Phones are one of those services that you expect to work when you pick up the handset. Most employees don’t think much of the phone until it’s not working or something is not ‘right’ about it (have you ever spoken to a robot on the other end?). You don’t want to be on the hook when the phone isn’t working because that is when something is really wrong.
The good news is, there are viable options for both owning and operating your own phone system as well as having telephony delivered as a service - - Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). The position of PTP is that the benefits UCaaS provides outweighs any on-premise solution not only from resiliency perspective, but also with cost savings and security.
Let’s run through a couple of scenarios to compare on-premises systems to UCaaS.
If the issue is software related, the worst would be to rebuild the server - - that will take roughly half a day (give or take). If it’s a hardware issue you’ll need a replacement: validate the maintenance contract is current for replacement, check SLA for replacement time (the quickest you’ll probably get a replacement is 4 hours), after receiving the replacement the physical work starts (unboxing/boxing, unmounting/mounting …), then start the process of rebuilding the server. With this common process, you might be back online 12 hours later. This estimate is made with the assumption that someone experienced (an engineer or a Managed Services partner like PTP) can triage the issue quickly and also has the experience to rebuild the server with minimal time. While you’re trying to figure all this out, you’re only running on that one good server hoping it won’t have the same issue because it’s most likely running on the same hardware model with the same software version. Is this all worth it?
With UCaaS, there’s no more worrying if your server is running fine or on a secured version, if it is covered under contract, or who and how to rebuild it if it breaks. If one of the UCaaS provider server is down, most likely you won’t notice it as they’ll simply repoint you one of many other servers. If there is a security patch that needs to be applied, they will have it patched. No more spending nights or weekends upgrading software for security patches or upgrading for new features.
Phone line DOWN!!
Let’s run through one more scenario, this time with phone circuits. Most environments have one main circuit for all your calls in and out of the company. The fallback plan is to have either a separate set of POTS lines or sign-up for some sort of remote call forwarding service with your carrier if they provide it. Because with the number of employees and call volume, there is no need for a full second circuit, not to mention the cost associated with it. Now let’s say that you are running into issues with the circuit. If it was a complete down situation, it’s a clear-cut situation where you’ll go with the backup plan you have in place where at least your main number gets forwarded to some cell phone or those POTS lines. You know calls are then limited and you hope the circuit will be back soon. However, what if the issue is bad call quality and it happens every other call with no particular pattern? Do you proceed with the failover plan as if the circuit is completely down? Or wait until the Carrier figures out the issue? What if it’s not the Carrier’s issue? What if that poor call quality happens to your CEO? Is this all worth it?
With UCaaS, most of these decisions will not be on you to decide. Since the provider is serving hundreds of other customers, you can rest assured that they have more than two circuits spread across different regions. You might not even notice a circuit was down until a notification is sent out. If call quality is poor on one, you’ll be switched over to a clean circuit unnoticed. No need to spend cycles troubleshooting.
You might then ask, what if your internet circuit that connects you to the UCaaS provider goes down? Well first of all, you were paying for the separate phone circuit(s) before and most likely you already have an internet circuit for all your data traffic. So, by moving your voice traffic over, you won’t be paying for phone circuit anymore. Cost Savings! Second, there might be a chance you’re already utilizing a second internet circuit if you had a redundant design or maybe the popular SD-WAN design. Lastly if you do only have a single internet circuit, you will be able to simply use the softphone application as part of your UCaaS subscription that runs on your smartphone (which you always have with you) to continue to make and receive calls over the cellular network.
As illustrated, the benefits UCaaS provides outweighs any on-premise solution not only from resiliency perspective, but also with cost savings and security. Additionally, new features are constantly being developed by your UCaaS provider and rolled out to your company as part of your subscription. Your employees won’t go through years before getting new features and get “new feature shock” when they finally get them. On top of all these benefits, you no longer need to have licenses sitting around after someone leaves the company. With UCaaS, you can simply ‘give back’ that license and stop paying for it. As with most cloud services, only pay for what you use and UCaaS is no exception.
We at PTP can help you migrate to this next chapter or guide you to selecting a quality provider if you’re exploring the options.
Unified Communications encompasses a whole lot more than just phone calls. We will get into that subject next time as to what UCaaS has to offer and that your company is not collaborating the right way if plain old phone calls are all that you’re utilizing to communicate with each other.