How long can you expect your business phone system to last? Once a fairly predictable expense, the last ten years have seen dramatic changes in communications technology, particularly in unified communications (UC). Once the sole playground of large enterprise, UC is becoming commonplace even in small businesses due to developments in cloud technology.
Evolving technologies combined with rapid changes in compliance requirements and FCC regulations have seriously impacted the lifecycle of business phone solutions. What was once a safe long-term investment might now face a severe risk of early obsolescence.
Until recently, 7-10 years was an accepted standard lifecycle for a business phone solution. Technology changes to the PBX (Private Branch Exchange, automated switching for incoming and outgoing calls) and desktop phones were minor. Updates were mostly a matter of replacing worn out hardware, and maintenance was adding or removing extensions. This is no longer the reality of business phones.
With major innovations to communications technology in recent years, the actual lifecycle for on-premises telephony systems has shrunk to four years or less. But since the year 2000 a series of events – the Y2K scare, economic meltdown of 2008, and slow emergence from recession have made many businesses cling to outdated systems past even the original lifecycle expectation.
Risks for older business communications solutions abound:
- Manufacturer’s end of life for software and hardware components
- Manufacturer’s end of life for technical support
- Does the existing infrastructure support mobility?
- Is there support for BYOD?
- Vendor lock-in: It costs how much to upgrade?
Buyers today should be especially careful of throwing good money at maintaining a phone solution that has reached its end of life.
Cloud PBX is rapidly moving to the forefront as a viable alternative to the costly upfront capital expense of a major upgrade to, or entirely new, on-premises business phone solution. If you think your business might be a candidate for a cloud PBX solution, we’ve prepared a list of six basic questions to get you started.
If you have an existing system that continues to operate satisfactorily for basic phone functions, but your business requires advanced communications applications to stay competitive – now is the time to investigate solutions capable of a hybrid cloud deployment. Hybrid deployments allow you to leverage your existing investment while employing the latest UC applications – messaging, mobility, presence, conferencing, and even a contact center solution.
The importance of researching the cloud-based communications vendors and providers has never been higher. Company history, financial stability, resources and available solution features should all be investigated and compared to traditional solutions before choosing your next business communications platform.
What’s a reasonable lifecycle expectancy for your business phone solution? The answer is changing. Before you make a decision on your next communications investment, consider the Cloud.