4 Steps to Cloud MigrationMichael Curran
It’s difficult to discuss business communications systems these days without discussing cloud-based options. No matter where the conversation starts, eventually, it leads to the cloud. Someone will tell you that the answer to all your business communications requirements is a cloud-based solution. “You should be in the cloud,” they’ll say. At which point you will ask yourself whether or not you should be.
And the answer? Well, maybe. Maybe not. Or, more to the point, maybe not yet.
The reality is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question. All businesses evolve at their own pace. They go through different stages and require different types of communications capabilities at each stage. Although it’s true that, eventually, every business will migrate to a cloud-based communications system, timing should be determined by business need. Until that time, there are capabilities you can add to your on-site system that will address a majority of your communications requirements while preparing you for a migration to the cloud when you are ready.
GETTING CLOUD READY
Your communications system requirements should be dictated by how your system is expected to contribute to your daily business operation. If you can address all your requirements with updates and upgrades to your existing on-premises equipment, then that’s probably what you should be thinking about before you consider cloud migration. The key is to know where you are and where you want to be in the short and long term. And that really comes down to having a communications strategy that will support your business strategy and take you from point A to point B in the most efficient manner possible.
A planned and methodical approach to your communications system evolution is important because the technology behind the system you purchased a few years ago has evolved. New features and capabilities have probably been added that can improve efficiency and increase productivity. Staying current with the latest updates and upgrades will provide your business with the flexibility it needs to capitalize on new market opportunities as they arise.
This means activating capabilities that are table stakes for the way your employees work today, such as video, collaboration and customer experience tools that make mobile and remote working more efficient. It also means thinking strategically with your technology partner about how emerging technologies and creative uses of integrations can revolutionize the workflows in your organization and enhance the efficiency and speed of your employees’ work.
MOVING THROUGH THE HIERARCHY OF TELECOM NEEDS
Think of this approach as a progression through a technological hierarchy that is similar to Maslow’s theory of how human needs evolve. Maslow theorized that humans progress through a five-step process that takes them from physiological needs to self-actualization based on when they feel they have sufficiently addressed the previous need.
Similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Mitel suggests that getting cloud ready is a journey. By taking incremental, low-cost steps to enhance and optimize existing communication systems, organizations can fortify their short- and long-term communication strategy. They can elevate their capabilities by moving up the hierarchy pyramid strategically until they eventually actualize communications in the cloud.
At the beginning of their journey, organizations start with voice service anchored around a phone system that provides table stakes voice communications features and functions, such as dial tone and call handling capabilities. Since today’s phone systems are built on software, forward-thinking organizations will add a software assurance program that provides ongoing access to software concurrency updates, standards compliance updates, security fixes, online training and proactive performance monitoring.
As the business evolves and more efficient interactions between employees and partners become more important, collaboration features can be added that simplify the way employees talk, meet and share information by bringing together communications and collaboration tools into a single solution. This makes it easier for employees to connect, communicate and collaborate, from anyplace and at any time. Video capabilities can be integrated, if required, to enhance team communication with seamless transitions between voice, video and chat capabilities and enable a true, real-time collaboration experience when it is needed.
Eventually, customer service interactions will have to be optimized to enhance that vital connection with current customers and to attract new customers. At this point, existing systems can be improved with contact center enhancements that offer customers the flexibility to engage with the business with their preferred media and from any device. This requires omnichannel capabilities that enable customers and employees to move between phone, email, SMS, web chat and social media communications tools as needed to create a personalized customer experience.
Finally, when all the pieces are in place and the business has evolved to the point that it needs more flexibility and scalability from its communication system, migration to a purpose-built cloud solution makes sense. The right solution will provide unified and scalable communications to anyone, anywhere and on any device. It will take communications capabilities to the next level by enabling more mobility, rich enterprise and team collaboration and exceptional customer experiences, without the cost and complexity of scaling traditional, premises-based communications systems to meet evolving business needs.
SKIPPING ALL THE STEPS
Of course, not every business has to follow this step-by-step approach in exactly the same way. Market realities, sales and customer growth all have an impact on how a business evolves. That evolution will determine what the business needs from its communications system at every stage. And those needs will dictate how and when the business will move to the next level in the hierarchy.
As with Maslow’s theory, businesses can progress to the next stage in the hierarchy even if they have not fully capitalized on the technology available to them in their current stage. So, it wouldn’t be unusual for a business to leapfrog to the cloud from any one of the lower stages, if its business reality required an immediate shift to a cloud-based communications solution.
The key point, however, is that there’s no sense moving to the cloud just because it’s what everyone else is doing. Take a hard look at your current communications system and make that connection between what it is providing and what your employees need to determine where you should be in the hierarchy of telecom needs.
If you’re a Mitel MiVoice customer, there may be updates and upgrades that you can apply to get current with the latest technologies. Or there may be ways to optimize your current system by investing in your infrastructure to do more with what you already have. We offer collaboration and customer experience solutions that integrate seamlessly with the technology you already rely on, such as our MiCollab collaboration solution, our MiTeam Meetings multi-party video solution and MiContact Center Business for personal, omnichannel customer experiences.
When you are ready to make the move, Mitel can help you choose the right cloud technology options to make the most of your migration strategy. And we can help you integrate your existing solutions in innovative ways, unlocking all the capabilities cloud communications has to offer.