Moving contact centers and communications to the cloud: A guide to the hybrid cloud approach

Avatar for Rudy TibuniBy Rudy Tibuni|Feb 18, 2020|7:30 am CST

Hybrid cars, hybrid applications, hybrid storage. If you feel like everything is going “hybrid” lately, you’re not alone. In the Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and Contact Center as a Service (CCaaS) space, we talk about hybrid clouds, hybrid deployment, and hybrid networks.

It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin.

But with some reports showing that more than 85% of companies want to use hybrid cloud unified communications, buyers must be able to navigate all the hybrid speak, understanding both hybrid cloud approaches and hybrid networks. Here’s a quick guide.

What are hybrid cloud approaches or hybrid deployments?

The terms “hybrid cloud approach,” “hybrid deployments,” or “hybrid cloud unified communications” refer to solutions that are deployed partially on-premise and partially in the cloud. In essence, an organization with an aging on-premise PBX would use a hybrid cloud approach as a way of transitioning to cloud-based UCaaS/CCaaS. In a hybrid UCaaS deployment, a subset of the organization is using cloud-based phones while others continue to run on the on-premise infrastructure. Best of all, these hybrid UC solutions are not segregated into cloud-only or on-premise only, delivering a single user experience on a single dial plan.

What problems do hybrid cloud solutions solve?

Legacy PBX infrastructure is known to restrain enterprises from adopting cloud-based solutions. That’s because many legacy technologies have not fully depreciated, forcing IT leaders to make use of their existing investments until they reach end-of-life. Most large enterprises have a long list of globally-disparate equipment and a plethora of providers and technologies all with various expiration dates. When an enterprise PBX is built over a multi-year period and spread across multiple offices, IT leaders can’t just “go all-cloud” and replace their entire communications system. In reality, a binary all-or-nothing proposition won’t work. IT leaders need an interim solution where they can use their existing PBX systems but still gain the advantages of modern technology.

Hybrid solutions are the answer.

When a “lift and shift” to the cloud becomes inevitable, choosing a hybrid solution with a phased cloud migration path is a wise choice. Enterprises can incrementally scale into the cloud and step closer to a fully hosted model (one location or application at a time), proceeding when and where it makes sense for the business. The solution continually adapts as aging technologies hit milestones on the end-of-life calendar or as the enterprise brings new locations online. As such, they complement the assets that are already in place while also playing well to digital transformation strategies.

Selecting the hybrid approach can also dispel fear with increased control.

Many mistakenly believe that they have to go “all cloud” all at once, which can make the transition a scary cut-over situation. But when decision makers recognize that there are ways to build an extremely controlled migration path driven by the needs of existing technologies, they recognize that they can fully own the cloud transition. That’s when they aren’t afraid of the cloud anymore. In fact, much of what we do at Masergy is simply show CIOs that they don’t have to fear the cloud, because it’s easier than they think to embrace it one phase at a time.

How do enterprises benefit from hybrid cloud solutions?

Hybrid solutions are helping IT leaders answer this question: “How do I migrate to the cloud, integrating my call plan on a global basis (with disparate systems spread across the world) and provide a consistent user experience to all users?

Key benefits include:

  • Leveraging existing technology and still migrating to the cloud
  • Reducing costs and transitioning capital expenditures to operational costs
  • Enhancing mobility, productivity, and collaboration
  • Standardizing communications and processes on a global scale
  • Integrating third-party APIs across platforms and teams
  • Leveraging cloud communications with iPaaS to create voice-powered automation

How do hybrid cloud communications solutions work?

Hybrid business collaboration solutions are powered by three technologies: the UCaaS or CCaaS platform itself, SIP trunking technologies, and the IT network that supports voice and video traffic.

  • UCaaS and CCaaS Platforms and Communications Hardware: There are plenty of providers and solutions with similar features. Find one with the needed feature checkboxes and quickly shift the evaluation criteria to service and support. Deep dialogue around implementation and network architecture can help distinguish differentiators among like providers.
  • SIP Trunking: While this technology is nothing new, implementation expertise and collaborative partnerships are critical because complex deployment processes, global service challenges, and troubleshooting across multiple parties can delay projects. Check out this white paper on SIP Trunking pitfalls and resolutions.
  • IT Network: A globally ubiquitous network platform that can deliver the same high-quality voice and video service worldwide is key because all users (regardless of location and device) should have the same service experience. Real-time network performance visibility and bandwidth optimization are also critical factors for success. Whether you’re considering using your own internal network or a service provider’s, this guide will help you evaluate the quality of the network service.

Don’t forget about the existing PBX. Those technologies and partners add to the list above, and everything must work in unison as organizations migrate to the cloud. As a result, many decision makers put a heavy emphasis on dedicated deployment resources who work to ensure all parties involved are “paddling in the same direction.”

With a hybrid cloud solution, why should I care about a hybrid network?

“Hybrid networks” refer to IT architectures that combine both private and public connectivity types. Hybrid networking services are often paired with hybrid UCaaS/CCaaS solutions to give buyers more options with their access methodology as well as a common management platform with real-time performance visibility and dynamic bandwidth controls. With everything working on a single software-defined network platform, IT leaders gain more business agility. That flexibility enables IT decision-makers to match different connectivity types with the needs of each application, location, or user group and easily optimize WAN performance on the fly. Here’s a white paper that explores how to pair SD-WAN and network services with UCaaS/CCaaS.

In the age of constant and rapid change, this agility is attractive to many buyers–choose your connectivity and then choose a hosted or SIP solution for each location. Additionally, bundling UCaaS/CCaaS with network services can mean more simplicity with fewer partners and just one call for support.

Learn more about Masergy’s hybrid UCaaS and CCaaS solutions that include globally reliable network connectivity and security services–all as one fully managed service.