Hybrid Unified Communications Platforms Deliver Flexibility

Unified communications (UC) platforms deliver a number of proven benefits, including improved employee collaboration, productivity and customer service. For many organizations, the only real debate is how best to deploy UC.

Some may require the control and customization features of a traditional on-premises deployment, with hardware and software owned and installed within an organization’s own data center. For others, it may make more sense to go with a hosted solution that shifts the ownership and maintenance burden to a third-party provider.

Still others may want features of both deployment models. That’s why a hybrid deployment that bridges cloud and on-premises platforms is widely seen as the logical next step in the evolution of UC. A hybrid platform offers a number of benefits, including investment protection, regulatory compliance and use-case flexibility.

Many companies have significant investments in IP-PBXs and other communication hardware that they aren’t ready to write off. A hybrid platform provides the flexibility to continue using your on-premises solution for some applications while moving other applications to the hosted service. For example, you could keep voice services in house and shift chat, video and conferencing features to the cloud.

This flexibility allows organizations to choose how to expense the system — as a monthly subscription-based operating cost, or as a capital expense to be amortized over time. It also improves your ability to optimize network resources.

The hybrid approach can also be helpful for regulatory compliance, allowing you to exert tighter control over sensitive applications and data while moving less-sensitive functions to the cloud. Some companies may simply want the capability to make a staged transition to the cloud, gradually migrating some functions or branch offices to the cloud.

Analysts with Frost & Sullivan says the ability to mesh cloud and on-premises platforms is key to continued growth of UC. The firm says diversified solution portfolios that simultaneously support both existing processes and emerging features are necessary to drive business transformation initiatives.

ShoreTel was one of the first major players in the business communications market to address this trend with a hybrid solution that delivers the deployment and integration flexibility customers increasingly require. ShoreTel Connect was designed from the ground up to provide cloud, onsite and hybrid deployment options with a unified code base that ensures the same features and user interface across all choices.

Each option takes advantage of ShoreTel’s unique distributed architecture, N+1 redundancy and virtualized services stack for flexible deployment and management. Installations and upgrades of productivity-enhancing applications take place in hours, not days. Administrators simply provision apps from a cloud-based portal using a browser-based dashboard. The process is maintenance-free for your IT staff — there’s nothing to install, no truck rolls for service implementation and no upgrades to manage.

A hybrid UC platform can provide significant cost and operational flexibility by allowing you to decide where and how it makes most sense to deploy communication services. ShoreTel makes it easy to mesh cloud and onsite systems with a platform designed to integrate all deployment models. If a hybrid approach makes sense for your company, give us a call. IPC Technologies understands the advantages and challenges associated with all deployment models and can help you find the right fit for your needs.