One of the leading enterprise opportunities for MNOs lies in the communications and collaboration space. There are two distinct options to deliver those services: on-premises software or software as a service. These options provide a similar, if not identical, user experience but represent different deployment models and cost structures.
UCC on-premises software
UCC encompasses applications and solutions that consolidate the different communication and collaboration services that business users need into, ideally, a single interface and user experience. These services are voice and video calls, voicemail, instant messaging, voice and video conferencing, whiteboard and screen sharing, and, in some cases, additional elements such as fax and email.
From the MNO’s point of view, a UCC solution requires the deployment of different software elements into the network—such as a UCC application server, conferencing server, media server and session border controller—and clients and devices at the customer premises. Desktop software clients, mobile clients/apps and IP desk phones are some on-premises examples.
Deploying an MNO owned UCC solution provides some benefits:
- Full control/ownership of the solution
- Tighter security assurances
- Custom disaster recovery plans
- Opportunity for differentiation—for example, with custom features or applications.
- Tight integration with networks and supporting systems
But all these benefits come with some disadvantages:
- Up-front payment, typically as CAPEX
- Capacity dimensioning that accounts for future growth
- Hardware, storage, power, cooling and maintenance OPEX costs
- Less frequent service updates that limit the availability of new features
- Slower time to market
UCC as a Service
A UCC solution in the cloud, typically in a multitenancy model, that offers the services in a consumption model with a periodically recurring fee.
From an MNO point of view, deploying a UCC as a Service (UCaaS) solution means letting a third party, such as Mavenir, deliver a white-labeled service from a managed cloud environment. The third party takes care of all the network elements, keeps the software running and updated to the latest features and provides a white-label solution with a wholesale recurring price that the MNO can bring to market with their own brand, marketing, pricing and value proposition. It is basically an outsourcing exercise that is transparent to the end user.
The advantages of using UCaaS in an MNO environment are:
- CAPEX savings—no hardware to purchase or maintain.
- OPEX model—buy at wholesale, sell with a margin, get a profit; your expenses are reduced to marketing and cost of sales.
- Flexibility and scalability—pay as you grow, typically per seat and with different service levels or feature bundles. No need to over-dimension or pay for unused capacity.
- Faster go to market—no network and capacity planning, CAPEX approvals or network integrations mean you could deploy in weeks instead of months.
- More competitive—new features are constantly added by your UCaaS provider and made available to your users on their devices via application updates.
- Built-in disaster recovery and business continuity—UCaaS solutions are typically deployed in geographically redundant configurations that allow users to continue operating in case of natural disasters or disruptions.
The main disadvantages of a UCaaS solution are:
- Reduced control of the solution—web portals and tools are provided to manage the users and their services, but the MNO has no control over the network topology, architecture or routing.
- Security assurance is provided by the UCaaS provider, but the MNO will be held accountable by the user, so there will have to be mechanisms to ensure security complies with regulations.
- Less differentiation—as other competitors may be reselling the same solution from the same vendor.
MNOs can choose to deploy the UCC software on their own premises or as a managed cloud service (UCaaS), depending on how the total cost of ownership (TCO) analysis works out best for each network provider.
No matter what the choice is, Mavenir’s Mobile-Native UCC solutions provide additional advantages for MNOs that conventional UCC solutions can’t provide and represent a more competitive option to tap into the enterprise market.