My Take on Premise vs. Cloud Unified Communications (UC) Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – Myth vs. Reality – Post 1 July 18, 2014

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Upfront Costs often left out of the discussion…
American Technology Solutions finds Cloud based UC Solutions tend to advertise no upfront systems cost, because the “Systems” that they speak of are based in a data center. But, they don’t address that the existing onsite infrastructure must support VoIP (Voice over IP) because all Cloud solutions require a cabling and data communications infrastructure that must be VoIP capable and in most cases PoE (Power of Ethernet) capable Data Switches to power the VoIP/SIP based phones. The PoE and cabling upgrade if necessary is a very expensive step often left out of the discussion. For example if the company considering an upgrade for their UC is already in business and currently has a TDM premise based system they likely have two separate infrastructures that they have already paid for (investment protection); a cabling and data switch solution (non PoE) providing either 100 or 1000 base T to the desktop and a TDM (Time Division Multiplexing or sometimes considered Traditional Telephony) separate cabling infrastructure for the voice solution. If this sounds familiar then significant costs for the “System” will be a factor that they often leave out of the financial considerations and analysis. AVAYA’s approach is more flexible due to the hybrid nature of the technology they offer. In the scenario above there is no need to add VoIP and lose out on any UC current or future capabilities. For a customer that has 2000 or less users the AVAYA IP Office platform is scalable from 6 users to 2000 users at one or up to 32 sites. If your business is beyond the 2000 user current capacity, but growing, the AVAYA Aura platform may scale up to 100’s of thousands of users and unlimited sites. One of the great added benefits is that if your business fits the IP Office sizing, but is blessed and grows beyond this current cap of 2000 users you may upgrade to the Aura platform without losing out on your initial investments. The users with AVAYA Digital or TDM phones have equal feature functionality and ease of use and the concern often illustrated by the Cloud UC providers about soft clients, PC or MAC users, is not valid. AVAYA end user clients are browser based and therefore a non-issue for either platform. If your company has users that work at home or branch offices VoIP is a requirement and this is another area that AVAYA shines. In the scenario above the main site may be using the TDM solution for the onsite users, but in the same solution may have users in home offices or other remote branch offices using VoIP. Flexible, yet the decision to replace/upgrade the entire main office data communications infrastructure is put aside and provides significant investment protection. Of course if this is a new site (Greenfield) a new VoIP infrastructure with the latest cabling and data communications with PoE is the way to go. In this case the TCO begins on a level playing field and owning, leasing and renting considerations should be considered carefully to analyze the TCO. This is Post 1 in a series of 7 Posts coming daily this July.