Ready or not, the PSTN switch-off is happening in 2025. From then on, at home or at work, we’ll all be using digital phone services. Many businesses have already successfully made the move to digital. They’re not only ready for the future, they’re already enjoying the many benefits of a cloud-based phone system.

You can join them. Start by following these five steps.

Get the connectivity right

Now more than ever, businesses of all stripes need robust, high-quality internet connectivity, whether it’s fixed or mobile. By their very nature, cloud-based applications demand resilient, high-bandwidth, low-latency connectivity. Digital voice and collaboration services are no different. They rely on the same high-quality internet connection to deliver crystal clear voice calls, jitter-free video conferencing, and real-time collaboration tools.

You need connectivity that’s up to the job – not just for today’s needs, but for future demands too.

Upgrading to digital voice and collaboration services presents a great opportunity to review your internet connectivity. Is it robust and resilient? Do you have enough capacity to comfortably handle today’s applications and all the new technology that’s coming down the line (the Internet of Things, for example)? What about latency? Will other applications interrupt your voice services?

How we can help: we’ve got connectivity and networking covered, with a comprehensive range of access technologies, speeds, and resilience options to choose from. We can recommend the best options for you based on your situation and what you’re wanting to achieve.

What else is using your voice line? Check for special services

Businesses often use phone lines for more than just phone calls.

Door entry systems, alarms, lift emergency lines, payment terminals, cash machines and so on can all be using your old PSTN phone lines. We call these ‘special services’. Upgrading to digital will have an impact on how these special services work, so it’s vital that you track down everything that’s running off your PSTN and ISDN lines.

Broadly speaking, you then have three options:

  • Switch the devices to an IP mode (if available)
  • Speak to your special service provider about upgrading them to an IP equivalent
  • Use an Analogue Telephone Adapter (ATA) device, which converts the special services analogue signal to digital (IP), enabling your special service to carry on working with the new digital service.

How we can help: we have an increasing range of services that can help you minimise the impact of upgrading to a digital voice and collaboration service.

Excite, engage and educate your employees

To get the most out of a digital phone service, you don’t just need to make sure your people know how to use it, you have to make sure they want to use it. The better informed and engaged they are, the higher your chances of squeezing every last benefit from it. If you can energise your people so they’re excited about getting their hands on the new kit, they’re more likely to help you realise those benefits.

How we can help: we can help you bring your employees up to speed. All of our services come with comprehensive user guides and support materials. And depending on your upgrade, we also have a range of training packages to choose from.

Think about the hardware

When you’re upgrading to digital voice, don’t just rush into replacing your existing handsets with an equivalent IP model. This is a great opportunity to step back and really understand how your employees are currently using your hardware.

Maybe you don’t need to do a like-for-like replacement of all your kit? For example, as more people adopt flexible working patterns, whether that’s hot-desking in the office or working from home, giving everyone a desk phone might not be the right option for your business. Perhaps using an IP headset and softphone client is a smarter move. There’s no right or wrong answer here. It could be that a hybrid approach of headsets and handsets fits the bill for your business.

How we can help: we have an extensive range of IP devices and apps for you to choose from as part of your upgrade. Depending on what you’re using at the moment, you may be able to reuse some equipment with your new digital service. Ask us for advice if you’re not sure.

Seize the opportunity for change

Upgrading to a digital phone service is about more than just doing what you do now, but digitally. Your new service will present you with new ways of working and opportunities to change the way you communicate.

Cloud-based systems generally boast far more features than you may be used to. For a start, they can easily integrate mobile devices and apps. They’ll give you detailed reporting at your fingertips, helping you gather insights about customer and employee behaviour. But above all, they’ll enable you to work differently. It’s an opportunity to re-evaluate your business, maybe introducing flexible and remote working so you can work from any device, at any location and at any time.

It’s also worth thinking about the phone lines you currently use and whether you really need to replicate every line on the new system. Decide what you’re going to do with your existing phone numbers: if your customers already know them, then it may be worth keeping them by porting them to the new service.

Start planning your journey to digital, today

Digital cloud-based phone systems liberate your communications from the confines of the office, with numbers that follow you wherever they go. You’ll never miss a call again. They make it easy to collaborate with anyone, anywhere. That’s the versatility of the cloud. No maintenance costs. No disruptive engineer visits. Automatic upgrades. Total scalability so you’re always poised for the future.

Are you ready?

It’s a journey we can help you navigate. Although planning, choosing, and installing a digital phone system is actually pretty straightforward, we appreciate that you may want a helping hand.

Find out more about stepping up to digital for Small and Medium business or Corporate and Public Sector