4 Pillars of a Successful Cloud Migration
By: Chris Mitchell, Chief Technology Officer
Migrating your UC or cloud contact center to the cloud can be a massive challenge. It’s no surprise that a huge part of our business is based on helping you migrate smoothly to the cloud.
A successful migration doesn’t happen by chance. It involves research, planning and having a great strategy in place before you start. In a recent webinar, we covered what we think are the four key pillars of a successful cloud migration and how you can use them to make your migration smoother. Replay the webinar in full or check out an overview of our conversation and the four key pillars below.
Pillar 1: Infrastructure
There are three things to look at from an infrastructure perspective when moving from an on-premise solution to the cloud: the architecture of the different cloud services, the quality of service, and disaster recovery.
Let’s start with architecture. When we are picking a cloud system, it is important to understand how it works. In general, most cloud carriers work in the same way. But some providers offer additional features like a dedicated connection to maintain more control, edge devices which you can place on site and extension-to-extension calling. Before you can make a decision, it will be important to first identify which features are important to you.
Quality of Service
We find that the quality of service (QoS) is one of the most important factors for clients. The first thing to note is that a private MPLS will provide 98%-99% quality service SLAs. That means you can still maintain quality while offloading it to the cloud. But that can get expensive. That’s why most providers use SD-WAN technology to bond separate internet connections together in order to always use the fastest connection and provide the best service. This can be the difference between 97% call quality and 75% call quality.
Finally, because the system is no longer in the office and you have less control over what happens in different locations, disaster recovery features will be crucial. You’ll need to identify which provider has the best disaster recovery options and, ideally, look for something that has better disaster recovery than if we had everything in our main office.
Geographically redundant data centers are one thing to look for. RingCentral, for instance, has data centers in San Jose and Virginia. Mitel uses a primary data center in Dallas with a backup in Chicago. Most providers will offer two data centers, but you should look for an automatic failover. That means that the data centers automatically switch when something goes wrong—it should never require human intervention.
Pillar 2: Technology
What’s the solution – how to find the right one – what do you need to look for?
There are three main considerations when it comes to the technology of a cloud provider: their architecture, their software, and their features.
As with infrastructure, the type and location of data centers are important. But so is the dial tone. Is it with the provider who manages it as a service? Or deployed in local edges? Or terminated directly in AWS at Genesys offers? Or do you bring your own carrier? Understanding what you want and what you want to be able to do will be important.
The most important thing to identify with software is whether it is single tenant or multi-tenant. If it is a single tenant, you will have a more customizable solution. But that doesn’t mean multi-tenant solutions are inherently bad. That’s because they will tend to have more microservices—small standalone components which work independently. Platforms with microservices can be updated with new features incredibly quickly. Genesys, for example, is able to update their service every week.
Most people focus on the features of the provider at the expense of the previous two factors. But they are important and the first thing to note is that the speed at which features can be added and enhanced in the cloud is much greater than on-premises solutions. Features that you may wish to look for in particular include:
- Contact center
- Integrations & API’s
There are other considerations that you may want to consider such as whether the provider uses phones or softphones, what the pedigree of the company is, what’s their focus and their trajectory.
Pillar 3: Implementation
When it comes to implementing your chosen system, there are several things to be aware of.
The first one is proof of concept. This isn’t necessary for everyone but with most cloud providers it is doable. Bear in mind, however, that it is extra work for everyone. There’s a huge difference in the level of self-provisioning possible between platforms, however. You’ll also need to be aware of who is handling the numbers. If you are planning to gather and import them yourself, you’ll need to get your arms around that now. Finally, you’ll need to consider your front-end user: how to provide awareness and training, and how much to introduce to your users at once will need to be finalized before you implement a cloud solution.
Pillar 4: Supportability
Migration doesn’t end after you’ve implemented your cloud platform. You’ll need to think about ongoing support before you commit to a provider.
The good news is that every provider will offer some kind of status report and support system. All major providers have a status page where you can check for status updates and scheduled maintenance times. Most will also have a knowledge base and the ability to raise tickets with their own support team.
But there are also limitations with each provider. Some, for instance, don’t let you add a new user—you have to raise a ticket and request support do it for you. The question, then, is how much you want to take on yourselves. Do you want a platform that you don’t have to touch? Or do you want a platform that you can still maintain?
It will also be important to research the average wait times for support. Finding out how long it takes to get through to human support or for the provider to answer a support ticket are great indicators of their attitudes towards helping clients.
The other option is that you pick a support partner like Inflow.
With a support partner, you have someone else you can rely on and a long-term partner to help you maintain and optimize your chosen system. We can also help with onsite training and number porting—which is always a pain.
Most importantly, you can contact us for support. That means no long wait times, system outage notifications and access to escalation engineers if it’s one of the few things that we cannot fix. All of that equates to faster resolution times.