With so much information coming out about the cloud and hosted business telephony it is easy to get inundated, but with the market showing the move is inevitable it is understandable for you to be asking yourself “How do I get on to the cloud?”
Admittedly It can be rather stressful, particularly if you need to migrate your current legacy on-premises phone system in order to realise the benefits of hosted telephony. Any changes to your core business is daunting – but have no fear. These six steps will help you become familiar with the process and alleviate any potential anxiety.
Step 1: Know Your Current Terms
Before you begin the move, verify the terms of your current contract. Review all documents and expiration dates with any current vendors, and be sure to note any lead times required for ending an agreement. This is also the time to determine your budget requirements.
Step 2: Build Your Core Team
You should then assemble an internal team who will oversee the process of selecting and implementing your new cloud telephony system. This should be made up of users from different departments to ensure the business’ needs as a whole are met. Once formed, this team should meet regularly to communicate decisions and progress updates against deadlines.
Step 3: Audit Your Needs
Over the next two to three months, the core team will evaluate your current communications technology and identify areas that need improvement. This includes reviewing the costs associated with the current system and how it may be hindering various department’s needs. Surveying or interviewing users in various roles, along with external audiences like partners and customers, is a great way to get a broad perspective on likes, dislikes, challenges and future desires for your new solution. Other key areas to focus on are budgetary constraints, compliance measures and scalability requirements.
Step 4: Research the Options
Once you’ve outline your requirements, you can begin the process of researching cloud VoIP providers. There are a number of cloud communications companies out there so it is important to find one you are comfortable with and can answer any questions you might have. This is an important step and whilst we would prefer you chose us, being both a ShoreTel platinum partner and a Mitel Gold partner, the key for success is finding the right partner for your needs.
Step 5: Establish a Vetting Process
The process to vet vendors can take two to three months. This time should be used to gauge how well each solution addresses your current and future needs, along with learning more about each vendor’s implementation process so that you understand how long the process will take. A tailored demonstration of the phone system is also a must in order to truly understand the benefits of hosted telephony solutions as each has their own nuances.
Step 6: Prepare for Launch
Once you’ve selected a vendor and signed a contract, it’s time to draft a formal implementation plan. Be sure to partner with your vendor in plan development and stay focused. Remember that adding unnecessary features or changing the scope of the system can have negative impacts on budget, timeline and end-user adoption. Additionally, as part of this phase it will be important to develop a communications plan for affected departments and a timeline for roll-out. Giving extra attention to these areas will be important in ensuring a smooth rollout and ongoing user adoption.
Moving your communications to the cloud may seem like a daunting task, but the benefits of hosted telephony speak for themselves. With careful planning, you can be confident your project will be executed as smoothly as possible.
If you are thinking about cloud, but want to better understand the benefits and features to make your decision, why not download our whitepaper "Why You Should Consider A Cloud Phone System". This whitepaper puts some of the key benefits together in a clear and concise way which should answer any questions you have around cloud migration.
Or if you are pressed for time, why not take a look at our eBook "10 reasons for Hosted Business Telephony" which again looks at the key reasons businesses are increasingly moving their communications to the cloud, however this is explained succinctly and in 10 key points;