Over the last two years, it has become clear that secure remote work and a distributed workforce is a permanent fixture of modern work. As hybrid workplaces split between the office and home, companies have discovered a need for a modern communications solution that allows users to place and receive calls from any workplace or device via the Microsoft Teams app.

Zetta is one of the few Microsoft partners in WA with local expertise and experience migrating companies to Teams Phone. This article provides insight on different approaches to making the switch and the change management considerations for this kind or project.

Migration strategies to move users from PBX to Microsoft Teams Phone

The first thing to consider is that Microsoft Teams Phone is more than just a technical migration and does not happen automatically. Organisations must accept that change takes time and users’ resistance to change is normal. Carefully planning your migration will help ease any concerns your staff may have and give everyone time to become accustomed to the changes.

The biggest challenge is that people and change are not one-size-fits-all. Organisations are made up of early adopters, stragglers, and everyone in between, so each migration must be tailored to suit your company’s specific situation. Every adoption project varies in size and complexity based on the environment, number of users, and geographic dispersion. What we do know is that technical readiness and user adoption go hand in hand. The more preparation you put in up front, the easier your migration will be.

Three phases of the migration process

We believe that breaking the process down into three distinct phases—startup, pilot, and enable—streamlines adoption. Here’s what it looks like in practice:

  • Startup: In the first phase, you gather all your staff together, set up your initial groups or teams, and use Microsoft Teams to begin planning Teams Phone adoption.
  • Pilot: The second phase is one of controlled growth, when you’ll bring your internal champions and early adopters on board.
  • Enable: This is the broad-scale deployment phase, in which you’ll turn on Teams capabilities for all users.

How to accelerate the move to Teams Phone

It is important to determine the migration path early in the project. Although the simplest solution is always the most attractive, your situation might be more complex, especially if you have offices and staff in locations where Calling Plans are not available.

Moving to a limited group pilot is a good way to accelerate your migration. This lets you turn on Microsoft Teams Phone for a limited pilot group to get adoption champions going right away. These people will help foster the wider migration once moved into a full pilot phase and, eventually, to full deployment.

Teams Phone: Choosing a migration path

Microsoft offers flexibility for customers to choose their upgrade path on the road to Microsoft Teams. There are two main migration paths available to organisations – co-existence or cutover migration.

Co-existence migration

Co-existence migration allows for overlapping capabilities with modular and agile processes. This approach ensures calling features are available in both PBX and Microsoft Teams Phone. It requires the setup of Direct Routing as well as Microsoft Teams Calling Plans or Operator Connect. This allows both solutions access to most of the other system’s resources.

The co-existence migration approach lets you control the speed with which you move to Microsoft Teams Phone. It provides the following benefits:

  • Granular control: Migration experience can be controlled on a per-user or per-group basis.
  • Individuals: Champions and super users can be early adopters, leading to greater exposure and building excitement around the solution.
  • Groups: Organisational groups can be migrated at the same time for a shared experience.

The co-existence approach requires the following considerations:

  • Pilot testing is essential to ensure the separate systems will function as expected.
  • More administration is required during migration so you can configure dial plans to allow for individual numbers to be routed to specific destinations.
  • Plan which non-user devices will move during which stages, i.e. common area phones, analog devices, and integrated solutions.
  • Emergency calling must be fully functional in both systems.

Cutover migration

Cutover migration is a direct replacement of solutions with a coordinated move of services. This approach must be carefully evaluated because it is nearly impossible to immediately replace all services in more complex environments. Although this approach allows for a significantly shorter project timeline, it creates more risk of service interruption during the project. 

Feature requirements and overlap:

Calling features are available only in the system of choice until the decided cutover time. This is the fastest method of moving users to Microsoft Teams Phone, as it requires all users be moved at one time. This approach may create points of no return where the ability to back out of the change is not feasible, such as porting telephone numbers or removing and replacing telephones.

Moving users on a PBX all at once has the following impact:

  • Quick velocity: All users have the same capability and experience at once, which simplifies adoption.
  • Site-level move: You may be able to move high-level sites at a single time rather than your entire PBX. This depends on the setup of carrier services and the PBX configuration.
  • Shorter runway: Organisations can dedicate intense focus and effort to moving users quickly to Microsoft Teams Phone.

The cutover approach requires the following additional considerations:

  • Adoption and change management are crucial for user acceptance of new solutions.
  • Extensive testing in proof of concept mitigates many issues found during cutover.
  • Full discovery of non-user devices prior to migration will ensure no services are missed during cutover.

How Zetta can help with your migration to Microsoft Teams Phone

Zetta has the Microsoft Advanced Specialisation for Calling for Microsoft Teams. Our team has successfully migrated Perth customers from PBX to Microsoft Teams Phone. We can partner with you during a change management project to:

  • Determine the best migration path for your organisation
  • Develop a migration plan
  • Guide you through every step of the Teams Phone migration process
  • Manage the entire migration on your behalf.

If you’d like to discuss the benefits of migrating to Teams Phone or explore what it might look like for your organisation, please reach out to the team at Zetta.