Migrating your communications to the cloud does involve a lot of operational change to your core business systems, however, with careful planning, the benefits can be huge.
Determine your business goals
Before you implement a cloud solution, understand your organisation’s short and long-term goals. Are you looking to streamline processes, offer a more personalised customer experience or maybe free up IT resources? Knowing which outcomes are important to your business will help you select the most appropriate cloud solution.
Review your budget
Accurately comparing costs for on-premises and cloud telephony systems is about more than just the price tag. Gather data about your existing investment, including licensing fees, hardware and infrastructure costs, and don’t forget to factor in maintenance costs and associated resources. Evaluate which expenses will go and when, and how they may change, for example, from CapEx to OpEx.
A STEP-BY-STEP PROJECT TIMELINE
Having set your objectives and budget, you can start planning your cloud migration. As with any initiative, giving your team adequate time to plan, analyse and test your cloud solution will help keep your migration on track.
12 MONTHS IN ADVANCE:
- Review your current solution(s) and contract terms, being aware of contract expiration dates and penalties.
- Understand your current financial investment and what may still be owed.
- Review your current provider’s solution portfolio to ascertain if they offer a cloud solution to match your current on-premises system.
- Survey employees on their opinion of the current system, plus ‘wish list’ items.
11 MONTHS IN ADVANCE:
Identify and establish your core project team, ideally comprising of:
- A C-suite executive, to help enthuse staff and remove potential obstacles internally.
- Technology experts with an intimate knowledge of existing systems and technical resources.
- Business advocate(s) who, as cross-functional leaders, understand how communications tools fit the corporate goals.
- A project manager to keep the project on track, managing administrative elements such as project plans and status update meetings.
- Early adopters, from various roles and departments who will be a sounding board for early cloud solution designs, help with testing and evangelise the final solution.
8-10 MONTHS IN ADVANCE
Review your current business processes and consider how they impact on productivity or the customer experience. Do they help or hinder your organisation’s ability to differentiate or grow?
Conduct an audit of key technologies that support business processes. Look at which solutions integrate with your current phone system and which don’t, but should. Then, compare processes and technologies against your organisational goals and consider how much growth or change is expected in the long and short term.
6-8 MONTHS IN ADVANCE
Research potential vendors and identify between three and five to short list. Look for providers with established expertise in business communications and a track record of reliable, high quality solutions. Use reviews sites like Trustpilot, Google Reviews or Feefo to understand what their clients say about their service.
Seek a solution that simplifies the user experience by offering multiple communications channels in a single interface, whilst supporting other app integrations. Finally, ensure vendors have not only the features you need today, but show clear signs of future-proofed innovation.
3-6 MONTHS IN ADVANCE
Evaluate your short-listed vendors and ask for a demo. Be clear on which features are important for you to see and ask how frequently new features are released. Check which features are included in the subscription price and also find out about scalability for new users and the potential for customised functionality.
Ask about the cloud architecture and security options. Vendors should be able to provide details on their network and application redundancy, service uptime, security measures and monitoring practices. Also investigate their implementation and support packages, from the initial implementation phase and ongoing support.
1-3 MONTHS IN ADVANCE
Consider a phased approach by piloting your cloud solution with a small group initially to resolve any issues before wider deployment. Anticipate potential obstacles, ensuring that the core team is fully on board with project delivery, with clear timelines and processes from the start. It may also help to create an internal communications document and training plan to overcome potential resistance and improve employee collaboration.
DRIVING CLOUD ADOPTION
It’s important to engage with early adopters, giving them tools and support to promote the new solution. With multiple generations in the workplace and a growing number of remote workers, no training solution will fit all. Include a mix of training methods such as online learning, group workshops and webinars.
Finally, you cannot overcommunicate! Think about engaging an internal communications expert to advise on best practices during the deployment process.
Download a pdf version of the blog here
Learn more about how Blackstar’s cloud telephony and unified communications solutions can make your migration to the cloud a success. Call us to request a demo on 0333 123 2123.