Phone Deployment Tips

If you have a large number of physical phones for a Teams deployment, you may have some logistical challenges in getting the phones deployed at cutover time. This could be physical access to a building, not having enough staff, or significant travel time between sites.

Layering users on top of that, you have further complications – the users need to be present in order to logon, especially with 2FA (you ARE using 2FA, right?). From experience, I can tell you that users will not be at their desk when you need them to be, so you will always need to plan to handle these exceptions.

There are a few ways to arrange things to make life as easy as possible.

If you are lucky enough to have free PoE ports so that you can deploy the phones ahead of a cutover, do that. This lets you get the users logged in before the cutover, and still maintain their existing phone. The old phones can be collected after the cutover – this doesn’t require technical staff to do, nor any particular schedule.

If you need to do a phone swap at cutover time, you may be able to pre-configure the user devices. You’ll need an office, room or space for this, at least 1 PC or laptop, and some PoE network capacity. Users can logon to a phone in this area or room, then label the phone so you know where it needs to be deployed later.

Staffing

Not having enough IT staff for a large phone deployment, or for a deployment in distant sites, is a challenge that often needs to be sorted. You’ll need to hire extra support or recruit some non-IT staff from the sites you’re deploying to. They’ll need to know the logon process for the phones, how to factory reset the phones (in case you need to “start again” with one, or if there’s a glitch), and to ensure the right jacks on the back of the phone are used (for the network and PC connections). This help could be all at cutover time, or you could use the phone pre-configuration approach followed by physical deployment, mentioned above.

If those options don’t work, you can help remotely. You may have to try and walk users through the steps over the phone. Have a PDF ready of the steps they’ll need to take, including a picture of the phone showing what keys they’d need to press/hold for a factory reset, what the ports on the bottom of the phone look like, and what the URL is that they’ll need to enter in their browser.  You could take a step up from the phone call and do a Teams meeting with video using a USB webcam, so you can see what they’re seeing and doing rather than trying to have them describe what they see. This same document and set of steps will be helpful for your helpdesk team for the initial deployment efforts, as well as for ongoing support.

And lastly, if it’s possible to have the phones logged in and to remain powered up, you should head to Teams Admin Center and push firmware updates. If this isn’t possible, then do play for firmware updates to be pushed at the end of the business day for the site(s) you’ve deployed.

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