One common theme in Unified Communications strategy surrounds choosing premise based, DIY solutions versus hosted solutions. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is featured in these discussions, especially since the upfront capital expenditures to deploy a solution can immediately put a halt to the good intentions. While Microsoft’s Skype for Business integration with Office 365 has made the goal of installing an Enterprise UC solution more tangible, there are still some barriers to consider with a DIY Skype for Business deployment.
Requires Expertise in multiple disciplines: If you have a staff that is stacked with knowledge ranging from Operating Systems, virtualization, networking, PSTN, VoIP, etc., and they have the time to embark on a wide scale deployment, then this won’t be too taxing. But you are also drowning in a wealth of riches! Most IT people specialize in one area, and hiring in experienced IT staff can get very expensive.
High Deployment Cost: There are upfront hardware/software investments, as well as costs for building redundancy into your network infrastructure (Internet, PSTN, Power, Hardware).
Complexity: Configuring, integrating, testing and troubleshooting all components of a solution can take 4-5 months to complete in a mid market business.
3rd Party Applications: Deployment and integration of 3rd party applications need to be tested within your existing environment, and in addition to being time consuming, can mean additional expense if upgrades are needed to make your solution work.
Long Delivery/Deployment Time: The average deployment of an on premise UC solution in a company of about 250 people takes 9 to 12 months.
What does this mean to your bottom line?
A recent exercise performed by AltiGen Communications revealed that, in a typical DIY Skype for Business, fully redundant deployment at a 250 employee company, the upfront costs were $186,958 for harware, software and installation, plus $11,449 monthly recurring operating expense. A similar hosted solution ran the same company $67,500/year, with no upfront CAPEX costs. This represented a savings of $396,634 over 3 years! After the initial 3 years, the DIY solution will anticipate higher costs to upgrade and refresh their solution, whereas a hosted solution is future proof, with no outdated hardware or software to worry about, and ability to scale up or down as needed.