Change is hard. No doubt about it. It’s not as easy as flipping a switch to alter your behavior. Change is a multi-stage process as researched and developed by renowned psychologist James Prochaska, who identified five distinct steps that lead toward successful personal change:
Those same steps apply to business and, more specifically, when shifting from analog, this-is-the-way-we’ve-always-done-it communication to digital, cloud-based collaboration.
So, without further ado, let’s apply Prochaska’s steps to bringing your company’s communications into the future.
1. Pre-Contemplation: Kicking the Tires
This is when you simply ask, “Is cloud-based communication for us?” If you’re a small, nimble business founded on face-to-face customer interactions and iron-clad handshakes, you might have neither the need nor the infrastructure for such a solution. However, if your business has 10-20+ people making calls, attending video conferences, operating remotely and collaborating daily, then it’s likely time to pull the trigger and change to the cloud.
2. Contemplation: The Education Phase
“Let’s take a closer look at this cloud-based nonsense,” you say to your colleagues. And so you chart off on a path of information gathering to learn more. You talk to other company leaders who have implemented it and pick their brains. The goal is to learn from others’ successes and failures. This phase is extremely important in the five-step journey toward change.
3. Preparation: This is Really Happening!
Gearing up for the change to cloud-based communications is a pivotal phase. Here you determine whether your company is going to take a do-it-yourself approach toward a VoIP phone system and all it entails. Or, should you partner with a cloud-communication vendor like Marco to handle all the heavy lifting for you?
Whatever track you take, you should begin your preparatory phase by engaging in a VoIP readiness assessment with a company like Marco. We know the importance of having all your technological ducks in a row BEFORE moving on to Prochaska’s fourth step toward change. We assess your current connectivity and infrastructure to ensure that it’s all up-to-snuff.
Many factors beyond your internet connection come into play with this assessment. Marco works with you to consider your current and projected call volumes and how they jive with your available bandwidth. We flag all potential gaps in your infrastructure early to prevent them from becoming problems down the road.
For example, let’s say your company has a lower speed broadband connection. We might specify early on that an upgrade or additional connection should be added to the network. If your company is on a low speed broadband WAN connection, it’ll already be contending for capacity just from a handful of people printing, accessing servers, etc. By adding VoIP phones to a department, they’ll compete with an already-deficient bandwidth. Marco can diagnose that situation and remedy it before it comes back to haunt your business.
Preparation also includes deciding which VoIP phone sets and options you’ll need, like call waiting, transferring, extensions, voicemail, simultaneous call capability, contacts and video calling. Many of these features are dependent on compatible phone equipment, which Marco can specify.
4. Action: Let’s Go!
Implementing the change to cloud-based communications and collaboration is exciting—and stressful. Our job at Marco is to make the growing pains as mild as possible, and the first step to achieving that is with proper training. Engage your departmental leaders and make sure your entire crew has all the information and skills needed before you switch over to VoIP. You’ll save time and money, I promise.
Marco is with you to provide training, and to help set up your extensions, background music, greeting recordings, virtual secretary, etc.
Additional set-up chores include:
- Ordering phones and hardware
- Sourcing ethernet cables
- Addressing security issues
- Establishing a Private Branch Exchange (PBX)
- Evaluating your network for VLANs and Quality of Service (QoS)
- Evaluating VPNs to secure phone calls
- Ensuring routers have Packets Per Second (PPS) capability
- Testing firewalls and your entire VoIP system before it goes live
Even if you don’t know what some of those acronyms and terms mean, don't worry. We do. And we’ll walk you through all the details as you make the cloud-based communication change.
5. Maintenance: Keep it Going!
A company is never really finished with implementation. Technology—both hardware and software—continually changes, and staying up-to-date is critical. You’ll find that your company will constantly improve your collaborative strategies and communication skills. Of course, Marco prides itself on our service after the sale, so we’re always just a VoIP phone call away to help you keep your head (and business) in the clouds.