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28 March 2023

What to think about when it’s time to migrate from a legacy platform

If your hosted legacy PBX or IP Centrex platform offering is reaching the end of its shelf life and is due for replacement, you face a fundamental question regarding what do next; replicate and rebuild it, or start again entirely, from a clean slate. What’s the best approach?

End-of life, end-of-support – all challenges to face

For the operator, finding yourself in this situation isn’t unusual. Given the pace of change in the network world, many hosted platforms have reached end of life sooner than anticipated, some of them no longer fit for purpose. In other cases, legacy platforms may be out of support, so something has to be done.

Why is this situation increasingly common? Well, refer to the point above about the pace of change in the industry. For one example, a legacy platform may suffer from compatibility issues related to the core IMS if and when, as is increasingly common, evolution leads to a next generation network in the cloud (or when it becomes virtualised).

VoLTE compatibility and IMS integration

Many legacy hosted platforms do not offer the right levels of integration with your IMS platform – leaving them as disconnected silos, rather than being tightly coupled with your overall service architecture. To reduce OPEX, you need platforms to be integrated and to share resources, such as the MRF.

VoLTE compatibility creates another issue that can shorten the life of legacy offerings. Presently the majority of cloud PBXs are not VoLTE compatible because they don’t support integration with new VoLTE servers. Even if they’re compatible with an IMS, they may not enable full integration via Diameter to the VoLTE application server.

Operators, given the popularity of VoLTE, need to find ones that are.

Migrate – and make positive changes

Moving away from legacy’s familiar features (even the ones that nobody uses!) can be a somewhat daunting prospect. Change always is, especially in the world of IT. And you know what’s involved in continuing to provide the familiar. But given how far PBX systems have advanced in recent years, there seems little point in ignoring solutions that deliver performance that now matches the needs of the modern world. Delivering such advantages is likely to win you new customers.

It's easy to see why. Contemporary, cloud-based PBX systems remove the (costly) requirement to retain a dedicated IT staff, a significant incentive to start again from scratch. They also make the communication system far easier to manage, via a user-friendly interface, and thus easier to sell. Perhaps most important, they keep end users happy by delivering an appealing array of new features that legacy platforms simply don’t offer: including integration with key business processes and systems used by your enterprise customers – think Teams, Zoom, Salesforce and more.

Of course, they must also support classical features, such as auto attendants, call recording, extension dialling, voicemail-to-e-mail, call queuing, and more – but in an intuitive way, that requires no lessons or training.

There’s a lot to think about

If starting again seems the obvious choice, what considerations should you be keeping in mind in identifying a new PBX offering? Keep in mind that this is an important decision; enterprise customers represent a lucrative and highly competitive market segment; if you already have an enterprise customer base you’ll want to keep them happy. If you don’t, the right choices here may enable you to build one. Among others, your new solution should:

  • Neutralize location – Modern, cloud-based systems are founded on delivering flexibility that legacy systems can’t. Employees today work from anywhere and communications systems need to support them in doing so.
  • Enhance collaboration – Particularly if you have a call centre but even if you don’t, collaboration is a central part of business communication and ensures that every opportunity can be fully exploited. Legacy systems weren’t designed to maximise the sort of communications necessary to fully support this goal.
  • Brand enhancement – you’ll look good by making your enterprise customers look good. For the enterprise, the PBX contributes to creating brand image, perhaps making the SME look larger or more professional than it is. It’s in your interests to enable them to succeed.
  • Support growth – It’s in your interests as well as your enterprise customers interests to offer a scalable platform that enables you and them to grow smoothly, without delays or interruptions to service. Legacy platforms really aren’t designed with straightforward expansion in mind. But the right new platform choice will, for example, enable the addition (or removal) of multiple lines or extension with no copper or hardware involved! They’ll also enable communication via any device; mobile, laptop, desktop, table, or other instantly.

Of course, there are other considerations too, but it should be clear just from the above that replicating your legacy offering isn’t going to supercharge your enterprise customer business. And, perhaps it’s time to forget about features that no one really uses or understands anymore.

Time to start again but when, and how?

In short, if you’ve reached the point where you’re thinking about migrating from your legacy platform, it’s almost certainly time to start again with a clean slate. But how?

One way of doing this is to leave existing customers on the legacy platform they’re familiar with while selecting and launching a modern solution for new customers, then onboarding the older ones later, either at a specific time or when there’s an obvious incentive to switch. This makes sense if you’re worried that your existing enterprise customers may be resistant to the change, even if for less than compelling reasons. In this scenario, you can still expand your enterprise customer business immediately by pitching the new solution to prospects in either new or existing verticals, most of which are now likely to be seeking a more modern approach anyway.

The other migration path, if you don’t currently have a developed enterprise PBX customer base but want to build one, is to use an innovative, modern platform to create a disruptive, strongly differentiated new brand. In the case of either approach, replicating outdated legacy PBXs won’t be the best way forward.

The Gintel solution

With a flexible core platform, proven in different markets, Gintel can help. Gintel is fully IMS and VoLTE compatible and can provide a complete replacement for any legacy system.So, wherever you are in your B2B journey, we can increase your success, or enter a new market with confidence.

Interested in learning more? Let us know and we’ll show you how we can help. 

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