Now is a time of rapid change for communications infrastructure. Businesses are embracing this dynamic shift and discovering the many benefits of cloud-based solutions designed to meet the evolving needs of a highly mobile workforce.

A recent Frost & Sullivan study shows that CIOs now focus on cloud-based solutions in all areas of IT, and traditional unified communications (UC) are migrating from on-premise solutions to cloud offerings known as Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). This shift can be partially attributed to the need to streamline IT operations and reduce capital expenses. However, the most important benefit to enterprises is the ability to use UCaaS to satisfy the needs of an increasingly mobile workforce.

As more people opt to work away from their desks, IT organizations must ensure that they have access to voice, text, presence, conferencing and collaboration, and video. Employees must also have the ability to utilize these services on any device including tablets, smartphones, IP phones, and PCs.

Early hosted and cloud-based unified communications (UC) promised simple solutions for IT burdens. But, the simplification and management of this “technology soup” was difficult.  These initial models fell short of meeting actual needs, operating mostly as add-ons to existing VoIP technologies. They focused on voice and voice-related features, adding only thinly integrated chat, presence, and varying degrees of collaboration like screen sharing.

This was not enough.

Mobility, messaging, security, and quality of service (QoS) are critical elements in an effective unified communications offer. Successful providers must focus on the total customer experience, not just the products. They must be able to integrate technology and long-term vision, bringing these aspects together with the business processes of their clients.

A hosted/cloud UC offer that truly addresses the needs of an enterprise IT organization and its consumers requires an end-to-end approach. Successful providers must not only deliver the UC application, but also local loops/access, security (VPNs, firewalls, UTM), QoS, and a highly reliable backbone network to manage and route traffic across geographies. Mobility integration and business process integration, including technologies like WebRTC, are also required to ensure a seamless experience across a user’s choice of modalities.

While a typical Tier-1 carrier has the network to support and serve the needs of the enterprise market, it is the smaller service providers that have the capability, flexibility, and agility to deliver end-to-end solutions specific to small-medium enterprises. Cloud-based communications infrastructure, with integrated UCaaS, is an IT imperative that minimizes complexity while providing solutions.

NetFortris is the perfect example of a service provider with the network, access, security infrastructure, applications, and ability to deliver complete hosted/cloud UC solutions to the dynamic enterprise market, and I am excited to join the NetFortris team. They offer a unique mix of a private high-speed network, broad security solutions, applications, and services on a platform designed to enhance customer experience—all backed by an expert professional services organization.