The How to Develop a Winning Transition Strategy for Enterprise Cloud Calling blog series offers a four-part guided tour on how to take your business to a cloud calling and collaboration future that delivers all the benefits you expect from a quality cloud service.

Avoiding “Severe Tire Damage” Impact

This is part 3 of a blog series on building and executing a successful strategy for migrating enterprise unified communications (UC) and collaboration to the cloud where we will look at the big picture, total cost of ownership (TCO) comparison of cloud vs on-premises UC solutions.

I love a good road sign that portrays an obvious warning.  The old, “do not back up over the spike strip” is one of my favorites.  Who would ever do that? Obviously more than one unassuming driver has made this mistake and experienced the consequences.

Wrong Way Stop Severe Tire Damage

In IT, we are forced to scrutinize every decision from a cost perspective, as reversing a decision, post implementation, will be viewed as a very costly mistake that should have been avoided. Similar to backing up over one of those spike strips.

As you evaluate the cost model of cloud vs on-premises for UC, a broader vision is required to ensure your decisions are founded on strategic business objectives and not just hard cost modeling. By taking this approach you can cross that metaphorical “spike strip” with confidence and avoid the figurative “severe tire damage” that can impact organizations that constantly re-evaluate cloud migration plans.

Predictable Cost Structure 

The table below outlines the primary categories of costs involved in a UC solution on-premises and in the cloud:

Primary categories of costs involved in a UC solution on-premises and in the cloud

As noted in the table, the biggest difference is that cloud solutions deliver a predictable cost structure through a monthly subscription. Subscriptions are based on the number of users and an associated service level and include software upgrades and data center resources. So, calculating for growth with a cloud service is a predictable budget exercise.

On-premises systems, on the other hand, have less predictable cost elements, like software upgrades and uneven system expansion costs that involve additional hardware, along with regular hardware maintenance and refresh cycles. These upgrade costs often lead decision-makers to delay important system maintenance, leaving the entire organization using outdated services for long periods of time – another issue avoided with the “always current” nature of cloud services. This is one of the main business transformational benefits of the cloud.

Reduced Administrative Load 

One of the advantages we see, overwhelmingly, for our customers making the transition to cloud UC, is a significant reduction in the effort required on the part of IT staff to support a Cisco cloud calling service.

By moving to the Cisco cloud, your IT staff can step away from each of these time-consuming workloads:

  • Application hardware procurement, installation and management
  • Application software upgrades and patch management
  • Application integration management, including upgrades
  • Solution security management
  • 24/7 global monitoring and proactive risk remediation

Customers get always-on system monitoring and troubleshooting as part of their cloud solution.

IT Gets More Strategic 

The net result of moving to cloud calling is your IT team becomes more strategic to the organization, by driving and delivering business transformation initiatives, versus spending valuable resources managing an on-premises telephony system. We’ve seen a number of Cisco cloud calling customers reinvigorate their previously stalled digital transformation projects with newly available IT resources, as they shift their calling workload to the cloud. In each of these cases, IT has earned their respected seat in the executive suite.

I love it when our customer champions rise up within their organizational ranks, after completing a successful cloud transition project.

Make Growth More Affordable 

For growth businesses, the cloud can be a game-changer, by accelerating the speed with which you can bring new facilities online or connect recently acquired locations with your existing Cisco cloud calling solution. With a cloud deployment, IT can focus on providing network connectivity and devices, while all the systems infrastructure remains in the Cisco cloud.

Quickly Respond to Changing Market Conditions

When you consider all these factors together, you understand why virtually all executive teams are prioritizing cloud strategies. In rapidly evolving business environments, cloud offers the agility and flexibility needed to grow your competitive advantage and to adapt quickly to market transitions.

When you step back and look at all the cost elements that make up a TCO, the value of the cloud to business has never been clearer than it is today. Fortunately, Cisco has the solutions to help you realize the maximum value of the cloud so you can confidently cross that metaphorical “spike strip” on your cloud journey.

If you currently have Cisco’s Unified Communications Manager (UCM) on-premises for your telephony workload, Cisco’s Unified Communications Manager Cloud (UCM Cloud) will be your quickest path to the cloud.  In my final post next week, I will focus on migration strategies for our UCM customers.

Get a clear perspective of the cloud TCO equation from independent industry consultant/analyst, Phil Edholm, starting at the 7:20 mark in this recording.

Here’s a short video about how to prepare your systems and people for your transition to the cloud.

Come back for the conclusion of this series next week.


Reach out to your Cisco account team or channel partner to learn more about

Cisco’s cloud calling offers.


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How to Develop a Winning Transition Strategy for Enterprise Cloud Calling: Step 1, Business Agility

Read all the blogs in the series