Traditional telephone technology has been around for so long, and the equipment required to use it is so inexpensive, upgrading that particular area of an organization's infrastructure can often seem like it would hardly be worth the cost and effort of upgrading. After all, as long as people can make and receive phone calls, that's all you really need, right?
Wrong. It is just as important to keep your office telephone systems technology up to date with the current state-of-the-industry (i.e. IP-based phone systems) for several reasons:
Dramatically Enhanced Functionality - From advanced voicemail systems, to flexible, expansive conference call capability, to video conferencing and beyond, today's small business phone systems offer your organization an unprecedented range of functionality that simply wasn't possible with traditional telephony.
With IP-based systems, individual phones often can even be programmed with their own application functionality to give your staff a extra toolkit right at their fingertips - quite literally. And real time, high quality video conferencing comes out of the sci-fi movies and into the boardroom. None of that was possible with legacy office telephone systems.
Integration with Overall Operations - The advanced functionality of today's telephony means that your phone system can integrate with your data network in ways that are only limited by the creativity, know-how, and imagination of your network designers. Customers can manage their accounts, managers can assign tasks, orders can be placed that automatically reflect in your procurement process, the list goes on endlessly. With an up-to-date IP-based phone system, all that functionality (and more!) is easily at your fingertips.
With a legacy phone system, you may be able accomplish rudimentary integration, but only with the help of expensive go-between equipment that often requires a high degree of configuration. By the time you get your legacy phone system semi-integrated with your operations, you'll wish you had just gone ahead and upgraded.
Enhanced Quality and Performance - Digital voice technology has come quite a ways since the first VOIP phones hit the market, and now far surpasses that of analog phone systems. This may seem like a tangential thing at first glance, but consider how many important phone conversations take place within your organization on a daily basis. Sales staff talk to clients (and potential clients), team members share important information, managers make inquiries into various issues, etc.
If those conversations are marred by poor audio quality or, worse, dropped connections, it can torpedo any number of important aspects of your organizations operations. Improved audio quality and connection reliability may not be quite as exciting as high-speed video conferencing or data network integration, but it is one of the best reasons to upgrade your phone system.
Comprehensive Network Solutions - Using technology such as Adtran's Total Access, modern network designs are becoming more and more comprehensive. Whereas you used to have a data network, an internal PBX system, an external phone system (which was sometimes different from your PBX system), and any number of other systems required for an organizations operations, now all communication and networking functionality can be brought under one comprehensive umbrella.
This dramatically simplifies network design, and lowers the long-term cost of operation, as you're dealing with less equipment and complexity. And since this setup virtually eliminates compatibility problems between systems, it often comes with a reasonable performance boost, just from being under one umbrella.
Upgrading your office phone systems may be something you are tempted to put off in favor of getting as much use out of your legacy system as possible. However, that would be a mistake that will cause you to miss out on what current telephony can do for your organization, and ultimately passing up the opportunity for advantage in the marketplace.