How does cloud computing change the UCC scene?

Cloud computing touches everything today. It's impact on UCC ushers in cost efficiencies, scalability and flexible integration options.

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As time has shown, the proper application of cloud computing translates into added flexibility, scalability and agility. The story is the same when looking at cloud’s affect on unified communications and collaboration, or UCC. 

Three of the top five most important qualities IT leaders consider as very or extremely important when evaluating UCC options are in perfect alignment with the cloud, according to a recent survey by IDG Research: ease to use (86 percent), flexible integration with existing infrastructure (83 percent), and solution scalability (80 percent).

In fact, cloud-based UCC (also called UCC as a service) offers a number of compelling benefits. Procuring as a service makes it easier to adapt and evolve to market changes and customer demand without being held back—both in terms of scalability and feature richness. This is not the case when companies make equipment-based legacy investments.

Service solutions are also significantly easier to manage. With resources already strained to a maximum, a cloud-based service strategy can enable companies to deploy sophisticated UCC capabilities without the management burden. The stress of troubleshooting and deploying software updates no longer sits on IT’s shoulders.

Cloud also simplifies the move toward a mobile first environment. In a world where professionals strive to operate from anywhere, at any time, using any device, having cloud based access to data and collaboration tools adds functionality that’s far more difficult to achieve with traditional premises-based solutions. 

And perhaps most important in these economic times, moving to the cloud completely changes the investment paradigm. While there are differences between each cloud type (public, private and hybrid), the resulting upfront savings can be substantial. For instance, when electing a public cloud UCC solution, the upfront investment is significantly lower than traditional, on-premises equipment-based deployments.

Cloud-based UCC means embracing a shift from capital expenditures to far more manageable operational expenses. Specifically, taking the cloud approach to UCC means avoiding more costly internal infrastructures such as servers and storage systems. This seems to hold true with the survey respondents, of which 52 percent cited cost as the major factor hindering the adoption of UCC solutions.

Tallying these cloud benefits translates into a level playing field, especially for the small yet dynamic organization that otherwise may not be able to afford the collaborative advantages that come with a solid UCC solution including video, presence and extensive collaboration capabilities. 

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