1.Assess your existing infrastructure
One of the most important considerations while planning a migration to an Internet phone service is to assess the state of the existing infrastructure present in the organization. This would require complete analysis of the existing telephone network as well as the data communication network. It is important to clearly determine the infrastructure that can be reused in the new setup, the equipment that would get obsolete and the new equipment that needs to be purchased for the migration. This would give you an idea of the extent of investments needed for the initiative.
2.Evaluate the amount of bandwidth available in the existing network
Before planning a transition to the Internet phone service, it is important to check the corporate LAN to determine if it has enough bandwidth that can support voice traffic. It must have enough capacity to handle this new voice traffic without affecting call quality, losing calls or slowing the Internet traffic. To find out the unused bandwidth on the network, you need to assess it at times of greatest load. This would help you determine any additional bandwidth that you may need and the cost associated with it.
3.Determine the backup power requirements
In contrast to the traditional telephone lines, an IP network would need power backup to ensure uninterrupted service and to keep voice reliability high. It would be important to keep IP phones functioning during power failures and this would call for uninterrupted power supply. This would be an additional cost for the organization that has to be considered during planning.
4.Ascertain if the in-house IT staff can deploy and manage the new system
Another important consideration is to ascertain if the in-house IT staff can deploy and manage the new system. For this you will need to consider your staff’s level of network knowledge and availability to handle this new initiative. If they are not able to handle it, you may need to consider a service provider to do the same for you. Depending upon your requirements, you can then choose between getting the Internet phone service installed onsite and subscribing for a service hosted by a provider.
5.Ensure that the timing for transition is correct
To ensure that any new organization-wide initiative results in the planned return on investment, it is important that the timing of the initiative needs is correct. You need to consider factors like, is your current phone system getting obsolete, are you moving to a new office building where no wiring is installed currently, are you expanding geographically and opening up new offices in far off locations/countries or is your current PBX lease is about to expire, etc. All these considerations would help you time the transition and ensure that implementation is easier and more cost-effective.
For all the work that goes into planning a switch to an Internet phone service, organizations have gained several operational benefits that translate into savings and increased employee productivity. Therefore the bottom line is to plan and time the conversion properly.
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