This is the third of four blog posts in the series where we take a comprehensive look at transitioning your unified communications to the cloud. Last time, we talked about defining necessary features and setting clear goals during the UC migration planning phase. This time, let's delve into the key areas to consider when it is time to implement your plan.
Tracking Adoption Rates when Deploying UC Cloud
During deployment, it is important to track how users are adopting and using services. Monitoring management from day one can ensure that you will be able to proactively address issues and resolve them as quickly as possible. This, in turn, will reduce your support costs. It would be beneficial to track the usage profiles within the environment as well as determine exactly who needs certain features/functions from a licensing perspective. As a result, it will be possible to ensure that the right mix of features exists within the environment.
Understanding each modality of how users are using and adopting different services is a key practice during the deployment phase. From a cost management perspective, you can determine if some users actually have too many features in the environment. Do they need sophisticated inbound/outbound calling features or are they mainly doing internal audio/video conferencing? Detailed tracking allows you to see the usage profile and determine where it makes sense to adopt unified communications more aggressively.
UC Cloud Deployment Training & Communication
Introduce training programs, especially if there are significant departures from the traditional systems that users have become accustomed to. We talked about the importance of people in previous blog posts, and communication is an important factor in making sure that everyone understands which (if any) features they will lose during migration. It is also crucial that people understand how to use the solution, especially if they have only used traditional telephony without unified communications in the past. All the departments within your organization need to be involved so that the IT team can develop effective training processes explaining how to use the software. Everyone within the organization needs to be able to support the roll-out of these programs as part of migration.
Monitoring and Testing your Unified Comms in the Cloud
Testing gives you the ability to validate that you are delivering on quality expectations for unified communications on an ongoing basis. It provides you with the continuous ability to monitor the environment, even when you have only deployed services for a few users. Testing can also be used as a validation point demonstrating that you are delivering on your internal SLAs.
Consequences of Ill Planning
If you haven't done adequate UC migration planning upfront (as we detailed in the previous blog post in this series), you will likely see the consequences during this phase. While it is possible that you will deliver full quality experiences, there may also be frequent failures or inflated expectations around how quickly the roll-out will take place. All of the risks that you will face during the deployment phase relate to how well you created a plan, how well you performed the assessment, and how you built the monitoring framework. The people, process, and technology build the foundation of the infrastructure on day one.
Aside from executing your plan from an organizational perspective, you should also execute your cloud deployment plan with a clear understanding of the unique features that are available in your region. Because different regions of the world have different features, where you are situated matters greatly in terms of whether you can deliver effective unified communications telephony. For instance, the U.S. is relatively mature in terms of UC, while Australia and much of the Asia-Pacific region is not yet ready for full cloud UC implementations. Over the next couple of years, though, these regions will evolve to provide a more mature offering.
Increased Complexity in Hybrid Deployments
The complexity of your deployment will partially depend on whether you chose to implement a hybrid or full-cloud plan. Because hybrid deployments are more complex than complete cloud deployments, you will need to consider on-site equipment along with your cloud providers. You will have to deal with session border controllers, cloud connectors, and a variety of technologies along with video and hard phone infrastructure. If you still have large amounts of physical equipment running on-premise, it will be necessary to manage and monitor it in addition to your cloud infrastructure.
Please join us for the fourth post in this series, where we will wrap up the discussion by investigating ongoing strategies and gauging the success of your cloud transition.