One of the most enlightening things I have learned by talking to potential customers is that Cat 3 - digital phones/ digital systems, are still a viable part of the infrastructure landscape. Not entirely surprising, because of their rock-solid performance. But, with manufacturer support and parts for these systems phasing out, sometimes the options can seem bleak.
I have even heard a story of where a vendor told their customer, "They don't make digital phone systems anymore, you have to switch to VoIP..." In desperation, the customer turned to the technical community to validate this information and the response was "Why?" the community said... "Why wouldn't you switch to VoIP?" For the customer the answer seemed simple- digital still works, and in many cases, it may seem like the best option.
For those "seasoned" businesses that have been around for some time and haven't seen a pressing need to upgrade their current infrastructure because digital phones handle the workload. Concepts like ease of use, integration with other technology, and budgetary considerations are solid reasons to remain digital. But you're missing out on SO MUCH MORE...
Generally speaking, digital technology tends to be available at lower upfront costs while still providing a feature rich environment from the handset itself - in many industries this it still very important. It is also reasonable that an organization that already has a digital phone system in place can with ease, deploy a new one.
In the long run, VoIP is less expensive, it moves phones from "legacy" to "converged into the IT infrastructure." It stops the need for specialized legacy cabling and hardware. An upgraded system makes everything easier to support.
When switching to VoIP communications, you gain the ability to integrate a whole new world of possibilities with unified communications applications. Meaning your user experience becomes more than just a handset.
New UC tools are available to streamline your current workflow, like: instant messenger, voicemail to email, and fax to desktop are all possible. IP phones easily allow bridging offices together, letting employees work from home and extending the PBX to people's cell phones or other mobile devices. All in all, VoIP seems to be better at providing a consistent customer experience linking people together no matter where they are.
Network infrastructure costs tend to be a significant reason why a company chooses to stay digital. If your network cabling, data network infrastructure, and bandwidth aren't in place to support VoIP, it can be a significant upfront cost to transition, but a network assessment will give further insight.
After the initial assessment of your scenario, it is important to think about the costs required for service. Telephone lines, T1's and PRI's are not cheap though they are proven in quality and security to SIP technology which allows for SIP trucking (using your internet connection), therefore, providing a significant cost savings realization.
Whether your solution is digital, IP or some flavor of in-between (maybe a hybrid phone system) all of these options are viable. The best solution is the one that addresses your business goals. Sometimes you just need to find someone that can think outside of the box.
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