Managing and maintaining an enterprise server farm and a gigantic network of switches and routers used to be a badge of honor in the world of IT. The more your gear sprawled, the more powerful IT became. Not anymore.
IT Power in the Age of UC isn't About Hardware Quantity
True IT power now lies in how much you can leverage technology to drive productivity and create sources of sustainable competitive advantage. Doing so in an age of limited budget growth requires that savvy IT leaders offload non-essential tasks, such as server and network configuration, to trusted partners, often in the form of cloud providers. Becoming more impactful in 2017 and beyond demands that you escape the hardware trap.
Nowhere is this truer than in the world of unified communications. Unified communications is moving at such a rapid pace, meshing voice, video, presence, instant messaging, contact centers and more, that it is virtually impossible for an IT team to manage and maintain all these disparate systems while ensuring you have the robust underlying network to support increased communication and interaction.
The Hardware Trap: Valuing Hardware Over Productivity
The hardware trap can affect your ability to provide all users with the same experience and same functionality. How can you be sure you’ll always be able to keep the gear powering UC in a remote office in Madrid at the same version and performance level as headquarters with limited IT staff? Chances are you can’t.
Successful CIOs realize that letting go of the legacy hardware empire requires a reset to their thinking and assumptions. When it comes to UC, users want to have the same experience no matter where they are in the world and they are looking to IT to provide that. They want to be able to collaborate with their internal and external partners in a consistent and reliable manner. Often, if those users can’t get it internally, they’ll engage in ‘shadow IT’ and source the tools they think they need - directly. Generally, a bad move for them, the organization, and for your ability to execute and deploy a singular, consistent vision.
Escaping the Hardware Trap with Efficiency
For large enterprises, the best way to satisfy users is through cloud-based UC, a.k.a. UC as a Service. With UCaaS, you no longer have to spend time babysitting infrastructure. Instead, the provider handles that for you, along with providing a steady stream of solution updates, bringing your team new functionality as it becomes available (or as you want to roll it out).
You ensure a consistent experience - but in a way that is far more valuable to the business. IT, instead of maintaining on-premises systems, will be able to work with departments to determine their optimal UC profile. For instance, IT can ensure contact centers have the exact communications features they need to quickly serve customer needs. Also, IT can help executives integrate newly acquired companies by having an easy to deploy communications package ready to deploy. A major factor in the success of acquisitions is how fast employees at the acquired and parent companies can begin communicating and collaborating. IT can speed the process with UCaaS.
Overvaluing Hardware Hampers a Company's Agility
The hardware trap can be the nemesis of a company’s agility as well. IT has become a key player in how businesses respond to market forces. IT must be able to shrink and grow enterprise assets based on forecasts or last-minute swings. If you are mired in hardware that needs to amortize and appreciate, you lose a competitive advantage when the business needs to shift course. UCaaS provides the flexibility and responsiveness to expand and contract as needed without worrying about capital investments, supporting seasonal fluctuations, rapid growth, restructuring, or even bankruptcy.
While it may be accurate that at one time IT was measured by the size of its data center(s), today the true measurement of IT is business savvy, and when it comes to enterprise-class communication and collaboration, IT’s best bet lies in the cloud.
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