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How do you prepare for porting business phone numbers?

Porting business phone numbers to your UCaaS provider may be more complicated than you realize. Learn three ways you can prepare your organization for porting.

Getting up and running with most cloud-based unified communications systems is a breeze. You check out the functions, make sure the system is what you need and then you go live. But one step could make or break the ease of a cloud migration: number porting.

Arguably the most critical part of implementing unified communications as a service (UCaaS) is porting your business phone numbers to the UCaaS provider's cloud, which is called local number porting. The process of porting numbers is virtually instantaneous, but preparation on your part is essential to ensure success.

Focusing on three areas of preparation can aid in porting numbers.

1. Inventory

When porting business phone numbers, you can't port a number that you don't know you have. Start by compiling an inventory of phone numbers. This may sound simple, but it can get complicated quickly.

Your company may decentralize its telephone billing to various organizations, regions or departments, which can make locating the people responsible for billing a formidable task. Don't trivialize the inventory step or underestimate the time that it might take to complete. The longer a company has existed, the more difficult it will likely be to complete an inventory.

During the inventory process, you should identify the use of each line. It's very possible there will be some lines that have become obsolete. It's a good idea to cancel unneeded lines rather than transferring them to the cloud provider. It may take some time to identify obsolete lines, but it will save you money in the long run.

2. Geography

Many things that we discuss in IT are essentially universal and remain consistent across countries or regions. Number porting is not one of those things. In fact, geography is guaranteed to be your number one concern -- and, potentially, your number one headache -- when porting business phone numbers.

Countries often have different rules and procedures when it comes to porting numbers. Even within a country, rules and procedures can vary by region. North American customers have it the easiest, as the North American Numbering Plan is very flexible. Conversely, for example, customers in certain cities in Japan are subject to very restrictive limitations for number porting, according to Curtis Peterson, senior vice president of cloud operations for RingCentral.

Check to see if the regions in which you are porting have decoupled emergency services from their dialing plans. Those that have not decoupled emergency services will likely have more restrictions when porting business phone numbers.

3. Patience

The last thing you need for porting is patience. No matter the geography, there is a fair bit of bureaucracy involved in number porting, but that isn't a bad thing. While we all want a speedy process, none of us want the number for our main headquarters to port incorrectly.

According to Peterson, systems will refuse some porting requests if the address contains an error, such as a street name containing Drive when it should have been Road. You must be patient and meticulous with the accuracy of the information you provide. Build an inventory, pay attention to regional details, and take a measured and patient approach and your number porting should be a breeze.

Do you have a question for Kevin Tolly or any other experts? Ask your enterprise-specific questions today! (All questions are treated anonymously.)

This was last published in April 2019

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How might you prepare to port numbers to your UCaaS provider?
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