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When is it time to digitally transform your telephony?

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Telecoms.com periodically invites third-party experts to discuss some of the most pressing issues in the industry today. In this piece, Ernie Ortega, Chief Revenue Officer at Colt explains some of the monetisation challenges in digitally transforming voice infrastructure.

The digital world is forcing organisations to evolve faster than ever. For those that don’t, they run the risk of being grouped with the 30% of top firms that will cease to exist by 2020.

As such, stakeholders at all levels of a business have developed a keen interest in digital technology to support their own drive for success. Perhaps sales teams need faster computers to help them convert leads quicker, marketing may ask for cutting edge applications, whilst IT requires a more robust network to cope with changing connectivity demands across the workforce.

There is no doubt that business IT needs are evolving, as companies become increasingly tech-savvy and start to build out their digital transformation (DX) strategies. With the allure of greater productivity, increased customer retention and an overall faster to market performance – DX is top of many boardroom agenda. IDC in fact claims that enterprise CEOs are moving DX to the centre of their strategy in order to achieve growth and that more than half of IT budgets will be consumed on this transformation by 2020.

At this point many a CIO will look at what this means for the game-changing technology innovations, like IoT, big data or whatever new disruptive technology presents itself. But what about the humble phone system? Many are starting to recognise that infrastructure in the future must become more flexible to meet the changing needs of today’s virtual world, and the same rings true for telephony.

Virtualisation of the phone system is breaking down any boundaries of location, as businesses can now migrate their mobility to have one interconnected voice system that sits in the cloud. Our US counterparts have already taken the lead on hosted PBX which has been a number one product for US carriers for a few years already.

A quick Google search can present the raft of benefits, but rather than simply jumping on the bandwagon, how can businesses know the optimum time for digitally transforming their voice infrastructure? The following top 5 check points should help with defining when the move is right for you.

  1. Chart your business needs against your current voice infrastructure

Legacy systems haven’t really progressed in the last 30 years, so do they still meet all the business needs you want at this point in time? Whether you are weighing up the need for improved security, a more comprehensive reporting function, or more flexible service anywhere model – digitalising your telephony is certainly key. After all, the PBX is now one of many methods available for voice applications. Review what is possible in the current realms of your voice systems, and where you want to be, getting third party advice if needed. At this point you should get more clarity on the optimum time for your organisation.

  1. Brush up on your deadlines

For some markets there will be little choice about when to make the move to a SIP model, as service providers are unplugging their ISDN networks. If in the UK there is a wide window of opportunity before BT shuts it down in 2025, but regions such as Slovakia and Macedonia have already made the switch. Most markets have made their plans public – for example Swisscom (2017), Deutsche Telekom (2018) and Orange (2020). In this case, then businesses operating in these regions will be face a more immediate call to refresh their networks and increase their connection speeds, network design, and voice set-up.

  1. At what pace is your business evolving?

If the nature of the business is fast paced you will require a system with fluidity. PBXs are still proprietary and bound by rigid and fixed configuration rules, and still very expensive to purchase, maintain, and upgrade. Even the maintenance vans need to roll out every time the user needs a minor change, when this can now be achieved digitally. New nimble and open solutions will ultimately foster new ways of collaborative working across the businesses. Take in to consideration also, that today there are numerous solutions built with voice and data integration in mind. So if your business is one planning unified communications services, such as ERP, CRM, collaboration and conferencing, then it’s certainly time for an upgrade.

  1. Is security and continuity a business priority?

Consider that the number of recorded DDoS attacks almost doubled last year, or that more than half of organisations suffered at least one disruption a year as a result of extreme weather, staffing issues and loss of IT. Many European businesses are looking to SIP trunking as a solution for security, resilience and reliability. IT offers business continuity and disaster recovery applications as standard and the IT team has the ability to configure from any networked device the points in which they want to terminate calls. For example, a business headquartered in Paris could immediately manage or terminate calls from their Berlin SIP based numbers.

  1. Review your agreements & finances

If you happen to outgrow the PBX then prepare for bill shock. If you want to downscale then bad luck, you are stuck with the kit and the lease agreement. And when that time runs out the PBX is, perhaps unsurprisingly, pretty much worthless. According to Gartner, SIP trunking services slash enterprise telecom expenses by up to 50%. It also offers the ability to up and downscale depending on your business needs or peaks – ideal for the cost conscious business. A single Unified Comms as a service solution across multiple sites can also deliver many benefits, from conferencing reducing travel costs, to the ability to quickly and simply set up remote offices at no cost.

With a variety of tech transformation topics taking hold of the limelight, telephony often gets left on the backburner. When the time for change presents itself, it’s clear that transforming your voice system presents a number of benefits to immediately help businesses to thrive into a digital future.

Ernest ColtErnie Ortega is Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) at Colt. In this role he is currently responsible for the CRO function which includes Colt Sales teams across Europe, Asia, US, Strategic Wholesale, Capital Markets, as well as the Marketing, Brand and Sales Enablement teams. Prior to Colt, Ernie was Chief Revenue Officer at Cogent Communications, where he transformed the company from an SME-focused IP player to a data connectivity company focused on enterprise and wholesale customers.

 


One comment

  1. Peter Fretty 04/07/2016 @ 4:29 am

    Considering the ongoing digital transformation, and the important role that data – especially mobile data plays — having an up-to-date communication system should actually be a high priority. The key is ensuring that the devices can serve as a needed tool to complement the converging technology (IoT, big data, etc.). Peter Fretty, IDG blogger for SAS big data forum

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