Long-term success depends on making the right start
Cloud Communications increase your flexibility and productivity without the need for large capital investment. But to maximise the benefits, you need to plan your transition carefully, with a full understanding of your current communications processes, assets and capabilities.
By getting your preparation right will ensure you:
It is critical that you choose the right cloud services provider for your solution, giving you the ongoing support you need for your successful long-term adoption of these sophisticated communication and collaboration tools.
Compared to traditional, capex-intensive, on-site systems, the financial advantages of Cloud Communications are clear and compelling. But the economics are just the beginning of the real business value.
Free from the constraints of a physical location and a fixed workforce, you can expand your opportunities and grow your business.
By integrating multiple communications and collaboration services across fixed and mobile devices, you can deliver the seamless experiences that your employees and your customers expect.
With access to all the information and tools they need – anywhere, anytime – your employees can significantly improve their productivity.
Always being up-to-date with the latest technology, and having access to sophisticated new features, ensures you stay competitive and don’t fall behind.
Equipped with built-in resilience and security, you significantly reduce the risk of damaging downtime.
With your cloud services provider managing and maintaining the system, you can focus on growing your business, not your phone system.
To realise the full benefits of a consolidated, company-wide Cloud Communications architecture, the right preparation is vital. Our 3-stage approach is designed to ensure you transition successfully.
You need to identify and fully understand your current assets, capabilities and processes by comprehensively auditing your communications and collaboration environment.
Different cloud solutions offer a wide variety of tools and features for improving working practices, so you need to identify which of your processes could be improved to make your business run more efficiently.
Your staff, partners, suppliers and customers all need to be fully prepared for whatever impacts your implementation will have on them. You should also review whether any of your technology needs to be refreshed (such as broadband links and handsets).
A good cloud services provider will work with you through these preparatory stages to ensure that your new solution is the right match for your business and improves on current working practices.
As you plan your transition, there are 3 key elements that you need to consider prior to implementing your transition to Cloud Communications: technology, processes and people.
Encompassing your communications tools and features, your physical equipment and your underlying network – your communications technology estate needs to be aligned for your transition to succeed.
From identification to evaluation, you need to establish a clear and comprehensive understanding of all the communication processes operating within your business.
Preparing everyone who will be impacted by your transition – both internal staff and external partners, suppliers and customers – is fundamental.
From the tools and features you require, to the physical equipment and the underlying support network, all the technological elements of your solution must be aligned for a successful transition.
Your initial audit should establish:
You should then identify:
An audit should include your physical communications equipment to establish whether:
Understanding the basic network requirements for your new solution will enable you to decide whether:
The better your understanding of your existing technology, the more likely you are to make a successful transition.
Processes identification needs to be all-encompassing and rigorous. The clearer your picture of your current processes, the more you can ensure that your Cloud Communications solution improves your efficiency and adds value for your customers.
Many businesses have processes that, having developed in an ad hoc fashion over time, might not be properly understood and documented.
So you need to map all your current processes, including:
Once you’ve mapped your existing processes, you can think how you might improve them. In particular, you should consider how new cloud functionality can help you to improve your customers’ experiences.
You should consider:
To take advantage of the ways that new cloud functionality can improve your customers’ experiences, you need first to evaluate your existing processes.
Business preparation must be comprehensive and supportive. Having your people not just aware of, but also fully committed to your move to Cloud Communications is essential for achieving a smooth and successful transition.
You can have the most advanced technology there is, but if your people do not buy in to your new Cloud Communications solution, your transition will end in failure.
You need to:
The clearer and more supportive your people’s understanding of your new solution is, the more effectively they’ll use it.
With an experienced cloud services provider you can trust at your side, you can be confident you won’t make expensive mistakes.
Missing a key feature when the new system is launched
Example: On the first day the system goes live, the CEO’s PA suddenly can’t screen calls. Solution: Make sure you listen fully to user requirements during your Stage 1 Communications audit, ensuring all required features/functionality are in place from day one.
Network infrastructure hampers performance of new system
Example: You’re trying to run a video conference with suppliers, but the audio is constantly breaking up and the screen keeps buffering.
Solution: Ensure the appropriate underlying network is in place before the system goes live, so that you have sufficient WAN bandwidth for expected concurrent calls and sufficient quality of service for real-time voice and video.
Disruption on transition due to lack of process mapping
Example: A customer calls in when all your customer service staff are busy and the call is lost because it’s not re-routed or held in a queue.
Solution: To ensure continuity of existing processes, detailed data capture is essential and should include number blocks, call flows, call handling, hunt groups and contact centre call routing. Get it right from day one to avoid confusion and calls being mishandled.
Lack of support leaves employees unable to get the best out of the new system
Example: Sales staff cut short their conversation with a prospective customer because they’re unaware of the ability to move calls seamlessly between their desk phone and their mobile.
Solution: Ensure you implement the right user training and can rely on a well-staffed helpdesk for efficient issue resolution. You need the right cloud services partner, who will provide support every step of the way from planning to transition, to launch and beyond.
With the right cloud services provider guiding you at every stage of your transition, you can be sure of having the best solution for your business. When choosing your partner, make sure they can deliver these essentials.
It’s not just about getting the best Cloud Communications solution for you, It’s also about having the experienced support you need at every stage of your transition and beyoND.
Getting the right level of support from your cloud services provider is critical for ensuring that your people maximise the benefits of your solution, your business achieves long-term productivity and growth gains, and your customers experience greater satisfaction.
Your cloud services provider should offer network monitoring tools that provide a useful window into service levels. Constant analytics – such as delays and packet loss – can enhance management control and pre-empt service issues.
The right partner will help to audit your existing communications infrastructure and build a roadmap for your near, medium and long term futures. Offering a range of services to support your transition and ensuring you gain optimum benefits at every stage, your cloud services provider should also proactively suggest new services for improving your and your customers’ experiences.
Your cloud services provider should be able to call upon their wide-ranging experience of having managed multiple transitions for other clients. You’ll only ever do this once and your business can’t afford to learn by making lots of mistakes, so work with a trusted provider who understands the pitfalls and can lead you painlessly through the process.
Transitioning to a Cloud Communications solution can be a straightforward, uninterrupted path to stronger business performance.
Or it can be a nightmare. The difference is how well prepared you are.
© rhm telecommunications 2019