My Take on Premise vs. Cloud Unified Communications (UC) Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) – Myth vs. Reality – Post 7. – July 25, 2014

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On Final Analysis the “Lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)” claims by Cloud UC Providers is based on incomplete fair and balanced information!
American Technology Solutions (ATS) counter to these claims by Cloud UC Providers offers some points to take into consideration when the time comes to perform a fair and balanced review of TCO – Premise vs. Cloud.

1. Upfront Costs;
a. Onsite Infrastructure – Are upgrades necessary for;
i. Communications Cabling?
ii. LAN Data Switches Power over Ethernet?
b. Hybrid Infrastructure offered by AVAYA offers more options so a company may consider Investment Protection vs. complete forklift replacement;
c. Browser based support by AVAYA offers BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) support for PC’s, Laptops, MAC, iPad, iPhone, Android. This works in both a VoIP and Hybrid environment with Digital Phones.;
d. AVAYA IP Office offers up to 2000 users at one site or 32 sites in a network. Growth beyond these capabilities may be addressed by using the AVAYA Aura platform and maintain significant investment protection and growth beyond 100’s of thousands of users.;
2. Ongoing Support;
a. Does the Cloud Provider include the costs of Move, Add and Change remote and onsite in the initial offer?;
b. Do they include Service Level Agreement (SLA) time intervals that will meet your business needs?;
c. What kind of remote support coupled with onsite support options do they offer (24X7X365)?;
d. What about the call accounting and real time statistical reports they offer, are they additional costs and if so how much?;
e. Do they really deliver the timely professional services they claim?
3. Faster Install Time;
a. Data Access Line, do you need to upgrade and or replace to meet the needs of VoIP?;
b. Do you need to replace the Router/Firewall to accommodate the necessary Quality of Service (QoS) metrics and Security measures?;
c. Is the current T1/PRI Service reliable and meeting your needs? Are you in the middle of a multi-year contract that would be costly to terminate? If so, then keep these services and consider changing to SIP when the contract is nearing end of life. To add SIP it is only a software addition.
4. Training Costs;
a. Training costs are in AVAYA’s favor;
i. Customer may be upgrading from AVAYA vintage to new AVAYA, gentle learning curve;
ii. Train the trainer concept for onsite subject matter experts;
iii. YouTube training videos, make these training video’s part of the new employee onboarding process;
iv. Phones and features are intuitive and easy to use;
v. Phones with buttons vs. forcing all users to control phone via the PC or MAC, not all users are accustom to controlling the phone this way and will possibly cause the loss of very experienced and successful employees;
vi. Onsite training is nowhere near the costs of the claims by the Cloud Providers;
vii. Make sure you compare apples to apples.
5. Premise Based Equipment vs. Cloud Based Equipment;
a. Router/Firewall, in some instances you may have to upgrade this to meet the needs of Cloud Providers internet access needs;
b. Both solutions require LAN & WAN equipment, but in many cases Cloud Providers require forklift upgrades;
c. Statements claimed by Cloud Providers regarding Premise Based provider onsite servers are overstated. New technology is designed with Energy Star parameters and are very efficient. Cost to run for the latest technology is significantly lower than being claimed.;
d. Many companies have installed their servers at offsite data centers. Adding the Premised Based voice servers is easy to do.
6. Full Time Equivalent Costs;
a. How does the Cloud Provider support the following service needs;
i. Onsite Data Communications Support;
ii. Onsite Move, Add and Change (MAC) Support;
iii. Remote or Software MAC Services and how quickly are they performed if provided by Cloud Provider Service Level Agreement (SLA’s);
iv. Custom Reports to meet end customers required SLA’s for their customers

In the final analysis, make sure that you reach out to both sides and ask the same questions. Share the current and future needs of your business. See to it that they each answer with empirical data, not assumptions and claims. Ask for references from each and contact those references. Have the references answer these three questions; 1) Did they deliver on the claims made in the sales process? 2) Did they track and measure any Return on Investment (ROI) claims? 3) Was the decision to move forward considered a good or bad one? Check to see if the information proposed and claimed is specific to your needs. It is not unusual to receive a proposal that is generic and not a custom representation of your current and future business needs. There is a significant amount information out there. Often each are written from a spin that supports the specific viewpoint that meets the needs of the company selling the solution. Good luck in filtering out the “Myth vs. Reality.”
This is the Final Post in a series of 7 Posts coming daily this July.