“You’re kidding, right?”
That was my response as my executive assistant dropped two pounds of telephone invoices on my desk to review and sign in my first month as a new healthcare CIO. With a smile on her face that looked suspiciously evil as she turned to walk away, she replied, “Nope! Have fun!”
Such was my introduction to our legacy phone system and the beginning of the journey to our Unified Communication as a Service (UCaaS) transformation. Little did I know that a two-pound invoice (along with 39—mercifully smaller—invoices) would be the start of a very important expedition towards adopting cloud-based communications and collaboration for a more digital, future-proofed future at our healthcare facility.
Unless your health system started from scratch in the last couple of years, its history is likely cluttered with growth, acquisitions and reorganizations. In tandem with this organizational growth, digital transformation is becoming widely adopted within the healthcare industry, breaking down barriers and enabling smarter work and easier communication for end users.
A recent report found that the market size value of UCaaS in 2021 is roughly $46 billion, with a revenue forecast of $210 billion by 2028.1 Organizations are using UCaaS to empower their increasingly mobile workforce with cost-effective, secure solutions that benefit employer and employee alike. But for some businesses struggling to keep up—like mine at the time—the priority is simply to get things working.
Thinking back to when our healthcare organization started the transition process, it’s easy to recall the team at Windstream Enterprise being a true partner. They helped us compile the list of phone numbers (from all those invoices) that belonged to the hospital. Together, we dug into our antiquated PBX to discover all the extensions and call routing in place. Armed with that information, we met with each department director to learn more about what phone lines and extensions they had and how they used them.
There were many first steps—like these—that contributed to our organization building a solid layout to successfully implement a UCaaS solution. Yet, the most essential piece was having this alliance with Windstream Enterprise, to walk us through how UCaaS works, why it solved our existing problems and how UCaaS left us with improved connectivity, collaboration and an enabled workforce.
UCaaS does the job of integrating all key enterprise communication types, including audio, video conferencing, messaging and collaborative web functionality. By combining these separate tools, UCaaS enhances organizational workflow, operational efficiency and productivity. The result was also seen through a positive patient and employee experience within our environment.
With any large transition, you must be prepared for any obstacles—they are bound to happen. For us, one of those challenges was proving ownership of the phone numbers, which are done via invoices. But zooming out, I’m happy to say that the process of implementation was worth it—it was an essential part of our organization adjusting to a more innovative, digital health system.
Looking back, if I were to go through this UCaaS transition again, there are a few lessons I would apply to make the implementation process even more seamless:
Make no mistake about it: A UCaaS integration is a major undertaking. Following these tips can make the process easier. There’s a lot of prework to be done—what better time to dive in than now?
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