Cloud Telephony

On thin ice: When your on-premise telephony reaches end-of-life.

What is your process when your current business system reaches the end of manufacturer support? How do you decide the best replacement telephony system for a small business?

There are plenty of cases where businesses are running on communications systems reaching the end of the product lifecycle. 

One of these is the Avaya IP Office 500. The ‘version 1’ hardware will reach end of services support on 9 January 2018. Avaya ceased production in 2012 and this product reached end of manufacturer support in 2015.

If you are in this position, you need to act in good time to find the right system with full ongoing support and updates in order to future proof your business. 

Why you need a supported business system.

When a communications system is unsupported, it just takes one unresolvable fault like this to have a catastrophic effect on your entire business operations. And when critical functions go down, you don’t want to be the one to blame for leaving it too late and letting your business fall through the cracks.

Some of these most well-known corporate IT failures were due to reliance on older and unsupported systems:

  • British Airways had a power supply issue at their UK data centres which stopped all check-in and operational systems in June. We discussed the knock-on effect on the British Airways customer experience in our blog.
  • Delta Airlines had to cancel over 2,000 flights when a power failure caused three days of chaos in August 2016 and a loss of $100 million in revenue, despite existing backup data centres.
  • Royal Bank of Scotland lost around 600,000 customer payments and direct debits in June 2016. This was due to an increase of customer transaction after the introduction of digital banking leading to problems with their older technology systems.

If your business can’t afford downtime (and what business can?) you need to take the steps to prevent the same risk of failure when you continue with an unsupported business system.

You need a replacement communications platform that is easy to manage and train your employees to use, with built-in integration with your other critical systems and installation with minimal disruption to your business.

We continue to provide technology support for Avaya IP Office 500 clients for as long as we can, but after the cut off date the on-premise telephony hardware parts will be more difficult to obtain. Instead, we advise our clients on the right replacement for their business needs and manage a smooth transition.

What should you consider when replacing the Avaya IP Office 500 v1?

You can choose between sophisticated on-premise, hybrid and cloud telephony solutions, with several cost-effective pricing options tailored to the needs of your specific business.

Your replacement business phone system should be designed to integrate with the systems you already use, to keep your current investments, and it needs to have sustainable support for the future through a dedicated technology partner. To minimise disruption to your business, you should also look for an intuitive platform to reduce employee training and loss of productivity during the transition.

For some businesses with limited connectivity, such as in certain areas of London, the best option is to upgrade your Avaya IP Office 500 with the next generation v2 model, which can carry a business VoIP phone system with the latest software versions. 

However, further down the line, you will have the same decision - what will your business do when your on-premise telephony reaches end of manufacturer support?

Cloud telephony systems offer benefits such as:

  • Increased security for your business when you remove the liability of an on-premise system and move your phone and data system to the cloud. Automatic security updates are installed in the background and cloud systems open up more disaster recovery options.
  • Easy to manage and configure via an easy-to-use web portal from anywhere, on any device, in accordance with your business’ changing requirements
  • Improved customer experience and productivity with the ability to make and receive calls, access voicemail, and host or join conference calls wherever they are.
  • Telephony to scale up and down with fluctuations in your business, and the system grows when your business grows.
  • Extra integrations such as voicemail-to-email, call recording and reporting and contact centre management.
  • Substantial cost savings when you choose monthly subscriptions with an Op-Ex model for cloud services and remove the cost of your on-premise hardware.

Hear about the latest insights from our experts on how to best utilise cloud to improve your business communications and IT at our Cloud For Business talk on 18th January.

How can upgrading to cloud telephony solutions help your business?

In our previous blog we ran through the 3 ways cloud solutions helps businesses by cutting costs, providing robust disaster recovery and security, and improving flexibility and reliability for increased collaboration. All of these benefits directly save on the bottom line for your business.

A hosted phone system also makes moving office or extending to multiple sites easier to setup and enables more efficient operations between offices.

The new regulations for MIFID II in January 2018 for financial organisations and GDPR in May 2018 pose a fourth and more urgent reason to consider a better system. Our cloud solutions include call recording with storage inclusive options, PCI compliance services and SIP trunking.

IT and cloud telephony systems are the foundation of basic customer service and operations, from which businesses design customer experience and collaboration. End-of-life and end-of-support transition periods prompt businesses to review the products in their business networks. 

In fact, the quieter business months around Christmas give you a good opportunity to fully assess your options and make the best decision for a new system for the new year!

We can help you assess the alternatives in the context of the wider industry and upcoming regulations for businesses. And when you decide on the best solution, we can ensure your transition has minimal disruption to your business productivity, provide employee training, and guarantee dedicated support.

Reference for clients:

Avaya End of Sale and End of Support Matrix:

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