Which partner is best when using a hybrid cloud approach?

Ray Watson, Masergy's VP of global technology, explores the criteria for evaluating different unified communications solutions


According to ZK Research, 85% of companies want to use hybrid cloud approach for unified communications. The terms 'hybrid deployments' or' hybrid cloud communications' refer to unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) and contact center-as-a-service (CCaaS) solutions that are deployed partially on-premise and partially in the cloud. Hybrid solutions are popular because they offer more choices and ways to chart your path to the cloud. Plus they help jumpstart migration for enterprises that still have legacy communications systems to manage and maintain. But with so many providers, how do you know which one is best for your hybrid approach? Here are some criteria to shape your evaluation.

Flexible solutions: Make changes as your enterprise evolves

Partners that inherently provide a multitude of options are best suited for hybrid models, because you will have more potential to customize your migration path and then continually tweak it as things change. For example, when you are comparing partners look for options in the following areas:

  • Any device: Can you consume the technology/service using any device – whether it is your existing PBX phones spread across disparate locations or a long list of endpoints and bring-your-own devices (or a combination of both)? Ask your provider for a list of supported endpoints and if a certification process is required to ensure the phones are compatible with the SIP protocol.
  • Any service type: What different mediums can you use to receive the service? Can you get it via PRI, SIP trunking, and a hosted solution?
  • Any network access methodology: What options and flexibility will you have in terms of data transport, network connectivity or access methodologies? Can you use SD-WAN and connect via both public broadband and private network access? Can you create a hybrid network? What is the process like to switch connectivity types?
  • Flexible licenses: Does your provider lock you into solutions or can you transition from one deployment model to another, moving from on-premise to hosted and cloud solutions?
  • Add-on security services: Will you have the option to add proactive 24/7 security monitoring or an end-to-end managed detection and response service?

Service excellence: IT infrastructure and collaboration

Moving contact centers to the cloud is equally important, and much like UCaaS, it is not just about buying and deploying a standalone technology. Migrations require essential IT underpinnings including telephony and connectivity needs; call control, PSTN, SIP trunking and the hybrid network service. There is a lot of involved parties and underlying infrastructure that must all work together –making a globally reliable network platform, integration and tight collaboration the three largest success factors.

The IT system architecture and the collaboration among partners should not be elusive in your proposed solution. The more proven the IT architecture is and the more visibility you have into the solution design – the better.

Solution design should give details into:

  • If network connectivity is integrated into the CCaaS and UCaaS technology
  • Where and when private connectivity is used for the on-premise or PBX-based service
  • The features available from SIP trunking technologies and providers
  • How the call flow paths will be unified via the network service
  • Your customized migration roadmap and timeline
  • Responsibilities for project management and team alignment
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