What Should a Transition to Cloud Communications Look Like?
Roadmapping your migration
Often, an obstacle to fully planning digital transformation is that the explanation of a Cloud transition is too abstract. Although you recognize the flexibility and profitability of using the Cloud, it may not be clear how to simply begin charting the migration process.
To address this issue, let’s examine a simple overview of how to take your communications system into the Cloud, and what benefits you should expect to see once the process is complete.
1. Visualize your end goals
The smoothest journeys begin with a clear picture of the destination, and moving to the Cloud is no different. Before you begin transferring tools into the Cloud — or even before you begin planning that move — you should first consider what you want in terms of end results.
For example, are you trying to improve productivity? Reduce overall downtime? What collaboration tools are you already using, and which will you need to take to the Cloud?
Even if these questions seem too obvious to spend time on, they’re important to answer at the outset in order to actualize your desired results.
Another thing to consider: if you find you’re missing any elements of communication you’d want in the Cloud, now’s the time to identify them. It’s possible to add these on after your migration, of course, but you’ll deal with far fewer headaches if you know all the tools you need in advance.
2. Prioritize which tools to migrate
Once you have your end goal in mind, you can start developing a proper roadmap. The first step in this process is to work out your priorities — that is, which collaboration solutions you’ll need in the Cloud first.
Note that you shouldn’t take “first” to mean “most valuable” or “the tool you’ll use most often.” The point of this stage isn’t to predict what tool you’ll find the most value in, but to lay the groundwork of your future Cloud architecture. Typically, this will be contact data, VoIP and videoconferencing functionalities, but cases may differ from business to business. The key is to think about what elements of your digital infrastructure the rest of your communications simply couldn’t function without.
3. Assess your network and test options
Getting those initial communication elements over to the Cloud means you’ve partly set up your network, which in turn means you can start testing how your Cloud network functions.
Although testing should certainly entail general analysis of the overall speed and stability of the network, just as important is to use the actual tools you’ve migrated to the Cloud. Any VoIP, video or even chat capability should be given trial runs in sandbox environments as well as in controlled states, weighing as many scenarios as possible throughout the process.
When performing these tests, make sure you’re also giving consideration to the security of your network. Being entirely in the Cloud presents different privacy and data protection risks compared to an on-prem or hybrid setup, so it’s vital these elements are given specialized attention as you begin to put together a functional communications infrastructure.
4. Implement (and get everyone on board)
Obviously, the end goal of any Cloud transition should be getting as many employees to use the system as possible. But in practice, this will likely require a transition period to achieve. Professionals are probably going to need at least some training before properly using the new network, and they may even need time to mentally acclimate to leaving the previous on-prem or hybrid setup.
To facilitate onboarding, it’s vital to allow this transition period to play out. Implement the necessary training and allow for employee feedback on how the network is working thus far; it will be easiest to actually implement any further changes to the network while still in the early stages of its rollout.
All throughout, however, it will be important to bring on as many employees as possible, so that the initial findings represent fully actualized use of the network.
5. Stay open to future upgrades
Once your Cloud architecture is stable and all employees are onboarded, the hard part of your Cloud transition will be over.
However, that doesn’t mean you should stop thinking about future plans for the Cloud.
One of the main benefits for this platform is its scalability and ease of upgrade, and as a result, there’s no need to think of your initial migration’s results as the largest your network will ever be. As you continue using your Cloud communications network, keep an ear to the ground for any additional tools that launch, or simply any notable upgrades for your current portfolio.
While they may only launch further down the line, new solutions may prove to make your investment in the Cloud even more profitable.