The Only Way To Execute A UCaaS Migration Under Budget

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Are you planning to switch from an on-premises communication setup to a cloud-based UCaaS system?

Maybe—like most companies who are making the change—you’re excited about the new VoIP phones, the cost savings, and the flexibility that UCaaS offers. While you’re at it, you’re probably ready to say goodbye to the never-ending maintenance requirements of outdated hardware as well.

But then the logistical questions come into play. How can you pull off a migration both smoothly and within budget? What are all the steps involved, and how long will it take? Can you do it on your own, or do you need help?

Done right, migrating to UCaaS can be relatively painless and provide major cost savings for companies. Follow these steps to get your systems running smoothly.

Create a Thorough UCaaS Migration Plan

Mapping your move might be the most daunting step of any tech migration process, so it’s important to start with a plan—especially when your business has a communication system that’s been cobbled together. For example, if you want to get rid of your old PSTN telephones,  you may have to halt your operations until new infrastructure is in place. 

Meanwhile, if you’ve been using multiple third-party chat tools and conferencing apps, you’ll also need to decide how to integrate or replace them before migrating. 

The following roadmap will provide the flow for a smooth, cost-effective migration:

  1. Audit your current communication stack
  2. Define migration goals and timeline
  3. Evaluate and select a UCaaS provider
  4. Configure and test the new UCaaS system
  5. Data migration and user training
  6. Phased or cutover migration
  7. Ongoing monitoring and support

Step 1: Audit every communication stack

Your first task is to investigate every tool, service, and channel your team currently uses. You need to learn what each department relies on, so be sure to involve key stakeholders from all across your organization.

For instance, sales and service departments can have different channels and software that you won’t want to disrupt, and your IT department probably has its own range of issues and special considerations that you’ll need to account for. 

As for your team of agents, be sure to encourage everyone to add their input so you know how many users, sites, and lines you will need to handle their expected call and chat volumes. At the same time, take inventory of everything from CRM integrations to fax machines—every detail matters. 

Lastly, be extremely aware that forgetting about any particular integration can cause costly delays, so the better you take inventory of your full needs ahead of time, the fewer surprise expenses later on. 

Step 2: Define migration goals and timeline

Setting clear objectives and a realistic timeline for the migration process provides useful direction and keeps everyone aligned. It also helps stick to the budget. 

Here’s how to break things down at this stage: 

  • Start with your goals. Why are you doing this migration in the first place? Do you want to reduce expenditures, gain greater flexibility with a new tech stack, or do you need a better solution to scale your business?
  • Outline target objectives and improvements in the areas you need. For example, if you plan to hire more teammates or open new locations, try to estimate the number of licenses, user seats, and devices you will need. 
  • Plan a realistic migration timeline. Break up the project into multiple phases with clear start and end dates. Allow time for planning, testing, deployment, and training. Identify the key milestones for each phase, and be sure to leave some buffer room in case of the unforeseeable. 
  • Identify the personnel and resources you’ll need for each phase. Be sure to share your goals and the timeline with everyone so your teams know what to expect as you start the work.

At this point, you’ll also want to choose between a phased, gradual rollout and an all-at-once, cutover migration. 

Phased Migration

  • Best for: Large organizations, complex setups, and risk-averse companies
  • Benefits: Minimizes disruptions, allows for adjustments, and easier for users to adopt
  • Considerations: Takes longer because getting it right requires more planning and coordination

Cutover Migration

  • Best for: Smaller organizations, simple setups, and companies capable of making fast changes
  • Benefits: Quicker implementation and less disruption overall
  • Considerations: Higher risk of issues, potential user resistance, can require just as much pre-planning

Step 3: Evaluate and select a UCaaS provider

Once you have your plan mapped out, you’ll need to find the right UCaaS provider so you can execute it. You may want to seek out an IT expert’s advice to help you sift through your options.

Remember that while your upfront costs are certainly a factor, you’re planning for the long term. UCaaS providers will have different features, fee structures, integrations, and capabilities, so you’ll need to ask yourself a bunch of questions as you start comparing UCaaS vendors.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Does the provider offer the core functionalities you require? Are there any advanced features you are forced to pay for right away, or can upgrade as you grow?
  • Does the platform offer enough scalability and flexibility to adapt to change?
  • Does it integrate with your existing CRM, project management tools, and other key applications for your business?
  • Is the fee structure monthly or yearly, and what are the setup costs, if any?
  • Is there a guaranteed uptime? What are the platform’s security methods?
  • Do they offer regular backups to protect your data? What’s their disaster recovery plan?
  • Will they help with training, and how strong is their long-term support and maintenance?

Remember that cost, while a big consideration, is not the only factor. Think about the overall impact on your efficiency, productivity, and business goals—and then choose a provider that ticks the most boxes.

a screenshot of the Nextiva website featuring various products offered by this service

For businesses of all sizes, that provider might be Nextiva. It’s our favorite all-in-one provider, with dozens of features to unify a company’s communication channels.

Step 4: Configure and test the new UCaaS system

Once you’ve signed up with a UCaaS provider, you’ll want to configure the system right away. First, you’ll set up user accounts, assign permissions, and customize features like call routing and voicemail greetings. If you’re using it in tandem with other systems, don’t forget to connect those, too.

As you implement each feature—voice calls, video conferencing, messaging, and collaboration tool—be sure to test each connection. It’s also a good idea to gather feedback from various users and departments so you can identify any potential issues. 

Lastly, remember that prevention is often the best remedy for tech headaches, so don’t rush through your configurations. Any post-migration issues could make it hard for your employees to do their jobs.

Step 5: Securely migrate your data

Once your new software is configured correctly, you can safely begin to migrate data from your old systems. This may include things like call logs, contacts, and voicemail recordings. 

We suggest consulting experts in data migration who can do this without compromising any information. They’ll also be able to test whether your new security measures are protecting you properly.

Step 6: Train all users

Before completely phasing out the old systems, start training your employees on the new ones so that the transition is smooth and familiar. Be sure to cover all the new features and functionalities of the UCaaS platform, offering clear instructions, hands-on practice, and ongoing support. This will help everyone take advantage of the new system’s benefits as soon as possible.

You may have chosen a UCaaS that includes onboarding training. If so, set it up and let your users learn. If not, one of your IT experts can help them with hands-on training.

Step 7: Monitor systems

Ongoing monitoring and support are not optional expenses, but rather investments in the long-term success and value of your UCaaS system. 

Proactive monitoring helps identify and fix problems early, avoiding major disruptions and potential budget impacts. Plus, you’ll want to be able to observe the impact areas so you can see how much you’re saving.

Keep an eye on call quality, uptime, user adoption rates, and any potential performance bottlenecks. Over time, you can use this information to tweak training, improve your operations, and even evaluate whether you made the right choice of provider.

What Is BYOC UCaaS Migration?

Migrating to a UCaaS system isn’t an all-or-nothing deal. Some providers allow companies to keep their existing phone carriers while migrating to a cloud-based communication platform. This is known as Bring Your Own Carrier (BYOC) UCaaS. In many cases you’ll also even be able to port your existing phone numbers so that nothing about your devices has to change. 

The main benefit of BYOC is that it allows you to implement a phased migration, moving different components at your own speed to minimize disruptions to your workflow. It can also help you avoid price hikes from bundled solutions that you don’t exactly need, since you already have them from your existing carrier. 

A screenshot of a woman using a phone on the verizon wireless website, advertising unified communications

Some of the carriers that offer BYOC UCaaS include the following: 

  • AT&T: AT&T offers direct routing capabilities for Microsoft Teams and other UCaaS platforms. The UCaaS solution that can be integrated with your existing voice carrier is called AT&T Business Flex.
  • Verizon: Verizon offers SIP trunking services that can be used with BYOC UCaaS deployments. It also has its own UCaaS solution, Verizon OneTalk, which can be integrated with your existing voice carrier.
  • T-Mobile: T-Mobile offers SIP trunking services and a UCaaS solution called T-Mobile One. This can be integrated with your existing voice carrier, but it is important to note that T-Mobile does not offer direct routing for Microsoft Teams.
  • Bandwidth: Bandwidth is a major provider of SIP trunking services and offers BYOC UCaaS solutions. It has a wide range of partners and integrations, making it a solid choice for companies with complex needs.
  • XO Communications: XO Communications offers SIP trunking services and a UCaaS solution called XO Connect. XO Connect can be integrated with your existing voice carrier, and direct routing for Microsoft Teams is possible.

Do your research on the best provider, create a migration plan, and make a smooth, cost-effective transition to a more modern communication system.

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