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UC in the Cloud – Panacea or placebo?

Alan Shen, Vice President of Consulting Services, Unify Square | May 30, 2016
Separating fact from fiction in a cloud-based unified communications deployment.

* Networking: Successful UC solutions depend on proper network planning. Putting UC in the cloud adds complexity to this environment. Instead of a traditional corporate network environment, IT must now extend the network to the cloud, and have the right bandwidth provisioning and settings in place to prioritize voice traffic. Enabling this capability isn’t impossible to do, but it requires a significant amount of work and commitment of IT resources to account for new traffic flows, QoS configurations and service contracts.

* UC Management: When UC is in the cloud and the CIO experiences a bad call, who takes the heat? While you’d like to think it’s the UCaaS provider, in actuality it’s IT. End-to-end call quality is comprised of many components, of which the cloud is only one part. Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of IT to ensure the stability and availability of the enterprise’s entire UC network. To effectively manage service delivery, IT must have the right tools, metrics and visibility in place for total management of the UC service, including visibility into the cloud. This scenario of a CIO escalation is a common one.  Smart preparation in the form of UC-specific monitoring software and/or services can help IT act fast and decrease the potential for surprises in the UC environment, even when it’s in the cloud.

* Existing Infrastructure: It’s easy and probably advisable for a green field company to begin their UC experience in the cloud. Unfortunately, large enterprises don’t have the luxury to throw UC in the cloud, and ignore the existing hardware and infrastructure that resides across hundreds, if not thousands, of sites and office locations around the world. Decommissioning and re-provisioning hardware is no simple task. In this scenario, enterprises can benefit from a tenured UC expert to help transform sites to UC on an accelerated and strategically planned timeline.

* End User Adoption: The promise of UC is predicated on end user adoption. Think about people in your organization – managers, executive assistants and sales reps – who rely on email, phone and IM communication for their day-to-day livelihoods. These users are set in the ways they communicate, and expect to conduct business as usual no matter what platform is in place. There’s a common misconception that, because IT can put accounts in the cloud quickly, user transformation to the new service will also happen as quickly. However, transitioning users from a traditional PBX system to a UC solution is easier said than done. End user training often ends up being one of the most underestimated elements of UC deployments, whether on-premise or cloud. When it’s overlooked, user adoption suffers which can lead to unrealized cost savings and failed deployments.

 

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