7-Step Onboarding Checklist for Reinventing and Making Hybrid Work Easier

The Covid-19 outbreak “forced” many companies to allow their employees to work remotely or through hybrid work models. However, not all employers were prepared to transfer their entire workflow to a virtual setting. As a result, many organizations struggled with disengaged employees and reduced productivity. 

Onboarding remote employees in a virtual setting can be much more challenging than your regular on-site onboarding. However, this training and support are crucial for new employees in a hybrid work model to get on board and start feeling like they belong. 

To help you, we’ve put together a comprehensive 7-step onboarding checklist that works for both completely remote and hybrid working teams. 

1. Early Engagement

Making your employees feel included early on before the actual onboarding even starts is one of the best employee engagement strategies for workers who work at least a part of their time remotely.

There are different things you can do to build engagement early on. For instance: 

  • Send them a welcome package
  • Invite them to the relevant group chat or communication channel
  • Organize an informal virtual get together
  • Explain the career path progress and reward system for top performance
  • Communicate and keep in touch regularly during early onboarding

These are just a couple of things that can help you engage your hybrid workers early in the onboarding process. 

2. Secure A Desk Setup In Advance

First and foremost, your employee needs the right equipment to start working. Think of what tools your new, hybridly working employee needs to perform well in their job role when they work from home or remotely. These would be things like a PC or a laptop, a high-quality headset, webcam, phone, printer, desk supplies, keyboard, mouse, and similar. 

Partially remote employees should enjoy the same work conditions as your in-office staff. Depending on the job role, there are different essentials they might need. For instance, if you’ve hired a designer on a hybrid schedule, you should probably provide is drawing pad (tablet). 

All in all, your flexible schedule employees should be audited and judged based on their performance. And, to do that, you need to provide them with the same working conditions as on-site employees. 

3. Tools & Learning Materials

Once you’ve provided the necessary devices, arrange a virtual meeting between your new employee and your IT department or other onboarding person/group. At this point, you have to provide your new hire with the following:

  • Login details for their new company email account
  • Credentials for any remote tools or software they will use
  • Company-wide communication channels and tools
  • Calendar access for client appointments or meetings
  • Proper training on cyber security
  • Digital employee handbooks and learning materials
  • Access to cloud storage and documentation

While assimilating to your company culture and figuring out how things work is more straightforward for regular, on-site employees, workers in a hybrid model might struggle to fit into their job roles. So, it’s your job to make their onboarding easier. 

4. Assign A Buddy For Mentorship

Another excellent onboarding strategy for employees on a remote or hybrid model is pairing them up with a mentor or a buddy who will be their primary contact person. New employees will often have many questions but can be too embarrassed or afraid to ask. 

To make them feel more comfortable, provide one-on-one mentorship with an existing employee who’s willing to show them all the ins and outs of the company. 

Provide an incentive for the mentor to push them to do their best when assimilating the new hire to the company culture. You’ll create a sense of unity and common goals by tying the mentor’s success to the new hire’s performance. 

5. Be Transparent

Be transparent throughout the entire onboarding process in every aspect of your operations.

Financial Transparency

Your new hire needs to be entirely in the clear when it comes to their earnings. Financial transparency can start as early as during recruiting by listing the salary range in your job ad. 

Another great way to promote financial transparency is by providing a pay stub with each salary. A pay stub clearly breaks apart the employee’s wages, deductions, hours worked, and similar. For this purpose, you can use a reliable paystub generator that will accurately list and calculate your income. 

Transparent Goals And Performance Pointers

A significant part of a successful onboarding process is providing your new hire with KPIs you plan to measure and a list of short and long-term goals of their job role. They need to know what to expect and how you will measure their success, especially if they work on-site only a few days a week. 

After going through virtual training, give your new employee straightforward tasks to start with. Always set clear expectations and give reasonable deadlines. At the end of each successful project, schedule some time for re-evaluation and feedback with your new hires. 

6. Don’t Stop Communicating

Perhaps the greatest challenge in onboarding workers remotely or hybridly is the lack of physical proximity. Making a first impression and establishing personal connections with teammates so that an employee feels included is more challenging to achieve virtually. 

Since the employees aren’t always there to read your facial cues, you have to open a constant communication line. In remote settings, overcommunicating is better than under-communicating. 

As stated by Gallup, onboarding shouldn’t be a one-way communication but a process where you socialize and engage the new hire. And this is especially vital for workers with a hybrid schedule. 

7. Train Managers To Lead Hybrid Teams

According to a PWC remote work survey, training managers to lead teams in a remote environment is the second-largest gap or inefficiency, just behind childcare benefits. 

Learning how to build schedules with flexibility in mind is the first step to successful hybrid work. As there is no one-fits-all solution when it comes to flexible schedules, managers and leaders need to learn what type of hybrid schedules work best for their business needs and different job roles within an organization. 

A great manager needs to differentiate between essential staff that has to be on-site or on a minimally hybrid schedule, and those that can work fully remote. From that point on, the manager needs to be able to rotate and schedule staff shifts accordingly, with employees’ wellbeing always in mind. 

Summary

To wrap it all up, we have another best practice you can use to give your hybrid onboarding process a boost – personalization. Not every employee is the same, and they all have different ways to process and learn new information at a different speed. 

Tailoring your onboarding process to each job role and allowing your new hires their own pace of progress can improve the employee’s integration and assimilation to the company culture, regardless of how many days they work on-site.

We hope you found this onboarding checklist helpful in making hybrid work easier for all your new hires. Although the onboarding for different roles could slightly alter these steps, the principles remain the same. 

This blog post was first published by Mitel.

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There’s a New Pathway to Private Cloud

Many enterprises are urgently reconsidering their business communications to keep pace with the needs of the new work environment. Do they stay with their premises-based solution or migrate to the cloud to take advantage of new capabilities, new technologies and hybrid working? 

Together with Mitel, 4Sight can offer a fast, seamless migration to the cloud. The added advantage is that when you choose 4Sight for cloud services, the learning curve is flatter as we already know your systems and you trust our services. And that’s not all. You can also expect: 

  • Less disruption than with other cloud vendors
  • To gain the full benefits from your previous investments in phones while also enjoying the additional benefits of the cloud
  • Easier integration of emerging technologies, unlocking all the capabilities cloud communications has to offer

Let’s talk a bit about why the cloud is so attractive and the options available. First, migrating to the cloud may mean that you no longer need to buy and operate servers and software. You simply purchase the services you need, and these are delivered through the cloud.  You can buy software as a service (SaaS) which delivers specific software application services. 

Another option is infrastructure as a service (IaaS) from providers such as Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure or AWS, who provide data center services. These are public services where you share the cloud with other organizations. For enterprises who need a dedicated environment and more control, the alternative is a private cloud. This is more costly and may require advanced expertise within the organization.

Evolution Of The Private Cloud

Now there’s a new option. Mitel, and a few other providers, are offering managed private cloud services that combine the benefits of public and private cloud services. Mitel calls this new service MiCloud Flex, and it provides three separate communications capabilities:

  • Traditional owned or controlled software in a data center – a secure, private solution accessible only by one business
  • Controlled software on cloud infrastructure – for businesses that want to keep control but with the capability to be more agile in deploying communications applications
  • Public software as a service – shared between different organizations with hosting, management and security the responsibility of a hosting company

So, what’s new about MiCloud Flex?

Mitel cloud solutions offer telephony, collaboration, conferencing, and features like contact center and integrations. MiCloud Flex offers your organization extra control as it is offered in a dedicated, secure environment. It provides the best of both worlds – you benefit from the value and simplicity of cloud-delivered services but retain the greater control of a dedicated private cloud solution. And since it is a pre-built, optimized and managed cloud service, you won’t need to employ a dedicated IaaS Engineer to maintain it. One of the key benefits of MiCloud Flex is that it can be optimized to exact specifications. Your business can customize systemwide parameters, set default values, and select integrations that meet your specific requirements. 

Explore Further 

We expect MiCloud Flex to be most appealing to organizations with 100+ seats, for whom control is important as well as reliability, security, scalability, and global reach. These organizations may also be spread across several locations. This makes MiCloud Flex an ideal solution as users can enjoy the same communications experience anywhere, anytime and on any device. Cloud storage means applications and information can be seamlessly accessed, while advanced security protection ensures that sensitive data remains safe. In addition, it also offers organizations that previously rejected private clouds due to complexity and costs the chance to take a fresh look. MiCloudFlex offers a solution that optimizes the benefits of public cloud services, such as scalability and global reach, with the control that many organizations need.

Whether your business needs a private cloud solution or can make a quick move to the cloud via a public cloud solution, 4Sight has everything necessary to meet your communications technology needs. As experts in on-prem, cloud and moving customers from one to the other, you can trust that your cloud migration experience will be both easy and seamless.

This blog post was first published by Mitel.

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Why Migrating to the Cloud is More Affordable Than You Might Think

When we think about upgrading something we own and use, most of us feel a mix of emotions — especially if the item still functioning as it should and fulfilling our needs. While we may be excited about what we’ll be able to do with the new features and functions we’ll have at our disposal, we’re also worried that we can’t really afford the upgrade and maybe what we already have is good enough. That concern often causes us to delay upgrades, hoping to squeeze more from our current investment.

Businesses are no different. Most businesses recognize that modernizing their communications technologies will help them increase productivity, improve customer satisfaction and sharpen their competitive edge. But many are sticking with the technologies they have today because they don’t believe they can afford to do anything else.

The good news is funding and delivery models for communications technologies have become far more flexible in recent years. This flexibility opens the door for almost every business to start on the path to modernization.

CapEx Funding Strategies May Be Holding You Back

Traditionally, chief financial officers (CFOs) have preferred to buy IT infrastructure outright as a capital expenditure (CapEx) because they could use the associated amortization and depreciation costs as tax deductions. While these financial benefits are helpful to businesses, a CapEx purchase strategy for communications systems also comes with downsides.

A significant cash outlay is required to initiate the purchase. The need for cash can be budgeted in advance, but it has become increasingly difficult to accurately anticipate the long-term hardware and software requirements for communications systems. Hardware is particularly notorious for becoming obsolete in shorter-than-expected timeframes.

Once a business owns a system, it’s difficult to switch it out for a more appropriate solution if technology advances in unexpected ways, new business requirements or opportunities emerge or the company grows faster than forecasted. If businesses over-purchase communications technologies in an attempt to proactively address potential scenarios down the road, there’s a significant risk those resources will remain idle or underused over the lifetime of the system.

The problem? The speed of technology evolution doesn’t fit well with a CapEx strategy. At a minimum, it’s time-consuming and arduous to get an additional CapEx budget approved. In many cases, it’s impossible because most businesses simply don’t have the cash reserves required to change course or purchase a more advanced communications system before the pre-defined upgrade or replacement timeframe.

A CapEx approach to communications systems also affects operational costs (OpEx) because the on-site hardware and software systems consume space, and they must be maintained, powered and cooled.

An OpEx Strategy Increases Flexibility On Every Front

With an OpEx strategy, businesses don’t purchase the communications system hardware or software. Instead, they pay a monthly, quarterly or yearly fee to access communications capabilities that are offered in a subscription model. All hardware and software are owned, operated and maintained by another company, and communications costs become day-to-day business costs.

While some CFOs are still reluctant to move IT spending away from traditional CapEx models, most realize that an OpEx model for IT systems delivers an important set of financial benefits. When technology is an operating expense, businesses can:

  • Pay only for the capacity they need at that time, so capital is never tied up in under-used hardware and software
  • Write off the entire subscription cost each year rather than just a percentage of the total CapEx purchase price
  • Free up large amounts of capital that can be invested across the company
  • Avoid the need to borrow money or divert money from other projects to pay for large, upfront technology costs
  • Reduce the costs of system operation, management and maintenance
  • Streamline cash flows by eliminating large, sporadic cash outlays
  • Simplify and accelerate budgeting exercises because short-term spending requirements are lower

CFOs also increasingly recognize that the business agility gained with an OpEx strategy outweighs the gains from capital write-offs. According to Deloitte’s 2019 guide to the cloud for CFOs, some companies are achieving returns of more than 10 times on their cloud investments when they account for all the costs and benefits.

Cloud Communications Solutions Leverage The Benefits Of OPEX Funding

The limitations of CapEx strategies, combined with the availability of subscription-based, cloud-hosted communications solutions, are leading many CFOs and chief information officers (CIOs) to choose OpEx funding models for business communications systems.

With this approach, businesses can immediately start migrating to the cloud at the pace that makes the most sense for their communications requirements, business goals and budgets. They have the freedom to choose the features and functions that match their needs today, and to add, change or drop capabilities as their business evolves — whether the business is growing in size locally, expanding into new territories, adopting to seasonality or new ways of working or changing focus to take advantage of new opportunities.

For many businesses, a hybrid approach that combines existing on-premises solutions with cloud-based applications could be the right way to start the journey to the cloud. For example, Mitel MiVoice Business users can add cloud-based apps such as Mitel MiCollabMiTeam Meetings, and MiContact Center Business.

With fast and easy access to these apps, businesses can almost instantly do more without making massive CapEx investments. They can introduce new communications, collaboration and customer experience technologies that are crucial to support modern business requirements and remote staff while still leveraging their investment in their current system.

Businesses can also use a gradual cloud migration strategy to evaluate the business and financial benefits of their newly adopted OpEx strategy over time. And they can make their assessment while benefiting from maximum business agility with almost no financial risks.

4Sight, Mitel Certified Partner, Is Ready To Help

Adopting a new funding model and service delivery strategy is a significant change for many businesses. At 4Sight we are ready to discuss the benefits of an OpEx funding strategy for your communications system as well as the pros and cons of different cloud migration strategies when you’re ready.

This blog post was first published by Mitel.

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How to Make Virtual Meetings Fun for Remote Teams

Virtual meetings are essential to help remote teams collaborate, connect and stay informed but they can quickly turn into tedious and frustrating time-wasters if handled thoughtlessly.

In 2019, 37% percent of employees believed that their organization’s most significant cost was unnecessary meetings. As the world shifted to virtual meetings and remote work, the word “video fatigue” was suddenly a part of our everyday vocabulary.

According to research done by Microsoft, stress and burn-out occur faster over a video call than when doing other work in front of a computer screen. Their findings state that video fatigue begins to set in 30-40 minutes into a video call. This is because of the intense concentration needed to extract relevant information without all of the additional non-verbal cues and information you would receive in an in-person meeting.

The good news is, it’s possible to avoid this kind of prolonged concentration fatigue even in a virtual meeting. If you have ever known anyone who was really into video games, you know that prolonged attention to a video screen is definitely possible.

So how can you make your meetings more like a video game while still getting everyone on the same page to meet company goals? If you follow these guidelines, fun meetings can quickly become a part of your work culture. And with happier, more engaged, and unified workers, you will soon see improvements in every area of your business.

1. Plan Ahead

Just like in-person meetings, planning is essential to running a smooth virtual meeting. You could start with planning out the agenda, but this isn’t always the best strategy for a fun meeting. It’s usually best to start by asking some big-picture questions.

Purpose

You want to determine the purpose of the meeting because everything that happens at the meeting should serve this purpose. Does your team need direction? Information? Inspiration? Unity? When you figure out what the purpose of the meeting is, you might realize that a virtual meeting isn’t even necessary. For example, if you are calling a meeting to disseminate information, something like email might work better.

Attendees

Once you’ve uncovered the purpose and determined that a virtual meeting is the best way to serve that purpose, you can make a list of invitees. The bigger the list of attendees is, the more draining the meeting will be for everyone involved. In order for employees to be engaged in a virtual meeting, they must be able to give input, and this isn’t possible in large groups. Additionally, smaller meetings feel more intimate and will help team members feel closer to one another and more supportive of each other.

Agenda

Now that you know the purpose of the meeting and who is coming, you can plan out the agenda. Make sure that you hit everything you need to but remove as much as possible.

Start by writing everything you would like to cover, then go back and remove the items that are not essential and don’t serve the overall purpose. Then go back and remove some more. Make sure to include some fun activities in the agenda that support your purpose (more on this below). It’s also a good idea to include ground rules and roles in the agenda so that everyone is aware ahead of time and things don’t devolve into chaos. 

2. Share The Agenda In Advance

Once you know what you want to cover at the meeting, make sure you share the agenda and any materials that will be discussed ahead of time. Sharing new materials at the meeting will waste time and likely cause participants to divert their focus from the speaker to the new materials. Additionally, with the materials in advance, your team can come up with questions ahead of time which can either be addressed quickly at the meeting or even outside the meeting through a team chat channel or group email.

3. Make Introductions

Introductions are vital for an engaging meeting. When team members know who is in a meeting, they are much more likely to engage, particularly if they can see everyone involved. Remind participants in the ground rules to turn on their cameras and use a virtual background if necessary.

Introductions can serve another purpose as well. As each attendee is introduced along with their role and responsibilities in the meeting, they are instantly engaged. We can’t help but pay attention when we are the subject of conversation.

4. Give Everyone A Role

Most of us know how difficult it is to stay engaged during a dry lecture. For the person giving the lecture, however, the experience is completely different. They get a boost of adrenaline from being in the spotlight and feel completely engaged. Similarly, if everyone gets a chance to be in the spotlight, everyone gets a little boost of adrenaline to help them stay in the moment.

When assigning roles, consider the strengths and personalities of your employees and use your creativity. Some roles you might want to have are: a leader, a record keeper, a timekeeper, a devil’s advocate to challenge ideas that are tossed out, and an activity or game leader.  

5. Utilize Virtual Tools To Keep Things Interesting

If you have a large amount of information to convey, you will want to use different media and switch things up to keep team members from losing focus. Remember, it is more difficult to stay focused on a person speaking over video than it is in person. Use fun visuals, colorful PowerPoint slides, whiteboarding and screen sharing to keep video fatigue at bay.

6. Gamify The Meeting

To keep team members engaged, your meeting needs to be informative and fun. And what is more fun, engaging, and bonding than games? For memorable meetings, choose a game or two to play at the beginning of the meeting, during the meeting, and towards the end as well. 

Icebreakers

Icebreakers are a great way to get team members to loosen up and get to know each other right away. Some ideas for virtual icebreaker games are “would you rather” (participants have to choose between two things and then explain why), “two truths and a lie” (each participant tells two truths about themselves and one lie and everyone has to guess which is the lie) and “highs and lows” (participants share a high and low point of their week.

Ongoing Games

Ongoing games are games that run in the background for the entirety of the meeting to help keep participants on their toes. Some examples of ongoing games are “word of the day” (participants are given a word that they must try to sneak into a conversation at some point during the meeting), “tuned in”(whenever the speaker holds up a sign that says “tuned in” everyone on the call has to hold up their own sign and the last one to do so has to complete a challenge) and “freeze” (participants try to fool each other by pretending to be frozen).

Virtual Games for Cognition and Creativity

If you really want to get the creative juices flowing in your team, try scheduling a bigger game into the meeting agenda. This could be something like Scattergories, Charades or Werewolf.

With global teams on the rise, seamless unified communications and collaboration ecosystem is more important than ever. Virtual meetings have become a necessity for all remote teams, but those companies that make their virtual meetings fun and engaging will experience higher productivity, better employee retention, and greater employee satisfaction.

This blog post was first published by Mitel.

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Anywhere Working: What Do Resilient Teams Really Look Like?

As organizations make plans to implement hybrid working, many executives are asking themselves: “What does it take to succeed in today’s ever-changing business landscape?” 

In a word? Resilience.

That’s what helped Apple deliver strong growth during the pandemic. “If I had to describe our performance this quarter in a single word, it’s resilient,” said CEO Tim Cook. “Even though we’re apart, it’s been obvious this year that around the company, teams and colleagues have been leaning on and counting on each other more than in normal times. I think that instinct, that resilience, has been an essential part of how we have navigated this year.”

But what does resiliency really mean to the modern-day manager? Merriam-Webster defines resiliency as the “ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change.” However, as the majority of companies plan for a hybrid work future, you may be wondering how to build and maintain resiliency among a mix of in-person and remote workers. Fortunately, the qualities that characterize a resilient in-office team match those of a resilient work-anywhere team – as long as you have the right communications and collaboration tools in place. 

Resilient teams have been a hot topic. Check out the four qualities of resilient teams and how you can foster these characteristics across a hybrid workforce.  

Four Qualities Of Resilient Teams – And How To Hybridize Them

1. Flexible And Resourceful

Being flexible and resourceful is akin to the golden rule of resiliency. Teams need to be able to adapt to changing customer expectations, market conditions and supply chain issues. When challenges arise, resilient teams pull together and come up with creative ways to overcome obstacles. 

In the past, team members were often huddled in the same conference room, brainstorming new and innovative solutions to complex problems. While some of your team may still be in the same physical space, others will be joining from afar. With the right communications technology in place, however, it’ll feel like everyone is in the same room. 

In fact, why not transform the in-office huddle room and add even more power to your hybrid team? MiTeam Meetings is a plug-and-play solution that lets your in-person staff gather in one room without remote workers getting lost in the background. Features like instant messaging and polling let everyone contribute their ideas easily and in real-time. Teams can even capture notes, share files and pick up right where they left off in the next brainstorming session. 

2. Vocal And Informative

Another key ingredient to resilient teams is open and honest communications. People need to feel free to raise their hand when there’s a problem or share an idea without worrying about being judged or overlooked. A recent post on one of our Twitter chats points to the important role managers play in creating a culture of open communications: “Leaders can encourage their team members to speak up when they see challenges or problems and demonstrate that they are listening to their team members by acting and thanking their team members for their honesty.”

In order to accomplish this, managers should make it easy to communicate with employees and always be available to listen. It’s important to offer a variety of communications options. MiCollab and MiTeam Meetings, for example, make it easy for teams to stay connected, no matter where or how people are working. Features such as web and mobile applications and a single point of access for a multitude of collaboration tools makes sure no one is ever more than a click away. 

3. Psychologically Resilient

Adversity often breeds anxiety. If your team doesn’t feel supported or safe, they’re less likely to succeed. Managers can create a safe space for employees by expressing their own concerns and encouraging team members to voice any issues or ideas. 

Managers can also use technology to improve the psychological health of teams. Consider a weekly meeting where anything goes – employees can be free to talk about what’s on their minds, whether it be work-related or more personal. Give members the freedom to join the meeting any way they choose – video, audio, in-person or remote – so they have a sense of control. And don’t be afraid to make it fun. Some leaders have even hosted virtual happy hours and held at-home contests. A little time to blow off some steam or vent can go a long way in improving psychological health and building a sense of trust among team members. 

4. Diverse

If everyone on a team has the same ideas, innovation isn’t likely to happen. That’s why diversity is so important. But managers need to embrace all aspects of diversity, even when it comes to communicating with employees. In the hybrid world, there are more communications options than ever, so it can be a challenge to know how best to interact. 

As Andy Grant, Vice President of Global Field Marketing at Mitel said, “We don’t need to have all our calls over video. Sometimes when you just want to chat and check in a phone call is more effective.” Leaders should recognize different people have preferences when it comes to digital communications and certain situations are better suited to different communications channels. Managers need to adapt to the styles of team members to make them feel comfortable and connected. 

Resiliency may seem like an unattainable goal these days, but with the right communications tools in place, it’s really just a click away. Give your hybrid teams the resources they need, and you may be surprised at how well they persevere – at home, in the office and anywhere in between. 

This blog post was first published by Mitel.

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Want a Successful Cloud Migration? Planning Makes All the Difference

Now that we have covered the “whys” of moving your communications systems to the cloud, let’s move on to the “how”.

The “how” is perhaps the most important question in your transition to the cloud. While there are huge benefits to moving to the cloud, there can also be significant challenges along the way. Every step in your journey matters, and not every business will approach the journey, or even each step, in the same way. 

Some businesses might be ready, willing and able to make the end-to-end journey to the cloud in one phase. Others might need to take a more cautious, step-by-step approach over a longer timeline. The keys to success are tailoring your approach to the needs of your business, clearly defining where you are, where you want to be, and how you plan to get there.  To lay the foundation for a smooth migration and eliminate trade-offs, businesses should complete 3 key steps: 

  1. Build a comprehensive plan that supports clear objectives
  2. Pursue internal activities to set the stage for success
  3. Obtain guidance from a trusted, objective partner

Chart Your Course Before You Set Sail 

Reaping the full benefits from your move to the cloud requires you to have a clear understanding of the following: 

  1. What are your objectives? It’s important to understand exactly what you’re trying to accomplish with your move to the cloud and make your goals as measurable as possible. For instance, one key objective may be to take advantage of the superior security the cloud offers. If so, document what specific security issues are you hoping to avoid or lessen. Your goals may also include improving the quality and reliability of your remote work environment. With increasing numbers of employees working from home full- or part-time, it’s essential to ensure they stay connected regardless of location or what devices they’re using. 

    In your journey to the cloud, look for ways to measure improvements in remote worker productivity and satisfaction. And if your organization is moving to the cloud to ensure employees can take advantage of next-gen software and tools, anticipate what productivity improvements you might gain when employees have earlier access to the latest updates and features, as well as the cost savings you may achieve because IT no longer needs to perform system maintenance. Look beyond the date your migration is expected to be complete. Identify where you want to be by next year, in three years and in five.
  2. What are your timelines and milestones? Chart the step-by-step journey that makes sense for your business. Ask yourself: “In what order should the steps occur to ensure a smooth migration and minimal disruption to the business?” Identify when you’ll need certain features, and ensure timelines are realistic. 
  3. What potential business disruptions should you anticipate and what’s your “Plan B?” Despite the best laid plans, business disruptions can occur. Having a plan B to mitigate and minimize those risks will give you peace of mind. Maybe you’ll plan for part of your system to be unavailable as it’s being upgraded. What’s your workaround? Identify what unintended disruptions could occur. Which ones are most likely, based on your objectives and planned journey? When could they occur, based on your timeline? Craft a technology and staffing plan that addresses what can you do if they occur, and when you will need to be ready.

Actions To Take Before You Migrate

It’s advisable for some businesses to start their journey to the cloud by taking preliminary, internal actions first. These activities can lay a solid foundation for the eventual move. For example:

  1. Consider consolidating multiple sites and SIP services to make your business run more smoothly
  2. Identify and capture institutional knowledge that will facilitate the journey. It’s hard to move information into the cloud from someone’s brain!

Reach out to key stakeholders within your organization who may have specific requirements. Talking internally will help you determine what different departments might need from a move to the cloud. You may discover requirements you hadn’t thought of and mitigate risks you might not have considered. 

Choose A Flexible, Knowledgeable Partner

There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ journey to the cloud. Some businesses have existing systems that they can leverage with cloud-based technologies and retain existing infrastructure. Others will be better served by hustling straight over to full cloud integration. Different regions, different vertical structures and different business sizes and histories will all play a role in how a specific business approaches the cloud. 

That’s why having a flexible and knowledgeable partner is so important. The right partner can understand your specific requirements and help identify which systems may be well-suited to a lift-and-shift straight over to the cloud. That partner can also help you determine which legacy applications should not make the move to the cloud right now, or ever. 

While the cloud offers a lot of value and many opportunities, if you feel pressured by a partner with a ‘cloud-or-bust’ approach, it could mean more headaches, frustrations, and costs down the line. Every step on your cloud journey should provide value to your business today. A good partner can help you figure out which approach works best for you now, and which approach is worth looking at later or not at all, giving you peace of mind.

A good plan lets you have your cake and eat it too

In life, changes often lead to trade-offs. In your move to the cloud, they don’t need to be. Many times, apparent trade-offs in cloud migration are the result of moving too quickly with too little information. A move to the cloud can, and should, meet your requirements for business-as-usual at every stage of the process. 

Take security. Many breaches of cloud security are actually the result of misconfigurations during the migration process. They have nothing to do with the cloud itself, which is likely more secure than the in-house servers of most businesses. In fact, most businesses will benefit from the improved network security offered by the cloud, provided the migration to a cloud environment isn’t rushed.

Ultimately, making a smooth move to the cloud means asking a lot of questions and investing time and effort in building your custom plan. 4Sight is ready, willing and able to help you map your path to the cloud and ensure a smooth, successful transition. Why not get started today?

This blog post was first published by Mitel.

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