While UCaaS and other marketers make a cloud-based future for communications seem inevitable, we know that not all enterprises are approaching the cloud in the same way. Many enterprises still have concerns about a purely cloud-based communications system. Do I have to scrap my current on-prem system? What’s the cost? How do I manage a “split” deployment? Instead of looking up just at the cloud, some enterprises are moving forward with one eye on the ground and one on the cloud.
A hybrid deployment, which combines elements of cloud and traditional on-prem systems, can be a best-of-both-worlds approach – allowing an enterprise to move to the cloud gradually or complement what works on-premises with cloud services. With the Gartner Magic Quadrant report speculating that “40% of new enterprise telephony purchases will be based on a cloud office suite” by 2023, moving “partially” to the cloud through a hybrid solution can be a good way to introduce an enterprise to the benefits of a cloud system.
A Stepping Stone to the Cloud
One of the biggest advantages to a hybrid deployment over a purely on-premises system, or a private cloud, is scalability. Enterprises that want greater control over their services can easily turn them “on” or “off” with a hybrid solution, something that cannot be accomplished when a business is strictly on a private cloud. Enterprises responding to an emergency, a weather event, or a seasonal boost in activity can scale up their communication services to meet the demand and scale down once it's over. Similarly, hybrid deployments can be used as a “steppingstone” to a full-cloud platform.
In terms of implementation, enterprises aren’t uniform in their approaches to hybrid, either – some are moving one application to the cloud at a time, while others are going site by site; for example, replacing on-prem PBX’s with Hosted VoIP services. Often times, the main driver for this decision is the organization’s reason or reasons for making a change. Some enterprises might favor a site-by-site approach because it allows them to learn the system quirks and improve implementation on the next site. In other cases, an Enterprise might move an application to the cloud when its server license expires.
The Roles of Complexity and Cost
Probably the biggest obstacles to adopting a hybrid deployment model come down to two Cs – complexity and cost.
Anytime you introduce complexity into a system, you’re inviting potential risks. But this complexity can be managed from an enterprise level. The business must have a good understanding of it’s overall architecture, have the right monitoring in place and, importantly, have the right partner or partners providing the cloud-based solution
A good best practice is for Enterprises to assess their human capital before jumping into a hybrid model – making sure IT staff understands the new parts of the system and can easily manage a mixed prem-cloud environment. For an Enterprise used to treating a communications system as a capital expense, the idea of switching to the operational expense model that would come with an all-cloud or hybrid cloud deployment might be a barrier. A pure-cloud solution would introduce huge cost savings, since you don’t need the hardware anymore, thus you won’t need as much human capital. Despite costs associated with ongoing service costs, an OpEX solution will still provide savings, like in the case of human capital.
In addition to transitioning to an OpEx cost model, Enterprises might be leery about “throwing out” technology. However, some UCaaS providers allow you to bring your own devices (telephones, etc.) rather than having to purchase new ones. This means you can leverage CapEx on existing equipment. Secondly, migrating to a new deployment model allows businesses the opportunity to determine what hardware is really needed. A current example of this is a business that wants to eliminate telephones entirely because staff primarily used headsets – making the phones unnecessary.
Source: No Jitter Connected Enterprise