3 Questions You Should Be Able to Answer Before Switching from PBX to VoIP
Businesses of all sizes, and in every sector, are under increasing pressure to maintain competitiveness and optimise their digital operations. Doing this while balancing ever-shrinking IT budgets and limited human resources. Unified Communications has been lauded as one of the best ways to cut IT costs and offer employees a whole new world of digital communication tools to work with. In a true Unified Communications environment, an organisation can seamlessly integrate its everyday business processes with the latest in real-time communications – from instant messaging and video conferencing to integrated email, voicemail, and even fax.
As one of the primary pillars of Unified Communications, the move from an outdated PBX telephone system to either a cloud-based or on-site VoIP system is crucial to enabling this next level of workplace efficiency. Companies are making the switch in record numbers, with the latest research forecasting one billion VoIP users by the end of this year.
But before you take the plunge, it’s important to note that the switch from PBX to VoIP is not a simple one. The resources at your disposal, as well as the needs of your organisation, will dictate what route you will need to follow for the best results. Here are three of the questions you’ll need to be able to answer before you switch.
Do you have sufficient bandwidth and a reliable WAN connection?
If your business should decide to host its phone systems in the cloud, it will require a highly robust and stable bandwidth-friendly connection. This means that your premises’ proximity to infrastructure will play a large role in determining the most practical solution for your business. Generally, DSL lines are ill equipped to handle the bandwidth-intensive operations that cloud-based VoIP enables, so finding out how your connection fares and whether it’s time for an upgrade should always be an organisation’s first step toward UC.
Cloud-hosted or in-house?
Without having to invest in costly appliances, cloud-hosted VoIP is by far the easiest to deploy and maintain, as well as being the option that requires the lowest upfront investment. Internally-hosted VoIP solutions, on the other hand, require installation of some sort of server or voice appliance in your office, resulting in higher costs but also improved stability for larger organisations. As mentioned above, the quality of your business internet line will also play a large role in determining which is appropriate for your particular business needs.
How much control do you want?
One of the best parts of working with a VoIP provider is the amount of control they are able to grant, depending on your business’s requirements. Most require nothing more on the part of their clients than an internet connection and web browser to hand over control of system administrations, installation settings and configurations that allow clients to optimise their own phone systems and empower end users with the tools they need to work smarter. Deciding on a provider will depend largely on the level of control your organisation requires, and which providers will be able to deliver it reliably.
Whatever you do, don’t go in blindly
Switching from an expensive but familiar technology like PBX to a cloud or on-site VoIP solution can be a daunting prospect if approached in the wrong way. Our advice is not to make such a move with a predetermined vision of the solutions that will best solve your business backlogs. According to Gartner, a full UC-enabled environment consists of 16 distinct technologies, but that doesn’t mean your business needs all of them to experience all the advantages of VoIP. Ask your prospective provider the tough questions, make your business case and requirements clear. You are far more likely to end up with an affordable and reliable solution that does exactly what you need it to.