As technology advances, traditional phone systems are being replaced by more flexible and scalable options. In this article, we will delve into the difference between on-premises, cloud, and hybrid solutions, compare their features, and focus on leading platforms like Cisco CUCM, Webex Calling, Zoom Phone, and Microsoft Teams Phone.

Types of Calling Platforms

On-Premises Calling

On-premises calling involves setting up and managing a phone system within an organization’s physical location. This means purchasing and maintaining the required hardware, software, and licenses. While on-premises calling gives businesses full control over their calling environment, allowing for enhanced compliance and security measures, it comes with substantial upfront costs and ongoing maintenance.

For example, a large financial institution that handles sensitive customer data might prefer an on-premises solution to ensure that all data remains in their network. While the initial investment and maintenance costs may be higher, the organization benefits from the added control and security measures provided by an on-premises calling solution.

Cloud Calling

Cloud calling, also referred to as hosted voice or as part of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), is a phone system that operates entirely in the cloud. With cloud calling, businesses may require minimal on-site hardware or software, as the service provider takes care of hosting and managing the environment. This approach offers many advantages, including scalability, lower upfront costs, automatic software updates, and the ability to access the system from any location.

As an example, cloud calling might be used by a global tech company with multiple offices and remote teams. By adopting a cloud-based phone system, their employees can communicate and collaborate effectively regardless of their physical location. The scalability of the cloud allows them to easily add or remove users as their business needs change, while the lower upfront costs and automatic updates ensure a cost-effective and hassle-free solution.

Hybrid Calling

Hybrid calling gives organizations the flexibility to combine their on-premises calling system with cloud-based solutions, offering the best of both worlds. It enables businesses to integrate their existing environment with the benefits of the cloud, allowing for a gradual migration. This approach is particularly useful for organizations with unique requirements or compliance needs that cannot be fully met by a cloud-only solution.

A real-world example of the use of hybrid calling might be a healthcare facility that needs to comply with strict data privacy regulations. By integrating their on-premises environment with a cloud-based solution, they can ensure that sensitive patient information remains secure within their network while taking advantage of the scalability and remote access offered by the cloud. 

Calling Platforms Compared

When it comes to calling platforms, on-premises solutions like Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) and cloud-based solutions like Microsoft Teams Phone, Webex Calling, and Zoom Phone differ in their capacity to provide certain functions. 

On-Premises Calling Platforms

Functionality: On-premises platforms like Cisco CUCM offer extensive customization options and can be tailored to meet an organization’s requirements. They provide complete control over the system’s features and capabilities, allowing for advanced call routing, telephony features such as on-hold music, VoIP, and conference calls, and integration with other on-premises applications.

Scalability: Scaling an on-premises solution can be challenging and time-consuming. Additional hardware and infrastructure need to be procured and installed, which can result in longer lead times for expansion.

Maintenance: Organizations are responsible for maintaining and updating the system themselves, including hardware, software, and security patches. This requires in-house technical expertise and ongoing investments in maintenance.

Cloud Calling Platforms 

Functionality: Cloud platforms like Microsoft Teams Phone, Webex Calling, and Zoom Phone provide a wide range of features and functionalities that can be accessed through the internet. They often offer advanced capabilities like auto-attendants, call routing, voicemail-to-email, and integrations with other cloud-based applications.

Scalability: Cloud-based solutions excel in scalability. Organizations can easily add or remove users, upgrade features, and expand capacity without the need for additional hardware or infrastructure. This allows for rapid scalability to meet changing business needs.

Maintenance: Cloud providers handle all maintenance tasks, including system updates, security patches, and backups. Organizations can then focus on their core business without worrying about technical maintenance.

Hybrid Calling Platforms

Functionality: Hybrid platforms combine the benefits of on-premises and cloud solutions. Organizations can keep critical functions on premises, leveraging platforms like Cisco CUCM, while utilizing cloud-based services like Webex Calling, Zoom Phone, and Microsoft Teams Phone for additional features and scalability.

Scalability: Hybrid solutions offer more flexibility in scaling compared to on-premises platforms. Cloud-based services can be easily expanded or contracted as needed, allowing for quicker scalability.

Maintenance: While maintaining on-premises components like Cisco CUCM, organizations can rely on the cloud provider for managing and updating the cloud-based services. This reduces the maintenance burden for certain aspects of the system.

What is the Difference Between On-Premises, Cloud, and Hybrid Platforms?

On-premises calling platforms like Cisco CUCM offer extensive customization but may be limited in scalability and require significant cost and effort to maintain. Cloud calling platforms like Microsoft Teams Phone offer a broad range of features, high scalability, and minimal maintenance requirements, allowing organizations to allocate resources elsewhere. Hybrid platforms like Webex Calling and Zoom Phone provide a balance between customization and scalability while sharing maintenance responsibilities. 

The choice of platform depends on the specific functional requirements, scalability needs, and maintenance capabilities of the organization. By choosing the right platform, you can empower your team with efficient and seamless communication, ultimately driving productivity and success.

Get Insight into Your Call Data

Whether your organization is using CUCM, Webex Calling, Zoom Phone, or Microsoft Teams Phone, you can get more out of your call data with Variphy. Our integrations offer advanced dashboards and wallboards, customizable reports, and more. Get a free, fully functional trial to see our solution in action.

Considering a move from on-premises to a hybrid or cloud calling solution? Learn how Variphy can help make the migration easier.