Where do UCaaS deployments run into trouble?
With all the movement and migration to UCaaS that is occurring from the Telephony premise-based world, I am sure that most of us have seen for ourselves or heard about some of the issues that are common with UCaaS Deployments. I am going to talk about these issues as well as give some suggestions on how not to fall into the same situations.
It has been my experience over the last several years of performing and observing scores of UCaaS Deployments that the reasons that issues crop up can usually be narrowed down to the same suspects, that is:
- Incomplete Discovery,
- Poor Planning,
- Data Collection Errors or Omissions,
- Poor Communication
- and last but not least, Incomplete Testing prior to cut-over.
I’ll give you a fairly common example of each of the above issues.
For Incomplete Discovery
It usually involves not finding all the numbers to be ported over or not addressing all the 800 numbers. With carrier lead times for porting in excess of 4-6 weeks depending on the amount of numbers, this can be a show-stopper or at a minimum an inconvenience requiring last minute RCF’s and an addition window to port. Analog lines and devices (think fax and paging) are also high-miss items.
Poor planning usually means trying to rush the project and underestimating the level of effort required for delivery of products or services. It can lead to confusion, poor communication and last minute challenges that usually lead to the go-live date being pushed and everyone involved having to explain what went wrong.
Poor communication means customers not effectively communicating requirements and expectations to the vendor or the vendor providing to the customer inconsistent, poor or incomplete updates to the project plan, task progress or overall status of the project which leads to a surprised, angry and disappointed customer based on their expectations and business needs.
And last but not least. Incomplete Testing. You can plan, design and deliver, however, if you do not test 100% of the programming, or system capability and functionality. You are at great risk for HW issues, missing or not activated SW or human error which leads to incomplete or incorrect programming of the system.
All of the above issues are preventable by practicing the following best practices:
- Use an appropriate checklist to ensure that during discovery, that are requirements are presented and incorporated into the project as tasks or scheduled events.
- Have the PM build the project plan and schedule based on a realistic timeframe for your resources to deliver based on their expertise, experience and an understanding of the customers expectation.
- Set up regular meetings and operating mechanisms to update the customer on progress, status, to call out any challenges/risks to the project or customer expectations.
- Validate, perform QA and Test, Test, Test until satisfied that you are 100% ready to cutover and go-live on the system.
Employing industry best practices, planning and sound PM principles, using your company’s strength’s and experience for your customers benefit and thorough testing will undoubtedly lead to better delivery of all your UCaaS projects and elimination of the above issues which ultimately leads to a satisfied, long-term customer.