While many companies likely have a cloud adoption strategy for their data storage and application needs, when you’re considering transitioning your unified communications (UC) solution to the cloud, there are some extra points that need to be reviewed.
Traditionally, your UC system is a primary communications platform in your business, so experiencing issues with latency or stability are often harder to tolerate than they may be with other kinds of software.
Before you begin crafting your UC cloud adoption strategy, here’s what you need to know.
Define Your Ideal Environment
A UC solution has a variety of components, and you need to determine if you want them all to reside in the cloud or prefer to keep certain operations in-house. For example, some companies may want to maintain the email solution on premises and migrate VoIP, instant messaging and web conferencing to the cloud. Others may want all of the services to be cloud-based.
It is also important to select a solution where cloud-based services can either be moved to another provider or relocated back in-house should the need arise. This gives you long-term flexibility in the management of your system should a vendor be unable to meet your needs.
Which services to move to the cloud is entirely based on your needs, but it’s important to define your ideal environment before you begin pursuing anything else.
Now that you understand your preferred environment, you can begin reviewing potential providers who can meet those needs.
One point that you need to consider upfront is whether vendor lock-in may be an issue with some of the companies, especially if they are relatively new in the market or aren’t considered a tried-and-true solution. Being locked in can leave you stuck should a provider’s performance be less than ideal or if a startup goes under and shuts down, so it’s important to evaluate these restrictions before committing to a solution.
You also need to review where the providers house their platforms to make sure they will provide the level of privacy and security you require based on standard operations. If you intend to put sensitive information in the cloud, then it’s imperative that the vendor meet or exceed your internal system requirements.
Typically, most cloud-based UC providers will give prospective buyers access to test accounts so that they can interact with the environment first hand. This gives you a chance to get a feel for the interface and determine if the available functions meet your needs.
Generally, you should be wary of any company that won’t give you access to a hands-on demo, as the experience can be critical to your evaluation of the system.
Training and Support
Your UC cloud adoption strategy should always include time for admin and critical user training. Often, it will take some time for your tech team members and first-round users to become comfortable with the system, so you want to provide room in the schedule to ensure they can gain their footing before going live completely.
Ideally, the provider will have materials or courses, such as webinars, designed to help key personnel get up to speed, as well as offer an appropriate amount of support during the transition and after. Vendors that either can’t or seem hesitant to supply this form of assistance may not be ideal, so take that into consideration.
Any large transition to the cloud can be intimidating, so make sure to do your research as part of your cloud adoption strategy. With the right preparations, you can make the shift as smooth as possible, creating a better experience for your IT team, employees, and your business.