6 Easy Steps for Moving Your Phone System to the Cloud
If you’re planning to move your telecommunications to the cloud, you may be feeling a little stressed. That’s especially true if you’re transitioning from a legacy on-premises phone system. But have no fear. These seven 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
Next, assemble an internal team who will oversee the process of selecting and implementing your new cloud phone system. As you put the team together, remember that bigger is not always better. Typically, a C-suite member is essential to ensure someone who can keep the bigger picture in mind and authorize final decisions. Another key member is a technical expert with a firm understanding of the IT and technology needs of both employees and customers. Finally, the team needs someone with a deep understanding of business processes and human workflow to ensure your new solution meets employee needs. 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 customer service efforts. 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. Be sure to evaluate reviews, testimonials and analyst insights before creating your vendor shortlist.
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. Be sure to develop a standard set of questions so you can compare apples to apples. Questions should cover such topics as infrastructure, support, ease of use, customization and integration capabilities. A tailored demonstration of the phone system is also a must.
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 with careful planning, you can be confident your project will be executed as smoothly as possible.
eGuide: Key Questions to Ask When Evaluating UCaaS Providers
Planning the switch to a cloud phone system? Find the best VoIP provider for your needs by downloading our free eGuide which includes 12 key categories you'll want to include in your conversations with vendors and RFPs.