UC FOR THE CLOUD ERA HOSTED, VIRTUAL & MANAGED

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1 UC FOR THE CLOUD ERA HOSTED, VIRTUAL & MANAGED WHITE PAPER

2 WHITE PAPER UC FOR THE CLOUD ERA 2 COMMUNICATION: THE FOUNDATION OF BUSINESS In the past, the private branch exchange (PBX) likely saved your organization a considerable amount of money, while enhancing vital communication among employees, partners and customers. However, the traditional PBX is no longer the only solution for enabling unified communications (UC). Rapid technology changes, along with ever-increasing business demands, are causing a growing number of businesses to consider alternatives. TECHNOLOGY IS EVOLVING Voice and data networks used to be completely separate. Circuit-switched telephony networks carried analog voice traffic while packet-switched IP networks carried digital data. Today, reliable, high-performance IP networks carry a mix of both, providing significant cost and efficiency advantages. As many forms of network traffic converge to IP-based networks, UC hardware is also evolving. For example, many solutions use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to carry telephone calls over IP networks. These IP PBX solutions allow network traffic to be carried over the Internet and have gained a strong following. They not only let organizations avoid the time and costs of managing separate data and voice networks, but also allow them to do it through a single provider with one monthly bill. The evolution of UC has also changed the ways businesses deploy and manage their solution. Rather than using in-house expertise and staff to manage and maintain on-premises UC solutions, many businesses now rely on third parties. Some third parties can also host and manage solutions that are located off business premises (called hosted or virtual PBXs). 1 Frost & Sullivan. Who is Doing What in UC Virtualization: Cutting through the Hype. Market Insight Report. April 2013: Pages 6 and 7. BUSINESS DEMANDS ARE INCREASING While UC and related services are evolving rapidly, business demands are increasing just as quickly. Customers are always seeking better value, competitors are always seeking greater advantage and companies themselves must evolve in order to keep up with changes. According to Frost & Sullivan, 64% of companies with more than 500 employees will have deployed virtual communications and collaboration solutions by The always-on, constantly connected world in which we live and work requires us to have rapid access to information and collaboration tools at all times, from wherever we may be working. This is especially true for companies with dispersed work forces. And with capital budgets under pressure, business leaders are continually asked to do more with less. Businesses already have plenty of challenges without the extra burden of purchasing, upgrading, managing and maintaining their own communications systems. This becomes compounded when companies expand and/ or support multiple sites. Unfortunately, businesses that continue to rely on traditional, on-premises UC solutions have less time and resources to spend on overcoming their core business challenges. UC FOR THE CLOUD ERA These days, nearly every facet of communication can be taken to the cloud, and UC is no exception. Modern UC solutions let organizations focus on their core mission rather than keeping up with technology. These solutions have three important attributes hosted, virtual and managed each of which offers unique business benefits. Hosted or Virtual Hosted solutions provide several advantages over traditional, on-premises PBXs. Customers may choose to purchase their own UC infrastructure and have it hosted by their provider in an offsite data center, or they can

3 WHITE PAPER UC FOR THE CLOUD ERA 3 opt to have the hosting provider retain ownership of the hardware and deliver its related services on a pay-as-yougo basis. By choosing a hosted solution, you can avoid a number of costs such as space, power, cooling, monitoring, management, maintenance and more all while the PBX is kept safe and secure in the provider s data center. The main difference between hosted and virtual is that a virtual UC solution is driven by a software deployed in an existing server either in a private or shared multitenant environment. It has many of the same benefits as a hosted solution, including helping businesses cut costs while eliminating the need for specific hardware and individual servers for each application. While many businesses deploy virtual UC in a hosted environment, it s not uncommon to see virtual UC deployed on-premises. Either way, both hosted and virtual UC solutions make supporting distributed workers very easy, as each requires only an Internet connection and a VoIP client such as a desk phone or a mobile device. Managed WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A CLOUD SERVICES PROVIDER Choosing the right cloud-based UC services provider is critical. Small businesses often prefer a one-stop shop that offers data, voice, network and cloud support. They also want the same enterprise-class equipment that larger companies use so they can compete on a larger scale and expand as their needs grow. Bigger companies not only demand high-end gear from top manufacturers like Cisco, Avaya, Mitel and ShoreTel, but also require customized solutions for specialized needs. Customization Every business is unique. Each has its own processes, configurations and preferred methods of communication. That s why the provider you partner with should have the expertise to assess your environment and customize a solution for your business. That solution should support easy updates as your business grows and your requirements evolve. A managed solution shifts the burden of monitoring, managing and maintaining an on-premises phone system to external specialists, so companies can focus on their core business. The right managed services provider will own and manage all equipment, as well as handle the usual challenges such as technology upgrades, regular system maintenance and unforeseen problems. If the hardware fails, the provider should have a replacement on hand and may even absorb the costs involved in that replacement. Additional services for handling customer driven Moves, Adds and Changes (MACs) should also be available. San Francisco Chicago NYC Data Center Atlanta Data Center Virtual Firewall Example Diagram: Unified Communications Remote Employees

4 WHITE PAPER UC FOR THE CLOUD ERA 4 Unified It s important to look for a provider that can deliver a highly scalable communications system with enterpriseclass UC capabilities. The ideal solution should include a large range of embedded applications and the ability to support both real-time and non-real-time UC tools such as , unified messaging, instant messaging, presence management, fax and voice messaging, as well as audio, video and web conferencing. If you have existing hardware that you want to use in conjunction with your hosted solution, you ll want a provider that supports your current infrastructure and has the ability to integrate it into a complete UC solution designed to fit your business needs. OPEX vs. CAPEX When you decide to implement a cloud-based solution, you have several financial options to choose from. As stated earlier, some customers choose to purchase their own hardware and have it hosted by the services provider. Alternatively, they may choose to avoid upfront capital expenditures (CAPEX) by having the hosting provider own the hardware and deliver its related services on a pay-as-you-go basis, shifting their budget to operating expenditures (OPEX) and spreading the cost across the life of their UC solution. SMART SOLUTIONS & PERSONALIZED SERVICE Whether your business is small or large, you need a trusted advisor. Windstream is a single-source provider of enterprise-class voice and network services, including cloud computing and managed services to businesses nationwide. With a wide variety of communications platforms from some of the most respected names in the industry, the skilled experts at Windstream can assess your needs and design a solution tailored to your business. Because Windstream is vendor-agnostic, our engineers can work with whatever existing hardware and systems you have and optimize them with cutting-edge solutions from top manufacturers. When you sign up with Windstream, your dedicated account team will help determine the specific hardware and software elements that best suit your business. Trusted advisors will help you transition from your old legacy systems to your new solution, which will be designed to maintain the user experience your employees are accustomed to and it doesn t end there. Windstream s National Solution Center utilizes state-of-the-art monitoring and call management tools to seamlessly deliver exceptional support and service to customers from coast to coast. Below you will find a few, key cloud-based and managed UC offerings from Windstream. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS): A Windstream hosted solution, delivering advanced communication and collaboration applications alongside core functionality such as telephony, messaging, presence and conferencing all over an IP network. Virtual PBX: A virtual solution which provides core voice and data functionality and is fully managed by Windstream. Virtual PBX is the single voice and data platform for all your VoIP and data equipment needs bundled with installation, maintenance, support and preventative updates. IP Simple: A managed UC solution that Windstream owns and manages at the customer premises, allowing you the opportunity to leverage an awardwinning Allworx phone system to enhance VoIP and data communications. Windstream s cloud-based UC solutions are always kept safe and secure in Windstream-owned data centers. They include built-in disaster recovery and expert management by highly trained professionals. This means faster response time to outages, as well as better diagnostics. You won t have to worry about obsolescence since Windstream can maintain

5 WHITE PAPER UC FOR THE CLOUD ERA 5 your hardware and applications by taking care of the updates. If your business has multiple sites, some with traditional PBX solutions, Windstream can also manage those. Windstream maintains a large capital investment in UC equipment and continually researches the latest equipment and frequently implements new productivityenhancing technologies. Every customer enjoys the benefits of Windstream s deep experience without having to invest their own resources to stay current. CONCLUSION When you re ready to take your UC solution to the next level, consider a hosted, virtual and/or managed solution from Windstream. Our cloud-based solutions require little to no capital outlay and can be customized to meet your specialized requirements. Whether it s on your premises or Windstream s, you ll get the same telephony and UC benefits. When you team with Windstream, you can also get a fully managed solution that will support your communications needs today and prepare you for future growth. Together, we win. DISCOVER ADVANCED BUSINESS SOLUTIONS THAT KEEP YOU WINNING windstreambusiness.com WP 2014 Windstream 03.14

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