Some businesses are skeptical about switching to hosted private branch exchange (PBX), largely because they believe the potential problems posed by changing telephone systems outweighs the advantages hosted PBX offers.
It’s true there can be teething problems when changing telecommunications solutions, and given how much many businesses rely on their telephone systems, it’s not hard to see why some have a ‘better safe than sorry’ mentality.
However, by taking steps to prepare, businesses can switch to hosted PBX in a hassle-free and cost-effective manner. These are the ten best practices for moving from a traditional telephone system to a hosted PBX solution.
1. Identify who will be using it
The one word that will determine whether your transition from an on-site telephone system to a hosted PBX is a smooth one is ‘who’. That’s because you need to keep who will be using hosted PBX, as different individuals within your business will need to use it in different ways.
So, identify those whose jobs revolve around making, taking and directing telephone calls, and the methods currently used for doing so, e.g. desktop phone, mobile phone, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) application. This will allow for a seamless transition to hosted PBX, minimizing downtime and business impact.
2. Work out when it will be used
You also need to know when those workers that will be the primary users of your hosted PBX solution will need to use it. For example, does your company operate during regular office hours, outside them, or 24/7?
Identifying when staff are most likely to make and take calls will give a clear picture of how your company uses its telephone system, allowing you to install an effective hosted PBX solution that meets the needs of the business as a result.
3. Give yourself time
Make sure you plan way in advance before making the move to a hosted PBX solution, as even with everything going smoothly, the process could take longer than you might originally have thought. The key, as with many aspects of business, is not leave everything until the last minute. If you rush into it, the chances of mistakes occurring that lead to faults and outages will increase significantly.
Plan to finalize the switchover several weeks in advance of when it absolutely has to be completed to give yourself plenty of wiggle room should you encounter a bump in the road.
4. Educate yourself
There’s no point in having a hosted PBX solution if nobody really knows how to use it. Take the time to learn everything you can about the solution you’re adopting, and become as familiar as possible with the user interface. This knowledge can then be passed on to staff right across the board, so they know about what the system entails before they start using it.
5. Check your connection
In order to ensure you get optimum performance from your hosted PBX solution, your business needs an internet connection capable of delivering the service level that will meet it requirements. While this doesn’t mean you need a dedicated internet connection - one that means you don’t have to share bandwidth with other businesses - it many cases in can mean segregating data traffic and voice traffic to get the best out of hosted PBX.
6. Engage stakeholders
Stakeholders are the most important aspect to consider when making major changes in a business, which is why everyone who will be effected by the transition from an on-site telephone system to a hosted PBX solution needs to be made fully aware of the consequences of doing so.
Put together a stakeholders’ presentation that will tell them everything they need to know about the switch before you do anything else. Their feedback will provide you with valuable insight that will help you make the change without adversely affecting anyone involved.
7. Find the provider that’s right for you
It may sound obvious, but it’s imperative, so it needs to be said; in order for the transition to hosted PBX to be a success, you need to identify a capable, dependable and trustworthy provider. As such, take your time and shop around to find both a company and a solution that best suits the needs of your business.
As previously mentioned, you’ll need the right internet connection to get the most out of hosted PBX, so it’s worth looking for a provider that can offer you a package that will enhance your day-to-day operations, as well as having the experience and ability to facilitate a smooth transition.
Consider all the options open to you in terms of quality as well as price in order to determine the provider and solution that will give your business the best value for money.
8. Check for recovery systems
One of the many benefits hosted PBX offers that site-based telephone systems cannot is the ability to continue functioning in the event of a sudden power outage or a disaster befalling your business’s premises. However, while most hosted PBX solutions have a built-in backup system, not all do, so look into this before investing to ensure you don’t find yourself having to make changes during the transition.
9. Assess your hardware
Consider using the migration to hosted PBX as an opportunity to evaluate the overall workstation needs of your employees. While change can be difficult for businesses, it also offers a different perspective on existing challenges that can spark creative solutions.
Assess the needs of each individual or team to ascertain what hardware best suits their needs, without letting title or cost influence your decisions. What’s required by an employee whose role demands significant cross-departmental communication can be very different to what’s required by an employee who works mostly within their own team or department.
Making the optimal hardware choice in conjunction with the advanced features and intuitive user interface of hosted PBX can positively impact your employees’ productivity.
10. Check, check and check again
Once you’ve drawn up a plan for switching to hosted PBX, check it thoroughly to make sure every aspect of the transition you can envisage is locked down. Don’t gamble by going ahead and hoping for the best, as there’s always the chance that something might have been missed that causes far more trouble down the line than it will at the planning stage.
Prepare from the outset, and moving to hosted PBX will be a breeze.