5 Tips to Plan a Zero-Downtime Transition to Hosted VoIP
Your phone system is moving to the Cloud.
So you decided your business will transition to Hosted VoIP. Replacing an on-premises phone system with a cloud-based system, or moving from one cloud system to another, can impact your company in several ways. Hosted VoIP cuts your total cost of ownership, delivers enterprise-grade voice features, and is easier to manage and scale.
It’s also new technology. There’ll be a learning curve as you and your staff get up to speed on an unfamiliar system. Additionally, any new technology inevitably hits roadblocks or experiences bugs in the system.
But what if you can’t afford a learning curve or tech issues that cut you off from your customers?
“Phones are still critical to most businesses,” said Chad Lauterbach, CEO at Be Structured Technology Group, a Los Angeles-based IT services provider. “A seamless transition is critical to success. Even though today’s Hosted VoIP solutions are vastly simpler than their older VoIP or traditional counterparts, they still need to be properly configured to meet an organization’s needs. This usually means professional help to get it working the way their business requires.”
Jive Communications partners with providers like Be Structured that exhibit extensive experience helping companies adopt business-optimizing technologies. Jive’s partners understand the value of your customers—and, by extension, your connection to your customers. Their goal is a zero-downtime deployment. However, the successful transition to Hosted VoIP relies on several factors.
What you can do to ease the transition to Hosted VoIP.
Many of these factors are out of your control. But your company, and your preparation, can drastically simplify your transition to Hosted VoIP. Here are a few basic steps you can take:
#1. Partner with a managed services provider.
Chances are you found your new phone system through an IT services provider like Be Structured. Many of these partners also help you through the implementation process. Chad warned that many organizations shy away from using a partner because of cost concerns. “But consider the alternative costs of choosing the wrong systems, having a poor implementation, or worse. Sometimes, all it takes is one bad phone connection to lose a customer.”
#2. Know your network.
Before switching over, determine whether your Internet connection can handle the added network traffic while providing quality voice service. Chad warns this is where many businesses run into trouble. “They don’t plan appropriately for Internet,” he explained. “You need a really solid connection that you don’t regularly saturate to have great voice quality. For larger implementations, I even like to run a dedicated line for VoIP.”
Jive created the Jive View tool to help customers check their network’s capabilities. Jive View offers a comprehensive view of your network. You can run it anywhere, on any device, and receive real-time insights into your network. It’s not only used to qualify networks for Hosted VoIP, but also to pinpoint any network problems that come up.
#3. Prioritize your equipment setup.
Before you request any number porting, before anything else, you’ll want all your equipment in place. If you had everything lined up—service, numbers, etc.—would your infrastructure be ready to handle it? Hosted VoIp relies on very little equipment. But that makes every piece of hardware absolutely essential for a smooth switchover.
That’s why Chad recommends you have all your equipment configured, in place, and ready to go. “Things like PoE switches, battery backup systems, properly installed cabling systems, headsets, conference phones, and more. There’s so many small things that need to be done right to make the system work great for everyone. Professionals that have been down this road before don’t miss those things.”
#4. Understand the porting process.
Porting your existing phone numbers to your new provider is a process. Understand that it takes time. The paperwork and processing passes through multiple hands, including those of your previous carrier. Much of the process relies on how cooperative your previous carrier is. Some carriers drag their feet throughout the process. Or they outright refuse to port numbers they own. Others hand over the numbers the day the new provider submits the request, before you having everything in place. For the most part, the process takes between 5 and 18 days, but that’s if everything goes perfectly.
#5. Have a plan in place.
Before you worry about porting, you’ll want to have equipment in place and a detailed roll-out plan in hand. You ought to know the requirements in your existing contract. Are you obligated to remain with a provider for a set time? Do you have to pay an early termination fee? What kind of rollout are you looking at? What employee training have you planned?
“A lot of groups trying to DIY a VoIP setup don’t think about these things,” Chad said. “Redundant services, forwarding numbers to temporary numbers, possibly having two phones on desks form a few days, user training, and more. Having an experienced partner can help you skip over a lot of these pitfalls and keep your migration on target.”
Hit the Cloud running.
Though you can’t control every step of your transition to Hosted VoIP, you don’t have to feel powerless. By taking these steps and owning your part of the transition process, your company can hit the Cloud running.
And with a cloud-based phone system in place, you’re in a position to really capitalize on the rising remote workforce. Download our ebook to learn how how to effectively manage your remote workers.