What companies should know about the upcoming phone system changes

Outdated technology used by old-style phone systems are, over the next few years, going to be upgraded to a Voice over IP system. The latter is becoming increasingly popular because of its functionality.

“This switch will improve the way that companies can communicate across the broader platform throughout the world,” says John Bates, Director of Communications Technologies at Blue Technologies, Inc. “People are no longer just marketing themselves locally. So, being able to communicate effectively and without interruption with customers across the globe is necessary for continued growth and future success.”

Smart Business spoke with Bates about VoIP, the changing infrastructure and what companies need to know about the switch.

What change is happening to the telephone system?

Over the next two years, approximately 74 percent of the current phone systems will be changed over from SIP Trunking to a VoIP. For many companies that didn’t have broadband access, likely because of their location, this switch will patch them into a number of modern communication tools that previously weren’t available to them. It can also mean significant savings.

With these upgrades, people are going to have clearer, faster communications with fewer dropped calls, even during inclement weather, regardless of where they’re at or the device they’re using to communicate. However, not all companies are eager to make the switch. Making a change can sometimes require re-cabling their buildings and updating their infrastructure because the VoIP phones aren’t utilizing the same wires as traditional phones. Companies on old systems may be resistant to change because the original investment they made in that system is sizable, so they often feel compelled to stick with it.

This approach — sticking with an increasingly outdated technology — means not capturing the distinct advantages of making those changes. It also means missing out on not just the near-term benefits, but the long-term benefits as well. For instance, the improved technology infrastructure offers flexibility in how it can be used and the quality it offers. And the advances on this new system that are expected in the near future are going to be even better.

What does the switch to the new system look like?

The first step in making the switch is to connect with a vendor to take a look at the services currently deployed within the business and compare them to the services that are included in a VoIP phone system. It means taking a close look at the extension list, determining whether or not to integrate an overhead paging system or add an auto-attendant. These features, through a traditional provider, would each come with an additional charge. Now, with VoIP, they’re all included in one package.

Once need, services and features are identified, the infrastructure — wiring and hardware — is installed. That can be done with little disruption to business and in a relatively short period of time.

Companies should look to work with a vendor that provides training on how to use the new system so that employees can take full advantage of all of the benefits. They should also discuss how the new system setup offers benefits to the business not just in the near term, but in the long term, offering the ability for growth and change as new services and technologies become available. Flexibility is also important. As things change inside of a company, a vendor should be flexible enough to adapt those services to the new realities, whether that means adding or subtracting services or hardware, locally or in offices across state lines. Ask also about the service behind the system. That means, for instance, making sure there’s a call center that can answer questions quickly and efficiently for any of the end users. It’s also good to have a vendor that can stay ahead of the technology curve.

A good vendor will do its due diligence to learn what phone system and features a company needs, not simply the one that they provide. When the right vendor fit is found, upgrades such as these are a collaborative effort that can provide exactly what’s needed with room to grow. ●

INSIGHTS Technology is brought to you by Blue Technologies, Inc.

John Bates

Director of Communications Technologies

216.271.4800 ext. 4010

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