Unified communications is moving to the cloud in a big way. Even enterprises once reluctant to make the transition are now embracing the cloud. Yet many IT teams are still concerned about the risks of migration. Here are the 12 biggest pitfalls that can ruin an otherwise successful transition.
1. Moving Everything to the Cloud
Moving everything to the cloud on principal can be a big mistake in failing to recognize the intricacies of individual applications, some of which may not be suited to the cloud and should be kept on premises. Adapting a hybrid approach when moving UC to the cloud is likely a smarter move. Evaluate your applications and usage scenarios individually, make the right decision for each one, and pay attention to compliance, governance, and security issues. You're not driving a bulldozer, so don't act like you are.
2. Neglecting to Assess and Test
Assessing the performance of your UC environment before making any changes will lay down a benchmark for the minimum performance requirements of your cloud deployment. Testing, with the aim of identifying the quality, availability, and readiness of your environment, is critical for success. For instance, have you got enough network bandwidth or performance to handle all of your UC channels when they transition to the cloud? No UC environment remains static. That's why you also need to test for usage today and for the future, when you increase headcount and add new collaboration channels.
3. Not Addressing Security Concerns
Cloud providers can offer a high degree of security, but new and different risks will always pop up. The nature of a multitenant environment like the public cloud means that video, voice, and data from numerous companies are going through the same channels at the same time, which can leave you exposed. Ask your provider how it is managing security and maintaining compliance.
4. Over-Relying on Tactical Plans
Imagine sharing an Uber with three strangers and only telling the driver where one person wants to go. You can end up zigzagging across town wasting both time and money. Operational and tactical plans keep the project moving but without a long-term strategic roadmap you're driving blind. You need a strategy that supports a broad set of vendors in your journey to the cloud. Most organizations today are not on a single UC platform, but rather on disparate platforms from many UC vendors. As such, they need holistic approaches to strategic planning.
5. Failing to Do Your Homework
No two UC cloud migrations are the same. You need to assess your IT infrastructure and network, and estimate the amount of cloud resources you'll be utilizing every day. These factors will contribute to deciding which cloud technologies and platforms to use. If you fail to do the proper research, then your chances of a successful migration plummet.
6. Moving Too Fast
Don't bite off more than you can chew. Begin by moving team by team, branch by branch. After the first few migrations, you should be able to become more efficient and resolve issues before they erupt. A gradual approach to UC migration lets users get familiar with the new system without experiencing network disruptions, which could lead to reduced productivity. It's also important to understand the user experience before and after the migration to ensure users have the same or better experience from the new environment. Last thing you want is dissatisfaction from the new the solution. Slow and steady wins the race.
7. Overlooking Performance and Quality Monitoring
When you proactively monitor the quality and performance of conferences and calls, you're better positioned to troubleshoot issues and isolate problems before they impact the user experience. If you're working in a hybrid environment with multiple vendors, you need to be able to get data from various sources and put it together to monitor and resolve problems fast. Faster identification and resolution can ensure an efficient workforce and a positive user experience.
8. Presuming All Clouds Are Alike
All clouds are not created equal. Private clouds have the advantage of being more flexible with customizable control but have the disadvantage of not being as easy to scale as public clouds. Public cloud infrastructure is a shared resource and built for scale, but providers apply a standard set of policies, functionality, and security that may not meet your specific needs. Or you could choose a hybrid approach and get the best of both worlds. Whatever you do, don't aimlessly select one on the assumption it will suit all your needs.
9. Ignoring Cloud Geography
The location of cloud data centers can have significant implications on the sovereignty of your stored data. Privacy and data sovereignty requirements vary by country, so companies need to consider the laws and regulations that govern the treatment of data where their cloud providers operate. A multinational company with offices globally might benefit from applications being hosted closer to endpoints. Organizations may also want to restrict the use of some apps in certain countries.
10. Falling Short on Business Continuity Planning
In the event of an emergency or an unplanned interruption to normal operations, an organization's business continuity plan should kick into place to provide a minimum acceptable level of service during and immediately after the event. Improving business continuity in a cost-effective manner is one of the chief arguments for moving to the cloud. However, when you migrate, you must ensure that your existing business continuity plan is still in place. If something goes wrong in migration or an emergency occurs before migration is complete, you'll need to switch over to it.
11. Underestimating Necessary Resources
Successful cloud migration requires manpower, expertise, and budget. Accurate estimation will help deliver the project on time and under budget, while delivering a great user experience. Having the correct expertise and management tools, from both in-house and external partners, will ensure that functional operations meet intended design and expected ROI.
12. Assuming All Apps Are Cloud-Ready
Every UC environment has connected applications, and these applications will have to be adjusted to work in the new cloud setting. But what some companies fail to realize is that not all applications are cloud-enabled. Furthermore, forgetting to adjust applications, even if they are cloud-enabled, can also derail a migration.
So now you know what not to do -- and how to reduce the risk of migrating your UC systems to the cloud.