Gartner sees shift to hybrid cloud unified communications

Moving UC to the cloud could be expensive if dealing with a high-demand environment, says analyst Geoff Johnson.

Australian businesses are moving towards a hybrid cloud approach to their unified communications services, according to Gartner analyst Geoff Johnson.

Today, 95 per cent of businesses’ unified communications are kept on premise, including telephony, email, messaging and videoconferencing, Johnson told Computerworld Australia, ahead of this week’s Gartner Symposium on the Gold Coast. The trend now is to move more of these services to the cloud and companies are thinking carefully about which ones, he said.

Moving UC services to the cloud is sometimes less and sometimes more expensive than keeping them on premise, Johnson said.

“It depends on the specification,” he said. “If it’s the same level of specification, one for one, there’s lots of opportunity to commoditise in the cloud.

“But if you’re in a high-demand environment like a bank or trading floor where they’ve got lots of client requirements, that’s going to be more expensive than a very basic user like a university student population that might use Google apps.”

Small and medium-sized enterprises are the “real obvious adopters” of cloud-based UC services, since cloud is on demand and requires no capital or operational spending, Johnson said.

Security has lessened as a concern for companies mulling a move to the cloud, the Gartner analyst said. Many companies have come to “realise that the large-scale service providers’ security environment is generally more secure than they could provide for themselves,” he said. Those providers tend to have bigger teams with greater security expertise, he said.

Johnson sees mobile as “the least well-delivered component of unified communications". Most businesses do not have all their core applications available in a mobile context, he said. “But if you look at uptake of mobile devices ... it’s clearly an imperative for consumer and business users.”

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Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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