Reap UCaaS benefits by preparing network, staff and users

Organizations migrating to cloud-based unified communications must examine IT and end-user needs. Finding the right balance can help companies realize UCaaS benefits.

Cloud adoption is ramping up as organizations demand more flexibility and advanced features from their unified communications platforms.

Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) offers organizations certain benefits, including easier IT management, support for mobile and remote workers, and cost-effective scalability. As a result, the UCaaS market is expected to see double-digit growth through 2024, according to Frost & Sullivan.

To reap these UCaaS benefits, organizations must assess the UCaaS options and then prepare a migration strategy that meets the needs of their network, IT staff and end users.

What should organizations include in a UCaaS strategy?

For a successful UCaaS migration, organizations need a strong strategy that covers the technical and nontechnical aspects of the deployment.

On the technical side, organizations must decide which cloud architecture -- multi-tenant or private -- meets their needs. A multi-tenant architecture is less expensive than a private architecture, but it offers organizations less control.

Organizations must also choose which network services to offload to their cloud providers. They could offload all the services to their provider or keep some services in-house.

On the nontechnical side, organizations should involve lines of business and end users to create a proof of concept to make sure their communication needs are covered by the UCaaS migration. Certain training options, such as in-office or web-based tutorials, can also support users through a migration.

How does a UCaaS migration affect IT staffing?

Migrating to UCaaS can affect the roles of certain IT teams. Most organizations that move UC to the cloud will reduce the IT staff necessary for technical operations, but maintain the staff responsible for collaboration, according to Nemertes Research.

Learn how to select the right UCaaS provider in an evolving market.

A cloud migration creates new roles for IT staff including managing vendor relationships, working with lines of business, and promoting user awareness and adoption. Another emerging role within collaboration teams is around app development as more organizations use APIs to integrate communications with workflows.

How do you support end-user adoption of UCaaS?

The key to unlocking UCaaS benefits relies heavily on end-user buy-in. Organizations must educate their end users on how the new tools and technologies of the UCaaS platform can improve their day-to-day workflows and meet their communication needs. Organizations can use several methods to educate users and promote adoption.

Before a UCaaS rollout, for example, organizations can let employees test the new technology with pilot programs and ask them which devices and tools they prefer. Internal marketing with engagement campaigns and brand champions can help educate and prepare users for the implementation.

Training can show users the UCaaS benefits for their workflows and business communication needs. Organizations must choose training styles that mirror their employees' work styles. In-office, hands-on training, for example, will have greater benefits than training videos for employees who have hands-on responsibilities.

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