Both Microsoft Teams and Cisco WebEx Teams are exceptional collaboration platforms. Both promise to deliver a truly unified collaboration solution for large organizations.
The successful deployment of any collaboration solution depends on how well you prepare for it. There are four critical questions you should ask before choosing between Microsoft and Cisco.
Ensuring your network is built for Teams is the first step in guaranteeing a successful adoption. Investing the time and resources into your network, including correcting any shortcomings, is money well spent.
Most enterprises rely on both UC platforms and older technology. In many cases, organizations use Avaya or Unify platforms for calling. They then use various applications such as Teams and Webex for meetings, messaging, file sharing, and other forms of collaboration.
The problem with this setup is redundancy. Instead of paying for these different systems, your organization could use Teams or Webex for calling. This makes it a truly unified communication platform. Before you can do that, you'll need to conduct a proper assessment of your network.
Knowing what to keep and what to scrap is key to your ultimate success. However, you shouldn't scrap your legacy voice systems before knowing whether your network can handle a new calling platform.
Evaluating your carrier network is as important as assessing your own LAN/WAN.
Important observations in a network assessment include:
These evaluations reveal issues in the systems that most users would miss at first glance. It's important to identify them before deploying a new solution like Teams or Webex.
For example, an organization centralized the majority of its communication at 150+ global locations into three regional SIP trunks. It was a sensible and cost-effective solution. These new SIP trunks terminated the existing legacy Avaya cores in the United States, Europe, and Asia.
This Avaya system was supposed to be decommissioned. However, the locations in Europe and North America did not have internet ingress/egress in their main data centers. Egress was kept offsite instead. This situation could have caused serious problems with the deployment of their new solution.
A frequently overlooked aspect of a Teams or Webex evaluation is user adoption. It’s important to understand how your users will collaborate. You'll need to know what they need to succeed, and what problems they may have with the new platform.
Your organization will want to create user personas to help strategize around user adoption. User personas are essentially fictional characters created to represent user groups within your organization.
The personas in your organization may include:
User personas will help you create a plan to improve user adoption. Once you begin your deployment, the next step is to create champions. As the picture mentions, champions will drive engagement throughout your user community by advocating on behalf of the new solution.
Cisco WebEx Teams and Microsoft Teams are both UC solutions that can benefit any large organization. However, using both platforms is redundant. To get the most out of your investment, you'll need to pick one or the other.
You may prefer Cisco’s “one big umbrella” approach to applications, endpoints, and edge and core devices. You may instead prefer Microsoft with Office 365 and its inclusion of apps like Word. Regardless of which solution you pick, you'll need to make sure it's the right choice for your organization.
Continuant can help you with your decision. For more than 25 years, we've been helping organizations all over the world get the most out of their communication systems. This includes both Microsoft Teams and Cisco Webex.
Our experts can help you evaluate your network and resolve any issues you may have. We can also help you create a user adoption plan to ensure your new solution will be a success. Whether it's Cisco or Microsoft, we'll design, deploy, and manage the solution that's right for you.
Ready to evaluate your systems and start your journey to your new solution? Schedule a technology assessment with us today.
* Editor's Note: This article was originally published in November 2018 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
As Vice President of Business Development at Continuant, Jon Shelby is responsible for selling Continuant Managed Services (CMS) as well as building strategic partnerships with large network integrators. Recognizing the importance of Continuant’s reputation for delivering an exceptional customer experience, Jon helps...