Webinar Recap: Your To-Do List When Upgrading to ShoreTel Connect
By Chris Mitchell, Chief Technology Officer
If you work in the industry, you’ll know all about ShoreTel Connect and the impending need for your organization to upgrade to the newest version of ShoreTels on-premises Cloud solution. Some of our clients have already made the leap, but most are still waiting to upgrade. Our latest webinar was for all of you out there who want to get all of your ducks in a row before committing to the upgrade. We covered everything you need to know and do when upgrading to ShoreTel connect in this post.
What you need to do when upgrading
When you start to upgrade to Connect, there are several things you need to do and to be aware of. These are very important for ensuring a smooth transition for your organization, staff and clients.
You need to change switches when upgrading
One of the big things that we’re running into right now is with the Hyper-V Support for the virtual switches.
ShoreTel and Mitel had to make some changes when updating the platform. One of the things they had to do is go from propriety OVA and VMware to an ISO for the virtual switches, so that they can be mounted and installed in multiple virtual hypervisors. They also made an OS change from Wind River to CentOS, to make it more compatible.
If you have current virtual switches, trunk switches, phone switches, Linux DVSs, or the virtual service appliance, when you’re upgrading to Connect, or a newer version of 14.2, even right now, you have to make some changes to those virtual switches in order for them to continue to function properly.
There’s a SCSI controller change that they have to pick a controller that’s compatible with VMware and Hyper-V. There’s a change we have to make that you have to be able to log into your VMware environment and make changes to all of your current virtual switches that are in production, as part of an upgrade going forward.
You only have to do this once. Once it’s changed, it’s permanent, and all new virtual switches that are deployed via ISO, they have that change made in them. Just note, if you’re doing a 14.2 or a Connect upgrade, anytime coming up, and you have virtual switches, you’re going to have to plan to touch all of those virtual switches to make a change, and reboot those switches for the change to take effect. You don’t have to rebuild them, it’s just a simple change and reboot.
Changing to contacts
Another thing to be aware of is that the contact tab in Communicator gets replaced by the People tab inside of the new Connect Client.
What’s happening is, the default tab in your contacts is getting overwritten by the new favorites tab in the Connect Client.
When end users launch Connect for the first time, it logs onto the server and it grabs all of the people that were on their contacts tab.As a result, a lot of people are noticing that they’re missing their default group, because it’s being renamed or overwritten by the favorites group inside the system.
If you have users in your contacts tab, if you just put them all in their own separately named groups and don’t leave anything in the default group, your contacts will stay intact.
If you have a group called favorites, you will end up with two favorites groups in the new system. The default one is renamed as favorites.
You can fix that by letting your users know before you do a Connect upgrade, if they have anybody in their default Connect contacts group, just to rename that group to something else. That way, they don’t have to worry about losing any of their contacts that they’ve already set up in their 14.2, when it moves over to the Connect client.
Upgrading from Communicator to Connect
If you’re using Communicator on 14.2, when you do upgrade to Connect, you have to change the client and upgrade the client to the Connect client at that same point. You can’t leave the Communicator client and upgrade the backend to Connect. You do have to do that all at the same time.
If you have very few users using the client, this will be very routine for your end users. If you have a lot of people using your client, it’s not a big problem, either. You just have to factor in how they get trained on it. How do you get knowledge to them?
How do you just make sure that they don’t come in the next day and have a completely different client that acts very similar but will definitely look different to them? They would certainly notice the difference. You can avoid obviously a lot of the support tickets and make it a political win instead of a nightmare for support on your team with training.
The need for training
On that note, the final thing you need to be aware of is the need for training.
The last thing we’re running into on every single customer regardless of their size is the client change. You saw some of the pictures from the new client. It’s completely look and feel different from the Communicator client.
They didn’t really get rid of a ton of features in the Communicator client but they moved a lot of stuff around, renamed it and everything like that. Training end users for the Connect client and for the ECC agent is very important.
Making sure you have a training plan in place.There’s a lot of different ways you can train your end users and we definitely recommend is working on a training plan so they can all be trained properly before the upgrade so that way your help desk isn’t getting tons of question the very first day.
If you plan on watching recorded videos, we find it is typically the least productive way of doing it. A lot of the people don’t end up watching the videos.
We’ve created packages from our side because we want to make sure customers go into this with their eyes wide open. If you guys don’t have a good internal process for training in customers, we’ve got packages and capabilities of doing that. We’ve got full-time trainers happy to do that part. We just need to be covered one way or another.
Our Connect readiness assessment
So there you have it, everything you need to know and do when upgrading to ShoreTel Connect.
But we understand that you can still be anxious about the upgrade. That’s why we offer a Connect readiness assessment, even if you aren’t a customer. We’ve built the process to get into the system with you guys, understand and document everything to make sure we’ve got the information we need and that any issues are caught upfront. It will help us both understand what needs to be done before you upgrade.
For super customers, we can do an upgrade for free like we always have done. Connect’s included in that. We’ve also built packages where we’re addressing some of the common things that people might want to add into a Connect upgrade like user training.
If you want to book an assessment or have any other questions about upgrading to Connect, please feel free to reach out to us!