Modern telephone systems are generally IP-based, which brings many benefits, especially to larger organisations with operations at several sites. In the past it was quite common that an organisation could have used several manufacturers’ PBX or may have used different models of PBX from the same manufacturer. This may have been the correct choice at the time if, for example, sales, engineering, customer service and finance departments all had different priorities for their phones. The difficulty with this situation was the dreaded moment when members of staff had to answer someone else’s phone and risk cutting the caller off when they tried to transfer a call. Nowadays, most businesses would probably agree that it is easier to operate the same system across all of their sites.
It is easier if handsets can be standardised so that staff can answer each other’s extensions without any difficulty. Modern phones can also display “presence”, so as not to waste time transferring calls to a member of staff who’s away from their desk. A modern phone system can provide seamless links between all of the buildings, and make the transfer of calls much easier, especially between sites.
The easiest way to approach the migration to a new system is to phase the changes over a period of several months. Your ICT team will need to complete the testing, installation and configuration of the new system and staff training for each site, and this allows them time to focus on each site, one at a time.
It is usual to operate the old system and the new system in tandem during the changeover period, so that it is possible to go back to the old phones if necessary, and then change over to the new system completely on the appointed “go-live” day.
We would recommend planning the migration in manageable stages, separating the organisation into sites, groups, and business areas, so that these can be addressed one by one, bearing in mind that each site could have different business needs.
Identify an individual to act as the leader and liaison for each business group. This person will be tasked with collecting data of the use of the phones by the team - call traffic and call flows – and leading the training sessions from the users’ point of view.
The design stage is a chance to re-evalulate how each group uses their phones and what they require from the new system. It is useful to spend time assessing each group’s business needs and understanding their team structures and the volume of calls between sites.
Look for ways to take advantage of the BT lines installed and perhaps find ways of using those more efficiently.
Make a training plan. It is best to conduct trials and training in small teams before going live, to be sure that everyone can use the new system confidently before they need to use it to answer live calls.
We are posting this article to assist you in the early stages of planning the changeover from an older PBX to a modern IP-based telephone system. For suggestions relating to your own system design and migration needs, please contact Connect Communications on 020 7950 3200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.