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Unified communications (UC) has become a mainstream solution, with compelling, ready-made business cases for collaboration and productivity that any business can appreciate. That said, there are still multiple flavors from which to pick. Although cloud-based UC adoption is growing while the number of on-premises deployments are declining, there are still reasons why a business may decide to pick one over the other for the time being. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of traditional on-site UC compared with its popular cloud cousin.

The Benefits of UCaaS

Like its Software as a Service predecessors, UC as a Service (UCaaS) presents several compelling business benefits: flexibility, scalability, and predictable pricing through a licensing model. Compared to the on-premises deployments of yore, it’s very light on the sort of costly up-front infrastructure investments that used to induce sticker shock. In addition, it’s innately mobile friendly—a crucial advantage given today’s mobile workforce. What’s more, cloud UC solutions are increasingly integrating with major business applications such as customer relationship management and office productivity suites by using application programming interfaces, delivering more value for the investment than ever before.

UCaaS: Not Yet a One-Size-Fits-All Solution

Small businesses and startups are particularly well positioned to take advantage of UCaaS, knowing that it will grow with them as they grow. Midsized businesses and enterprises, however, may have concerns about reliability and quality of service, and so they are more likely to hedge their bets with an on-premises or hybrid solution. Businesses with strict regulatory requirements and complex security considerations, such as financial institutions, may find it more feasible and even cost-effective to host their own private branch exchange (PBX) on site. Others are pursuing a hybrid model, pairing software-based PBXs with Session Initiation Protocol trunks. Doing so may be a strategic way to dip a toe in the water, familiarizing the business with UC before leaping into the pool with a full cloud implementation.

 

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