View Points >> Viewpoints

Deon Scheepers, Interactive Intelligence AfricaDeon Scheepers, Interactive Intelligence Africa

One of the first areas that companies need to examine before moving into the cloud is how much of the IT infrastructure they should actually transfer. Some might think basing all their telephony systems in the cloud would save money, with services being accessed through a public network or a VOIP, meaning there is no carrier relationship onsite. This would eliminate capital expenditure costs for the phone system, requiring only a monthly rental or per-use payment.

While this appears to offer better long-term budgeting, it is worth noting that if the VOIP connection is lost, then so is all access to data or calls, which can be very costly indeed. This is particularly true for those businesses that rely on telephony for purchases or financial transactions, such as a retailer or a bank. Every minute a customer can’t be contacted is time lost for selling. Research from CA Technologies estimates the global amount of revenue lost to IT downtime is $26.5 billion, and among those departments most affected are sales and finance.

The safest option is to create a private cloud by purchasing and installing an infrastructure on the premises. However, this can be very costly both in terms of installation and continuing maintenance, making it only suitable for the largest organisations. The most cost-effective option is a hosted hybrid model that offers the best of both public and private cloud networks: infrastructure operated by the vendor is deployed on a company’s local network, with voice and data kept on the premises, ensuring continued access and , while the logic and routing is in the public cloud and offers the public cloud price model.

An important thing companies need to look out for is the onsite equipment – who owns it and what does it cost? Some vendors might just rent out the equipment for a monthly tariff, which could be supplementary to the service charge, while others will offer the opportunity to buy the equipment for a lump sum or a payment plan spread out over a certain period. Again, it is worth checking how these are priced.

About the author: is regional business development manager at Interactive Intelligence Africa.