June 1, 2012 The Cloud Like most of the telecom world, we’ve been discussing Cloud-based (Hosted) phone systems, and how beneficial they can be, quite a bit lately. But just because the Cloud is a hot topic right now doesn’t mean premise-based PBX/VoIP solutions are a thing of the past. In fact, premise-based systems are alive and well and are still quality, relevant options for many businesses. So don’t expect them to disappear anytime soon. Why? Three main reasons – The Cloud Isn’t for Everyone What does this mean? Exactly what it says: Cloud-based solutions aren’t the right fit for all organizations. For some businesses, it’s important to be able to walk into an on-site data center and make changes to their system on the fly from there. Premise-based systems allow this to be done quickly and easily. Plus, the potential for customization is often much greater with these solutions, enabling a company’s IT staff to program the system so it fits the organization’s needs at every level. For others, such as those with fixed IT upgrade budgets, a premise-based solution often makes more sense as well. Cloud-based (Hosted) offerings generally have monthly pricing that involves usage and can increase when users are added. Because the billing style allows for statements that can vary in cost from one month to the next, Cloud-based (Hosted) systems are not ideal for companies with a fixed IT budget. For example, nonprofits with strict budgets need a fixed cost they can depend on each month. Therefore, these types of organizations are generally not the best candidates for Cloud-based (Hosted) PBX. Bandwidth is another reason why some organizations don’t turn to the Cloud. Cloud-based (Hosted) solutions are delivered over the Internet and, as a result, require larger amounts of bandwidth and continuous Internet uptime. Companies with Cloud-based (Hosted) solutions need to communicate back and forth over the Internet out to an offsite data center instead of an in-house system. Because of this, they need to maintain higher amounts of bandwidth and ensure constant connectivity. This can be costly for some businesses and can be a deal breaker when it comes to possibly moving to the Cloud. Virtualized Voice Adds Value to Premise-Based Options Virtualized voice is a game changer. This is because it enables your business to keep your customized call control and applications while getting all of the benefits of server virtualization, such as: Maximized IT resources: Your physical data center is condensed and upgrades and management tasks are simpler, which enables your IT department to spend more time innovating rather than playing catch up. Hardware consolidation and increased savings: Cut hardware and operational costs by letting few pieces of hardware do the work of many. Improved energy efficiency: Reduce energy costs and consumption without sacrificing functionality. When server and voice virtualization are used together, these benefits get amplified since telephony hardware can be condensed right along with computing infrastructure. This allows premise-based PBX/VoIP solutions to be even more manageable, efficient and cost-effective than before. As Mitel’s 2012 Virtualized Voice Partner of the Year, ETA has seen the positive impact virtualized voice can have firsthand. Ask us about it today. Legacy & Benefits Premise-based PBX/VoIP solutions were the major player in the voice world before the Cloud. IT teams know how to handle them, and the systems have been continuously improved upon over time to increase the quality and capacity of features and functions. They have a long history of user-driven updates and changes and are the most customizable since the equipment itself resides at your location and not in a shared consumption model. The result of this long history of improvement is that some functions may be more manageable and user-friendly in premise-based phone systems than in Cloud-based (Hosted) solutions. This doesn’t apply to everything, but certain features, such as directory options, voice mail routing choices and others, are more robust in premise-based systems. For many, these differences are insignificant. But, for some, these functions inherent to premise-based systems are mission-critical and can make a major impact if no longer available. That’s why, at ETA, we always work to discover what features, functions and capabilities are essential to your business. It’s a key part of our fact-finding process and enables us to determine what solution, or combination of solutions, is best for your business. For more information on why premise still matters or on figuring out what technology is best for your business, click on the “Reach Out Today!” form to contact us.