Total Cost to own a complete UC solution

Let’s take a look at the commonly used unified communication implementations. Here are the usual pieces of this puzzle:

  1. Phones and switches ( mostly full IP based meaning old world TDM solutions are phased out )
  2. Gateways with PSTN connectivity ( T1, E1, FXO, FXS, E&M, SIP Trunking )
  3. Collaboration software ( like WebEx, Citrix solutions etc )
  4. Email solutions ( Outlook, Zimbra et al )
  5. Messaging and presence systems ( Agito, DiVitas etc )
  6. Bridge conferencing – large scale audio and video conferencing ( telepresence also falls into this category )

Several strong competitors in this market (Cisco, Microsoft, and Avaya) make this segment very attractive to follow. Cisco with its strong strengths in #1, #2 and #6 seem like a slam-dunk solution but Microsoft with its ubiquitous position in the #4 and #5 is also positioned for success. Success in this segment is measured across several smaller sub-sections which are the SMB, enterprise and service provider segments. For now let’s focus only on the enterprise part of the market – in this context we will look at a firm with 1000 seats. I have chosen different vendors for each of the solutions to give a good idea of the cost incurred – this knows that no one vendor offers everything in a bundle though one or two claim to do so.

Summing, it takes a good million and change to own a Unified Communication system. Now we have not included the training for maintenance, the integration costs for each of the components and the recruitment costs for IT personnel. All of this may easily come to another million. A 1000 user company is a full fledged enterprise with very high UC costs ( doh!). So why don’t we move all of those costs to the cloud.

In the next post, I will detail all of the costs involved in moving each of the above components to the cloud and how it will affect operational costs.

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