Isolated or Integrated Systems, Which Are You? & Why?

Posted by Morgan Hurley on 24/04/17 12:33 PM
Morgan Hurley

The implementation styles of either integrated or isolated systems directly impact user adoption and therefore the overall success of the business communications solution. A fully integrated system does have a larger up front cost, but when you think about long-term value it pays for itself. If you are a rapidly growing company that is still on the same phone system from day one, then you need to think about how an ad-hoc delivery effects the users as well as the budget. Costs associated with a fractured business process alone have a dramatic impact on the bottom line.  


Integrated Systems

For 50 or more users, businesses can determine what bundle meets their
company’s needs and maintain full ownership of the applications.

UC phone system Integration, in this case, is choosing a singular application that includes multiple features and capabilities together such as, video conferencing, IM, call metrics or simultaneous ring, that supports the various types of users in a workforce. When you stop thinking about voice, video and data as being separate entities and look at them as one it makes sense to have an integrated approach. This is because allows IT to manage with more control over costs and network resources. Utilizing an integrated system has positive effects across all three basic user groups- end users, management and IT- their requirements in daily operations. A unified communications system provides ease of on-boarding/ training, expedites employee communication and time to resolution, on top of overall centralized IT management... just to name a few. 

Isolated Systems

For 50 or fewer users, businesses can add applications as they go-
only paying for what is needed when they need it most.

Adding these apps on ad-hoc works for a company that doesn’t have a large upfront budget or a start-up that has
yet to uncover the intricacies of their business process. However, It is best to keep in mind that each application can add up fast, when using them independently from each other, they will each have their own monthly cost and don't always play well with each other.
PRO TIP: Periodically do a cost inventory to see how much it is costing you to maintain and manage them adequately. This practice may provide an arguable case for finding a better solution that is more cost effective and may be able to combine multiple applications. 

In Our Experience

We often deal with the horror stories of isolated systems.  Customers that have several sites, each with their own flavor within the system.  Initially, you would think, why does that matter?  They all have phones right? 
At the most basic level, there are three groups of user requirements: end users, management and the IT staff.  

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of isolated systems on your users

User Group Advantages  Disadvantages
End Users
  • Only training required for new users
  • Zero change/ Inconvenience
  • Users cannot call their peers in another facility
    - calling out to call back in
  • Phone directories are not consistent
  • Departments are not connected
  • Workforce isn't connected
  • Minimized upfront investment
  • Seems easier to accomplish
  • Squeaky wheel is quiet
  • Never ending Monthly fees
  • Non Optimized workforce
  • Silos of information from disconnected locations
  • Lack of consistency through organization
IT Staff
  • Users are comfortable with old system
  • Multiple management points
  • Travel and training for each system
  • Multiple vendors for support
  • Management, Management, Management = Stress

Whether you choose to have your applications separate or decide to integrate them all as one, it is important to acknowledge the pros and cons of each. Once you have looked at both, your challenge is to determine which one is the most logical and beneficial for your business.  


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Also view all parts to the Essential Guide to Understanding Business Communications- 

Part I: 3 Most Common Types of Communication in the Workforce
Part II: Deployment Options: Premise, Hosted and Hybrid, Oh My!
Part lV: Steps to A Successful Deployment