Choosing what’s right for customers
The UCC (Unified Communications & Collaboration) Market size is set to exceed USD 57 billion by 2024; according to a new research report by Global Market Insights. The growth is attributed to the rise in mobile devices and increased adoption of BYOD across enterprises globally.
In particular the Cloud-based UCC market is predicted to witness significant growth between 2017 and 2024 owing to the increased popularity and adoption of cloud computing technology across businesses in varied sectors ranging from IT & telecom, financial services, healthcare and public sector.
There’s no doubt that the concept of cloud is becoming more popular with businesses of all sizes, but there is still a huge amount of confusion about the different variants of cloud and their suitability for individual organisations. The minefield of choice becomes even more perplexing when it comes to business communications which demand a high quality of service and often the need to integrate with other back-office applications.
Unravelling Private, Public or Hybrid cloud
So what exactly are the choices when it comes to cloud-based UC and how do you know what’s right for different customers? The most popular option at the moment is ‘public’ cloud where one company shares basic VoIP-based telephony services with other companies, sometimes for as little as £5 per user, per month.
Typically these services are purely voice-based, so the essence of ‘unified’ communications is somewhat lost because voice is not connected with the rest of the IT network.
In contrast there is ‘private’ cloud where a customer’s data, servers and software is housed in a private data centre, usually providing a higher quality of service, more security and the flexibility to customise IT for individual companies. Another option is the ‘hybrid’ cloud where an organisation may wish to retain some of their communications services on-premises and some in a ‘private’ or ‘public’ cloud.
One size does not fit all
On the one hand it’s great to give the consumer choice, but it can sometimes throw up more questions than answers.
Whilst public cloud UC is hugely popular with start-ups in urban areas where bandwidth is high, where organisations have sites or remote workers in more rural locations there is less choice and it may be preferable for them to stick with a purely on-premises, hybrid or private cloud solution.
The issue with voice is that because it is real-time it requires a high guaranteed quality of service to work at an acceptable level and if you want to add video, collaboration and desk sharing then public cloud might struggle to support it.
Meet rising customer expectations
Whilst budget-conscious or fledgling businesses may satisfied to go with a cloud service that might be up for 95-98% of the time they also have to re-set expectations for themselves and their customers.
If your customers have more demanding customers then private cloud-based UC gives them greater built-in resilience because they have a dedicated resource that they own and control in a modern, secure and air-conditioned data centre.
Compared with an on-premises installation that may be spread across different site, private cloud offers you and them the opportunity to centralise all the IT at one site, so it’s easier to maintain, manage and fully integrate enterprise-wide communications with other back-office systems like accounts or CRM.
For those organisations that still wish to retain their own network on-site or don’t wish to have all their applications in the cloud, a hybrid approach can offer the best of both worlds.
Asking the right questions
Reaching a decision on what type or combination of cloud-based UC to recommend will always be largely dependent on the organisation and their unique needs. Ask them what it is they are trying to achieve? How important is communication to their operation and is it part of their route to market?
If they are highly customer-facing then quality of service should be a top priority as well as personalising multi-channel contact through close integration with other customer-centric applications such as logistics or order management systems. In this case then private or hybrid cloud would certainly be the best path.
Conversely a public VoIP offering may be attractive for new businesses who want the confidence of knowing their exact monthly costs. However, it’s wise for them to weigh up the costs over time as it might be more cost-effective to suggest private cloud from the outset using financing, so over time they will ultimately own their technology.
Another side of public cloud
Another development of public cloud to be aware of is where the provider offers ‘multi-instance’ (MI) over ‘multi-tenant’. Essentially this has several advantages because each customer is using their own copy of the software and is not sharing resources with other companies.
Not only does this make it easier to ‘move’ and ‘customise’ communications technology, it is also much easier to retrieve data in the event of a catastrophe, negating some of the security fears of customers when using a public cloud offering. Indeed, Swyx’s new public cloud service SwyxON available in 2018 will be based on this technology enabling end-customers to benefit from an affordable service that can also be personalised to their needs.
Customer for life
Of course a customer’s needs may change at different stages of development. However, whatever their size or aspirations, it’s critical to re-sell a solution and vendor that is platform-independent and will enable them to grow. Regardless of whether you prescribe on-premises, private, public or a mixture, your communications solution should offer them the chance to try a combined number of possibilities at every step of their journey.
To find out more about Swyx’s portfolio of cloud solutions available on public, private or hybrid platforms visit www.swyx.com or email or phone firstname.lastname@example.org / tel: +44 20 31309550 to arrange a demo meeting to find out the benefits of becoming a Swyx reseller.