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Removing Complexities of Migrating Telecom to the Cloud

By Sascha Mehlhase, senior director of product management for Flowroute, now part of Intrado

The perceived complexity around migrating services to the cloud is halting many businesses' automation efforts, with more than 98 percent of businesses still running on-premise servers. Cloud-based telecom solutions, for example, offer a host of benefits to businesses and their customers; however, years of operation under legacy carriers and expensive infrastructure have made some businesses hesitant to migrate their communication offerings to the cloud.

In order to mitigate worries and ensure "business as usual" for customer support and end users, organizations need to approach cloud migration with a game plan and thoughtful approach.

Below are three tips that will help organizations simplify the process of migrating their communication services to the cloud.

  • Define objectives and outline strategy. Migrating to the cloud takes planning and preparation. Having a plan in place provides business leaders with oversight and helps the company stay on track during transition. IT leaders should work with their cloud-based communication service provider to develop a migration strategy that helps achieve overarching business objectives, as well as address customer needs.

The plan should address the overall migration process, which can be broken into four key areas:

  1. Determine migration order. Determining the order of feature migration is an important first step, as some features take longer than others or are more critical to the business' bottom line. For example, a best practice many companies follow is to migrate video and voice conferencing features first, because they are often the offerings most familiar and critical to customers (think of apps like Skype and FaceTime).
  2. Train staff. After defining migration order, business and IT leaders should detail how to train staff to ensure customer service needs can be addressed during and after migration.
  3. Inform customers.  To effectively communicate changes in offerings to customers it is recommended to share information across all channels and platforms (i.e., email, newsletter, blog and social media, etc.). Poorly communicating with customers can have detrimental impacts on a company's reputation.
  4. Set a go-live date. The time between the decision to migrate and the go-live date should be long enough to accomplish each of these tasks, but not too long to cause confusion or frustration for customers and employees. The timeframe depends on how many features a business plans to migrate. Some instances will take a few hours, others a few months.
  • Trial and pilot offerings. As with any new product installment, putting in the work upfront helps ensure a seamless transition of services later. For example, if the team has chosen to migrate video conferencing to the cloud first, they should test out the system in a controlled environment during training sessions before using it to interact with customers or partners.

Once initial tests have been completed, a business may choose to pilot these offerings with select customers. A business can select customers randomly or based on the services the customer regularly uses.  Business leaders can then obtain feedback from pilot customers, which can be used to further train customer service representatives, tweak offerings or transition a company from a hybrid approach to full cloud-based migration.

Although it may seem tedious, setting aside time for a trial period will afford companies the control to monitor deployment and address any issues should there be any, before rolling out the solution customer wide.

  • Assess customer response and anticipate future trends. Once a business has migrated its services to the cloud, it should monitor how customers are responding and how services are running. After securing this feedback, businesses can determine if they need to make changes or add to their current offerings. Given the scalability of APIs and cloud-based offerings, companies can quickly make changes or scale horizontally as needed.

Also, as technology continues to forge ahead and as customers' needs change, IT decision makers should keep a finger on the pulse of advancements that will help to further evolve their current cloud telecom offerings. This could include the ability to offer international numbers or integrate WebRTC into call centers.

Migrating services to cloud-based systems is ultimately a way for companies to scale and elevate their current communications offerings. Taking a planned and proactive approach to migration helps simplify the process, as well as ensure the long-term success of migration. Further, the ability to quickly adapt to customers' changing preferences will distinguish market leaders from their competitors.

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About the Author

Sascha Mehlhase 

Sascha Mehlhase is the senior director of product management at Flowroute, now part of Intrado. He has more than 15 years of product management experience in software engineering and B2B SaaS platform development. Prior to joining Intrado, Mehlhase was the director of product management at Motorola Solutions, where he was the strategic lead as the company developed software solutions for mobile broadband work-group communications. 

Published Wednesday, November 06, 2019 7:31 AM by David Marshall
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