By Liam Schraeder, Editor In Chief
The office phone has undergone several changes, but its basic function remain: transporting audio information between two or more endpoints. It’s the means of transporting that information that’s changing. Like so many other innovations these days, business phone systems are upgrading from analog to digital, from on-site servers to the Cloud.
Now millions of old premise-based phone systems are coming out of their support agreements, and customers are finding it difficult to contact their VARs (Value Added Resellers) because many of them are either going out of business or selling their companies to their children. Phone system manufacturers are all spending their R&D dollars on new features for their Cloud offerings and leaving their premise-based customers for dead.
But how do you transition? What does the process look like? Which cloud provider should YOU choose?
Here are some things you should consider in your decision-making process:
1. Will your new Cloud UC provider allow you to transfer (or offer credits for) your existing premise phone system licenses?
Believe it or not, there are many providers that will offer you credits for free months of Cloud service to help offset the cost of writing down the value of your existing phone systems. It works very much like trading in a used car when attempting to buy a new one, but in this case the money comes back to you in the form or a few months or two of service.
When you talk to your telecom agent, make sure they are bringing solutions back to you that can earn you credits for your existing phone system.
2. Use this opportunity to re-design your own CX (Customer Experience)
When you move to the Cloud, you're going to be able to do a LOT of new things that will (and should) improve your customer's experience with your company. Depending on what you want to do with your new Cloud system, the number of Cloud UC vendors you should be talking to will thin way down. Not all of them are created the same and each one has invested money (or not) in different features, CRM integrations, and other bolt-on products.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself:
Not every vendor can do all of these things, and some vendors give you these features (included in the base price) while others will charge you an extra fee to implement. You have to answer all of these questions before you start to request demos and pricing from your agent.
3. Use a technology advisor that can provide a certified project managent (PMP).
When you move to the cloud, odds are you are going to want to keep your existing phone numbers. During the transition, the worst-case scenario is that you experience an outage due to a phone number porting issue. Many times the owner of your old phone number will fail to release the numbers on time, citing some technical issue, form that's not filled out completely (enough), and any number of other excuses to not let revenue walk out the door. Having a professional project manager in the seat, driving the project from Day 1 will help prevent any surprises: all parties will be managed and tracked to ensure the transition goes smoothly.
Again, you need to ask, to demand, your agent include a project manager (on their dime) in order to win your business. Don't call the toll-free number on the vendors' web site and miss out on all of the extra value a Trusted Advisor / agent can provide.
Want to Learn More?
If you would like to engage with a Trusted Advisor that can advise you on moving your phone system to the cloud, give our technical help desk a call at +1 (888) 711-3656 and we'll put you in contact with a cloud communications specialist in your area.
About the Author: Liam Schraeder is the Editor in Cheif for BizPhonics.com. He covers all of the recent developments in cloud communications and collaboration. He's been all over the globe, attending conferences, talking to analysts, and measuring actual cloud utilization to piece together a comprehensive view of which service providers work best for which industries.