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IT departments looking to go lean are constantly seeking ways to move applications, data and services to the public cloud in order to do more with less. Yet, unified communications has remained in-house and on premises longer for reasons that include organizations being locked into long-term telecom contracts, a concern over a lack of customization and an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude.
But, over the years, managed UC options have come a long way to create a solid set of benefits that may convince business leaders to reconsider. Let's examine how those benefits can reduce IT management and maintenance, as well as improve end-user productivity.
Supporting mobile workforces
One major challenge UC administrators face today is managing various apps and services on the corporate network, at remote sites and for the growing number of employees working on the road or out of home offices.
Traditional UC architectures were designed around employees working out of a handful of connected office locations. But this is no longer the case for many organizations. Now, UC platforms must be available to employees, no matter their location.
In some cases, private WAN links and client VPN connectivity have enabled this to happen. However, they can create traffic inefficiencies as modern workforces migrate outside of the corporate network boundary -- thus, degrading the performance of many time-sensitive UC applications.
Cloud-managed UC platforms help IT departments to incorporate workforce management practices to stamp out those inefficiencies. In many cases, managed services even eliminate the need for expensive WAN connections and VPN workarounds. Large, cloud-based UC providers offer services that are intended to be used anywhere. Thus, app and service performance from an end-user perspective is identical, no matter where the employee resides.
Expanding contact center remote connectivity
A cloud-managed UC platform also opens new opportunities for contact centers. Traditional contact center models require employees to travel to one or more physical locations to work. With a cloud-based managed UC architecture, contact center employees with access to a broadband internet connection can work from virtually anywhere. Call flows simply hit the closest data center, which can be scattered around the globe to help reduce network latency for end users.
Consolidating UC service management
Many IT departments are required to oversee a host of independently managed services for voice, video, contact center and collaboration. But a managed UC platform consolidates all these services under a single management pane.
Additionally, all tools and services are tightly integrated with one another, which opens a number of new multichannel and omnichannel communications capabilities to end users.
Public cloud benefits
The same cloud computing benefits of other cloud-based managed IT services also exist in cloud-managed UC, such as scalability, flexibility and the rapid adoption of new features -- all of which are delivered to the business without having to manage any of the underlying cloud infrastructure.
Offloading management requirements frees up valuable time for in-house IT staff to work on technology issues specific to business growth. This is the goal of lean IT and managed UC and is a great way to put organizations on the right track to achieve that goal.