Cloud Communications Decisions

13 Feb 2018

There are many choices for cloud communications. There is a big risk of over-simplifying those.

Sometimes the question is put as, “Should I move my PBX to the cloud?” Or, “Should we move our PBX to UCaaS?” (Unified Communications as a Service.) That’s a fair question, and can be answered either based solely on costs or based on other factors such as strategy or added functionality. But there are many other questions that are worth considering before asking about the PBX.

Here are a few other ways to think about this:

  • Should we use the cloud to enhance what we already own? This really works well for exciting new capabilities of artificial intelligence, speech recognition, global telephony points of presence, new communications platform as a service (CPaaS) capabilities, et al. These can interact with what you already own via APIs and other integrations.
  • Should we move just specific portions of our workloads to the cloud? This can be applied to functions such as interactive voice response (IVR), texting and SMS interactions with users or customers, contact centers (or multi-media centers), communications-enabled web sites, and similar functions. Also, it is often very economical to move conferencing services to the cloud, especially if most participants are field/mobile/work-from-home employees or external customers, suppliers, contractors or partners.
  • Should we move only portions of our user base to a UCaaS or CPaaS cloud service? This can work well for Usage Profiles (see this post) that involve mobile personnel such that the cell phone becomes the primary phone rather than an optional end point for the on-premises PBX. Also, this can work well for Usage Profiles in which the users spend most of their day working with a cloud-based application such as a collaborative workspace tool (Slack, Atlassian, Microsoft Teams, Jive Software, etc.).
  • Will the cloud give us immediate access to capabilities and skills that would be very costly, risky, or time-consuming if developed in-house?

Of course, for all of these questions, you can consider the costs as one factor in the decision process (see this post), but always keep in mind the value creation and return on investment of the action, as well. Cost reduction may not be the highest priority for organizations with important growth or market transformation strategies. If you want to spend more time on the cost factors, please come to my session at Enterprise Connect Orlando 2018. It’s Tuesday, March 13, at 3 PM in Osceola A, titled, “How Cost Factors Affect Your Cloud Migration” and will include an Excel model you can use for your planning.

The overall recommendation is to think about the cloud as a very modular set of communications capabilities, then begin to prioritize your selections and decisions based on the requirements of your enterprise or organization. One size does not fit all!

Best of success with your decisions! 


Great article Marty. I look forward to your session at Enterprise Connect. I will try and get there early so I can get a seat.

Timely article Marty. I will try to get to your standing room only session at Enterprise Connect so I can get a seat.

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