If you have reached the decision to upgrade all or part of your old age platform to a service that provides quality video conferencing for enhanced collaboration, there are a few things to consider. Moving to the cloud is easier than you may think, with managed service platforms embracing the technical backend process so you can get on with more important aspects. In the final part of our OAP series, we look at the key considerations for your migration.
Our video conferencing software platform has advanced to such a degree that simplicity and quality of service can be guaranteed. A migration from on-premise to the cloud requires little physical work from a business, rather allowing the service provider to install and manage both software and hardware. In spite of this, companies must look at their current processes to best define the service they need from their migration.
Before moving to the cloud, businesses must recognise and appreciate the many key elements that make up current workflows and how to achieve better productivity from a cloud-based platform. It may be that a hybrid cloud solution is more effective than a full cloud deployment, and it is important to know the difference when deciding upon a new platform. Some of the pre-migration issues are:
- Assessment of current IT processes
Before migrating to a cloud platform, a full evaluation of current IT workflows and trends should be undertaken. What are the technical elements that make your business tick? CIOs and CFOs must seriously consider not just how their staff will be able to adopt and utilise new video conferencing technology, but how in-house IT teams are going to be able to support employees throughout the platform’s useful life.
- Building on existing investments
Old age platform deployments may have initially been costly and difficult to adopt. It may be that workflows and processes were developed in line with the tech on offer at the time, in which case the very DNA of day-to-day operations work well and should not need changing. In this event, it is important to look at how to build upon existing investments to encourage greater collaboration, rather than starting again from scratch.
This consideration can be further explored by looking at what kind of cloud environment you wish to employ. There are several different ways to embrace cloud video conferencing technology. It may be that you would like to keep certain applications and workflows as part of your on-premise VM (virtual machine), whereas your video conferencing would be more effective through the cloud. Polycom® RealPresence® Clariti products give businesses the opportunity to use an on-premise infrastructure that is cloud-ready and easily scalable depending on the changing needs of the company. For an in-depth look at cloud types, read our blog series.
- Managing a new platform
One of the most important elements of the pre-migration checklist is assessing the level of management your new platform needs. Are you going to deploy a fully-serviced solution, whereby all conferences will be controlled by the service provider? Or do you want to retain control of certain elements by allowing your in-house IT team to take hold? It is not just the level of control that must be considered, but also the level at which members of staff will be able to utilise the solution.
For example, the concept of BYOD (bring your own device) is a hot topic when discussing contemporary work environments. Allowing employees to leverage a video conferencing solution by using it on their own smartphone, tablet or PC/laptop can enhance productivity tenfold. However, it begs the question as to how these devices are managed and assessed and who by? Strategising a management protocol and line of command is an imperative part of the quick adoption of your platform.
- Funding via CapEx or OpEx
Video conferencing solutions based within a cloud environment are seeing a rise in OpEx funding as the nature of the cloud changes. As platforms such as ICE and Polycom® RealPresence® Web Suite Pro are service providers that take payments intermittently or on a pay-per-use basis, it can be counted as an operational cost and therefore OpEx. Working with CFOs to determine how best to pay for a new platform can help generate ROI more quickly.
During and After Migration
The reasons why businesses choose to move their video conferencing tech to the cloud are increased agility and scalability for an ever-changing work environment. There are, however, certain areas that may be considered risk factors during a migration. These risk factors can be easily alleviated through adequate planning during and after the move to the cloud. Some of these may include:
- Will my processes be disrupted during migration?
The short answer to this question is yes. Backend migration, i.e., the actual physical change over from on-premise to the cloud, will be invisible to employee as – in the case of ICE – it is done virtually from our site. The only elements that will need to by physically installed are the codecs; these installations are done by highly-trained solutions engineers who will be able to create your new environment seamlessly and securely. Security and service are Videocall’s highest priorities, so ensuring your business is protected from outside influences during your movement to the cloud is an issue taken very seriously.
- How easily is it to retrain my employees?
The great thing about ICE is that it is completely device and system agnostic, with no preferences in terms of quality or usability. Our Polycom-powered core infrastructure is interoperable with all Polycom endpoints and room systems, but also with any video-enabled device. Furthermore, video conferences and meetings can be scheduled, or run ad hoc, via a company’s existing meeting client, such as Microsoft Outlook or Skype for Business. This means that employees do not need to be extensively trained as ICE works via existing interfaces.
- Who will support my business going forward?
The concept of a fully-managed service platform is intended to remove the confusion that surrounds video conferencing. Whereas some meetings will take place ad hoc in huddle rooms or similar environments, some conferences require a highly-polished and consummately professional veneer. In this case, utilising our vNOC team is key. The vNOC team (Video Network Operations Centre) will, depending on the level of service, schedule meetings, invite attendees, control the room environment by having hardware switched on and ready for use, so all the attendees need to do it enter the room and begin their conference.
Powered by the Experts
However you intend on embracing cloud-based video as a service (VaaS), Polycom and the Videocall ICE platform can design and scale a solution entirely dependent on your business objectives and needs. A powerful core and an innovative bridge helps all video conferencing languages work together, so your cloud video conferencing software can communicate with programs and endpoints using H.323/SIP or powered by other providers, i.e., Microsoft, Cisco etc.
Migrating to the cloud from a legacy platform can be a simple change over that can dramatically improve the way teams collaborate with one another. Video as a service supports a wide range of contemporary working practices – such as flexible/remote working or a shift to eco-friendly operations – that are simply not possible with a legacy or old age platform. There are businesses that do not see the importance of cloud computing, and perhaps in terms of their current operations they are right, but it is a technological superpower that can create video conferencing that is high quality, low cost and future proof.