Best Practices for Cloud Communications Migration

Wednesday, 02 May 2018

Businesses are more mobile and connected than ever. Migrating telephony and other communications to the Cloud are one of the most sensible ways modern companies can adapt to the changing needs and increasing demands of customers and team members.

However, it should be noted that similar to other business transformation activities, migrating to the Cloud should not be done without a clear strategy. Whilst Cloud Communications come with numerous benefits and savings; it can be an expensive process if those driving the project don't communicate a clear plan of action.

Businesses have a range of options, including Public or Private Cloud, and/or hybrid solutions. Some chose to keep some aspects of their system on-site, even if this is only a redundant backup PBX. There is also a range of infrastructure options, such as dedicated, hosted and virtualized.

Whatever systems and hosting solution you choose, there are a series of steps that need to be taken, based on industry best practise and our experience of migrating numerous companies.

Best Practice: Cloud Communications Action Plan

#1: Assemble your migration team
Small businesses should have at least one director responsible for the project. Whereas, in larger organisations, a team should be formed from different departments, e.g. customer services, operations, IT; to ensure the relevant parties are in constant contact during the project. This team should have senior management sponsorship and the right resources and permissions to drive the project forward.

So, this goes smoothly after implementation, ensure you take end-users views and feedback into consideration before commencing the project.

#2: Outline your objectives
Each business will have its own aims, but everyone we work with has one core aim: to ensure the migration is smooth and as seamless as possible. Keeping disruption to a minimum is important. Within these aims, think about the other systems that need integrating with your principle telephony systems and staff mobile contracts. Aiming for a unified system, one that connects multiple communication channels is realistic and achievable for most budgets. It’s better to include these aims at this stage than ask for another integration during the process.

#3: Assess current contracts, hardware and licenses
Over the years, most companies accumulate a mishmash of communication channels and contracts. This can get confusing and expensive. Before going ahead, review where you stand with your contracts so that you know what has ended, what will end soon, and which have already expired. Share this information with the Cloud partner you select to manage your migration, telephony contracts and systems.

#4: Do a systems discovery
Not everything about a legacy communication system is how it appears. Review which channels and hardware rely on third-party solutions, then outline how/whether you can replace these with something more agile. Some of these may come with their own contracts, so check what has already expired or what will expire soon.

#5: Plan the roadmap
Working with your new business communications partner, plan the roadmap you need to get from where you are to your simplified, Unified Cloud-based goal. Thanks to the work you’ve already done and the team you assembled (stage 1), this step should be relatively painless, resulting in a clear roadmap and timeline that you can put into action.

After the systems have been migrated, test them. Make sure end-users and admin/managers can use them without difficulty and provide training as needed. Cloud providers will also help with this stage, as much or as little as you need. Once all of this is done, you can retire your legacy systems and in some cases, sell the PBX (Private Branch Exchange) and other pieces of hardware, potentially recouping some of the initial investment.

Cheat sheet: Migrating from ISDN to SIP – A Roadmap download.

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