Three Steps to Accelerate your Cisco HCS Deployments

Many businesses are seeking to migrate their communications from a legacy, on-premise system to the cloud as a way to gain new efficiencies and drive better collaboration. Cisco is helping businesses deploy cloud communications with its Hosted Collaboration Solution (HCS).

In fact, the growing demand for Cisco HCS services is creating tremendous new opportunities for Cisco partners to help their customers move communications to the cloud. While Cisco HCS greatly simplifies that migration, there are steps that Cisco partners can take to accelerate the deployment.

Always deploy a pilot site to demonstrate value and validate the solution. Some organizations are reluctant to move to the cloud since migration is a huge undertaking and presents a potential impact to productivity. Good partners strive to minimize that impact. Deploying an initial pilot site separate from the existing communications network goes a long way in mitigating inefficiency and ensuring customer sanctification. A pilot site provides two key advantages.

1.     Validate success without risking downtime. Every organization has unique requirements. While HCS helps deploy a common configuration, you will still need to customize the solution to those unique needs. This could include integration with a third-party PBX, voicemail, paging or recording, for example. A pilot site allows you to understand issues, troubleshoot and develop a plan without affecting the day-to-day business. Simply add a few pilot users to the site and validate all the potential call-flows.

In addition to understanding potential technical challenges for the migration, the pilot also gives tremendous insight into the user experience. The pilot is your trial run or test drive. Use it to really understand various migration scenarios.

2.     Ensure a smooth migration: Once the pilot phase is complete and the customer signs off, the first official HCS site can be deployed with all of the best practices and lessons learned from the pilot phase. Subsequent site migrations will be smooth with minimal impact to the business, providing peace of mind to the customer and the partner. At this point, you can focus on data integrity for each new site, since you’ve already worked out functionality and user experience issues in the pilot.

Validate your bulk loader in a test bed before running it in production. Speaking of data integrity, provisioning new customers or migrating users to a new solution can be tedious and time-consuming. The bulk loader helps populate the domain manager with the necessary user information. Yet one error, such as an empty field for a user’s last name or even a space in front of a number, can stop the project in its tracks. Identifying the field that is causing an issue can be like finding a needle in a haystack. By validating the bulk loader in a test bed first, you can reliably put the bulk loader into production and preempt lengthy delays.

Build automation tools to create bulk loaders from the data received to further accelerate the process. Beyond validating the bulk loader data in a test bed, leverage automation tools that not only populate the bulk loader, but also validate the data and ensure all fields are properly filled in.

Data extrapolation is another sensitive area where a small error can hold up the entire project. For HCS cloud migrations, that means pulling data from a third-party PBX, complete with its own unique feature set and moving it to the HCS domain manager. As a manual task, this would be lengthy and monotonous. Automating this task will save considerable time and potentially cut costs, while ensuring a smoother migration. Better yet, automation is less prone to error which is a huge plus for a process fraught with pitfalls.

In fact, automation can greatly simplify an on-premise to HCS migration to help businesses smoothly transition to the cloud and gain the full benefits of HCS services. For Cisco partners, automation can accelerate the book-to-bill cycle and expand your HCS opportunities. Look for reliable partners with deep automation and validation expertise to help you expand your HCS offerings and grow your business.

Check out my other blog Three Simple Steps to Avoid Common Cisco HCS Cloud Migration Pitfalls and see our Infographic at

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