Schools today have a lot on their plates. They educate thousands for a future of success while working with tight budgets and tough decisions. With all that goes into running a school on a day-to-day basis, it can be easy for everyday tools that may need an upgrade to escape attention. When considering where the budget for school technology should be allocated, the focus should naturally rest on tech that makes teaching, learning, and administration easier.
The humble phone system is one piece of technology that every school has and uses every day but rarely receives the attention it deserves. The truth is: for many schools, upgrading a legacy phone system can be the single best use of the tech budget. An upgrade to a modern Unified Communications (UC) phone system provides improved quality of service, greater ease of use, and increased feature capabilities. The effects of this can revolutionize a school and make the lives of administrators, teachers, and staff much easier.
Here are five best practices for upgrading your school’s legacy phone system:
Don’t Get Left Behind
Sometimes far-reaching tech decisions, like choosing to upgrade your school’s legacy phone system, can feel daunting and be all too easy to postpone and avoid. Perhaps some think everything will be easier if they wait until they absolutely must act. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t. In fact, the longer plans to upgrade a school’s legacy phone system are put off, the more critical the situation will become. The best thing to do is to start evaluating the state of your school’s phone system early, allowing time to consider all the details and make the right choices. A good rule of thumb: any phone system that has been in active use for three to five years may be due for a check-up and possible upgrade. A phone system that has been in active use for five to ten years or more should be evaluated immediately.
Don’t Make Decisions in a Vacuum
Make sure to keep everyone in the loop when it comes to making decisions about a new phone system. Make sure you know how many people use the phone system, how regularly, and in what ways. To leave the users out of the conversation around their new phone system risks blindly buying either too much or not enough phone system for your school’s current use. By taking the time to learn how everyone uses their phone and how often, you can be sure to choose the right solution and have it installed and ready to go on day one of the new school year.
Make a Plan
After assessing your needs, it’s time to work out how much of the tech budget to allocate to upgrading your school’s legacy phone system. Additionally, it’s helpful to roughly work out the timeline for making decisions, engaging a service provider or reseller, and deployment time. Another key area to plan for is your internet network’s bandwidth. Modern phone systems consolidate voice and data into one line, so care must be taken to ensure your network can handle the additional network traffic. You don’t want to be left scrambling to get your shiny new phone system online before students return from their break.
Enlist the Experts
Upgrading a school’s legacy phone system is a choice that immediately improves the experience users have with a tool they use every day. But it’s also a decision that takes good planning and superior advice. There’s not really a point in the process of researching and buying a phone system that’s too early to reach out to the experts. Reputable UC service providers will take an interest in your needs and offer advice tailored to your unique situation. Digium offers both on-premise and hosted versions of its award-winning UC platform, so our solution specialists are not motivated to steer the conversation away from your needs towards selling a particular product.
Think Ahead…or consider a hosted option
Even after all the right decisions have been made and you’re enjoying your new phone system, it’s important to think ahead to proactively plan for the future. While choosing to upgrade your legacy phone system to a modern UC platform is a great way to future-proof your school, plans must be made for disaster recovery (should something unfortunate occur), as well as plans for keeping the network up and running and your system up-to-date and secure. Alternatively, working with a service provider, you could consider whether a hosted option would better fit your needs by eliminating the need to actively manage your phone system. With a hosted option, the server portion of your phone system is in the cloud, and the service provider applies the system updates and network redundancy to ensure your school’s new phone system is always ready to use when you need it.
Digium, A Sangoma Company – Your Trusted Advisor
The decisions that must be made in upgrading your school’s legacy phone system have far-reaching and long-lasting effects. Your school will be using it for years into the future. Luckily, you don’t have to navigate these important choices alone. Digium is here to help in any way you need. The Education tag on this blog houses many articles directly related to school phone systems. The Education solutions page on our website will demonstrate how our services could benefit your school. And, of course, we’re always a call away. Without stress or pressuring, our solution specialists are available to answer questions and happy to provide helpful advice, regardless of where you are in your phone system research.