October 27, 2022

Article
3 min

Best Practices for Migrating Hybrid Work to UCaaS

A solid strategy can set up a unified communications as a service environment for long-term success.

Ozzie Vargas

It’s the rare organization that didn’t rush to roll out some sort of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) solution during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to support messaging, videoconferencing, file sharing and real-time collaboration. 

That rush resulted in some less-than-perfect fits, and many businesses and nonprofits are now looking to consolidate or swap out their UCaaS solutions to better support their remote and hybrid workplaces. As they make these changes, business and IT leaders should do what they didn’t have the chance to do in early 2020: take their time to create an effective migration strategy. 

Here’s how.

Conduct a Feasibility Study

A feasibility study ensures that business and IT leaders are focused on solving their business problems, rather than on the technology itself. A feasibility study should engage stakeholders and lines of business around their pain points and prospective use cases, ensuring that any UCaaS solution will meet their needs and seamlessly fit into their workflows. 

The process should also touch on business continuity during and after the migration. With connectivity so central to UCaaS, organizations may need to invest in redundancies to ensure uptime.

Mobility Should Not Be Overlooked

Often, organizations focus almost exclusively on the desktop version of these tools. But this ignores how employees will actually be using the solutions. 

Many workers – especially remote and hybrid workers – connect into the office using mobile devices rather than their laptops, especially when they’re on the go. A proof-of-concept period can help stakeholders to better evaluate the mobile experience of a UCaaS suite.

UCaaS Solutions Should Emphasize Management

It’s a lot easier to get excited about the bells and whistles of video collaboration and co-authoring than it is to get jazzed over a management console. But once a UCaaS solution is in place, streamlined management can be a make-or-break factor. 

IT shops simply need to be able to handle moves, adds, changes and deletes (MACDs) with ease. And if a particular tool is going to turn out to be a management headache, it’s far better to find this out before deploying it across the entire organization.

Future-Proof Your Environment

Many organizations are already shifting their UCaaS solutions and strategies after only a couple of years, and it’s important that they don’t find themselves in this position again in another two years. Not only does it waste resources to constantly change tools, but it can severely inhibit adoption. Users become annoyed when they’re asked to learn one new solution after another, and they may tune out completely if they think that a UCaaS tool is likely to be phased out in short order. 

One way to future-proof a UCaaS environment is to look at the vendor’s track record: Is there a history of innovation in its products, or has it let previous tools go stale? It’s also important to consider total cost of ownership. 

By looking now at hardware costs and other expenses, organizations can ensure that costs don’t spiral out of control, which might force them to seek out alternative solutions.

Build Security into Your Communications Tools

You don’t want to find yourself in the position of having to “bolt on” security measures after deploying your UCaaS solution. Carefully weigh the security features of prospective tools and deploy any additional security measures (such as multifactor authentication) along with the rest of the initial UCaaS environment.

Deliver a Great End-User Experience

This is ultimately what UCaaS is all about. Product features are only one aspect of providing a great experience for end users. Sure, it’s the voice calling, videoconferencing, messaging and collaboration features that are going to help them to be more productive at their jobs. But implementation and adoption can also have a significant effect on how end users experience a UCaaS deployment. 

By eliminating the headaches that are sometimes associated with hardware and software installations, maintenance, updates and migrations, IT and business leaders can help users to get more value out of UCaaS tools and meet the organization’s desired business outcomes.

Story by Ozzie Vargas, an enterprise collaboration consultant with CDW. He works with customers to develop a collaboration strategy, understand their business goals and expectations and map them to the corresponding technology.