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Cloud VoIP: Look for Unintended Benefits

Any enterprise that migrates its voice platforms to a cloud solution expects improvements around technology and service. And perhaps cost. But in large and complex environments, other gains may be discovered, too, as I learned in overseeing just such a migration for a Fortune 500 company.
As regular No Jitter readers may recall, I’m a senior voice architect for a Fortune 500 enterprise that spent much of 2018 selecting and upgrading 50 facilities to cloud-based VoIP service. In my previous posts, I provided a detailed overview of my processes and lessons learned. In this piece, I share the unintended benefits gained through cloud VoIP migration.
  1. Circuit Clean-Up -- To tackle each locations’ upgrade/migration project in the most thorough and complete manner possible, we identified every single circuit, trunk, POTS line, and number at each office and plant. In doing so, we sometimes found old, unused circuits, trunks, and phone numbers. We found some accounts at tariff rates because they weren’t on the master service agreement. We found some sites massively over-engineered. We even discovered some locations with unfinished projects. Unfortunately, none of these things is uncommon in large enterprises.
  2. Seat Shrinkage -- Another realized benefit was seat reductions. I could have exported names and extensions from each PBX and blindly ordered the same number of “seats” for the cloud service. Instead, I exported names and extensions to our project workbook, and then worked with the business to scrub the data. Oftentimes, we could cut the list of stations by 50%, or even more.
  3. E911 Elimination -- I was happy to discover that I could eliminate our third-party E911 service since our new telecom provider has built location services into its system. This simplified MAC work, eliminated a vendor, and lowered my cost.
  4. Network Switch Reductions -- We also sometimes discovered that we could reduce the number of network switches, simply due to attrition over time. This reduces maintenance costs, cooling costs, and rack-space footprint.
Don’t mistake this quick list for simplicity. Before initiating a migration at any site, we performed a full audit. The process was painstaking at times, but worth the effort given the additional perks uncovered.
Note too, that being able to share benefits such as these is a great way to sell business and technology stakeholders on a project -- and keep them engaged throughout the process.
In part four of this series, I’ll discuss the importance of teamwork and leadership.