It’s going to be a hybrid world, and here’s why
One key takeaway from an IDC Enterprise survey in late 2015 on the state of UC&C adoption among businesses was that 54% of enterprises, large and small, said they were preparing to adopt hybrid UC&C by 2017.
All the signs are there that this prediction will become reality, particularly for smaller enterprises.
SMBs worry about investment protection – with hybrid they can pick and mix
Hybrid cloud adoption is the ideal solution for an SMB. You retain on-premise platforms to make the most of existing investment while being able to bolt on the cloud-based services you want. With the right solution in place this can be paid for on a per-user basis – whether this is instant messaging presence, flexible multimedia collaboration or data storage.
With hybrid, there's no need to rush ahead with full cloud adoption which may compromise existing investment - but at the same time there's no risk of falling behind the growing 'cloud crowd'.
Employees need to collaborate
Today's mobile workforce has led to a complete rethink of how employees collaborate in modern business. For SMBs, open office cultures typified by home working, geographically separated teams, mobile workers and ‘hot desking’ adds an unwelcome layer of complexity when trying to provide a single point of collaboration.
This is the business challenge that hybrid cloud solutions address, enabling SMBs to take full advantage of flexible work options without the CAPEX investment. By picking only the functionalities that the business needs and paying for them on a subscription basis, SMBs can keep their IT footprint small at the same time as introducing productivity enhancing capabilities.
The latest hybrid communications tailored to SMBs are now simplifying the licensing of new users and devices. They eliminate the previous requirement to pay for separate licenses for different devices which drove up the total cost of ownership.
This new-found flexibility allows SMBs to maintain a cost effective 'pay per user' model to minimise the cost of enterprise class IT capabilities. It also provides the ability to rapidly onboard new employees and their mobile devices without any significant administrative effort or major infrastructural costs. The need to keep IT simple is especially important to SMBs.
Remote management is now available
Downtime means lost business. Network and communications redundancy is simply an unwelcome extra expense that few can afford, particularly SMBs - but cutting back means zero room for network downtime. So for SMBs, it is important to make sure any hybrid UC&C solution brings with it remote management and support - on demand. Hybrid cloud removes much of this burden facing SMBs, which may lack some of the IT skills available to larger companies, and instead tasks the solution provider with maximising uptime.
An emerging trend for hybrid solutions is the use of remote management to ensure uptime for SMBs, in which solution providers can remotely access the network to provide support and troubleshooting. Hardware and software is updated remotely to eliminate maintenance delays and ensure security from external threats - and multi-year support contracts mean SMBs routinely benefit from major security and functionality updates.
One foot in the cloud
There's a reason IDC has identified so many SMBs preparing to adopt hybrid UC&C to support their business needs. You can maintain on-premise systems for when more control is needed over secure local services, and adopt cloud services capable of supporting enterprise collaboration tools. The hybrid approach plants one foot firmly in the cloud-based future, but keeps the other foot firmly on the tried and tested on-premise infrastructure. See for yourself...