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What is the advantage of a UC software license vs. a UC subscription?

When evaluating UC software and services, enterprises must decide whether they want to buy licenses to deploy on-premises or subscribe to a cloud-based UC service. Expert Carrie Higbie explains the advantages of each option.

What advantage is there to buying a UC software license vs. subscribing to a UC service?

There has been a lot of talk about cloud everything. The cloud is a way to quickly provision resources. But you can pretty much get anything as a service these days. What you really want is confidence as a service. You want confidence that the service will be up and running with the same service-level agreements that you can support in-house. Buying a software license allows you to configure your resources and assure they operate as needed or expected. If you are asking about unified communications as a service (UCaaS), you need to read the fine print. Most cloud providers offer a "best effort" uptime expectation -- meaning they will work to assure the services are up when you need them, as best they can.

When there is an outage, it is widely publicized -- we know that systems go down. With the cloud, what you don't know can hurt you: Where are providers' facilities? What redundancy do they have? What standards do they follow? Whose products do they use? I have seen some large providers' data centers, and some are just plain horrible. When you control the environment, you know what you have in terms of hardware, protections and more. That said, it also assumes that you have the talent to support the systems.

When you buy a UC software license, you don't really own the software, just a license to use it. That license will tell you how and where you can install it and what environment it needs. But you can control where it resides and on what hardware. There is a level of control for enterprises.

Where UCaaS licensing can make sense is in a concurrent licensing model where you pay for fewer licenses based on concurrent users. Not all users may need to use the system at once. This licensing makes sense for enterprises that may not have the talent to support the system in-house or may not want that Opex and headcount. There really isn't any one "be-all and end-all" that works for everyone. Sometimes a mix is the better answer. But that will depend on your company and the needs of the employees in your UC environment.

Do you have a question for Carrie Higbie or any of our other experts? Ask your enterprise-specific questions today! (All questions are treated anonymously.)

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Would a concurrent licensing model work for your UC software environment?