While VoIP has been around and available for over a decade, many businesses have yet to make the jump from a Legacy Telephony System to VoIP. Legacy Systems were a significant investment and were expected to last, so many businesses are hesitant to abandon them for the newest trend. However, VoIP is quickly becoming the mainstream choice in the world of business telephony, so it is time to take the leap.
Fortunately Ziff Davis wrote a guide that will walk you through the process step-by-step: Migrating Your Business to VoIP: Five Key Success Factors. We outline those steps for you below:
- RECOGNIZE THIS IS A JOURNEY
The first step to transitioning from Legacy to VoIP is simply understanding that VoIP is constantly evolving and preparing yourself for constant change. But recognize that this change is not a bad thing; on the contrary, it means ever improving service and increased features. Moving to VoIP will entail some risks but we are confident that the benefits outweigh any roadblocks along the way.
- ADDRESS THE NEEDS OF 3 STAKEHOLDER GROUPS
Once you are prepared to begin the journey of VoIP, your company must define its goals. VoIP will impact three major players in your business and each can potentially benefit:a) Employees – Your employees will be the primary users. VoIP can increase their efficiency and effectiveness. For example, VoIP features like a softphone will encourage employees to quickly and efficiently communicate with coworkers or clients.
b) Executives – The ultimate decisions will be made by the company executives. Points of interest to them will be the cost-effectiveness of VoIP, the increased worker productivity, and the ability to integrate the telephony system into a complete Unified Communications solution.
c) IT – Company techs will be responsible for the VoIP system. They will enjoy the fact that VoIP is more user-friendly and most features and updates will not require their assistance, freeing up time for other matters.
- CHOOSE THE RIGHT DEPLOYMENT MODEL
VoIP gives you three deployment options:a) Premise – This is basically a continuation of your legacy system. It would mean a smaller change and more control of your system, but is more expensive and requires a comprehensive IT team.
b) Cloud – The opposite of a premise system, a cloud system would save money by outsourcing management or hosting. This option is becoming more common as the cloud gains popularity.
c) Hybrid – A hybrid system combines the best of both premise and cloud. A company that is not ready to part with its legacy system may choose a hybrid solution that will VoIP-enable their older system.
- CHOOSE THE RIGHT VENDOR
The next step is deciding whether to continue with your Legacy provider or shop around for a new provider. If you have a positive business relationship with your current provider and they offer an enticing and affordable VoIP transition plan, that may be the best option.However this may be the time to move on to a smaller company that is more specifically suited to your company’s needs. Nowadays you will find many options, even outside the world of telephony.
- PREPARE FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION PROCESS
The move to VoIP will be a big change and your company must be prepared.Step 1 – Review your phone system contract and determine whether you can replace your telephones and system.
Step 2 – Create a timeline with specific goals and targets. Assign responsibilities to specific people.
Step 3 – Perform a network assessment to decide if your system is ready for VoIP. This will also help in the decision between Premise or Cloud.
Step 4 – Determine what will change for your employees and prepare them for those changes.
Step 5 – Test the new system with a specific group of users to ensure it is working as promised, particularly during busy times.
Transitioning to VoIP may sound like a daunting task, but thousands of companies have made a successful transition with great benefits in the short and long term.
Want to read more? Check out Migrating Your Business to VoIP: Five Key Success Factors from Ziff Davis.