When you’re looking to upgrade your phone system, choosing between the on-premise and cloud options will be one of the first – and likely most important – decisions you’ll make.

The technology you choose will set your course for many years to come, and having to backtrack can be a costly and time-consuming exercise if you find your selected solution doesn’t meet your needs.

But while issues such as flexibility, total cost of ownership (TCO) and reliability will be at the front of people’s minds when making the selection, they are far from the only factors that must be considered when assessing a cloud telephony system against an on-premises solution.

Consider your infrastructure

One area that firms may not consider until it is too late is how your proposed solution will function with your existing cabling and hardware infrastructure. For example, if your office is still running on legacy technology that has been in place for many years, it may not be compatible with the latest cloud solutions.

Outdated Cat3 cabling may not be able to handle the demands of cloud telephony, which could mean a hugely expensive recabling project in order to support such services. Meanwhile, some businesses such as hotels may still be dependent on analogue phone systems to connect each guest room. 

In these cases, on-premises services could well be a much more practical solution once the costs of upgrading legacy hardware are factored into the TCO calculations for any upgrade. Therefore, it pays to take expert advice from a trusted partner before committing to a cloud solution to prevent you running into more unexpected costs in the deployment phase.

What about your relationship with vendors?

How you manage your relationship with your vendor is another longer-term factor that needs to be taken into account. This is especially important if you’re opting for a cloud system, as it will typically mean you’re working much more closely with your chosen partner and are more dependent on them for activities such as patching and future upgrades. Therefore, if you are going  down the cloud route, it’s important you can find a partner you can trust and that will understand the complexities and unique requirements of your organisation.

Another key factor is how your relationship may change in the future, and what the consequences of this might be. For instance, you may determine five or even ten years down the line to go in a different direction if your needs change or even if you find a provider that can offer you a better deal. But if this happens and all your telephony systems are locked into the technologies provided by your current vendor, you need to know how easy it will be to switch. 

If it will be costly or complex to move to a new supplier, this may dissuade firms from making the move and leave them having to make compromises or overpay for systems that don’t meet their needs.

Avoiding this vendor lock-in is possible with the right cloud partner, but for those who are wary about what the future may hold and would like the freedom to make decisions without worrying about issues such as cloud migrations, on-premise tools can often provide a much more vendor-agnostic approach, allowing companies to choose the tools that work for them without any constraints.

To learn more about the many factors you must consider when planning a phone system upgrade, please download our latest white paper.

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