When making the choice between an on-premise Unified Communications (UC) system, and a hosted Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) platform, businesses will need to look at total cost ownership. For a long time, on-premise UC systems were the only options available to businesses.
However, with the advent of the cloud, providers both big and small are able to offer UCaaS as an alternative. This means that businesses looking for a change can now send some of their on-premise UC projects to the cloud.
For new businesses, UCaaS can look more attractive than an on-premise solution. On-premise solutions can cost upwards of $30,000 for a basic PBX, plus staffing and maintenance costs. In contrast, with a UCaaS, the business pays a per-seat subscription, which can be especially useful for smaller businesses. Set-up time is also usually faster than an on-premise UC, and the majority of UCaaS services come with complete access to 911 emergency dialing.
A business that already has an on-premise UC may not see the same benefits and will need to more closely compare their current total cost ownership with the potential savings of a UCaaS. While UCaaS offers a more affordable solution, it doesn’t yet have the same degree of integration that an on-premise UC offers.
UC vendors have an advantage when it comes to communications-enabled business processes, in part because they use Application Programming Interfaces (API) to easily integrate their products. However, businesses looking at a possible change should also take into consideration the added costs of an on-premise UC, including additional operating costs and capital. While these additional costs ensure more control, that control may not be worth the extra total cost.
Choosing between an on-premise UC system, and cloud-based UCaaS may not seem like an easy decision, but businesses can make it easier on themselves by focusing on total cost ownership. An on-premise UC offers more control, but it comes at a higher price. In contrast, UCaaS total startup costs are less. By comparing both the pros and cons of both options, businesses will be able to decide which solution works best for them.