5 Best Practices for Moving to a Cloud Phone System

    For most companies, it makes sense to move their business telephone solutions to a cloud-based phone system rather than maintain their systems onsite. Among other things, a cloud-based PBX provides more flexibility, so your capabilities can grow easily and cost-effectively as your business expands. For example, you’ll be able to acquire new services when you need them, without waiting for a complete system upgrade. 

    And if you do move to the cloud, you won’t be alone. Infonetics Research predicts the global cloud PBX and unified communications (UC) market will grow to $12 billion in 2018, with 62.6 million seats in service. In 2014, the firm forecast that hosted PBX and UC services would grow by some 13% that year. And, the consulting firm Kellton Tech called the move to hosted PBX, “the most prominent trend in and beyond 2015.”

    Like any technical project, moving your telecommunications platform to the cloud requires careful planning. Hiccups along the way can have a real impact on your business if customers can’t reach support representatives or employees can’t communicate with each other.

    Here are five things to consider.

    Assemble a team. Transitioning your business telephone system will impact everyone in the company, so you’ll need a team in place who can make sure all departments’ needs are represented, communication flows smoothly, and people know where to turn with questions or problems. While obviously your technical staff will play a key role in the effort, be sure the rank and file is well represented, too. This guarantees the end user’s voice will a part of the conversation.

    Document your needs. You must have a clear picture of how everyone within your organization uses the telephone system. Some people will continue to rely on desk phones, while others will prefer mobile devices. Compile the needs of everyone in the company and share the documentation with your vendor. They can make sure everyone will have the capabilities they need not only to do their job, but to enhance the way they do it.

    Sweat the details. Don’t neglect issues that may seem obvious – like security. Verify that your cloud-based phone system provides strong security measures for all of the devices and traffic that your system will handle. Also, check your network: Does your ISP provide enough bandwidth to smoothly operate a VoIP system?

    Plan for a transition. Transitioning to a cloud-based phone system isn’t like flicking a switch. There may be a period of overlap so operations can continue as any kinks are worked out and employees get used to the new system. Be sure to build in adequate time for the system implementation, training and a general transition.

    Train Your Staff. VoIP offers a range of capabilities that can make life a lot easier for your employees. But those capabilities can only be put to use if your staff knows what they are and how to use them. Early in the transition process, lay out a plan that includes in-person training, printed reference cards and online documentation that allows users to easily find help on features if they need to.

    Your communications platform is critical to your business. By working closely with your technical team, your users and your service provider you’ll be able to enhance your capabilities by implementing a cloud-based PBX with minimal disruption to your business along the way.