May 22, 2017
By Dr. Jack Jachner
IDC predicts worldwide spending on cloud services will more than double by 2019, to reach $141 billion. Meanwhile, a survey by IDG Enterprise shows 54 percent of all organizations — from the largest enterprises to the smallest SMBs — will adopt hybrid unified communications and collaboration by year’s end.
The big value proposition for SMBs in mixing on-premises and cloud UC&C is that they can protect sunk investments while getting the advanced communications services they need to stay competitive. The full range of traditional CPE-based business communications services are now available on cloud platforms, from smartphone backups to multimedia collaboration to enterprise-class instant messaging, presence, flexible web conferencing and collaboration tools, data storage, and more.
For SMB customers with recently installed communication infrastructures, hybrid cloud is the ideal upgrade solution. These services may be added on a per-capability, and often a pay-per-use, basis to allow them to buy only the services they need, when they need them. The hybrid approach also provides a well-paved migration path. As existing on-premises equipment becomes obsolete, customers are already in a position to understand the pros and cons of cloud-based services, enabling them to make the best decisions for their future communications platforms.
As a partner, ensure you can seamlessly integrate UCaaS into the existing infrastructure. Then, arm salespeople with these talking points:
You need to offer employees flexible, collaborative workplaces: Today’s mobility-obsessed workforce has led to a complete rethink of how people collaborate. The open office culture is typified by home-working, geographically separated teams spread across multiple time zones. The “hot-desking” phenomenon poses a further challenge. All this adds an unwelcome layer of complexity to providing a single point of collaboration, and current premises-based communication systems have not adapted. This reality has forced businesses to divert resources and make costly investments in stacking on new (often siloed) platforms to continue supporting business needs.
And, as acquisitions and mergers become more common, a lack of scalability and cost-effective options to adapt existing infrastructures leave merged businesses at a technological disadvantage.
SMBs need the security of professional backup and support: A key aspect of the hybrid approach is the ability to keep control — and sensitive data — in-house but shift the burden of service maintenance and support to the cloud provider. Recent ransomware attacks have shown the risk for companies without professional security and disaster recovery strategies. Hardware and software are updated remotely to eliminate maintenance delays and ensure security, and multiyear support contracts mean SMBs routinely benefit from major security and functionality updates.
Downtime means lost business: Network and communications redundancy is simply an unwelcome expense that few can afford, meaning there is zero room for network downtime. Hybrid cloud removes much of the management and maintenance burden facing SMBs, which often lack some of the IT skills available to larger companies, instead tasking the solution provider and the MSP or trusted reseller with maximizing uptime using remote management to provide support and troubleshooting.
Dr. Jack Jachner brings more than 20 years of telecommunications industry experience to Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise as vice president of cloud solutions in North America. Prior to his current role, he held leadership positions in development engineering, in research labs and as a CTO. Jachner holds a master’s degree in data networking and doctorate degree in digital signal processing from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and holds a number of patents in the area of communication applications.
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