Brendan Maree, Interactive Intelligence vice president Australia, New Zealand and Japan, offers some best practice for helping customers move to cloud UC.
Planning any IT technology migration is never as simple as reviewing an RFP and wading through the responses. It takes careful upfront planning to do it right. And when the technology issue you’re addressing happens to involve an enterprise communications system, trying to understand what’s currently available since the last time you did an upgrade for your customer can be a project in itself.
At the same time, many are deploying cloud-based unified communications solutions and moving their contact centre operation to the cloud.
New cloud UC solutions provide rapid deployment, reliability, and unlimited scalability to connect customers and employees in new, more efficient ways. The result is an unprecedented and personalised customer experience.
For the reseller community, the move of UC into the cloud represents new options for deployment.
A best practice when moving to the cloud is to deploy the new cloud model via a ‘start small and extend’ concept.
By implementing the model in smaller business units or workgroups before the contact centre, and by having IT staff available to provide feedback, the process of testing the new cloud architecture and working out bugs is more manageable. With a migration path cleared of issues, it’s easier to implement the contact centre and other larger operations.
Moreover, a start small and extend approach allows the cross functional team to address cultural issues up front regarding the cloud technologies being implemented.
Another best practice is to deploy functionality using a phased approached. Generally, the initial deployment phase should focus on non-mission critical applications that support temporary need such as those for testing and development, and managing project schedules and task lists.
The cloud’s elasticity enables an organisation to provision (and de-provision) these kinds of non-mission-critical resources quickly. Thereafter, business, customer care, and associated organisational needs can dictate the priority of what cloud-based functionality to deploy next, and when.
A phase two deployment should encompass ‘high availability’ UC applications considered business critical. These are apps required to measure business criticality and risk, the functionality of cloud services, and impact to data sovereignty, regulation and compliance.
To expedite any deployment of functionality, also consider scaling out workload elements where feasible. For example, fine-tuning a workload, offloading services (moving mail off a server), or cloning a workload and dropping in another image can be done outside of the deployment scope.
Although cloud-based solutions are becoming more intuitive from a user vantage point, they can still present a learning curve at first. Resellers can assist with deploying a best practice plan which should include formal in-depth training for users before the cloud implementation and cut-over phases, accounting for all user types.
If possible, use a mix of formal training processes from the cloud services provider and your customer’s own internal training resources. For remote and at home users, make sure that some form of online tutorial is available.