The UK’s migration to digital voice is well underway, and in 2025 the PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network) and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) will be switched off for good.
Rather than an inconvenience, organisations should see this as a valuable opportunity to embed VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) into their preferred cloud collaboration solution. From one harmonised platform, organisations can create a single user experience for all their internal and external communication needs.
The prospect of a ‘big bang’ voice switch-over, where all sites and users move across in a matter of weeks, can make boardrooms nervous. However, the key to success lies in how well an organisation prepares for their voice migration. The better the preparation, the smoother and faster the transition, and the more immediate the benefits.
Getting ready for the ‘big bang’
Here are six key preparations for executing a seamless and rapid organisation-wide migration to global voice:
- Assess the scope of the migration
Ideally, your complete migration will be covered by one programme of change, and this involves identifying precisely what alterations need to be made. The first step is to understand your current estate, set-up and equipment so that nothing is missed and there’s no need to spend time and resources making a second wave of change. Depending on the breadth and complexity of your estate, this may require a professional audit.
- Prepare for porting
The national switch-off means that numbers used on old private branch exchange (PBX) will be lost if they’re not ported onto new digital voice infrastructure. Retaining your current contact numbers is fundamental to business continuity, but porting is a complex process that can take months – particularly for larger organisations with legacy systems. Getting all relevant documentation and licences together, including all the numbers, sites and users you want to port, can help streamline the process.
You’ll also need to ensure configuration is right, including the rollout of all on-premises devices, managing staggered end-dates of existing PBX contracts, and devising a preferential order for your transition to help your workforce adapt as numbers are ported.
- Centralise project management
Orchestrating a multi-site voice migration requires considerable project management. To avoid strategy fragmentation and ensure a seamless transition, a proactive approach is best. Start by appointing a centralised project manager early in the process to devise a robust migration plan across all your sites and users.
This plan should be tailored specifically to your organisation’s size and structure and include a business continuity plan to ensure uninterrupted communications in case your platform of choice goes down. The central project management team should also take a complete view of the migration process, including what’s going to happen to the legacy equipment. This is a prime opportunity to operate sustainably by ensuring that as much equipment as possible is recycled securely.
- Recognise regional complexities and differences
Every site is subject to local regulatory and compliance rules, and these can vary significantly. Before transitioning, make sure you have all of the regional differences covered off in site-specific plans so you can avoid delays or disruption further down the line.
Things to consider include organising regional emergency calling licenses for VoIP, making provision for region-specific number porting requirements, and getting existing PBX contracts synched to avoid unnecessary overlaps after the switch. For organisations operating in multiple localities, it’s a significant task, but a proactive, meticulous approach will safeguard your communications with colleagues and clients.
- Plan how user-adoption support can get your people off to a great start
For the most positive migration experience, leading to universal user acceptance, you need to have a thorough user adoption strategy. Begin by assessing how much additional training your people may need and how familiar they are already with your chosen collaboration platform. While more digitally savvy employees may eagerly embrace new tools, others may require more extensive support to ensure a smooth transition.
This means educating them on not just the basics like answering and call forwarding, but also new features like cloud routing, call analytics, navigating admin portals and integrating with third-party APIs.
- Collaborate with an experienced migration partner
Many companies find collaboration with a trusted partner is key to enabling their migration success. A professional and experienced migration partner can help to plan and implement the full migration with you, from the discovery phase to final on-site testing and troubleshooting.
Migration without the disruption
As we move into an all-IP world, many organisations are looking for a partner who can help deliver a smooth transition to a scalable voice, cloud-based collaboration solution.
Partnership is key to a successful migration, so our cloud voice migration team is at the heart of all our global voice solutions for integrated cloud calling. This dedicated expert team specialises in building tailored migration plans and transporting global enterprises’ voice solutions to digital platforms. They’ll ensure you have multi-regional compliance covered and, once migration’s complete, our experts are on hand 24/7 to provide any ongoing support.
To help internal teams move to your new voice service, we also provide comprehensive user adoption training - supporting a seamless transition and helping your people make the most of new tools and features. Our PowerSuite solution supports their efforts with end-to-end user experience monitoring and reporting, ensuring collaboration is optimised no matter where callers are.
Only recently, we assisted our long-term partner Puma with making their own ‘big bang’ transition from legacy PBX hardware over to unified global voice. By advising them on how to properly prepare their sites and workforces for full-scale migration, we ensured that over 2,000 users across five different countries were swiftly ported across to their core cloud collaboration platform, Microsoft Teams, in just a few weeks.
Find out more about how we successfully supported Puma to make the leap from legacy here.