- On June 23, 2017
Making the change from a traditional phone system to cloud telephony should result in considerable savings while delivering added functionality that truly drives your business.
With no onsite infrastructure, the migration process itself is significantly easier and faster than with on-premise solutions. However, it is still valuable to be as prepared as possible so that the migration runs smoothly and you’re up and running quickly.
This guide offers a brief checklist of steps that should be taken to ensure an effective cloud telephony migration.
- Choose Your Provider Wisely
It’s a safe bet that the main reason you’re considering migrating to cloud telephony is because you understand that you can make considerable savings on your telecoms bill. But how much of a saving depends on your chosen provider.
Look for a provider that asks for no upfront costs, no long-term contractual tie-in and no need for equipment on site other than handsets. They should free updates for their system, and offer free calls between all locations worldwide. All you should pay for is for the number of extensions in use each month.
Once you’re satisfied with your choice of cloud telephony provider, they should provide you with details of their own onboarding process and guide you through their migration process.
TIP: Don’t opt for a cloud telephony provider without fully trialing their service offering, on a no-obligation basis, first. Treat this as a test-run for the service experience you’ll receive when utilising it organisation-wide.
- Document Your Present & Projected Status
You need to collate all the information you have about your present and projected telephony usage. This will be essential when transferring from your incumbent provider to the new service. Details should include:
- Names and locations/address of each user
- List of telephone numbers, correlated to user
- Details of telecom service provider/s, related to which users/numbers
- Who at your organisation is authorised to make changes to services held with the incumbent provider
- Details of any users with exceptional requirements (e.g. users who make very large numbers of international calls as part of their job)
It’s also worth finding out what mobile devices are in use among your staff, either by consulting your IT asset register (if you provide devices to staff) or by checking what kind of personally-owned devices they use for work purposes. Your cloud telephony provider should be able to provide softphones that work with the major device operating systems to enable maximum mobility among your workforce.
TIP: If you’ve already undertaken a needs analysis as part of your provider evaluation, some of this will come in handy here. Use it to prepare for the switchover process as well as accurately forecasting your new telephony budget.
- Assess Current Network Infrastructure
Some organisations migrating from old TDM-based PBX systems may never have considered the minimum network requirements that all modern telephony services need to meet in order to operate effectively. Each are typically well within the scope of a standard business network, but you still need to check what parameters your chosen service provider recommends and take the opportunity to determine:
- Your internet bandwidth to each site (so that this is sufficient to support the anticipated number of concurrent calls)
- The network throughput performance of your core LAN infrastructure, as well as your WAN (network infrastructure connecting up your various sites, if applicable)
- Similarly, for any Wi-Fi infrastructure, if you plan to use this to support telephony
- The correct configuration of modems, routers, switches and firewalls to enable QoS (quality of service) and VoIP prioritisation
- Power over Ethernet, to enable handsets to operate without separate power and connectivity cables
- The quality of existing cabling within each site
TIP: You won’t need your old PBX anymore, so consider putting it on eBay for specialist collectors to bid for. Don’t be too hasty about throwing handsets away though. Check to see how many of these are compatible with the cloud telephony service and re-use them where necessary.
- Prepare staff
Use of a modern, effective communications platform has been proven to deliver increased productivity, enhanced customer service levels and greater business agility. Cloud telephony the ideal vehicle for creating these and many more benefits.
Getting staff engaged is a valuable step in any technology migration as it promotes adoption and helps demystifies preconceptions. Cloud telephony is a positive opportunity for staff to get excited about communications, showing individuals that you take seriously their demands for a full-featured, future-proofed communications experience that helps them do their jobs better.
TIP: Don’t get users bogged down with technical detail as the delivery model surrounding cloud telephony is nowhere near as relevant to them as the benefits it offers. Demonstrate how they can use its capabilities to the collective advantage of the business, and encourage them to collaborate and experiment with ways of using it to improve workflows and business processes.
- Get ready to move quickly
Cloud telephony migrations can be executed within comparatively short timescales, with delays reduced further when you plan accordingly. Try to identify what it will take to support the rapid delivery of your cloud telephony project from a process perspective. In particular, ensure you have:
- Primed a designated individual to take delivery of any new handsets associated with the cloud telephony migration so that you have no delays to getting started. This is critically important where you have multiple sites, with a designated individual at each.
- Informed your email provider to whitelist inbound traffic from your cloud telephony provider to ensure you don’t inadvertently block important services notifications or treat new IP ranges as untrusted.
- Bookmarked service portals for easy reference and circulated relevant documentation to users and administrators as appropriate.
TIP: If this is your first foray into cloud IT services, then start thinking in terms of minutes and hours, rather than weeks and months. Cloud telephony migrations can be implemented almost too rapidly for some organisations that have grown used to the slow management and development cycles associated with traditional IT.
According to IDC, 50% of all IT spend will be cloud-based by 2018. In line with so many business applications and services – from email to CRM/ERP – telephony is moving to the cloud for maximum flexibility, resilience and cost benefits.
Cloud telephony migration is typically rapid and painless; in stark contrast to traditional phone systems that require intensive resources and skills to execute. By following these steps and selecting the right cloud telephony provider, your organisation is assured to come out on the right side of change.