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09/01
2018
Planning your migration to a cloud-hosted telephone system
Posted by James Hooker on 09/01 at 10:00 AM Cloud hosted telephone systems, Telephone systems, Unified communications,
Migrate to the cloud image

There’s a lot to think about with any operational change, especially one that involves core business systems. But migrating your communications to the cloud is not as risky or complicated as it may seem.

 

With a bit of planning, making the switch can be relatively simple and straightforward, and can lead to big benefits. This blog includes key considerations and a step-by-step plan to help your business successfully move your communications to the cloud.

 

Before you start looking at cloud solutions suitable for larger and multi-site businesses, there are two key components that will help you set the stage for a successful migration:

 

Confirm your business goals
Get a clear understanding of your business’s short and long-term goals. e.g. Are you hoping to streamline processes, offer more personalised customer experiences or free up IT resources for other projects?

 

Cloud communications offer plenty of benefits but understanding which outcomes are most important will help you select the right solution for your business.

 

Review your budget
Accurately comparing costs for on-premise and cloud telephone systems means looking at more than just the price tag. Gather data about your existing investment, including licensing fees, hardware and infrastructure costs…and remember to factor in the costs of maintenance and associated resources.

 

As you’re setting your budget, evaluate which outlays will go away and when, how expenses will change (i.e. Capex to Opex), and shifts in resource allocations to get a holistic picture of your communications costs.

 

With your objectives and budget in place, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and plan your cloud migration project. As with any initiative, giving your team proper time to plan, analyze, test and communicate will be the key to success. Use this step-by-step timeline to keep your cloud migration on track.

 

Step-by-step timeline
12 months before: Review your current solution(s) and contract terms. Take note of contract expiration dates and penalties. Understand your financial investment to date and what, if anything, is still owed. Review your current provider’s solution suite in case it is an option to migrate to a cloud solution that is like your current on-premise system. Survey employees on likes and dislikes of your current system, plus ‘wish list’ items.

 

11 months before: Identify and establish your core team
This should ideally include IT leaders, project manager, early adopters and someone who will understand how communications tools fit into your corporate goals and can define business process requirements accordingly.

 

8-10 months before: Understand how your telephone system impacts business priorities
Identify any gaps, consider the impact on productivity, your customers’ experience and your brand, and measure its effect on your bottom line.

 

Conduct an audit of the key technologies that support your business processes. Identify which solutions integrate with your current telephone system and which don’t. Also consider how effective these integrations are and what would make them better.

 

Compare processes and technologies to your business goals, such as how much short-term growth or change is expected and what the most important benefit will be to move to the cloud.

 

6-8 months before: Research potential vendors and identify a shortlist
Seek providers with established expertise in business communications and a track record of reliable, high quality solutions.

 

Look for solutions that simplify the user experience by offering multiple communications channels in a single interface and support integrations with your other cloud applications. Ensure vendors have not only the features you need today, but show clear signs of innovation to ‘future-proof’ your decision.

 

3-6 months before: Evaluate your shortlist and select your vendor
You can achieve this by requesting a solution demonstration, asking what features are included and how frequently new ones are released. Also, ask about their cloud architecture and security, get details on their implementation and support processes, and check their financial stability.  

 

1-3 months before: Prepare your implementation and internal communication plans Consider a phased approach, starting with a pilot group to smooth out any kinks before deploying more widely. Anticipate potential obstacles but be firm on deadlines to ensure the process doesn’t drag on indefinitely. Create a documented rollout plan to build excitement that also helps to overcome resistance and prevents last-minute snags that could interrupt operations.

 

You can download this helpful step-by-step guide here. If you are at the stage of researching potential vendors, we would love to speak to you. Contact me on the email address below.

Posted by
James Hooker's avatar
James Hooker on 09/01/2018

James has worked for the company longer than anyone else on the field sales team.

He has a strong customer-centred approach, particularly interested in improving and creating innovative change through communications technology and providing effective solutions that can help achieve and exceed business needs.

Away from work, James enjoys bringing up his three children. When he is not with his family, he enjoys competing in local squash leagues.


Contact: james.hooker@swcomms.co.uk