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Unified Communications Cloud Migration Checklist

IR Media

Written by IR Media

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Transitioning a unified communications system to the cloud may seem like a daunting proposal. Organizations have concerns about maturity, reliability, network capabilities, and feature parity.

Fortunately, cloud solutions have made significant improvements over the last 18 months. APIs are also gaining new features that enable partners to manage their environment more effectively.

In terms of product suites and capabilities, Microsoft Skype for Business and Cisco Spark have taken significant strides to allow organizations to buy numbers directly. Equipment no longer needs to be housed on-premises and phone numbers no longer need to be obtained from the telco.

As your organization makes its transition to the cloud, one of the first considerations is whether to adopt a hybrid or pure cloud solution. This decision is primarily based around your user, organizational and telephony requirements. Most enterprises with complex environments will choose a hybrid solution over the next few years as they perform a gradual cloud transition.

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Planning

Define Necessary Features/Requirements.

  • What are the requirements of the cloud solution in order to achieve the same productivity for your work force? e.g. how do your users use the UC platform today (instant messaging, internal calls, conferences, meetings, video)?

  • Which features are mandatory for your organization? Is feature parity necessary?

  • What additional features available from cloud providers do you wish to implement to deliver new communications and collaboration capabilities (e.g. single number reach on mobile/desktop, desktop video, etc.)

  • Why are you migrating to the cloud?

  • To reduce costs within your organization?
  • To move from a capital expense to an operating expense model?
  • To provide better SLAs and management capability?
  • Will you design a hybrid solution (part on-premises, part cloud) or will you migrate completely to the cloud?

  • Do you have a large existing capital investment in telephony systems, including IVRs, that would be better suited for a hybrid environment?

  • Will your existing hardware investments (e.g. SBCs) be compatible with your cloud solution or will you need to purchase new equipment?

  • Will you adopt a single solution for all communications and collaboration or a mix of platforms (e.g. Skype for Business for voice, Slack for team collaboration, BlueJeans for video)?

  • Have you obtained buy-in from senior management, including the CEO and CIO, so that everyone understands the criteria for successful migration?

  • How will you ensure successful migration? Have you identified your internal UC teams that will be involved in planning, or do you have a partner, service provider, or system integrator who will help assist you with the transition?

  • How will you manage performance for new environment types such as mobile phones or softphones using headsets? Have you researched your choice of softphones or headsets to ensure they are certified for use in your new environment?

  • Have you discussed and confirmed SLAs and penalities/opt out options for non-performance?

  • Have you made an honest assessment of your current environment?

  • Is your network environment robust enough to support the transition to the cloud?
  • Is there enough traffic on the WAN to support traffic analysis?
  • What results did you obtain using a tool like Prognosis UC Assessor?
  • Which areas of your organization are best suited for migration?
  • Should you start migration one department at a time, where a negative impact would not have a detrimental effect to the organization’s entire business in the beginning?
  • Have you developed a training program to ensure that people within your organization will accept the technology shift and adopt the new capabilities in your cloud solution?

  • Have you addressed security requirements for cloud as well as any regulatory or governance requirements?

Deployment

Track adoption, monitor performance, and guide users.

  • Have you defined your success criteria (e.g. call quality)?

  • Are you performing regular and ongoing testing to confirm that you are delivering on quality expectations and meeting internal service level requirements?

  • Do you have a clear understanding of the features available in your geographic region (e.g. PSTN calling plans and availability)?

  • Are all departments receiving training from your internal IT team?

  • How will you track adoption and usage patterns in your environment?

  • How will you track your return on investment (ROI) by moving to the cloud?

  • From a licensing perspective, did you allocate the right mix of features and functions for each type of user?

  • Are you giving users excessive features that they do not need?

  • If your organization is deploying a hybrid environment, will the on-premises equipment (SBC’s, video equipment, etc.) operate smoothly with your cloud provider?

  • Do you have end-to-end visibility to quickly diagnose voice or video quality problems?

  • Throughout the migration journey, are you communicating clearly to users about what changes they will experience (e.g. lost/added features)?

  • Does your plan have realistic expectations that are aligned with your desired outcome?

Operation

Provide ongoing support, refine tools and processes, and gauge progress

  • What is your support model now that your organization has deployed the solution and users have migrated to the cloud?

  • Do you have a dependable and efficient method of identifying and correcting failures or enabling features for users?

  • Are users effectively adopting new cloud features in the environment?

  • Are you continuing to refine processes for monitoring and managing your environment?

  • Are you evaluating the ability to leverage APIs to integrate UC platforms into business process applications?

  • Can you troubleshoot issues reported by the users effectively and easily?

  • Do you have the ability to preemptively avoid costly service outages by setting capacity threshold alerts?

  • Are you putting together reports that provide an understanding of your calling patterns to ensure you are meeting SLAs?

  • Do you have enough capacity within the environment to run smoothly?

  • If you chose a hybrid environment, do you understand your on-premises infrastructure and how it relates to your cloud providers, so you can monitor performance in real-time?

  • Do you have clear demarcation points to ensure success when moving from on-premises to cloud-hosted services (e.g. internal IT, UC provider, and telecommunications provider)?

  • Now that you have successfully deployed a hybrid environment, is your organization ready to move fully into the cloud?

  • Were you able to successfully and effectively manage costs during migration to the cloud?

  • Did you realize the return on investment that you expected when you first started the rollout process?

Topics: Communications Migration, deployment and adoption Cloud and hybrid UC Checklist

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