How to do a Soft Migration to VoIP
How to do a Soft Migration to VoIP
If you’re thinking of making the switch to VoIP, then you may have considered doing a soft migration. VoIP has a lot to offer businesses and can be implemented in place of legacy telephone networks and other systems for phone service. Our site is dedicated to providing information about VoIP, and you may have seen some of our other articles about how to make VoIP work for your business and how to get the best VoIP features and system you can.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) can help you implement a unified communications system and take advantage of advanced business phone features that can help you power your business and get more work done. You gain access to valuable analytics, as well, making it easier to get the most from your phone system and begin doing so much more. We think you’ll be impressed with VoIP if you have a chance to see it in action at your business. That’s where soft migrations come in.
Want to know for sure if using VoIP would actually do any good for your organization? Thankfully, there’s a way you can find out more about VoIP without jeopardizing your current phone service system. You can try VoIP alongside what you’re already using and make a decision based on what you see when you try out VoIP service. Soft migration allows you to do just that.
- What is VoIP Service? How Does it Work?
- Soft Migration Basics
- Benefits of Doing a Soft Migration of VoIP
- More on the Process
1. What is VoIP Service? How Does it Work?
VoIP uses voice codecs, or coder-decoders, which are a specialized software protocol, to do the translating back-and-forth between legacy phone systems and today’s VoIP phones. Codecs can compress data to allow it to be transmitted over the Internet and to a landline phone or another system. They then change the data into a format that traditional phones can understand and use. VoIP, in other words, relies on the Internet in order to operate. It uses an online network to get data from one point to another. This is more efficient and cheaper to do than operate and maintain a traditional telephone network and system. As such, you’ll find that many businesses are considering a switch to VoIP from other types of phone systems.
2. Soft Migration Basics
Basically, a soft migration is a test implementation. It allows you to install and run a VoIP system at your company while still keeping your old phone system. You get some time to try VoIP and see how it compares with your other option. You can still easily dump VoIP if you don’t like the outcome, and all of your old hardware and systems are still in place. This is particularly important to larger telephone systems, such as businesses that have more than 100 phone users or lines to manage. It could be tricky to change everything over, particularly if you’re going to have to repeat the process again to try another VoIP vendor or return to your old phone system. As such, it can make sense to run a test system and study it first to make sure you’re giving enough time and consideration to the process.
A typical soft migration can be seen as having five parts:
- A test phase
- A pilot phase
- Migration of accessories to the VoIP system
- Migration of every department over to the VoIP system
- Deconstruction of the legacy system
If the process is successful, at the end you’ll end up with a new VoIP telephone system in every department at your organization. This plan allows you to gradually move everything over and have the time you need to test everything and make sure it works and is a good fit for your business. If, at any point, problems occur or you realize adjustments need to be made, you are able to do that without too much trouble. This makes VoIP a more convenient process for everyone involved and allows the entire team to be as involved as possible while also protecting business operations during the transition.
3. Benefits of Doing a Soft Migration of VoIP
A soft migration is minimally-invasive and disruptive. It allows you to step into VoIP service gradually and with care. You have the chance to move backwards or sideways at any point during the process without damaging your phone system.
- Test equipment. You can test out your new equipment as you go without immediately bringing it all live. You get to keep the old equipment functional during the transition.
- Do a live test without threatening your old system. Soft migration means business as usual continues during the sometimes lengthy process of making a transition to a new business phone system. If you have a lot of phone users and high call volumes, it may not be feasible to consider putting everything on pause and jumping into an immediate migration of everything over to VoIP.
- Go back. If you need to slow down, make changes, or adjust your plan during the process, you have the freedom to do so without doing any damage. You can take the transition at your own pace.
- Training opportunity. As the new system gradually takes shape, you can take the opportunity to show your team how to use the new VoIP system. More people get a chance to be involved, but at the right pace.
- No firm commitment. There’s less of a commitment if you can gradually test a VoIP system. Some vendors may even offer a free trial, making the beginning of this process essentially commitment-free.
4. More on the Process
At the end, you can have a fully-functional VoIP system. To get there, you’ll need to provide every department with what they need to get into VoIP and get everything done. You can do this by staying in close communication with your team and giving everyone ample time to get their questions answered and get all the assistance they need.
Here are more tips:
- Find out how involved your vendor will or can be in the process. Some vendors may allow you to do a trial phase for free, which is worth asking about. Not every vendor provides comprehensive technical support, though, which is something to keep in mind as you have conversations with possible vendors.
- Try to avoid buying a lot of equipment before beginning the testing process. You don’t want to be stuck with anything you can’t bring to a new vendor if you need to.
- Ask your vendor as many questions as you can and give your team the chance to get their questions answered as well.
- Only start removing legacy equipment after you’ve made a commitment to a full transition to VoIP. You wouldn’t want to have to try backtracking after your old equipment and contracts are gone. Make sure you’ve studied the marketplace and found the right VoIP solution first. There are plenty of options on the market, so don’t shortchange yourself by failing to consider every option that interests you.