More Affordable Unified Communications? Go Hybrid.

It seems weird. To make the most of your cloud-based communications investment, you may want to integrate an on-prem element. But that’s how it is. If you have a large team, the savings that come from integrating a physical device that lets you own your phone system (and not pay others for that service) add up quick. Let me explain.

Cloud with dotted lines to chat, laptop, phone, and cellphone with wifi icon

Unified Communications

Communications platforms, such as Microsoft® Teams, let users collaborate through voice and video meetings, instant messaging, and presence tools. However, phone calls, text messaging and faxing — incredibly important capabilities for most organizations — must be bolted on if your team is going to do all their internal and external-facing communication within one tool. That is the main goal of unified communications, after all.

Of course, those platforms offer the add-on telephony service. Purchasing directly from them is a no-brainer in terms of creating a seamless experience. However, that convenience comes at a cost. Depending on how many users you have and how much they’ll use those services, a potentially very large cost. Why is that?

User-Based Pricing

Cloud-based voice calling services tend to require a set cost per user. These individual calling plan set-ups ask organizations to cough up for every person requiring a line. And they impose usage limits, with upcharges for your people who spend a lot of time on calls. Again, for example, Microsoft Teams Phone costs $15 per user per month with a domestic calling limit of 3,000 minutes per user before additional blocks of minutes must be purchased. Both as an approach and a reality, the more people you have and the more they use their phone, the more you pay.

There are alternatives to using the phone services offered directly by the communications platform companies. To be transparent, though, they are structured the same way. Maybe not priced so steeply, but your savings are somewhat limited.

Session Border Controller (SBC)

That’s why I recommend expert integration of a session border controller, such as a Cisco® Unified Border Element (CUBE). It’s a game changer. This edge device essentially cuts out the middleman. The device allows direct routing and gives you full access to your public switched telephone network (PTSN), enabling customers to adopt a “bring-your-own-carrier” (BYOC) approach and facilitating co-existence with legacy voice and unified communications systems. You manage your own lines and, once integrated, only pay what you would typically pay the phone company. That $15 per user per month cited above — totally gone. If you have 250 users, this solution often pays for itself within about a year.

You Have Options

So, cloud-based communication doesn’t have to rely exclusively on cloud-based solutions. In fact, a hybrid approach to phone integration can be a big win.

As normal process, GMI assesses your situation before presenting a plan. Regardless of your scenario, our team of specialists can help you make the most of your collaboration investments.

Give us a ping to learn more.

Sean Schuett

Sean Schuett

As one of GMI’s Solution Architects, Sean is adept at solving helping customers get the most from their collaboration tools. Previously an Engineer with more than 17 years in the trenches, he has hands-on experience with VoIP and other telephony solutions. A one-time DJ, Sean loves good music and having good times.

Cisco Partner