According to Enterprise Management 360, more than half of existing companies plan to move to Unified Communications as a Service in the near future. Moving their communications to a hosted or cloud-based platform gives businesses several advantages, from financial to technological. This decision is being made by companies of all sizes across all verticals.
With as many deployments taking place as have in the past years, there are some common mistakes that can be made, and we will advise you on how to avoid the big ones.
Mistake 1: Neglecting the Network
A UCaaS phone system will connect across your local network and connect to the cloud through the Internet. Your local network will need to be robust enough to handle the traffic internally, including the existing Internet traffic that your workstations and IoT items already utilize. Good speed in both directions is key, as are factors such as latency and jitter. You may be under the impression that since you have no appreciable delay in your emails or web usage, you have enough bandwidth for voice. This is not always the case.
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You should shoot for a rule of thumb of 100kbps in both directions (inbound and outbound) per concurrent connection. You should also look to have no more than 200 ms in latency (sometimes called ping) and less than 80 ms in jitter. Most good bandwidth tests can reveal all of these metrics.
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You also should make sure your network hardware is able to handle the increased workload. Routers that are VoIP enabled with the ability to set QoS for voice traffic, as well as the ability to adjust SIP ALG settings. You should also have enterprise-grade switches that can be managed by your IT team. If you want to utilize Power over Ethernet, the switches must be ready for this, as well. Finally, your firewall should be able to be managed to allow the correct type of traffic to facilitate the new voice traffic.
Mistake 2: Ignoring Adoption
You can make the decision and install a new phone system, but will your employees embrace it? Some business decisions (such as which bank will be utilized to help finance a new expansion) can be made without buy-in from the staff, but a phone system changes how they do their daily job on a fundamental level. Mandating such a change without any input from the staff can be disastrous.
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To avoid this, be sure to include your power users in discussions and design during the entire process. Gaining a few advocates who have had a say in the system’s evolution is of tremendous value when it comes time to introduce new processes, products, and procedures.
Do not ignore the importance of adoption and training when planning your system, and understand that the phone system is a tool for your employees to use to its fullest.
Mistake 3: Poor Documentation of Existing Call Flow
You may or may not have some diagram or flowchart that details all of the call flows passing through your entire PBX. To enter into talks with a possible provider without this knowledge can result in slower time to implement, missing key features, or adding products after the initial install because things like auto attendants or virtual numbers were missed during discovery.
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Take the time to research how calls come into your phone system, who answers the calls, where they go, as well as how calls are made out and even the current extension numbers for your endpoints. Also, do a little bit of legwork and gather information about your current phone provider, including a recent copy of the phone bill, because that will be very useful when looking to port out your numbers to the new provider.
Bonus Mistake: Planning for Today but not Tomorrow
UCaaS is a fantastic way to future-proof your telecommunications needs but there are some things to consider moving forward. If you build your new network to exactly match your existing phone system, you may implement less than efficient methods (like using call park when direct transfers may be better).
Try to think ahead, not only about what your phone system does today, but also how key processes can be made better.
By avoiding these common mistakes, you can have a deployment that is more efficient, less stressful, and more successful than you can imagine.