Migrating Your Business Phone System to the Cloud

Businesses are looking to move their call system to the cloud for a variety of reasons.

migrating business phones to the cloud
Migrating from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud requires planning, especially for a smooth transition.

Some are moving to the cloud because they’re already relying on the cloud for other IT needs. Others are looking to add increased flexibility for their remote workforce or simply reduce their dependence on infrastructure hosted on-premises.

When it comes to your call system, moving to the cloud includes benefits, such as no PBX (business phone) infrastructure to maintain, the ability to make calls anywhere with an internet connection, and predictable pricing. 

Many IT managers and CIOs are researching or planning this migration and turning to IT consulting companies, like The KR Group, for additional resources during this process.

For more than a decade, we’ve helped businesses with their collaboration needs. 2020 isn’t the first time we’ve seen a shift in technology.

As we and the rest of the workforce adapt to a new way of working, cloud calling is something IT consulting companies are staying on top of and helping businesses like you that want to convert.

Some of the ways an IT consultant will assist you are:

  1. Creating a cloud-migration strategy
  2. Estimating the length of your cloud migration
  3. Preparing for potential challenges

By working together with your IT consultant to implement these points and your new cloud-hosted call system, you can efficiently and effectively migrate to the cloud.

Creating a cloud-migration strategy

Once you’re ready to commit to converting your business phone system to the cloud, the next step is to devise a strategy for how you’ll accomplish this.

Keep in mind that the migration process will be much easier if integrations already exist between the call system you’re leaving and the one you’re joining.

Regardless, you still have two decisions to make when it comes to your migration strategy:

1.   Partial migration vs. complete migration

A partial migration allows you to pilot the new cloud-hosted call center in your environment. You can get real-time feedback if the new solution meets your needs and see how your users adapt to it.

This is a more cautious approach to cloud migration, allowing you to slowly phase out your call-system related infrastructure.

On the other hand, complete migrations work for businesses ready to move to the cloud entirely. This is useful if your existing call system becomes unsupported by the vendor or you no longer want to support on-premises call system infrastructure.

However, a complete migration does not mean your users will all start using the cloud-hosted call system at once. As we’ll discuss next, you’ll have to determine if a single cutover or staged migration is the right strategy for your business.

2.   Single cutover vs. staged migration

If you’re going to opt for a complete migration or your partial migration includes a large percentage of your users, you’ll need to consider the process to migrate them to the cloud.

While your preference plays a role in this decision, there are other factors to consider as well. For example, the size of your business or geographic dispersion of your offices may require you to convert to the cloud through a staged migration. This is simply because your IT consultant can only do so much work at once.

You’ll also want to consider phone downtime when deciding which migration strategy is best for your business.

With integrated platforms – Webex Calling and Microsoft Teams, for example – it is possible to move users over one at a time to maintain continuity.

However, in other instances, you will need to take phones offline during the migration. Some businesses may have the ability to notify their users that their phones will be down briefly on a specific day. However, this certainly isn’t the case for all businesses.

Additionally, your IT consultant may not have the resources to help you with a single cutover for a large organization or at multiple locations at a time.

When you’re working with an IT consultant, the goal is to effectively coordinate a plan to migrate your call system to the cloud without sacrificing customer satisfaction.

Estimating the length of a migration

Now that you have a plan in place, you will want to know how long this process will take.

migrating business phones to the cloud
With a strategy in place, you and your IT consulting partner will have a better idea of how long it will take to migrate your phones to the cloud.

Like so many projects in IT, the answer depends on your business’s needs.

If you choose a partial migration, you could plan not to be completely reliant on cloud calling until months from the first migration.

Or, if you need to stage your migration, the time until your IT consultant completes the projects will vary based on the schedule you created together.

Other varying factors include:

  • Do you need desk phones or softphones configured?
  • What on-premises call system are you converting from?
  • What cloud-hosted call system are you converting to?

Without knowing your migration strategy and business needs, it’s impossible to estimate the length of a project.

However, as you make this plan with your IT consultant, they’ll give you an estimate on how long it will take to complete your call system cloud migration.

Planning for potential challenges 

Even with your IT consultant working with you to provide high-level service, you still should prepare for some common challenges.

The biggest challenge you should prepare for is a general hesitation to change from your users.

As the IT leader, you can ease this challenge by ensuring your users have ample notification of the upcoming migration.

Also, make sure you perform test calls within each migration group. It’s better to know if the new call system is or isn’t working before your users can’t make or receive a call.

In general, our best advice is to communicate as clearly as possible to help your business transition to the cloud seamlessly.

Migrating your business to the cloud

If you’re considering migrating your business call system to the cloud, this decision could empower your remote workforce and reduce the amount of IT infrastructure you have to maintain. However, you can’t do this without proper planning.

When you partner with an IT consultant for this process, they can help you create a strategy, estimate the project’s length, and prepare for potential challenges.

Overall, they’re not just helping you with the actual migration; they’re going to help you make it the most efficient process for your business.

For more information on how to plan your call-system cloud migration, download our free resource on migrating your business phone system to the cloud.

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