In the highly competitive world of international soccer, no two teams are exactly the same. While they all have 11 players, each team is a hybrid mix of talents and playing styles. This can present a real challenge to team managers to get everyone working together. Ultimately, it’s up to the coach and manager to come up with a strategy and game plan that results in a cohesive winning team.

Businesses that want to transition to cloud-based collaboration and communication services face a similar challenge. Each organization has its own unique mix of legacy systems, new technology and IT talent. The question becomes how to develop an effective game plan that allows you to transition to a cloud-based platform. In this fourth installment of a blog series on the shifting landscape of collaboration technology, we take a closer look at how the journey to cloud-based collaboration may be different for different organizations.

There are many good reasons for moving your collaboration systems to the cloud. Cloud-based collaboration tools make it easier for teams to stay connected from anywhere around the globe, provide more flexibility in the kinds of devices employees use and allow team members to easily share resources. The scalability of the cloud also means that organizations can easily add more capabilities as their business and teams grow rather than attempting to add hardware on-premise.

However, there are also challenges in making this shift. Large enterprises with legacy applications and components may view a consolidating collaboration industry with some uncertainty. Current IT infrastructure, including fixed data centers as well as the need to retrain the current workforce can present barriers to making the change.

Even simply making the decision to move to the cloud is just step one in a long line of decisions to make. It is entirely possible that you have several steps to make in the transition for various technology, organizational or budgetary reasons. Depending on your organization and how quickly you need to transition, a hybrid or blended approach might be your first goal. But you must decide how long the hybrid step should last and how you plan to transition through it. Some pieces of this plan are out of your immediate control due to contractual obligations or major dependencies in your infrastructure. You may want to move to cloud as soon as possible, but in the meantime are stuck in limbo until you can renegotiate contracts, acquire new technology and retrain your workforce.

Smaller organizations may be faster at making transitions compared to other larger organizations. They likely have less invested in legacy systems and are able to more easily shift their entire organization to the cloud. The larger the organization, the more difficult this becomes. Larger enterprises will need to adopt a hybrid approach where they have one foot in the cloud and one in their legacy systems. This means that some enterprises end up needing to support both traditional data centers while moving some functions to the cloud. How long you spend in this hybrid phase depends largely on the kinds of data center investments and vendor contracts you have in place. The more complex the organization, the longer you will need to spend in this hybrid phase.

Figuring out how to manage this transition can be a daunting task. A trusted partner can help you ask the right questions and develop a game plan for a smooth transition. At CenturyLink, we understand how to make all the pieces work together. Our advisors have the skills and tools to help organizations move to a cloud-based collaboration platform. Our Unified Collaboration and Communications solutions offer the latest in cloud-based services along with our partnerships with leading cloud and collaboration platform vendors such as Amazon, Cisco and Microsoft.

In a rapidly changing marketplace, it’s important to have a comprehensive plan for how you will blend the latest technology and tools with your existing systems. Let’s talk about how CenturyLink can help you move your team to the cloud. Does your organization have what it takes to create a cohesive team?

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