Cloud UC and hosted UC have fundamentally different architectures, the merits of which have often been debated from a technology perspective. From an end customer standpoint, cloud and hosted can be seen as synonymous. The customer understands the benefits of both approaches over a premises-based PBX, but might have difficulty discerning the intricate differences between the two.
From a VAR perspective, however, the approach selected can cause significant business impact. In the hosted model, the VAR can either procure the platform directly from vendors and then host it, or procure it as service from another provider. For most VARs, hosting the platform and doing the back-end integration for telecom services is not their core competency and requires significant investment. Procuring the service from a third party is the simpler option, but the service provider has to pay license fees to the platform vendor in addition to configuring and managing the hosted environment, and these costs will be passed on to the VAR.
Companies that offer a true cloud model—like Thinking Phone Networks—deliver a complete solution that includes a multi-tenant redundant platform with integrated telecom services deployed in distributed data centers. This approach simplifies the deployment model for a VAR and provides significant benefits, including higher margins due to cutting out the third party service provider; a more competitive bundle package for end customers; the ability to compete more effectively against CLECs and ISPs that sell bundled voice with IP PBX services; simplified deployment; and reduced service activation time.
In addition, cloud UC offers faster feature rollout because all features are available as soon as they are released—not when the third party hosting the platform can perform the rollout. Finally, the cloud provides a simplified robust redundancy model at a lower cost; savings that VARs can pass on to their end customers.