We have covered a number of topics relating to Cloud Telephony & Unified Communications, explaining the benefits of these technologies compared with traditional ‘on-premise’ solutions.
As a follow up to this, we felt that it would be helpful to explain just how simple the transition to these modern technologies can be, especially with some of the historic negative perceptions sometimes associated with them.
A key point here of course is planning; as with any technology deployment, without the correct scoping and preparation, it’s unlikely to go smoothly, however good the solution is.
So, just how easy is moving to a new Cloud Telephone system?
The reality is (with the right planning), this can be one of the easiest technology deployments to the cloud you’re ever likely to experience as a business.
A key reason for this is that location or physical lines no longer restrict you. Your entire new telephone system can be built, DDI’s assigned with ring groups and call routing setup all ahead of the go live date.
This means that your current system can remain fully operational alongside this, until you are ready to switch over to the new system.
Your PBX is now securely in the cloud, fully configured with all call routing tested, so you know it works and is ready well before the go live date. This means that when ready, you simply unplug your current phones and plug the phones from your new cloud PBX into your pre-configured network.
What about number porting?
Your business phone numbers will need porting across to your new Cloud Platform.
In order to manage the porting effectively, you need to ensure you know exactly what numbers you have, where they are pointed to, as well as the address they are registered to etc.
This is to ensure that number ports are not rejected by the previous provider, but also that all call routing you currently have in place will continue to function.
This process can take 4-6 weeks to action from the date your request is submitted, due to the providers you are transitioning from and to.
Some deployments are often time sensitive, and this delay is simply not viable, this may be due to contracts ending, or even more pressing issues such as PBX failure.
In order to accommodate tighter timeframes, it’s possible to simply issue temporary virtual numbers, and setup forwards on your old numbers, pointing them to your new Cloud PBX. This enables your new system to be functional very quickly, and number porting can be managed separately in the background.
On the date the number port has been scheduled, the numbers will simply move across into your Cloud PBX seamlessly with the number forwarding automatically being removed, since the numbers are now live within your new platform.
During this process of course clients calling your business will not notice any difference or interruption to service.
In addition, if you have DDI’s that need porting, it’s important to ensure it’s been documented to which user each one should be assigned ahead of time.
The same applies to extension numbers; to keep the user experience as positive and straight forward as possible, we recommend you adopt your existing format.
Of course your new Cloud provider should be on hand to give you full assistance and support with this process.
Network & Bandwidth
If you don’t currently have an IP system, then you will need to consider the network implications.
How many concurrent calls do you anticipate you will need? Whilst you are not restricted by physical lines anymore, bandwidth needs to be considered, as this will dictate how much voice traffic is possible.
An HD quality call is 90KB, so 1MB of bandwidth can allow 10 concurrent HD Calls. On some systems it is possible to drop calls down to analogue quality, which only needs 30KB, significantly increasing the number of calls that are possible.
However, if you are also running other services over the same connection, then this will impact on the available bandwidth, ideally you would allocate a specific amount dedicated to just voice, segregating it from data.
It’s also important to consider that broadband download and upload speeds are different, standard ADSL and Fibre will have a slower Upload Speed to download. This is a critical part of the scoping exercise, since a voice conversation travels both up and down your line, and you cannot have a delay in either direction.
A more basic point, but a practical one, is to consider the number of network points you have for each desk. Do you have one for a PC and a spare one for the IP Phone? Of course, if not, you can always ‘daisy chain’ them, effectively running both devices on the same network point.
If you have POE (power over Ethernet) switches you can also eliminate the need for a power point for the phone, since they will be powered by the network port.
VOIP and Hosted Telephony are excellent, robust and flexible technologies, however, if bandwidth is not properly considered as part of scoping and implementation, it has the potential to undermine the entire solution.
This is a key reason why some consider VOIP to be unreliable, and unfortunately misinformation has helped to compound this incorrect view. Of course if sufficient bandwidth is not available, then a responsible Cloud/VOIP provider should so advise, but with voice traffic only needing 30KB, this would be a rare situation with today’s connectivity.
What about office moves?
We often speak with clients about projects of this nature when they are moving office. The typical perception is that it’s best to co-ordinate this with the office move, and to have your telephone system installation aligned with the move into a new building.
However with a Cloud phone system this can be so much easier, and we often suggest implementing it prior to a move.
Due to the nature of Cloud phone systems this means that on the day of the move, it’s as simple as moving your physical phones and plugging them in at the new office. Your PBX is in the Cloud, so auto attendants, call routing & ring groups will just work.
Moving to the Cloud before an office move removes one of the key headaches associated with any move.
What about my PSTN/ISDN Lines?
As your PBX is now in the Cloud you only need one line to deliver broadband to your premises, or two should you wish to separate data and voice traffic.
Apart from the fact that the physical lines no longer limit the volume of calls you can receive, there is also potentially a significant cost saving as a result, since many of these services can be cancelled.
Should you have any questions about any of the areas covered in this article please don’t hesitate to get in touch and one of the ECaaS team will be delighted to help you.