The aging communications infrastructures of various colleges and universities across the globe are producing significant challenges for their leaders. As these administrators search for cost-effective but scalable solutions, the necessity of improving and integrating the communications technology has emerged as a primary concern, but a concern with a tailor-made solution: Cloud communications. Be it public, private, or hybrid, the Cloud could potentially solve all aspects of this infrastructure dilemma, while ensuring systems evolution into the future at minimal costs.
In a recent study of an NEC hybrid Cloud communication implementation at Millersville University, Pennsylvania, researchers found the outdated communications systems, the serving of multiple departments, and the need for business continuity to be prioritized challenges of the university. With the implementation of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and a solid contact center, the result was a better use of IT resources, improved customer service, and decreased complexity.
Five key reasons for higher education institutions to move to Cloud communications stood out.
1. Capital Investment
With the ever-changing and fast-improving technological infrastructure of our world, major capital investment can be risky. This is the time for CAPEX (capital expenditure) to be replaced by OPEX (operating expenditure), significantly reducing the upfront expense requirements. Though the CAPEX/OPEX question is never a simple one, typically Cloud implementations and OPEX promise greater flexibility. Moreover, OPEX funding arrangements are available across public, private, and hybrid IT architectures.
2. Value for Money
While the latest and greatest is always nice to have, it tends to come with a hefty price tag, and a majority of the available features are likely to be used only by the minority. Balancing actual requirements with budget available is easy to do thanks to Cloud providers and their pay-as-you-go communications solutions. Adding on the nice to haves after all of the must haves have been accounted for is an effortless mouse click exercise, and dropping a service that seemed essential but in practice isn’t won’t result in redundant hardware or excessive costs.
A sprawling campus may tend towards an extensive infrastructure, but when implementing Cloud technology, this need not be the case. Typical Cloud solutions include built in support, thus minimizing campus IT infrastructure requirements while providing top-of-the-line assistance and maintenance. Instead of padding out the hardware and staff requirements, Cloud features unfold invisibly and seamlessly.
4. Varied Telephone Requirements
Perhaps even more so than typical organizations, educational institutions have a diverse range of needs concerning telephonic features. From central inbound and outbound switchboards to department-specific call centers to individual access for academics, a tangled nightmare could ensure. But Cloud promises the greatest flexibility with the easiest installation, additionally allowing customization of features per user.
Faculty, staff and students tend to be scattered across campus and housed in multiple buildings, and Cloud solutions allow for the most elasticity with a single product. As the institution grows and extends, Cloud scalability ensures easy expansion to meet new needs without leaving redundant hardware in its wake.
By Jennifer Klostermann