Each year hundreds of businesses disappear due to reasons from poor planning to poor financing. Data shows that between 25% and 44% of startups will not survive the first three years of business. Did you know that technology advancements is a top contributor to staying competitive? While your competitors collaborate and make use of mobility solutions, your business may be at unnecessary risk by holding on to antiquated computers, cell phones, fax machines, and telephone systems, rather than fully embracing the speed and agility of a unified communications (UC) system.
A UC solution enables the collaborative use of multiple communication methods to improve user productivity and business processes. It allows mobile/borderless access to corporate resources and provides faster business decision-making processes to compete and win in the marketplace.
Sound like something your business could benefit from? We agree – but it’s also extremely complex. To get started, we recommend that you begin reviewing these five steps in a migration to a unified communications platform.
5 Critical Steps in a Unified Communications Migration
1. Assess the current state of the telecommunication infrastructure
Taking the time to perform a thorough assessment of your organization’s current telecommunication assets and resources is an important step towards structuring a successful UC migration plan.
As a first step, here’s what an assessment should tell you:
- Risk of system failure.
- Business value of the system.
- Readiness of your organization to accept (and benefit from) a new UC system.
2. Identify and prioritize unique business drivers
Let your business objectives drive the technology solution—not the other way around. Technology is the tool to help you to achieve your business goals. Keeping this in mind will help you to come up with a migration plan that is justifiable from a business, technological and organizational perspective.
Here are a few sample business drivers to help you get thinking:
- Lower the cost of building/facility and travel expenses.
- Increase customer satisfaction through a contact center that can handles various modes of communication (voice call, email, web chat, text, etc.).
- Recruit and integrate experts in remote locations into your work force.
- Increase sales through social media integrated marketing strategy.
- Lower the cost of doing business through system consolidation.
The outcome of this process will set the stage for a tailored and customized UC roadmap that is specific to your business objectives, budget cycle and time frame.
3. Thoughtfully design the unified communications solution best suited for you
Depending who you work with to design a unified communications solution, and if steps 1 and 2 of UC migration were conducted, you may see one of three design suggestions:
- Rip and replace – commonly advised by new equipment vendors, this approach tosses your current infrastructure and replaces it entirely with new technologies, often at high costs.
- Continued maintenance – it is possible that through steps 1 and 2 of UC migration you believe that you can meet your business objectives without making substantial changes to your system.
- Reengineer with reuse – new components can be added to your current infrastructure when the existing system doesn’t provide functionality needed to achieve business objectives.
4. Plan the deployment strategy of the unified communications solution
Full of risks and uncertainties, implementation and deployment is one of the most critical steps of a UC migration. There are a few items that must be considered to pull it off smoothly:
- Project timeline – Identify a realistic project timeline, led by an experienced Project Manager, and stick to it.
- Network and technology modifications – Consider the network and technology modifications that must be completed and ensure that the team aiding in deployment is seasoned and trained on the complexities of the systems you have selected for your unified communications environment.
- Verify the solution before launch – You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, right? Verify the solution before launch in a test environment, or an isolated pilot for a small user group in your business, well before launch.
5. Conduct training and ensure continuous post-launch support
Training is the final key factor to a successful UC migration – and your business’ ability to adopt the new technologies. Failure to adopt a new solution can only be attributed to lack of proper training, which can often fall off the map during a complex UC migration. Be sure to prioritize the criticality of training for your team.
When the cutover is complete and system is in full production mode, it’s important to remember to monitor system health and performance – and to make adjustments to optimize the UC solutions’ value to your business.
Assess your readiness to migrate to UC in this free White Paper from Continuant → Navigating the Complexity of UC Migration