Over the last five years, the number of UK companies that have a hosted or Cloud-based service has nearly doubled – from 48% in 2010 to 84% in 2015 [source]. It is fair to suggest that this trend will continue, with little indication that adoption rates are slowing. However, the uptake of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is slower with the attitude of UK customers notably more hesitant. A survey conducted by Six Degrees in 2014 of companies who use cloud based services for part of their IT revealed that more than half (52%) don’t have their telephony systems in the cloud of which 15% are not aware that this potential exists.

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[source]

To help understand the reasons driving the disproportionate growth of cloud and UCaaS adoption, it is worth first exploring some common questions raised by customers.

 

What exactly is Unified Communications and how can it be delivered ‘as a Service’?

It is true that no two definitions of Unified Communications are the same and especially when it comes to UCaaS, there is no single, “defined” off-the-shelf solution. Instead, businesses are faced with a diverse range of product portfolios which promise a wide variety of traditionally on-premise managed ‘unified communication’ features such as:

  • Traditional Voice
  • IP telephony
  • Mobility
  • BYOD
  • Voicemail to email
  • Video softphone
  • Hot-desking capability
  • Conferencing

With such a broad range of solutions under one umbrella term, it is easy to see why confusion could be causing the lack of adoption for what could be a money saving, business optimising, cloud based business proposition.

 

Are there security issues?

Concerns about security such as digital eavesdropping are apparent. Traditional corporate voice networks were closed in nature whilst VOIP based unified communications use IP networks which potentially can be less secure. Look out for a service offering which provides full end to end control, security and quality of service (QOS) rather than one provided across the public internet.

 

Is there a unified crash risk?

Moving all data and communication services into the cloud feels to some customers like putting all of their eggs into one basket. However, all benefits of cloud hosting also apply to UCaaS; with resilience, disaster recovery and flexibility giving you the option to increase the number of end users or call capacity when traffic demands increase.

 

Clouds are costly – right?

Hosted products can appear to have complex pricing models, but with ‘fixed per seat, per month’ costs, and flexible contracts, a cloud based voice solution can be quite an appealing proposition. Shop around and make use of online quote tools to gain an idea of the services and prices a provider has to offer.

Is it really necessary?

See it as a chance, not a chore. UCaaS adoption is all about making your voice solution futureproof. BT has announced that it will retire the UK’s ISDN infrastructure by 2025. Already now, TDM switching is increasingly regarded as an obsolescent technology as the latest generation of telephony solutions now use IP. Most of the telephony manufacturers have already introduced IPT solutions and announced formal plans to cease support of legacy TDM products. A couple of examples: The Nortel Meridian Option, a digital PBX, is coming to the end of its life cycle with part support being withdrawn by the end of September 2016. Similarly, the Panasonic KX-NCP IP-Hybrid family was discontinued on the 30th June 2015. This meant the end of life for all KX-NCP main unit systems. In both cases, the recommended migration path is to a full VOIP/SIP system.

Again, see this is a potential benefit rather than a problem – advance planning, adoption and migration to UCaas facilitates this move. UCaaS solutions allow you to grow your own platform and mould it exactly to your needs. It is always advisable to choose an offering that comes with full project management and end-user training to guide you through all services.

Our IP Telephony Solutions tool is a great way to explore the most appropriate migration and adoption solution for you. It helps you make decisions on factors such as location, tenancy, virtualisation, voice services and financing model and instantly recommends a solution.

Tell us what you think:

What are your thoughts about UCaaS and your experience regarding TDM-SIP migration? Please use the comment box below to share your thoughts.