Author - Reelika Tammeoru

How to Attract and Keep the Best People? Aim for the Cloud

To say the pandemic, lockdowns and work-from-home requirements upset the balance of most people’s lives is an understatement. But they unbalanced businesses just as much. Employers had to scramble to set people up to work at home. They needed equipment, training and support. In-person meetings switched over to video conferencing, which for many was new technology. First-time users of video collaboration apps jumped 26.2% in the first six months of 2020, according to an IDC survey.

Even before COVID-19, people’s expectations for their work routines were changing. The pandemic just accelerated the shift in mindset. Today, employees increasingly expect employers to offer flexible work options. They want to be able to work from wherever they are, or want to be, and have the tools to work efficiently and effectively enough to achieve a good work-life balance.

That’s changed the playing field for employers. These new expectations aren’t going anywhere, and companies wanting to get – and keep – the best employees need to meet them. So, in the modern workplace, employers must think about having flexible solutions to meet flexible expectations.

That’s where the cloud comes in. The SMB Group’s 2021 digital transformation survey revealed one of the top ten reasons businesses move to the cloud was to attract and retain qualified employees. What today’s employees expect, the cloud can provide. And a move to the cloud brings benefits for employers, too.

Flexibility Is Good For Both Employees And Employers

Enabling employee flexibility doesn’t have to simply be the cost of doing business. The cloud solutions that enable flexibility for employees can provide beneficial agility for employers and save them money, to boot.

The hybrid-work model is a good example. When the pandemic hit, anyone who could work from home suddenly found themselves there. For some, it was a great fit. For others, not so much. Either way, many offices will simply never again have all their employees on premises all the time.

Switching to a permanent hybrid-work model can provide benefits for employers and employees alike, if done the right way. The key is to ensure communications and collaboration solutions are fully integrated. When people can switch seamlessly between voice, text and video conversations on any device, they can work in a more natural and intuitive way. And they can be more engaged and efficient.

The cloud enables this seamless integration of collaboration tools that can improve work processes, while also providing several additional benefits for employers:

  • More manageable and predictable costs, which go with an operational expenditure (OPEX) funding model for cloud services
  • Improvements in employee efficiency, driven by the ability to work seamlessly and securely wherever they are — whether in the office, at home or on the road
  • Flexible, more personalized customer interactions, which are made possible by providing customers a choice of which medium they use to contact the company
  • Lower costs for hardware and software maintenance
  • Reduced service downtime
  • Accelerated delivery of new services and applications 


Employees Expect Up-To-Date, Easy-To-Use Technology

The uninterrupted access to the latest technology updates and upgrades that are available with cloud-based communications solutions also benefits employees and employers.

Until recently, having the latest communications and networking technologies for employees was a nice thing to have — something that could set a company apart from the competition. These days, not having the latest technologies also sets a company apart, though not in a good way.

In a recent survey by Harvard Business Review, a full 82% of employees said that their happiness on the job was “significantly impacted” by how well their workplace technology performs. Employees expect not just technically adequate technology to do their jobs, but easy-to-use, up-to-date hardware and software. And happy employees tend to be creative, enthusiastic and hardworking. It’s no surprise then that as many as 87% of executives believe having a happier work environment is a competitive edge.

The cloud makes this easy. Relying on the cloud-based solutions, rather than in-house technology, lets businesses stay up to date with the latest technology without having to shell out for updates and applications they don’t need. Access to best-in-class tools not only enhances how employees connect and collaborate, it enables ongoing standards compliance, simplifies the process of applying security and bug fixes, and enables online training and proactive performance monitoring.

Keeping The Best People Means Keeping Them Happy

Of course, offering up-to-date technology and a flexible work-life balance is not only a good way for companies to save money and attract the best people: it’s also the best way to keep the best people.

As much as companies have borne many of the costs of moving employees to hybrid or work-from-home models, it’s the employees who have had to adjust their lifestyles. The early days of the pandemic saw many people struggling to use the video conferencing apps they’d barely touched before, trying to keep up with a similar or even larger workload while learning the ins and outs of new technology. Many simply didn’t have the technology they needed to successfully collaborate with their colleagues or communicate with customers.

Unsurprisingly, employees aren’t eager to repeat the process. That Harvard Business Review survey also found as many as 77% of employees indicated that they would be willing to go elsewhere if they aren’t provided the tools and technology they feel are necessary to do their jobs well.

In today’s increasingly digital world, it’s more and more likely that employees who leave will find another company offering what they’re looking for. It’s also more likely that the companies that can deliver on employee technology expectations will be leveraging cloud-based solutions, which are more ubiquitous, easy to use and efficient than ever.

Picking The Right Partner To Help Keep The Right People

But just as there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for employees, there’s no single cloud solution for all employers. Different companies, depending on their size, current infrastructure investments and other considerations, will have different paths to the cloud. Some will be best off moving wholesale to the cloud as quickly as possible to create the work environment that meets the expectations of their employees. Others will benefit from a more gradual process, phasing in elements only as they need them to meet specific objectives.

Whichever path you choose to the cloud to create a more flexible and attractive work environment for employees, having a partner like 4Sight who can help you choose the right technologies and pave the best migration path for you is important.

This blog post was first published by Mitel.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

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.

Read more...

Your Top Cloud Migration Questions Answered: Part 2

In this blog, we follow up on part 1 in our series with answers to more of your top cloud migration questions. Our second installment focuses on the specifics of handset migration, and how migration to MiCloud Connect affects your communications features, functions and configuration capabilities.  

What If My Current Handsets Are Not Compatible With MiCloud Connect? Do I Have To Purchase New Ones?

Right now, we’re offering a number of incentives to help more of our customers migrate from their on-premises Mitel solution to MiCloud Connect, which is our flagship global cloud solution. And there are great incentives related to handset upgrades. 

In North America, we include a free handset upgrade for customers who aren’t already using compatible phones, such as Mitel 6900 series or 400 series IP phones. We even include free shipping for the upgraded handsets.  

We’re also offering other incentives, such as free installation, free implementation and special pricing for monthly subscriptions to further reduce the costs of transitioning to the cloud. 

For details about all of our various incentives to help with cloud migration, reach out to your Mitel partner, and they’ll be happy to provide the information you need. 

Will I Be Able To Retain My Current Communications Functionality If I Transition To MiCloud Connect? 

Absolutely. After you migrate from your Mitel on-premises solution to MiCloud Connect, you will be able to do everything you were doing before. Plus, you’ll have access to a world of new capabilities that are available through MiCloud Connect. 

We can maintain all of your existing functionality after the transition because the MiCloud Connect platform is very versatile. We can even implement all of your current features and functions in the same way they’re implemented in your current Mitel solution. For example, if your current solution is set up to alert technicians when a voicemail message is left, or to escalate voicemails to multiple devices or email addresses, we can build that same functionality into MiCloud Connect. Even your choices for music while people are on hold can be loaded into the MiCloud Connect platform so the user experience is identical. 

How Do You Manage The Cloud Migration Process? 

We’ve put a number of people and processes in place to ensure we complete every cloud migration in the most effective and efficient way possible and deliver all of the requested features and functions. Our dedicated team of cloud migration experts covers the complete migration path so every aspect of your transition to the cloud is considered and addressed. 

We also use tools that help to automate and accelerate your transition to the cloud. In fact, we’re testing migration tools in the field right now, and they’re getting tremendous feedback.  

The migration tools we work with automatically detect all of the functionality that’s being used on the network and generate an audit report. You can then confirm the report includes all of the functionality you currently have and determine whether there are any capabilities you no longer need. Once you’ve verified the list of features and functions you want to continue using, we create the cloud versions of those same capabilities. 

The migration tools also help us to quickly and easily replicate your current feature set. For example, we can extract details about button programming on your phones and how button labels and phone lines are set up, then simply upload that information into the new cloud system. These kinds of efficiencies dramatically reduce the amount of time from discovery to go live. 

By making decisions based on the audit report, you can ensure you’re only paying for the functionality you’re actively using and that the number of users you’re paying for matches your current staffing numbers. We’ve had cases where customers had purchased 100 licenses at one point, no longer have that many users but didn’t get around to cleaning up the system programming. Migrating to the cloud is an excellent opportunity to rectify those types of discrepancies. 

Can I Combine My On-Premises PBX And Phones With Applications That Are Hosted In The Cloud?

We do have cloud-based applications, such as Mitel MiTeam Meetings, which allows you to take advantage of seamless, real-time video conferencing and collaboration on a subscription basis. But, in the end, we’re trying to get our customers to the point where they can access all of the available cloud features and functions at an affordable rate and turn them on and off as needed. 

Fully migrating to the cloud gives you considerably more flexibility to meet different users’ requirements for voice, chat, video, file sharing and other features, and to accommodate different work styles. You can also mix and match service plans. We don’t limit you to one subscription for the entire company.  

Can I Manage All Of My Users And Locations And Make Programming Changes To MiCloud Connect? 

Because MiCloud Connect is provided as a managed service, you have a lot of flexibility. These tasks can be managed for you by Mitel, 4Sight, or you can take care of these tasks yourself. It just depends on how you want to set up the service.   

There’s also a lot of flexibility in terms of how individual settings can be configured. For example, permissions can be set in the way that best matches your users and the way your business functions. You may want to set permissions company-wide, based on users’ locations or their role in the organization.   

This blog post was first published by Mitel.

Read more...

Your Top Cloud Migration Questions Answered: Part 1

Every year, more businesses are migrating to communications solutions that are delivered from the cloud instead of using traditional on-premises equipment. If you were to take a snapshot in time, it would show that 54 percent of businesses are currently looking to move to the cloud. That translates to about 23 million individual users.

How does cloud migration help future proof communications? The following points will help you understand what cloud communications mean for your business.

Why Are Businesses Moving Away From On-Premises Communications Solutions?

Businesses are looking for different capabilities than they’ve had in the past. They want their staff to be able to work from different locations. They want to be mobile, and they want software and tools that help them better engage with customers. 

There’s also the “millennial factor.” There’s a whole generation of individuals who prefer to send a text message or have a chat session rather than pick up the phone and call someone. Businesses need to support all of these different types of communications channels.

For businesses that are expanding and merging with other companies, cloud-based communications are a great way to provide a consistent set of capabilities to new teams, support new branch offices and engage with customers in different regions.

Another key driver is the need to streamline operations to focus on the core business and ensure processes are aligned with communications tools and interaction styles.

And finally, when it’s time to refresh, renew or replace existing on-premises solutions, the cloud just makes a lot of sense. 


What Makes Cloud Communications Solutions Future Proof?

A truly future-proof cloud communications solution delivers the best of everything:

  • A consistent set of features and functions no matter where people are
  • An intuitive and simple, but powerful, user experience across all features and functions
  • The flexibility to mix and match new and advanced features with essential features and to change feature bundles and licensing as needed
  • The ability to integrate with customer relationship management and other backend systems
  • Extremely high reliability
  • Affordability
  • No downtime during installation and implementation

It sounds like a wish list, but it’s all possible. Mitel MiCloud Connect allows teams to work from anywhere using voice, chat, video, file sharing and other capabilities. It’s very reliable, provides a consistent user experience across mobile phones, desk phones and desktop apps and it’s available through flexible and interchangeable subscriptions.

How Are Cloud Communications More Cost-Effective Than On-Premises Solutions That Are Paid For?

The key is to compare total cost of ownership for on-premises and cloud solutions.

With on-premises solutions, you may have already paid for the hardware and licenses, but you have to consider the many additional costs these solutions require. Those costs include:

  • Telecom services
  • Ongoing license renewals
  • Ongoing PBX maintenance and upgrades
  • Space, power and cooling costs for backroom equipment
  • In-house technical staff to maintain, administer and manage the solution

With a cloud solution, there are very few fees to consider and no hidden fees. You pay your subscription fee, the costs of the handsets and connectivity you need and that’s it. Even if you bring in new hires after the cloud solution is deployed, the cost of training them is included in the monthly subscription fee.

If you compare the total cost of an on-premises solution over its lifetime to the total cost of a cloud solution over the same period of time, you’ll see why we say cloud solutions are the more cost-effective approach.

In fact, we have models that show there’s a minimum 60 percent savings in the total cost of ownership with cloud communications. If you’d like to see the models, please reach out to us today and we will be happy to talk you through all the details.

How Do We Roll Out Cloud Communications Across Multiple Sites, Offices Or Locations?

We have a number of technologies and processes in place that allow us to be as flexible as possible during rollouts. For example, depending on the connectivity that’s being used, there are different ways for cloud solutions to communicate with legacy systems. 

In addition, we can provision cloud solutions to support many users, but not activate all of them or charge you for them until they’re needed. This makes it easy to add users at different sites when it makes sense. The licensing flexibility we provide is particularly helpful to businesses with seasonal requirements where they may need to give more people access to communications services around holiday periods or in the summer.

We can also do phased migrations and staged rollouts based on different sites, office locations, sections of offices, departments and other criteria. The users involved in each phase are fully trained in how the solution works and how phones can be programmed so they’re ready to start using the solution as soon as it’s live. 

How Does 4Sight Handle The Transition From On-Premises Solutions To Cloud Solutions?

We have a huge amount of experience helping companies make their move to the cloud. We understand what works and what doesn’t. 

We’ve put a lot of thought and effort into how we can make the transition to the cloud as seamless as possible for our customers and how we can protect their existing investments. For example, if you have Mitel 6900 series or 400 series IP phones, you can reuse those phones with Mitel MiCloud Connect. 

There are a number of other ways we simplify your transition to the cloud, and we truly believe no one makes your move to the cloud easier than we do.

This blog post was first published by Mitel.

Read more...

Soul Searching: What Do You Bring to the UC Vendor Relationship?

As more businesses begin to adopt unified communications (UC) technology, it can be tempting to follow the crowd. If a particular vendor or solution seems to be working well for other organizations, shouldn’t it work for your company too?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is “Don’t be so sure.” A one-size-fits-all approach to unified communications may meet some of your needs today (if you’re lucky), but don’t you and your employees deserve to have all of your needs met? How can you be sure you’re picking a UC vendor that will help your company succeed today, tomorrow and 10 years from now?

While it’s important to carefully review the different providers in the unified communications space, making the right choice actually begins by looking within your own organization. Assuming you know what your employees need is dangerous. Companies need to ask the tough questions about what’s working, what isn’t and what’s really needed in order to come to the vendor table prepared and properly armed to make the best choice for a relationship that will stand the test of time.

If you’re not sure how to get started, we have five questions to ask to make sure you dig deep within the soul of your business and uncover all of your communications needs.

Unified Communications Analysis: What Do You Really Need?

The questions below can help your business get to the bottom of what your communications needs really are. Be sure to involve stakeholders from all parts of the business when seeking answers to these questions. Otherwise, you risk missing out on important information that can help lead you to the ideal UC vendor.

What Type Of Workforce Do You Have?
If you’re like most companies, your workforce changed a lot over the past year and a half. While only 30% of employees worked remotely before the pandemic, 73% of employees want flexible remote options to remain on the table in the post-pandemic world. Many companies are permanently adopting a hybrid model, giving employees the flexibility to switch between working from home and in the office. The type of workforce you have has a direct correlation to the communications tools you need. For example, capabilities such as video, voice and chat in one integrated solution, web and mobile applications and a single point of access for all communications tools makes it easy for employees to work from anywhere and from any device.

How does your team prefer to work?
After steadily increasing over the past ten years, employee engagement decreased from 22% in 2019 to 20% in 2020 thanks to – you guessed it – COVID-19. Not surprisingly, the daily stress felt by workers increased from 38% to 43% during the same period. Believe it or not, unified communications can help with both engagement and workplace stress, so managers and executives need to take this into account when thinking about requirements. Our suggestion? Go straight to the source and poll your employees. Do they want access to shared workspaces for easier collaboration on projects? Is Outlook and calendar integration important? Where does a mobile-first design rank? When you take the time to find out which communications tools and features your staff most desire, you increase your chances of picking a solution that can improve engagement and make the workday less stressful.

How important is security?
Every organization needs to keep security a top priority, but it’s even more critical for companies handling highly sensitive information or subject to certain regulations. Document all of your security needs, so you can be sure to select a vendor who can check off every box. MiCloud Connect and Teamwork from Mitel, for example, are built on trusted public cloud, delivering industry-leading reliability and security to deliver uptime as well as SOC2 and HIPAA compliance. 

Do You Want To Leverage Existing Infrastructure?
Your current setup is unique to your business. What works for another company (even one in your own industry) isn’t going to necessarily work for you. Do you need your UC solution to make use of your existing systems? Are you already in the cloud or do you need more time? Answers to these questions can help eliminate vendors who may try to force you to rip out your existing infrastructure and migrate fully to the cloud on day one. Perhaps you need a vendor like 4Sight – one who will work with you to create a communications solution that works with your needs today while building a solid foundation for the future and lets you grow and evolve at your own pace.

What Does The Future Look Like?
You probably have a vision for the future of your business, but if you’re truly honest with yourself, you’ll admit your plans may change. It’s important to discuss your future plans with potential UC vendors, but it’s just as critical to think about how you can plan for the unpredictable. How can a vendor support your future goals and the possibility of them shifting? Perhaps you need a solution that can easily scale up or down as the market changes. Or maybe you need a vendor that’s always looking ahead for you, anticipating your future communications needs.

While your business may be eager to jump into a relationship with the first unified communications vendor you speak to, a wiser approach is to turn inward first. Asking the right questions of your own staff can help organizations discover what they really need in a UC provider – so you can be confident during the selection process. With a little bit of soul searching, you can find a match made in communications heaven. 

This blog post was first published by Mitel.

Read more...

Five Ways to Ensure Your Employees Have What They Need Post-Pandemic

If there’s one lesson the COVID-19 pandemic taught people and businesses globally it’s that everything can change in an instant. While we can’t anticipate whether we’ll ever again face changes as sudden and severe as the pandemic introduced, most of us are taking steps to ensure we’re better prepared to handle unexpected events in the future. 

For businesses looking at the next steps for success, there’s a lot at stake. Many businesses experienced lengthy and costly disruptions during the pandemic, and they’ll want to do everything they can to mitigate the risks of future disruptions. To help cement their long-term success, every business will need to ensure their teams have solutions that allow them to work efficiently and effectively, no matter what unforeseen circumstances come their way.

As you evaluate where you are today and where you need to go, here are a few suggestions to keep in mind.

Start By Evaluating What Worked Well And What Didn’t

To cope with the pandemic, most businesses were forced to make unbudgeted investments to spontaneously support a vastly larger remote workforce. Some of those investments will be worth maintaining, while others met a short-term need, but now need to be updated or replaced with more cost-effective and flexible solutions that will increase productivity long-term.

As you’re making your assessments, take a broad perspective. Look at the solutions and processes your teams are using today, but also consider what you’re missing, and what you might need in the future. An employee survey can be a good way to identify pros, cons and gaps in your current solutions. Your teams’ responses will help you determine:

  • Which solutions are used most often, by which team members and for what purposes.
  • Whether generational work styles and preferences are affecting solution usage.
  • The types of solutions that will deliver maximum benefit to your employees today and longer term.
  • Whether there are opportunities to update the solutions in use with more advanced and tightly integrated technologies, or whether it makes sense to replace existing solutions with more future-friendly technologies.

Assume You’ll Be Permanently Supporting A Hybrid Workforce

In the post-pandemic world, many offices will never again experience all staff working on-site at the same time. At least some percentage of the workforce will always be working remotely — and the mix of on-site and remote workers may change daily. 

This shift means businesses will need more meeting rooms and collaborative spaces instead of individual workspaces for everyone. Hot-desking, or workspace sharing, will become commonplace. And everyone will need the ability to easily access all of the applications and tools they rely on whether they’re working in the office, at home or while on the road. 

To meet these new requirements on a permanent basis, you’ll need to ensure apps and tools are provided in a very flexible way, but with no compromises to data security or compliance. All data must be fully protected and comply with corporate policies and industry regulations no matter where people are located or which device they’re using.

Focus On Communications And Collaboration Solutions

The communications and collaboration solutions you adopt affect every aspect of your internal and external operations. With the right deployment strategy and solutions, you can:

  • Help on-site and off-site team members efficiently and productively work together, no matter their role, experience level or preferred work style.
  • Create a business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) plan that ensures everyone in your organization can continue to communicate and collaborate with one another and with partners, suppliers and customers without interruption, regardless of what’s going on in the outside world. This includes the ability to quickly pivot and ask all employees to work from home, or from satellite locations, with minimal disruption, whenever needed.
  • Enhance the customer experience with omnichannel communications that include traditional voice and web interactions, social and mobile apps and services, advanced data analytics and integration with customer relationship management (CRM) and other back-end systems.


The key is to ensure your communications and collaboration solutions are fully integrated. When people can switch seamlessly between voice, text and video conversations on any device, they can work in a more natural and intuitive way. And they’re better able to focus on the topic being discussed rather than how to manipulate multiple disparate tools and apps.


Explore New Technologies With Your Entire Organization In Mind

As you evaluate the technologies and solutions that are best aligned with your business goals and workforce requirements, you’ll no doubt consider the merits of cloud-based solutions. According to market research from Frost & Sullivan, when technology solutions are delivered from the cloud, businesses can:

  • Reduce costs for hardware and software maintenance
  • Reduce the risks of app, tool and service downtime
  • Free IT resources to develop innovative solutions to tough challenges
  • Accelerate delivery of new services and applications
  • Increase agility and market responsiveness


While cloud-based solutions are a great way to efficiently deliver a consistent set of features and functions to highly dispersed teams, it’s also important to understand what these changes mean for the different groups in your organization. For a successful transition, you’ll need to consider how your move affects:

  • Your workforce. Industry research shows that Gen X employees have different workstyle preferences than Gen Y and Gen Z employees. The generational profile in your organization will influence the speed and ease with which people adopt cloud technologies.
  • IT. These teams are used to providing on-site services. They’ll need to adapt their focus areas and priorities to help your workforce understand, and make optimal use of, solutions delivered from the cloud.
  • HR. These teams will need to help hybrid on-site and off-site teams adapt to new ways of working together and keep morale high.
  • Facilities management. As people try different ways of working, facilities teams will likely have to adjust space allocation multiple times. This need will diminish over time, but it will be important for team members to feel they can work productively from the office or from home. 

Rely On An Expert Partner

4Sight Communications specializes in helping businesses of all sizes and types navigate the new normal, do more with the solutions they already have and migrate to cloud-based communications, collaboration and contact center solutions at the pace that’s right for their business. We understand there is no one-size-fits-all solution, and we are fully equipped and ready to help you implement the solutions that best fit your unique requirements

This blog post was first published by Mitel.

Read more...