The How to Develop a Winning Transition Strategy for Enterprise Cloud Calling blog series offers a four-part guided tour on how to take your business to a cloud calling and collaboration future that delivers all the benefits you expect from a quality cloud service.

Lost in the Desert

I am an avid runner, but directionally challenged. On a recent visit to Arizona, I decided to take a pre-dawn desert trail run, to experience the desert coming to life at sunrise. Two miles into my run, I was rewarded with an amazing sunrise, but quickly discovered, I had no idea if I was still on the designated loop trail.

Blue and Gold Sunrise - Desert flora in full bloom provide a frame for a colorful Scottsdale, Arizona sunrise, rich with golds and blues.

With all the warning signs about dangerous wildlife and risks of dehydration, I decided to back track, versus taking a chance of getting lost in the desert.  The next day, I returned to the same trail, but this time took a snapshot of the map on my phone as a guide. With my map in hand, I was rewarded with another amazing sunrise, and I confidently finished the trail I missed the day before. That set me across the path of several hot air balloons, full of patron’s looking for their own sunrise experience from a better vantage point than my desert trail.

 Hot Air Balloons over Red Landscape

Answering a Common Question

When it comes to taking on challenging initiatives, like moving workloads to the cloud, having access to a validated guide map, or experts with an improved vantage point will make all the difference.

As a Product Manager for Cisco Cloud Calling solutions, I frequently get to talk with our enterprise customers about their developing cloud strategies. Studies from analysts have estimated that 90% of enterprise customers will look to the cloud, for calling, by 2021. Everyone seems to be going cloud, but why and how? One of the first questions I often get asked is, ‘why should I go through the effort to move my unified communications workloads to the cloud and what are real the business benefits?’

Well, when the same questions surface again and again, I see an opportunity to share experiences and perspectives to help business decision makers map out their own cloud journey with confidence.

This is the first of a four-part blog series, designed to convey the fundamental business reasons to transition collaboration workloads – calling, messaging, meetings, team collaboration – to the cloud. In subsequent posts I’ll focus on digital transformation, total cost of ownership (TCO) advantages of cloud-based calling and I will wrap up with migration strategies. In each blog post, I will include links to useful information and videos with practical guidance on how to take calling and collaboration to the cloud. To top things off, in each post, I am going to disclose a Cisco cloud calling product announcement that you won’t want to miss!  Let’s get started.

Benefits of Cloud UC and Collaboration 

In most cases, the benefits of moving collaboration workloads to the cloud far outweigh the effort required to get there. I recently participated in a webinar with industry expert Phil Edholm where we tackled this topic in detail.  I have added a link to this webinar at the end of this post, so you can hear Phil’s insights directly. 

Business Resilience and Agility

There is no substitute for business resilience and agility. The speed of market change and channel evolution is accelerating. The likelihood of some type of disruptive event, whether natural disaster, human caused, or otherwise, increases every year. These disruptions can crush your business, if you’re not prepared, as evidenced by this past year.

When disaster strikes, in the form of floods, fires, power outages or pandemics, cloud based calling keeps your business and your people connected to customers and to each other, even when they can’t get into the office. For a growth business, cloud connectivity means you can bring new sites and users online almost instantaneously, with a reduced impact on IT infrastructure planning and procurement. This frees valuable IT specialists to focus on revenue generating initiatives, versus managing the day-to-day operations of an on-premises PBX.

Reduce Your Exposure

With so many cloud calling options in the market, picking the right cloud provider for UC and collaboration is critical to reduce risk exposure and realize the promises of increased business agility and resiliency. All cloud providers make blanket promises of up-time, security and constant innovation. These promises are easy to make, but difficult to keep.

Five essential factors to measure any UC and collaboration cloud vendor include:

  1. Scalability– cloud services tend to be inherently scalable, offering the flexibility to add or reduce service subscriptions quickly. But very few cloud vendors have global operations support staff and the discipline necessary to support large enterprise customers. (Check out this short video on Cisco service capabilities.)
  2. Innovation– all cloud services have frequent upgrades, but when you look closely at the level of innovative business utility provided and the resulting workflow experience, the differences can be extreme, from one vendor to the next.  (Cisco acquisitions and Collaboration innovation at Cisco)
  3. Flexibility– in this case, I’m referring to the flexibility to move different parts of your business to the cloud, on a flexible timeline that matches your business strategy and level of readiness, without disrupting performance. Can your cloud vendor connect your on-premises users and cloud users, while maintaining familiar corporate dial plans and feature operations across the entire enterprise? Most cannot. (Check out this short video on UCM Cloud)
  4. Resiliency and Redundancy– Most cloud vendors focus on data center redundancy as the cloud value. What about site redundancy when a WAN link goes down? Is turning to a cell phone really an acceptable resiliency option? (SRST link)
    Announcement alert! In CY2021 Q2, we will be introducing additional site survivability options to give our healthcare customers the resilient cloud solution they’ve been waiting for. No other cloud vendor supports this level of redundancy.
  5. Security– this is an area that will only increase in importance over time, for cloud systems. Choose a vendor that has a reputation for delivering excellent end-to-end solution security.

 Adaptation Advantage with Cloud UC

When industries or markets undergo transformative changes, your ability to quickly design and adopt new ways of reaching and serving your customers will define your success in newly transformed markets. Connecting cloud UC to other cloud services is where the magic of cloud really happens. If you focus only on the resource and infrastructure cost saving promises of cloud, you miss the real benefit of cloud. Just like my desert running adventure, a map is helpful, but cloud integration can deliver a transformative user experience.

How cloud supports business transformation is the topic of my next post, so for now, I invite you to check out the links I included in this post and watch the Webinar with Phil Edholm below. Check back next week for part 2 in this blog series.

Watch our webinar on success strategies for enterprise cloud calling & contact center migration:

Why Move to UCM Cloud [Video]

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Read all the blogs in the series