Sep 16 2022

How to Set Up a Cloud-Based Telephony Solution in Higher Education

Follow these steps to bring your phone service to the cloud.

As flexible work environments become the norm and hybrid learning continues to grow in popularity, many colleges and universities have embraced cloud-based collaboration tools to enhance communication and productivity. And while they may have used particular platforms for their videoconferencing, chat and other collaboration features, schools increasingly are using those same platforms for phone services too.

Once organizations decide to adopt cloud-based telephony, there are four steps they should take to successfully deploy it.

1. Perform a Gap Analysis

Assess the current on-premises phone system and identify the phone features that users require. This will help determine which collaboration solution is the best fit.

This process also identifies the changes users will experience with a new cloud phone system, so IT departments can be prepared to train them on the new system and help ease the migration process.

Click the image to learn more about one college's transition to cloud collaboration.

2. Design the Phone System

After a gap analysis is complete, the school must customize the new phone system to its specific needs.

IT departments must account for Enhanced 911 and determine user permissions. Include users as part of the design process to ensure the new phone system works the way they need it to. For example, can everyone make calls internationally, or is it restricted? Does everyone need access to voicemail, or only some employees? Who is providing public switched telephone network service, and what are the capabilities of that provider? Are third-party solutions needed to make everything work?

During the design process, schools must decide how they will route calls. Colleges and universities with their own phone systems and phone circuits coming on-premises can use the direct routing model, in which the organization serves as a broker between its telephone service provider and the platform.

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3. Pilot the Technology

After designing the phone system, do a small implementation to test the technology and design with an initial group of users. You won’t know if the design is satisfactory until it’s put to the test. IT staff can troubleshoot issues and make improvements based on user feedback.

4. Deploy the Phone System

Some customers do it themselves, but if they lack the IT expertise or are pressed for time, engineers can deploy the technology and provide support to ensure a smooth migration. CDW also offers a managed service in which it implements the phone system and manages phone services 24/7 for customers.

UP NEXT: Colleges move communications to the cloud.

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