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Replacing an old phone system with cloud communications

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The business phone system has been undergoing monumental change in the last several years, especially as decision-makers recognize the growing potential associated with using VoIP and hosted offerings instead of the traditional land line service. This ongoing transformation to digital voice is introducing a number of new opportunities for enterprises and small companies alike. Unfortunately, if executives do not plan the migration to a new communications platform efficiently, their organization will likely suffer the consequences.

A Smart Business Network Online report highlighted the importance of developing a robust plan when considering replacing an old phone system. After all, communications is the base for any successful company, meaning a poor deployment strategy will likely send shockwaves throughout the rest of the business.

"You have to evaluate how change affects your business," VoIP expert Alex Desberg told SBN Online. "Change comes with a little pain, and with pain comes new solutions."

Considerations for a new phone system

Embracing change is the key to successfully adopting and deploying a new phone system, regardless of if it is an advanced VoIP service or a hosted PBX system that is managed in the cloud. In most cases, however, decision-makers are opting for the latter, as using a cloud-based phone system provides a number of unique opportunities that go above and beyond the capabilities of a traditional land line solution, SBN Online noted.

When executives decide to migrate voice to a cloud PBX service, they need to consider what operations will not function without a physical land line connection. SBN Online highlighted that some organizations have physical security technologies tied into the land line, as well as fax and credit card processing machines. For this reason, organizations need to consider alternatives for these solutions, as simply eliminating their presence can invite a number of challenges and consequences. In some cases, service providers can give firms substitute versions of these tools that can work over a digital environment. In other instances, completely getting rid of the land line is simply not plausible.

SBN Online said enterprises also need to consider their disaster recovery options and should participate in test runs, or tabletop scenarios, to ensure everything can run smoothly in the event of a natural or man-made emergency.

Why make the switch to cloud VoIP?

Cloud-based phone systems can provide enterprises and small businesses with a number of unique opportunities, including the ability to improve flexibility and connectivity from virtually anywhere. This is especially important among organizations looking to support a bring-your-own-device culture and a growing remote workforce.

Small businesses in particular can experience a number of unique benefits when they migrate voice services to the cloud. Because small firms often have fewer exhaustible resources, they can take advantage of the pay-as-you-go pricing model of the cloud and its unique characteristic to provide a highly scalable infrastructure. This enables companies to support a growing workforce without being concerned about connectivity or the inability to support various endpoints.

ABI Research said the cloud opportunity is real, as more than 40 percent of all communications used in the private sector will be hosted in the cloud within the next several years.

"By 2016, the communications [customer-premises equipment] market will only grow 4.3 percent, while cloud communications will grow by over 21 percent, reaching $8 billion in revenues," said Subha Rama, senior analyst at ABI Research.

By planning ahead and mapping out the route to the cloud, companies can replace their phone systems with a more innovative and functional service, giving them a potential edge over rival firms still using traditional voice services.