A growing proportion of North American organizations will adopt hosted IP telephony rather than buy, install and manage on-premise-based IP systems, according to Frost & Sullivan. The analyst firm predicts that, by 2019, 16.5 percent of business phone lines will run on hosted systems—far above the 3.4 percent Frost & Sullivan counted for 2012. (The firm hasn’t crunched the 2013 numbers yet.)
How times change. Five to seven years ago, hosted had lost its lustre. Technology analysts touted the flexibility and superior features of on-premise platforms. Today’s hosted or unified communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) systems, however, provide similar presence, conferencing and unified messaging capabilities. They’re complete communications solutions on par with on-premise.
And the market has shifted. Organizations increasingly turn to hosted since so many companies face tight capital constraints, notes Elka Popova, Frost & Sullivan’s program director, unified communications and collaboration. “Many businesses have chosen not to spend money on new systems, so capex is not required.”
So should your business sign up for hosted? The approach could make sense if
your company is:
- Large and distributed
Financial services firms, retailers and IT companies are best suited to hosted because they tend to have large, geographically dispersed workforces. It’s more cost-effective for these firms to call on a single provider to coordinate services for all locations than manage everything in-house.
- Concerned about flexibility
With hosted, organizations can add lines and features easily according to need—an important factor in uncertain economic times. “You don’t know if you will grow or if you will have to downsize,” Popova says. “If you have invested in licences, you can’t return them.”
- Small and lean
Small and midsized businesses (SMBs) usually lack the IT resources to manage feature-rich on-premise systems. If your shop’s IT team doubles as the sales managers, outsource to another company that can optimize your communication technologies.
By Frost & Sullivan’s calculations, on-premise solutions may look attractive right now, but as technology becomes increasingly complex and challenging to manage, it’s conceivable that more organizations will choose the hosted route beyond 2019.
And this is how you do it: Allstream Hosted Collaboration Solution: A technical overview of unified communications in the cloud
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