The migration to the cloud is one of the most transformative events in enterprise IT history. With the majority of workloads expected to run in the cloud by 2018, and the continued pressure on existing bandwidth, businesses today are faced with one very important question: Is your network really ready for the cloud?
It’s a critical question because, as we see more every day, cloud applications impact everything. The rapid adoption and integration of cloud-based apps/services into the lives of consumers – Amazon, Facebook, Uber, just to name a few – has altered their expectations as customers across every industry. People have become accustomed to anytime, anywhere access to everything, and as a result, they’re demanding this same kind of digital service from the businesses that serve them at work.
While businesses struggle to keep pace and meet these new expectations, the culture of the workplace is also transforming. The workforce has become more distributed than ever, as flexible and remote work environments continue to become the new norm. Telecommuting alone is up 115% since 2005 and shows no signs of slowing. As workplace standards continue to evolve, so does the demand for real-time collaborative services that enable people to work together wherever they are.
So how are businesses overcoming these rising challenges?
Communications for the anytime, anywhere, any device economy
One solution businesses are turning to is Unified Communications as a Service, or as it’s more commonly referred to as, UCaaS. UCaaS is the unification and delivery of business communications and collaboration services into a single solution, delivered by a cloud-based provider. They typically include services such as real-time presence, instant messaging/chat, fax, mobile tools and voice, video and web conferencing/collaboration within cloud-based IP phone systems.
This service model continues to grow in appeal with its ability to reduce costs and complexity by moving from capital intensive on-premises equipment to a scalable, flexible and affordable Opex model. More importantly, UCaaS is enabling businesses to meet the growing demands of the modern customer and workplace, offering the mobile capabilities of anytime, any device communications and collaboration.
However, as businesses rely more heavily on the cloud for real-time, quality-sensitive services like IP voice and online meetings, network performance becomes an important factor in the equation.
Ensuring quality and reliability for mission critical cloud-based apps
Fortunately, the need to rely on outdated network technology is becoming a thing of the past thanks to Software-Defined Wide Area Networks. SD-WAN has rapidly started to take the place of MPLS, providing the performance and reliability needed by using high-bandwidth broadband to provide up to 100x the bandwidth at an affordable cost. This makes SD-WAN the perfect counterpart for UCaaS because it enables organizations to prioritize critical or performance sensitive apps like voice and video.
The new power couple
UCaaS with SD-WAN is the new power couple in business communications. This was the topic of a recent webinar we did that went into strong detail about the benefits of combining UCaaS solutions like our award-winning OfficeSuite with dynamic SD-WAN solutions like Windstream SD-WAN Concierge. For anyone looking to update their current network to support ongoing needs and their move to cloud, it would provide a lot of answers.
Check out our webinar Get high performance communications with UCaaS and SD-WAN to learn more about this game-changing combination.