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Buy VoIP and they will come?

University Business, March 2016
Casper College in Wyoming upgraded its phones by moving from two separate systems to a single VoIP-based one, which makes switchboard operator Cindy Burgess’ job easier.
Casper College in Wyoming upgraded its phones by moving from two separate systems to a single VoIP-based one, which makes switchboard operator Cindy Burgess’ job easier.

Providers’ advice on easing the transition to a new IP-based phone system.

“Network readiness is the most overlooked element of transitioning to Jive Cloud UC. Before we recommend deploying a cloud solution to any prospective customer, we have them sit down with our engineers. Do they have the infrastructure to support the service? Is the network configured to deliver a consistent, high quality experience? Bottom line—if a customer hasn’t considered network readiness, their deployment is almost guaranteed to fail.”

—Brian Moore, VP Sales, Jive Communications, Inc.

“The most successful rollouts always include solid training and setting user expectations appropriately. Painting a picture of the new possibilities that exist with a hosted or cloud phone system is important in getting people excited. But users should know in advance that there will be a learning curve associated with the new service. Further, they may even experience challenges integrating the new features of the system into their daily workflow.”

—Joseph Flynn, senior vice president of sales, Lightpath

“In addition to looking for ease of management for administrators, be sure to look outside the base feature set for value-added benefits such as access to voicemail and desktop phone extensions from anywhere, content and video collaboration, and public safety enhancements such as E911, which ride on the same IP-based communication infrastructure.”

—Shane Harper, national director of vertical programs, ShoreTel

“IP-based phone systems include so many features that can make each person more productive and better connected. It’s important that everyone, from professors to administrative personnel, understand all the benefits and how those benefits will help in each of their jobs, specifically. Change is difficult, but it’s easier when you see how much better things are going to be when the change comes. Training is the other key factor. There are too many instances of schools that spend a lot of money on a new system and then the adoption rate of new features is extremely low because no one understands how to use the features.”

–Brian Ferguson, product marketing manager, Digium

“Ensure your users understand the benefits of new collaboration tools enabled by an IP-based telephony system. Federation (where schools agree to share resources in a secure manner) allows these collaboration tools to support information sharing between university systems or within a university system. This is a great solution for higher education researchers and faculty who collaborate regularly with their peers.”

—Kevin Carman, director of education, AT&T

“Keep things simple and productivity-focused. With new communication systems come high expectations—whether it be reliability, ease of use or ease of integration with modern user expectations. Apart from being an efficient replacement, it has to add some sizzle that makes the educators’ experience more dynamic and more connected to student success. Consider the personal connected experience when building a new solution—how it affects each stakeholder. This can have a dramatic effect on the success of communication across a college.”

—Neal Tilley, education specialist, Alcatel-Lucent

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