Every few years, most companies are faced with an important choice with their collaboration infrastructure. Do you decide to do a one-time, in-place upgrade of your on-premises infrastructure, or do you choose to retire your legacy environment and go with a cloud communications solution instead?

Before you decide to upgrade your on-premises collaboration infrastructure, consider the benefits that a hosted collaboration solution can bring to your organization.

The Case for Collaboration in the Cloud

For many companies, the current on-premises collaboration infrastructure is reliant on aging hardware, out-of-date software and poorly managed configurations. On-premises infrastructure requires a specialized skill set to manage and maintain every day, distracting them from more strategic work.

With cloud-based collaboration solutions, companies are able to reinvent their collaboration strategy and focus their internal teams on the adoption of collaboration tool sets instead of the maintenance.

Cloud collaboration isn’t just about getting a dial tone anymore. It encompasses an entire portfolio of collaboration tools including: instant messaging, video, conferencing, paging and contact centers. With the explosion of new features available in any cloud collaboration platform, the skill sets required to effectively manage these tools becomes more difficult for internal staff. That is why a cloud Communication-as-a-Service (CaaS) offering is so strategic for organizations to adopt. These providers supply expertise in all of these specialized areas for your benefit.

Enabling Growth and Scale

With a cloud-based CaaS offering, many companies are able to enjoy unrestricted growth and scale. This is provided by a centralized, burstable communications environment that can be provided on a per user basis. Companies can easily turn up new sites or add new employees to a cloud-based service when they have a simple, per-user pricing model.

Hosted collaboration solutions can also enable an increasingly remote workforce, giving companies the ability to provide quality voice services to employees around the nation. Softphones allow employees to work from any place where they can access a reliable internet connection.

Getting the Best Return from Existing Investments

One of the roadblocks that many companies encounter when trying to move their telecommunications to the cloud relates to their existing investments in handsets and speakerphones. Over half of the initial investment in a typical CaaS deployment goes into the IP phones. Discarding this investment as a part of a migration to the cloud would be difficult to justify for many organizations. Selecting a CaaS provider that allows you to retain the use of these existing assets is a great way to control additional expenses.

Removing Risk from the Equation

Cloud-hosted collaboration solutions can also reduce the risk of your collaboration environment. Most cloud providers will deploy their solution redundantly in data centers across the nation. These data centers are typically UTI Tier 3 data centers or above, meaning that the chance of a data center outage bringing down your phone systems is very unlikely.

Similarly, cloud providers have around-the-clock support teams that can help with any voice or communications issues. These experts are trained in critical issue resolution and complex configurations, meaning that they can drive resolution of issues fast.

Compared to on-premises infrastructure, a cloud collaboration solution allows companies to remove themselves from the day-to-day maintenance activities required to keep their communications solutions running and focus more on adoption and strategy. Cloud solutions will simplify and solidify operations and bring valuable next-generation features as a part of the service offering.

Companies like CDW are helping organizations manage their collaboration strategy, with assessments, services and cloud collaboration solutions. Talk to your account manager to identify a CaaS solution that works for you.

John Chancellor, a Managed Services Solution Architect for CDW, also contributed to this blog. With eight years of experience involved in managed services delivery, John specializes in refocusing IT organizations on their core values.

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