Cloud Hosting: It’s Not for Everyone – UC Today

With the move by IT Resellers to enter the voice arena and the reduced upfront charges offered to customers for hosted telephony services, it is no wonder we saw a swing to hosted telephony, born out by the demise of telephony giants such as Panasonic, Toshiba and Samsung who devoured the small to medium markets in the nineties and early noughties.  

We now see strategic manoeuvrers by the larger players positioning themselves in the emerging public versus private cloud hosted space, where private cloud encompasses; cloud hosted, on premises dedicated or virtual severs, and customer selected environments such as Microsoft Azure or private data centres. 

Public cloud availability is naturally a good thing for many smaller businesses, however, according to Splicecom director of marketing and product management, Robin Hayman, when it comes to voice services, the cloud is not a holy grail of communication solutions. 

“Hosting telephony in the Cloud is fine for low intensity voice applications,” said Hayman, “but when customers ask for integration with different CRM systems, an in-house developed application, and need good resiliency and redundancy assurances, it’s a good idea to consider the broad reach of options offered by private cloud.  

“All of these features can be complemented by both a mixture of outright purchase and pay monthly services, making it highly attractive to the financially astute buyer.  

“The whole picture has been oversimplified to the point where customers think that one size fits all. That’s just not the case. On the surface that message sounds fine, but when you start attending meetings with prospective customers, and find out what their needs are, then we find the public cloud is not always the best solution.” 

Market’s too Soft

One of the reasons for the “one size fits all” message, according to Hayman, is the vested interest of the hosted telephony providers.  

Hayman and Stuart Bell, Head of Sales at Splicecom, said that this oversimplified messaging can lead to underwhelmed customers with solutions that do not always fit.  

“The majority of the businesses that have come to market in the last eight years all sell hosted services,” said Hayman, “so the message is all about the benefits of a hosted offer, rather than focusing on the best solution for a business.” 

“To take Robin’s point further, a lot of those businesses are also saying you don’t need a physical phone,” said Bell. “The newer public hosted providers and players such as Microsoft Teams are softphone-leading products, with either no hardware, support for basic dial tone only, or offer expensive devices on the desk which lack telephony features despite their costs.  

“Not everyone is sitting at their desk all day with a headset on. For those people, a phone that they can pick up and put down is essential, and let’s not forget there are some great features in a propriety desk phone that users do not want to lose.”  

Not for Everyone

Moving forward, Bell used Splicecom as a case study for how resellers should be looking to serve prospective customers.  

Rather than impressing a technology that they are most comfortable delivering, resellers will do well to build solutions around customer requirements. Bell also added that where the telephony technology is placed, is a decision that comes much later in the Splicecom Partners consultation process. 

“We’re not trying to jam a solution in, with our Reseller Partners, we’re identifying the solution and applying our product to fit what the customer’s requirements are,” said Bell.

“For example, if an organisation with a busy working environment wants to replace their system, their priority is to allow staff to work remotely, or from the office, whilst the system routes calls efficiently irrespective of staff location. This is then supported by solid business management data and business tools such as call recording and whisper intrude so you are truly aware how staff are communicating

“Generally the last section of a prospective customer meeting includes ‘do you want this on Cloud, on Premise or a blend of the two, and by the way, what is your preferred payment structure?’ These are often the last points the Splicecom Partner discusses with the customer, because they get the solution right before talking about the cloud.”