04 May 2016

To Cloud or Not To Cloud - On Premises vs Cloud

Written by Vivian Pow, Posted in Contact Center, ComputerTalk, Technology

To Cloud or Not To Cloud - On Premises vs Cloud

Organizations have many technology choices when it comes to contact centers. Both on-premises and cloud solutions deliver potential benefits, as illustrated in the comparison table below. 

Regardless of your decision, choose your providers carefully, as contact centers have complex requirements. If you need an expert to help walk you through your requirements, leave us a message here


  On-Premises Cloud
Implications Organizations that choose an on-premises system are responsible for installing, managing and maintaining all systems related to multimedia contact distribution, workforce optimization and management, customer relationship management, speech recognition, recording, etc. Organizations that choose a cloud system outsource their contact center infrastructure to a contact center vendor who maintains these systems externally.
Organizations who choose this solution
  1. Established organizations with requirements that are not likely to change drastically in the future.
  2. Organizations with heavy investments in on-premises infrastructure and want to use best of breed solutions that fit their exact business requirements.
  3. Cash-rich organizations.
  4. Organizations that want control over their technology and storage of data.
  1. Organizations or business units with multiple locations.
  2. Organizations or business units that want to pilot new features, while mitigating risk and lowering costs.
  3. Organizations that want an all-in-one contact center with a low cost of ownership.
  4. Organizations that are growing quickly and require scalability.
Location Organizations with many agents working out of one location may choose an on-premises contact center because it would be straightforward to implement. Smaller, geographically dispersed organizations and business units may choose the cloud option to gain access to the high quality telephony and the communication applications they need. Agents can handle customer requests as long as they have an internet connection and a phone, allowing for workplace and location flexibility.
Staff capabilities Staff is available and capable of managing and maintaining the on-premises contact center infrastructure. The organization has the staffing resources who can customize the solution to take advantage of the benefits, key features and functionality. Because organizations can customize the solution, they have greater latitude to make their own decisions. The organization does not have staffing resources to maintain an on-premises solution. They may not have in-house expertise to customize applications in order to take advantage of the benefits, key features, and functionality that the solution brings.
Scalability Scaling an on-premises system usually involves purchasing and installing additional hardware.  There is no elasticity in capacity-the system needs to be large enough to handle the highest volume the organization will see. A cloud contact center allows for scalability (supporting as many or as few agents as required) as well as the ability to respond rapidly to peaks and troughs in demand and in emergency or unexpected situations.
Control Some organizations prefer to keep close control of processes and data that are at the core of contact center operations and directly impact the business. The support hierarchy and change control processes may take operational level control away from the organization.
Business Model

Large up-front, asset-based on-premises solutions fall under Capex. The initial investment is large and it may require months or years for full functionality to be turned on depending on the internal processes of the organization.

Once the initial investment in tools and equipment has been paid off, an on-premises contact center should not incur much additional cost.


Opex - pay for what you use - is often associated with cloud services. Because cloud contact centers usually require low initial investment, organizations often realize quicker ROI.

It is important to consider call volumes and how that may affect monthly pricing.

Resilience Organizations have to purchase and manage a separate site, along with all the pieces required for the primary and any backup sites to function properly. Resilience can be provided more easily in a cloud scenario through offsite back-up facilities and data mirroring.

Hardware and software is the responsibility of the organization in this case, which means that backup servers and spare components need to be sourced, and maintenance paid and monitored on all hardware. 

Cloud service providers manage a large number of servers, and any hardware upgrades, maintenance, and monitoring are included in the service price.
Security Out of the options of contact center technology, the on-premises is the oldest and is perhaps viewed as the most secure option. While all data remains within the organization however, it also means that updates, auditing, and maintenance all falls within the organization. Security has more to do with policies of cloud providers, the hosting environment and network design. If the network and processes are designed correctly, then security can be as good as, if not better than, existing on-premises deployments.
Network On-premises systems run completely on the organization’s internal network.  For large numbers of users in a single location, this is often more performant and less expensive than a remote solution. Cloud services can be delivered over the internet, via private network links directly to cloud providers (MPLS), or both.  Internet based communications are appropriate for smaller organizations, or for cases where users are widely distributed, while MPLS is appropriate if a large number of users are in a single location.


In conclusion, while performance, resilience, and security are factors to consider, the preferred business model (Capex vs Opex) and the level of support an organization can internally provide for an onsite solution should be key considerations.

Some contact centers offer different features, depending on whether you opt for their on premises or cloud product. ComputerTalk's ice Contact Center offers the same features, regardless of whether you choose the cloud or on-premises version. This ensures that you can move to the cloud, without having to retrain your agents. 

on premises vs cloud

Same software, deployed the way you want. 

If you would like more information, contact us today








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About the Author

Vivian Pow