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Overcome the 6 common fears of upgrading your legacy phone system

Have you considered your business phone system recently? Chances are that you have may not noticed a few shortcomings. Maybe the equipment is old and phones are worn, maintenance costs are rising or increasing business needs expose limitations?

With the move to switch off ISDN and PSTN, the only options are VoIP-based ones – either cloud or a more up to date on premise system.

A fundamental change of this kind can be a daunting prospect so there is always the temptation to do nothing if the old system is still working well but that will not remain an option. A decision will have to be made or face losing the phone lines completely. Businesses may be aware of the benefits but there are still some fears and misconceptions around VoIP holding them back. Here are the top 6 concerns about upgrading a legacy phone system and why a trusted expert will make the transition a smooth one.

1. It takes a lot of time and efforts to install the new phone system.

Forget about the past, the long installation time and disruption around the current system. Running a VoIP system requires less cabling and in many cases uses the existing cabling to your desktop computers which plug in the back of the new phones. The phones themselves are generally self labelling eliminating incorrect or missing labels forever. Compared with having multiple lines such as PSTN, ISDN and maybe GSM gateways, you now just have a single network cable that plugs into the Internet.

2. It can be costly to maintain a legacy phone system.

As VoIP routes calls through the Internet, you need not pay for the copper lines which a traditional phone system requires to function. This reduces ongoing cost considerably. Depending on your call profile you may choose to have calls included or a really low ‘line rental’ and pay-as-you-go calls. If you opt for a cloud-based solution, there is even no need to maintain the hardware and no installation involved – just plug the phones in.

VoIP is inexpensive to start with and will reduce your monthly bills as well. Numbers don’t lie:

  • VoIP can trim down initial costs for startup business by roughly 90%. (Tech.co)
  • Small businesses using VoIP can decrease the cost of local calls up to 40% and international costs by 90%. (Tech.co)
  • Businesses that use softphones can save an average of $1727 per month on mobile phone and long-distance costs. (visual.ly)
3. The audio quality of VoIP is not good enough.

Many people claim to have had a bad experience with VoIP in the past but this is usually some years ago when the technology was in its infancy and it was probably running over ADSL. This still holds true today but since the default way of encoding the voice (codec) is the same as used for ISDN, the two are of very similar quality. There is also the option to use a low bitrate codec to reduce the bandwidth required by 2/3rds or to use a high quality codec that provides FM radio quality. In our experience there is only a very slight loss of quality when using the low bitrate codec that most people would not notice.

4. It requires advanced technical expertise to manage the system.

Most phone system providers offer web access so that business customers can see and manage every aspect of their phone system, from call features to account information. For example, the Avaya IP Office that we offer comes in either a hardware appliance, a Server Edition that an be put in a data centre or on your own site or the new containerised fully cloud hosted version. All have an intuitive web GUI to help you get started in minutes.  It is also a misconception that hosted phone systems take away control over how your organisation wants to configure the phone network. If you choose to go with the containerised version then training will be given if you want to manage the basic aspects yourself.

5. VoIP is not as reliable and secure as legacy phone systems.

People can be wary of VoIP because it runs over the Internet. Assuming you have good Internet that does nougat saturated with data traffic, it is very reliable. for many of our smaller customers they run their entire business on 4G – data and 4 to 6 lines of VoIP. In the event of a carrier failure, a replacement SIM can be sourced and they can be back up and running very quickly. As for security, VoIP leverages modern security technologies like firewalls, encryption, authentication, blacklist & white list, etc. to make it even more secure than PSTN and ISDN. As long as your network is secure, your VoIP lines are secure.

6. VoIP doesn’t make that much of a difference.

A VoIP solution allows users the freedom to make and receive business calls anywhere anytime with Internet-connected desktops or mobile devices, which greatly improves customer interaction. VoIP also allows for a number of 3rd party integrations, such as contact centre, CRM, CTI, PMS and more.

VoIP is suitable for companies of any size thanks to its scalability. For small businesses, they can even enjoy enterprise-grade features at a fraction of costs. For companies that have a remote workforce and multiple branch offices, a legacy phone system does hinder communication efficiency and productivity. As the PSTN not going to be around for long, VoIP will eventually be the only option and the matter of necessity when your current phone system stops working one day. Why not be proactive and reap the benefits in advance?

Does this post demystify your concerns about upgrading and dispel some VoIP myths? If you have been advised that your PSTN or ISDN will be cut off then start making decisions now as to how to proceed. Contact us if you need help.

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