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10 Tips for Deploying a Cloud Phone System

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ShoreTel Cloud Phone System

Organizations are rapidly adopting cloud phone systems since they offer numerous benefits including cost savings, simplified management, easy scalability, integration with third-party apps and more. That’s why a recent Nemertes report found that 84 percent of organizations are are evaluating, using, or planning to use cloud-based phone systems.  

Yet when selecting and implementing a new cloud phone system, there are a number of steps that should be followed to ensure the implementation is successful. We’ve outlined the top ten tips for a successful move to cloud communications:

  1. Find a Champion. As with any project, success depends on having a business champion. Thus, the first step is to secure the support of a C-level executive who can build excitement for the cloud phone adoption.
  2. Develop a Rollout Plan. A well-thought-out plan includes an invaluable road map for the deployment team. It should spell out all requirements, address timing and priorities, define testing needs and establish contingency and rollback plans.
  3. Lean On Your Provider. Your provider should have extensive experience with successful rollouts, so be certain to tap their expertise. However, be sure that you’re both on the same page. Set expectations early, and be clear about your priorities.
  4. Gather Department Head Requirements. Cloud phones are versatile enough to handle the needs of every department, from the executive suite to marketing. But to get them working properly for each group, it’s critical to interview each department head individually to capture their team’s needs. This information will allow you to pre-configure phones so that each department experiences minimal disruption during the rollout.
  5. Survey End Users. Beyond the team’s needs, there are bound to be individual preferences. For example, while employees often prefer to bring their own devices (BYOD), there will be some who would rather use company-issued phones. Consider conducting a simple internal survey to help you capture each end user’s requirements.
  6. Engage Early Adopters. As part of your rollout, enlist the help of early adopters in each department, and allow them to be the first to use the new cloud phones. Give them VIP treatment. The better their experience, the more likely they’ll talk up the system’s benefits to their colleagues.
  7. Check the Calendar. As the saying goes, timing is everything. Know what’s on your company’s calendar when you schedule the rollout. Avoid any “busy seasons” and don’t launch the new phones at the same time as the company’s newest product.
  8. Test. Before you begin your rollout, test the cloud phone system with existing business process apps. This gives you the opportunity to troubleshoot and work out problems early, and avoid issues that can lead to poor adoption.
  9. Train. Develop a training strategy for users. Regardless of how intuitive the cloud phones are, both the IT team and managers will benefit from instruction on how to administer the system, including adding or removing users and monitoring account activity. Likewise, you’ll gain more from your investment if end users have a better understanding of what the system can do for them. ShoreTel University provides training for both end users and tech administrators.
  10. Start with One Office or Team. It’s a good idea to begin your rollout in just one location before extending it to the rest of the workforce. By working with a limited number of users, you can quickly and easily troubleshoot rollout issues and make adjustments to avoid problems as the deployment expands.

Remember that the key objective of your rollout is to help each employee seamlessly transition to the new cloud phone system. The smoother the transition, the higher the adoption rate will be. With careful planning, you’ll increase the likelihood the rollout will be a success.