Nov 14 2013

6 Benefits of Cloud Collaboration for Federal Agencies

When it comes to collaboration, cloud-based technology offers several key benefits. Here's a closer look.

Cloud-based technology offers an extremely compelling value proposition. As federal employees expectations for remote access to data and applications increase, agencies will need to leverage public, private or hybrid clouds to give workers the tools they need. What follows are common benefits that, depending on the situation, an agency might expect to gain from a cloud-deployed collaboration solution.

1. Little or no capital expenditure

Cloud providers enable organizations to implement new, highly useful collaboration technologies without having to make large upfront capital expenditures for software licenses, new hardware and the labor it requires to install and configure them.

Instead, enterprises can leverage a service provider’s existing infrastructure and pay for solutions on a subscription basis as an operating expense. Expenses tied to upgrades also disappear, as providers automatically upgrade their offerings to clients at no expense to them.

2. Rapid time-to-benefit

Conventional deployments can take weeks or months before new collaboration tools are properly installed and configured. Cloud-based solutions, on the other hand, can be ready to use within hours. This rapid deployability also means that cloud solutions more readily lend themselves to efficient proof-of-concept pilots that allow decision- makers to fully verify the value of a new collaboration tool before green-lighting a rollout across the entire organization.

3.Offloaded management and maintenance

Under the cloud model, all ongoing management, maintenance and upgrading of software, servers, storage and other solution components is offloaded to the service provider. This allows organizations to augment their technology portfolios without having to hire new staff. It also allows their IT staff to stay focused on high- value tasks, rather than routine technology upkeep.

4. Adaptive alignment of cost and capacity

With in-house implementations, enterprises can’t easily keep their costs and capacity aligned with their current needs. Either they overspend on excess licenses and infrastructure to ensure their ability to accommodate possible growth in demand, or they wind up unable to meet that increased demand when it occurs.

This conundrum disappears with the cloud because organizations can simply add or subtract from their subscriptions as necessary to keep their costs and capacity tightly aligned with their needs over time.

5. Easier, more secure extension of collaboration tools

To extend conventional, internally deployed collaboration systems to mobile users, home-based workers and external contractors, IT departments have to do a number of things that cost money, take time and potentially expose an enterprise’s core systems to new vulnerabilities. Cloud-based systems present none of those difficulties, because anyone logging in from anywhere is authenticated and given access to collaboration resources in the same secure manner.

6. Better service levels

Internally deployed collaboration systems are among the many diverse technologies for which internal IT staff members are responsible. These diverse responsibilities limit the speed and skill with which IT staff members can respond to any issues that arise with an organization’s collaboration environment.

Learn more in our free white paper Special Delivery: UC Collaboration in the Cloud.