TTx has been in the voice business for the last 35 years and has successfully transformed from a dial-tone company into a premier IT Services partner with a unique perspective on the current business phone system landscape. We have guided small businesses and global enterprise organizations through successful deployments of solutions that were selected based on their unique needs. Over the last 5 years, the market has been in a wait-and-see mentality as it relates to multi-tenant UCaaS solutions, but we’re coming out of that now. We are really excited to say, finally, that there is a really great solution out there for every organization. We are in business to guide our customers toward that solution. But, the market is still very fluid – leaving a lot of room for frustration.
This article documents an interview with Nate Petry, VP of Business Development as he answers some of the common questions he fields as he prudently guide IT Directors through a business phone system upgrade decision.
Question 1: What are a few key indicators that an organization may be a good fit for a cloud-based voice system?
[Nate]: Typically (not always), organizations that have a few of these attributes tend to be strong candidates for evaluating cloud voice:
- Fast growing (mergers and/or acquisitions)
- New companies
- Businesses with many small locations (retail/franchise/chain)
- Organizations who employ a workforce that is highly distributed
- A company who has a financial culture leans toward “as-a-service” predictable monthly operating budgets instead of large budgeted capital purchases for technology hardware and software.
Question 2: What features are available from a cloud voice platform that aren’t available on-premise?
[Nate]: That is a question that I get asked that is really based on a false premise. Typically, the buyer isn’t going to make the decision to upgrade to the cloud to get enhanced features. That buyer just needs to upgrade, period. Overall, the key features are the same. They’ve been largely commoditized. Desktop software, mobility, conference capabilities, instant messaging, video – it’s all available. If it’s a sales or customer service organization that has a call center and they want to integrate email, chat, and text, that stuff is available just as readily from any system.
The better question that I ask in response is, “Is your organization going to be able to live with the features that are out-of-the-box standard, without the need for any customization?” There is much more flexibility in a UC system with an open architecture that there is with a big-box public UCaaS system.
Question 3: What other factors would be a trigger point to investigate a cloud solution?
[Nate]: A lot of conversations that I’ve been having recently involve multi-site complexities. If a company is on a premise system and is moving to a new building, a cloud solution may be easier to manage than to rip-and-transport their current hardware. Or, if a company opens a regional office in another state they may want to demo a cloud solution with a small workgroup as a proof of concept.
Are there any fundamental differences in the transaction process when buying a cloud voice solution than someone would expect previous premise-based experience?
[Nate:] Yes! This is a huge factor that has the potential of taking an organization by surprise, in a bad way. The deployment process is completely different. Many of the IT Directors who buy a cloud phone system bought their last (premise) system from a highly specialized IT partner, like TTx, or a general regional carrier partner. The deployment process was highly complex, highly visible, and disruptive to the IT team from initial design planning meetings, through project management, training, on-site cut-over, and support.
Most public cloud phone system providers have gone directly to the consumer, bypassing the local IT partner, as they are in a race to grow subscribership and recurring revenue for their own balance sheets. The challenge is that a lot of the value that a local partner used to provide on an intimate level, is a challenge to replicate.
One of the biggest opportunities for frustration with a public cloud business phone system is the misaligned expectations around “easy deployment.” It really goes back to what I said earlier about being an out-of-the-box ready organization or if you need any type of customization. That fork in the road has downstream implications.
Question 4: Is it really 25 – 35% cheaper to migrate to cloud for voice than to run a premise system?
[Nate]: It’s not exactly that easy to define savings. It’s apples and oranges. If you are talking about the total cost of ownership, then it completely depends on how long you use the system. But honestly, it’s the wrong question. I think when the market talks about it being “cheaper,” it’s really less about total dollars and more about the companies fundamental philosophy about how IT can spend budgeted money. If a company wants to operationalize capital expenses, then they should take a hard look at a cloud solution.
Question 5: Based on your experience, is there a message that you feel like is under-represented in the market as it relates to cloud business phone systems?
[Nate]: I saw a stat the other day that said that in 2019 85% of the addressable market would purchase UC equipment, but that over 50% of the market would be on a path toward digital transformation to UCaaS. There is a middle ground that the manufacturers aren’t talking much about due to their fiscal priority to market their public cloud product. I believe that many – especially the organizations who have any sort of complexity or customization – should explore at least one solution that leverages the open architecture of a traditional UC platform to create some stable private-cloud hybrid solutions, delivered as a monthly operational expense.
While we believe this article pertains to any IT Department who is honestly evaluating the best path forward, our company has been built to guide IT organizations through the digital transformation process related to business phone system upgrades and deployments. We can add value when we are invited to be a part of the research and discovery phase – well before you have identified what you believe to be the best technology solution. There are a lot of variables. There are a lot of products. And there are a lot of marketing message out there that confuse the independent researcher.
We’ve found at TTx is that we can design a solution that will meet the prioritized objectives of any organization. It’s becoming much less about “selling” a phone system, and much more about guiding an organization toward a solution that puts them on the best possible roadmap for their IT environment. Objectively, more organizations are moving their phone systems toward UCaaS, but there are some really great solutions in the gradient between a traditional on-premise UC system, and a pure multi-tenant public cloud solution. We represent a variety of solutions that we’re really confident in recommending across the full gradient of public UCaaS to traditional UC.
Our process always starts with discovery and design. If you any have questions whatsoever, we’d be happy to help.