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The thought of switching phone systems can be intimidating. You must think of which system you want to switch to, as well as the costs, features, and technical complexities of each. Unfortunately, switching systems isn’t simple. But when you have the right mindset, the whole process becomes a lot easier.

The first step to switching phone systems is understanding why you want to switch, and the costs and benefits of doing so. Most likely, you will be switching from a more traditional system to a VoIP or IP PBX. These are phone systems that work much like the Internet, only with voice and multimedia messaging.

VoIP and IP PBX offer more flexibility than traditional phone systems. Both administrators and standard users can interact with the systems via web browser or client software, changing permissions and features and adding or dropping users when needed. It’s also user friendly, allowing people to change their personal preferences, make calls and transfers with just the click of a button.

The most common reason people switch to VoIP or IP PBX is cost savings, since doing so could cut 50% or more off your phone bill. These days, people are switching systems because of the features provided by VoIP. With the added efficiency and connection of the VoIP, smaller companies can operate on the scale of larger companies, without having to buy or maintain expensive equipment or gear required of their previous systems.

However, to understand your overall savings and the costs of switching, you must look at all the expenditures involved, both short and long term. If you have a premises system and you’ve already fully paid for the equipment, you may lose money switching. Furthermore, with a PBX system, you’ll be paying for the hosting service along with the phone service, which means added bills every month.

Another important factor to consider is the system’s operation in instances of emergency. A traditional telephone network is practically invincible. It routes emergency calls to the appropriate local agency and operates on its own power supply.

VoIP, however, works a little differently. Calls and messages can be transmitted through traditional methods, through public Internet, or through private lines. If your power goes out, and your calls come through the internet, you may lose contact without a battery. However, since most VoIP systems are not tied to a specific device, you can use it from other locations. This gives it a significant edge over traditional lines.

So do you do switch systems all at once or slowly over time? If you are opening a new business or new location, you naturally have to start fresh with a new system that you can get for the best money. But what about if you are already established and looking to upgrade?

Purchasing a hosted system is very similar to paying installments for a more traditional system, and if you’ve already purchased a traditional system, you may not want to make another commitment. Therefore, it may seem natural to want to slowly change over. In reality, there will still be upfront costs you can’t avoid, and the technical challenges of dealing with two different systems might be daunting.

Now that you understand some of the benefits, costs, and risks associated with switching telephone systems, we hope you’ll be able to make a wise, informed decision about when and which system to switch to when you’re ready for an upgrade. Just remember, the best system is a system that works for both you and your company.

At Sonoran Integrations, our goal is to go beyond traditional telephony and support the needs of today’s customers, who expect fast, reliable service via telephone, email, video conference, and social media. If you need help with your telephone systems, whether switching, upgrading or troubleshooting, just give us a call!