They tend to be far more flexible and adaptable to the customer needs.
- Scalability: Businesses managing rapid growth, seasonal shifts or other dynamic changes are best served with a hosted service. Hosted plans allow clients to adjust their capacity and number of seats to reflect their current needs. Depending on the plan, you may be able to adjust your scale monthly.
- No integration issues: On-premise systems often rely on integration between legacy and new VoIP equipment, which can produce session initiation protocol (SIP)-compatibility issues and service disruptions. Hosted VoIP services maintain a seamless infrastructure offsite, avoiding the complications of patchwork technology.
- State-of-the-art network infrastructure and carrier diversity: Hosted services technology to consistently adapt to market trends and uptime.
- Ease of use: Hosted VoIP is easy on the user. Training is provided via video and/or onsite. This is a solution that is generally ready to use out of box, with things like help desk 24×7 built into the solution.
Hosted UC cannot only eliminate the PBX and maintenance costs, but all of the other complicated puzzle pieces, like the usage that comes with a PRI or SIP Trunking. Technology can be a bunch of puzzle pieces that you normally would have to put together to make a picture. Features like recording, video, chat, find me-follow me and countless more are the puzzle pieces and huge costs on OPEX. The ability to API hook into a CRM isn’t difficult – it’s virtually seamless.
Elimination of the PBX on premise to a Tier 3 or 4 data center is hard to do in the on-premise world and requires a lot of knowledge and experience. It all comes with the hosted UC solution, making it simple and extremely redundant. Being in a hosted solution with a true GUI interface gives IT staffs the ability to move and operate a telephony solution with the click of a mouse, and create a system that collects big data and gives a future proof solution.
As I continue to help customers navigate the confusing waters of cloud technologies, I routinely find myself speaking about hosted UC and the power it’s providing business leaders today. I have yet to see a more mature cloud product that has the ability to not only change the everyday duties of an IT staff, but revolutionize the way companies interact with employees and customers alike.
In the hosted UC space, leaders are creating ways to empower and strengthen the amount of analytics a company can harvest through a phone overnight. No longer is a phone just a device to communicate with another person- it’s a business tool. Utilizing existing wide area networks like MPLS, VPLS and Layer 2 are now the common ways to connect to these hosted providers, making them a cross connect away. The ability to do more with this is here. To have a true elastic solution with every feature 90% of companies in today’s business world need or want, for a cost that is affordable, is here. The world of UC is hitting it’s stride and poised to change telephony forever.