Your PBX system has served you well in the past and with a bit of upkeep and maintenance will continue to meet your needs in the future. However change is on the horizon.
It's not so much that the PBX features have changed, it's the technology delivering those features and your co-workers interaction that is changing.
In the end the choice to upgrade your voice communications system may not even be yours. Many PBX manufactures are embracing Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and the newest technology, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) as their new flagship systems while limiting the support of their Legacy TDM (Time Division Multiplex) systems.
Whether you have a small system or a large system, it's imperative as a Telecommunications manager that you understand the latest technologies and begin to blueprint when a system upgrade would make sense for your company.
Many managers are put off by the fact that they have to upgrade their telecommunication system – after all it's worked fine for many years. They are even more upset when they are notified or find out that the system they have is reaching or is end-of-life and will no longer be supported by the manufacturer.
What's the driving factor behind these changes? The short answer - Convergence.
Convergence views voice communications and data communications as a comparable information nucleus – they are doing basically the same function. Passing data from an originating point to an end point. Voice communications uses dedicated paths to connect parties and data communications uses non-dedicated paths and protocols to send and retrieve information.
Is this the first convergent of seemingly different technologies? Not at all, the fax revolution of the 80's was produced by a convergence of telecommunications technology, optical scanning technology, and printing technology. There are countless other examples of convergent technologies on the market today.
When should you begin planning for your upgrade? The simple answer is of course; there is no time like the present.
As with any project you will need to make a presentation case for the project, outlining the immediate and future benefits to your company's business culture and the company's bottom line. I'll discuss three common driving factors, End-of-life schedules, culture/business shift and company reorganization.
I'll use Nortel's SIP Multimedia PC Client as an example.
1. Identify your current systems End-of-life schedule.
A. Pbx systems are comprised of software and hardware. In some system configurations, the hardware will follow a different end-of-life schedule than the software and vice versa.
B. You should review all aspects of your telecommunications system from the software, to the cards, to the telephone sets and catalog all concerns.
C. Upgrading your system outright to the latest and greatest may make more sense to the bottom line than continually upgrading the various parts of the system.
2. Determine if new systems features will improve your company's telecommunications culture.
A. Nortel's SIP Multimedia PC Client as an example offers many features beyond traditional telephony. It supports video calling, instant messaging, call screening, real-time call disposition, conferencing, file sharing, and white-boarding.
B. Advanced Web communications include pushing Web pages and co-browsing the Web with customers, co-workers, and associates
C. Virtual Office is always an exciting feature of the newer VoIP and SIP systems.
3. Company growth, downsizing or related projects.
A. Company growth is a good time to analyze your telecommunications systems. It might be cost-effective to embrace the new system features and create Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that in turn, reduce your requirements on T1's.
B. If your company is downsizing in property. It might prove fruitful to allow the older systems to convey with the property, while focusing on re-growth and the newer systems.
C. If you company is engaged in related projects (Infrastructure upgrades, IT system upgrades, etc.). It is crucial that you as the Telecommunications Manager are part of the process to ensure that newly installed systems will communicate with your vision of the future for your Pbx department.
Of course there are other driving factors that are unique to each and every business and this article briefly touches on only a few factors. More important are the key factors in planning that can be categorized into anticipation on your part and the effective management of information, quality, and scope.
Anticipating changes in the telecommunications sector and taking advantage of those changes to benefit your company are paramount to a competent, executable plan. In addition, effectively managing the information, ensuring quality research and developing a scope of action will assist in the creation of a sound telecommunications project.
Whether you're just beginning the research process of upgrading your Pbx system or are well along in the process – PbxInfo.com is a great place to perform research, post questions and get answers about a wide array of systems.
* - Nortel's SIP Multimedia PC Client and Nortel are trademarks of Nortel Networks.
Article by Charles Carter
Charles Carter is an administrator for the Nortel Portal and Vice President of http://www.pbxinfo.com. He has 20 years experience in the telecommunications field, is a software owner/programmer, author of the fictional book "Chaos Theorem" and is currently the President of CS2Communications http://www.cs2communications.com/ - A Southern Mississippi Telecommunications LLC specializing in Nortel Meridian Programming, Nortel BCM Programming, Structured Cable Installations, Nortel Symposium Programming and Smart eM Technology.