Migrating Communications to the Cloud? Avoid these Three Roadblocks

Migrating Communications to the Cloud? Avoid these Three Roadblocks

By Special Guest
Maurie Munro
  |  April 22, 2019

When navigating the unified communications as a service (UCaaS) market, it’s easy for buyers to get lured down long side roads of distraction and get cross-eyed from the overload of providers, features, and service options. How do you avoid the detours? Three primary roadblocks can slow decision makers in selecting a UCaaS provider. Here’s how to keep your communications cloud migration on the fast track.

The Roadblock of Commoditization

Similarities in providers and features can be difficult to discern. As a result, buyers come to think of UCaaS as a commoditized solution. That mindset triggers them to only dig deeper into the details to tease out every last feature nuance.

That barricade can lead to a long detour.

Features and technicalities distract leaders from having the adjacent conversations that are much more relevant and likely to identify the best UCaaS partner. Instead of finding every last feature that will serve 100% of your users’ needs, focus on serving only the large majority. Hit the major checkboxes and quickly shift your evaluation to the partner’s service and support. Deep dialogue around services, implementation, and network architecture better distinguish differentiators among like providers.

Try asking your potential partner these questions:

  • Solution Customization: How will you customize a solution for our enterprise needs, designing a timeline and migration plan that matches my existing PBX (News - Alert) systems, locations, and user needs?
  • Implementation Expertise: How will you ensure a seamless migration? What expertise do you bring? Will you dedicate resources to the project? How will you create a migration plan and help with documentation, training, execution with consistent alignment?
  • Partnership Success: How do you foster a culture of transparency, consultation, alignment, and trust? What is the accessibility of experts and executives? How has your company helped companies like mine make similar migrations? Who are those companies? Do you measure customer satisfaction/NPS through a third party?

The Roadblock of Repeating History

PBX technologies have a deep history in every enterprise, making it a challenge to disconnect from the on-premise processes, technologies, and mentalities of the past. This is particularly the case in contact centers where individual user experiences have long been dictated by vendors and software releases.

Beware of this barrier, as history repeats itself.

Bygone eras can result in new mistakes. Improperly designed PBX systems and lackluster contact center processes will quickly convert to poorly designed cloud solutions. These lessons serve as valuable tips for keeping your cloud migration on the road:

  • Be careful when reusing existing systems, processes, and architectures if this is NOT your most-ideal framework. Blindly recycling your old approach can be dangerous. On-premise frameworks and playbooks may need to be revised for the cloud, and those investments are typically worth the effort.
  • Carefully weigh the cost of hardware investments while not forgetting the procurement process. Upgrading to cloud communications systems while keeping your old phones may result in having to go through the purchase and migration process twice. Some buyers find that secondary procurement process painful, meaning it easily justifies the cost of new hardware.
  • Beware of duplicating ALL existing on-premise systems (including pricing models) in the cloud—resulting in no real cost savings! UCaaS investments should deliver ROI and lower your total cost of ownership through these five key factors.

The Roadblock of Oversimplification

UCaaS technology has historically been positioned as simply “a technology purchase,” when it’s far more complex. Similarly, the transition to cloud communications is commonly described as a migration path or plan. In reality, it’s a long-term voyage, especially when you have PBX systems that need to be incrementally phased out over time.

Oversimplifications are the service road, when you need the expressway.

These days, moving communications to the cloud is described as an “journey.” This new identity is a significant about-face, because migrating to UCaaS is not a toggle switch. More often than not, customers don’t take a forklift approach to rip and replace their existing communications systems. The words “journey” and “experience” are better descriptors for the UCaaS hybrid deployments that are more common today. (Hybrid deployments use SIP trunking services and UCaaS from the same call platform and same dial plan in the customer environment, allowing you to add on modern communications features that supplement your existing PBX--paving the way for migration to a fully hosted solution over time.)

Here are some questions that can help buyers steer clear of oversimplifications and find the best long-term partner.

  • Evaluate UCaaS technology platforms with the mentality that you’re about to select a race car that will likely navigate your enterprise across unknown terrain for at least the next few decades. Try these questions:
    • Technology Innovation: Tell me about your technology roadmap and plans for innovation? How will your brand/offering be a future-proof investment? In five years from now, will it be a platform and network service that embraces technology advancements on the cutting edge?
  • As you’re speaking with potential partners think of them as the race car driver, who is responsible for leading your enterprise in the continual race toward digital transformation. How will that partner keep your enterprise communications on the edge of technology advancement both now and into the foreseeable future? Here are some sample questions:
    • Digital Transformation: Once the migration is complete--then what? How will you help my company operationalize the UCaaS investment? What expertise do you bring in digital transformation from a communications perspective (automating processes, building the voice-powered enterprise, leveraging voice analytics for decision making/IoT, creating intelligent interactions, etc)?

At the end of the day, the journey to the cloud is less about the technology features and more about partnership. Your UCaaS provider’s leadership, expertise, and active involvement will best deliver on your business goals.

When you’re evaluating UCaaS partners, don’t forget about Masergy. Rated as a Niche Player in the Gartner UCaaS Magic Quadrant, Masergy delivers a boutique-like customer experience. From solution customization, global availability, and implementation expertise to performance analytics and technology innovation, we’re here to help you build partnerships and deliver outcomes that accelerate digital transformation.

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