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Why the telecom transition makes it a good time for UC

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Federal agencies are increasingly taking a serious look at their existing telecommunications infrastructure now that migrations to the General Services Administration's Enterprise Information Services contract are beginning to take shape.

The $50 billion telecommunications solutions contract offers federal offices significant opportunities to not only improve services, but reduce both capital and operating costs. With the need for secure, reliable communications at an all-time government high, the solutions on EIS aren't just in the "nice to have" category, they're things your office "must have" if it is to continue meeting critical missions well.

One of the significant benefits offered by EIS is a full range of cloud-based solutions. Everything from applications to total Unified Communications is available via EIS. While federal offices may have once been hesitant to move communications to a cloud-based environment, they are no more. Even before EIS, multiple civilian and defense agencies began moving communications-related services to the cloud. 

And why not? The cost benefits of cloud solutions have long been established. Capital cost savings, better managed operating expenses, elimination of costly upgrades and repairs are just some of the major saving features of cloud solutions. The financial benefits of adopting cloud solutions are well-documented and accepted among federal agencies.

Security, too, is enhanced. Contractors must adhere to rigorous FedRAMP and FISMA standards. Cloud systems, themselves, offer advanced survivability features above what is frequently available from more traditional approaches. Secure supply chain requirements ensure that contractors are offering only properly-sourced, secure solutions.

One feature of the EIS contract that's getting a lot of early attention is the ability for federal agencies to obtain cloud-based Unified Communications solutions. These systems embody the security and reliability discussions above. A good, FedRAMP accredited, cloud UC solution offers federal offices a complete range of advanced communications capabilities – including voice, call management, unified messaging, video-conferencing, and even (if not hosted) centralized session initiated protocol (SIP) trunks. All of these services can be scaled to meet the needs of any customer.

Even better, no longer are customers considering a cloud-based UC solution tied to the proprietary technologies of just one company. Being "locked in" to one solution has been a significant factor holding some customers back from obtaining all of the benefits a cloud-based UC solution has. No one likes having their options limited.

Today, however, UC solutions are available via EIS from companies offering true "best of breed" solutions that feature components from a variety of original equipment manufacturers. Now solutions can be flexibly tailored and properly scaled to focus on what the solution must do to support the customer, rather than requiring the customer to adapt its operations to how the solution, itself, works. Not only do federal offices obtain the best overall operating solution, they're not tied-in to one company's technology and can ensure that they pay only for features they will actually use.

The "vendor agnostic" approach to acquiring cloud UC solutions offers federal buyers significant savings not just over traditional telecommunications offerings, but better functionality and savings vs. a single-OEM approach. Cloud-based UC solutions could be the answer to your federal office's efforts to upgrade its current telecommunications infrastructure. They offer security, substantial new capabilities, cost savings, and true freedom to scale while using only the applications you need.

About the Author

Steve Boberski is vice president of Collab9, a FedRAMP Authorized UC-as-a-service provider.

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