Many companies will be facing this step in the next few years: ISDN will be switched off successively until 2018 at the latest, and VoIP telephony will be the technology used. The question is now: Will you once again invest in a traditional telephone system again or switch directly to a cloud-based solution? In this article, we will show you how to successfully migrate your telephony infrastructure and which points you should consider.
Migration in telecommunications means the process of the transition of a company’s telecommunications infrastructure to another infrastructure. In most cases, migration is associated with both a technology change and a change of provider. A migration is a very sensitive process within the IT of a company. Competent and careful process planning is therefore very important for a smooth process.
Highest priority: Constant availability despite migration
During the migration process, top priority is to ensure that both internal and external telephony work smoothly at all times. It must be ensured that every employee is available to customers, suppliers and colleagues at all times under his or her usual telephone number. In the best case scenario, no one outside the IT department will be aware of the migration (apart from the fact that the employee may have a new telephone set on the table).
Planning the migration path well
In order to ensure that the migration runs smoothly, the company plans a migration path together with its future provider, in which the necessary steps and the corresponding times are planned. In principle, the company size does not play a role in the structure of the migration path: This means that it makes no difference whether an SME with 20 employees at one location or a group with 500 employees at several locations is affected. The process flow is always the same, but the volume of the migration, i.e. the number of telephones and the individual remaining contract term have an influence on the duration of the implementation.
Migration in five steps: The toplink recommendation
The starting point for planning is the point in time of the migration at which the new solution is finally implemented and the original solution is finally switched off. This often goes hand in hand with the porting of numbers on this key date. Often, but not necessarily, this point in time coincides with the end of a contract with the old provider. From this point of phone number porting, the point of no return, the migration path is calculated backwards.
Migration Step 1: Evaluation
At the beginning there are strategic questions
- What are our product requirements? Which functions should be available?
- What kind of telephony solution do we want? Are we looking for a pure telephony solution? What about Unified Communications, call center solutions or CTI?
- Which products and suppliers are available on the market at what prices?
- Who is the market leader in this field? Are there any relevant product tests, references or recommendations?
- What’s our budget?
On the basis of these criteria, a selection of suitable products is made. The suppliers are then contacted and the products are thoroughly checked by the specialist department. At the end of the evaluation phase, a decision is made for a product and a contract with the corresponding supplier.
Migration Step 2: Planning
The second step focuses on detailed planning of the migration process:
- Selection and ordering of end devices: Which IP-enabled table phones, soft clients or headsets are suitable? Which employees prefer which end device? Which supplier offers which conditions and delivery times?
- Does the company have a sufficiently scaled broadband internet connection to ensure smooth VoIP telephony? toplink recommends 100 kbit/s per voice channel?
- Do employees need training in the use of the new telephone system? If so: How could this training take place? Is external support required?
- In which order does the migration make sense? For example, by department or by location?
- Which internal staff do we have to support the technical implementation of the migration? What is meaningful resource planning? Is there a need for external support?
Migration Step 3: Implementation
In this step, all migration measures decided in the planning phase are put into practice.
- Configuration of user profiles in the web interface
- Exchange, configuration and testing of the end device
- Implementation of employee training courses
- Installation of CLIP no-screening per user on the new SIP trunk
Important for migration: Configuration of CLIP no-screening for outbound calls
The new provider sets up provisional numbers for employees from the company’s local area network until the phone number is finally ported. Setting up CLIP no-screening is the most important step in the migration process. This ensures that every employee can be reached at any time under their previous telephone number (e. g. by call forwarding) and, above all, that this is also transmitted to the outside world during migration.
In outbound calls, CLIP-no-screening ensures that the called party continues to receive the previous telephone number.
In the case of inbound calls, a forwarding from the previous number of the old provider to the provisional number of the new provider is set up: The caller dials the previous number and notices no difference.
This process does not differentiate between internal and external calls. At the end of this step, the new telephony solution is transferred to parallel operation ready for operation. From this time on, the new provider’s billing is usually subject to a charge.
Migration Step 4: Parallel operation
As part of parallel operation, the new system will be put into operation in addition to the old system and tested for functionality in all application scenarios. Here, all employees have the task of getting to know the new telephony solution, trying it out and, if necessary, asking questions in this regard.
The duration of parallel operation is maintained until the roll-out and all tests have been successfully completed. Very important: During this phase, employees or the entire company have the possibility to switch to the old system – or to use the new solution. This makes sense not only from a technical point of view, but also to give employees the opportunity to get to know the new solution in peace and quiet, without having to experience a hard cut between new and old.
Migration Step 5: Deactivating the old solution
As soon as the numbers have been successfully ported to the new provider, the old telephony solution can be switched off. Point of no return: Once the number has been ported, there is no (fast) way back to the old solution. Finally, you can dismantle the old telephone system, because with its new cloud telephony solution you can confidently dispense with on-premise devices and the associated investments.
With competent advice for success
Through more than 10 years of industry experience we know: Every migration scenario is special. Do you still have questions about how to plan the migration in your company efficiently? Give us a call, we will be happy to help you!