In 2015, British Telecom (BT) announced it would be switching off the UK’s legacy PSTN and ISDN networks by 2025, forcing all customers to shift to IP-based VoIP (Voice Over IP) and SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) telephony services. Rather than a chore, to me this represents an opportunity for companies in the UK to take advantage of new cloud technology and improve their customer experience at the same time.
Why is BT Switching off these Networks?
Quite simply, these legacy systems are outdated with associated maintenance costs and limitations. PSTN (public switched telephone network) is essentially the same in setup and design as the original phone lines of the 1800s (although there have been vast improvements over the years). ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) was introduced in the 1980s, allowing both voice and data services to be delivered simultaneously.
However, the world is changing at a dizzying pace. And as the pace of change accelerates, technology has to innovate faster. While other areas of technology have advanced, our telephone solutions are lagging behind and need to play catch up.
Who Does the Switch-Off Affect?
As of early 2017, there were over 2 million businesses in the UK still with an ISDN connection according to Ofcom. All of these businesses will be affected by the switch-off—although a 2017 survey by Talk Talk showed that 25% of UK businesses were still unaware that this switch-off is even happening.
While the switch-off is still 7 years away, BT will begin a gradual phasing out of these legacy systems from next year (2020). Other telecommunications companies in Europe are already in the process of moving voice to run over IP. Orange and Deutsche Telekom aim to have all IP (digital) networks by 2020.
So now is the time to future-proof your business and consider a switch to the cloud.
The Benefits of Migrating to the Cloud
Research by Dimension Data shows there are many benefits to making the switch, including:
- Improved flexibility/easier customization
- Improved integration
- Improved reliability/future-proofing
- Increase speed to market
- Reduced costs
In fact, 81% of users of hosted cloud solutions globally say cloud has improved flexibility, while 77% say it contributes to future-proofing their technology infrastructure.
Migrating with Confidence
Migrating to any new platform carries risk. According to Dynatrace, 67% of CIOs globally state the top challenge of moving to the cloud is ensuring the performance of applications is not negatively impacted. Other challenges include security concerns, cost overruns, systems integration, the management of legacy infrastructure, and leadership inertia.
To overcome these risks and enjoy the benefits of the cloud sooner, I suggest following the steps below:Baseline Your Environment
Discover your existing IVR and document your current applicationsTest Your New Applications in the Cloud
Before go-live, use functional and regression testing to ensure prompts and back-end look-ups, and that voice quality meets your standardsPressure-Test Your Cloud Platform
Before go-live, use load testing to assure your applications work under high-volume situationsMonitor Your Cloud Platform
Once in production, monitor from the customer’s perspective to ensure issues are detected and resolved before they impact customers
For best practices for moving to the cloud, listen to our webinar featuring Forrester.