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What's the best way to approach a hybrid UC rollout?

Before launching hybrid services for UC, make sure your organization is prepared. Learn how to evaluate your organization's needs and potential providers.

When planning a hybrid unified communications service, enterprises need to consider some basic and not-so-basic steps. First, enterprises need to determine exactly what they want and need with a hybrid UC rollout. 

In a hybrid setup, some UC functions remain in-house and some are in the cloud. This can mean the switch stays in-house, but voicemail is in the cloud. It could also mean your company controls all functions at the corporate site, but uses the cloud for remote or mobile workers.

Once you determine what you want to keep in-house and what you want in the cloud, you can decide which hybrid services will work best for your company. 

When determining what UC apps to retain in-house during a hybrid UC rollout, you need to consider security, functionality and the talent pool to support the service. Available resources -- such as circuits, power and space -- will also help determine the service. 

Once you figure out those specifics, it's time to select a provider. At this stage, a thorough request for proposal (RFP) is the most vital step. You must know exactly what you need for the UC rollout. If the technology is new to you, you might want to start with a request for information to gain insights into the functionalities you want, and then move to the RFP stage.

In the requests, include a section on owner responsibilities, so you know what's required of your organization to make the UC rollout successful. Include milestones so events happen in sync and in the necessary order. Appoint a single point of contact to act on the company's behalf. 

Additionally, ask potential providers for a few test accounts, and allow some time for knowledge transfer to make sure your users are comfortable.

Finally, before you sign on the dotted line, consult other organizations using the technology. Scour other companies' press releases for any possible insights. Reach out to peers to see what problems they encountered so you can address them in your UC rollout.

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

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