Unless you are working solo with nothing but a laptop and a cell phone on a beach in Southeast Asia while drinking a margarita (In which case - are you hiring?), your business most likely relies on your phone system. Even though email has become a primary means of communication in most businesses, phone systems still play a vital role.
The age and health of your phone system is probably not something that makes it on your list of things to think about during the chaos of your work week. Typically, replacing your business’s phone system is something you think about the day that all of your phones are down and you are scrambling to find someone to help get your phones back online.
So when should you upgrade or replace your phone system? Ideally, before it dies.
Discontinued Phone Systems
Most phone systems come with a five-year manufacturers’ warranty. If it fits your budget, replacing your phone system when the warranty runs out is a great idea. We know this isn’t practical for every business which is why we recommend replacing your system at or near the 7 year mark. After 7 years you start to the run the risk of security issues and system failures.
Older systems often get discontinued from manufacturers to make way for new technology. Once the systems are discontinued, parts become difficult to find and are often more expensive. Aside from the expensive difficult to find parts, manufacturers often quit providing security firmware upgrades to discontinued systems. Without these updates your phone system can become vulnerable to attacks.
Risk of Failure
If your system is discontinued it may die without warning leaving you scrambling for a replacement. However, many times you will begin to see warning signs that an older system is nearing end of life.
Here are a few of the signs you should look out for:
- Fan Noise / Overheating – if your phone system is starting to make loud noises or is warm to the touch it is time to replace the system.
- Frequent need to reboot – if you are having general problems with your phones and/or system that requires you to reboot or power cycle the system regularly, it may be time to replace.
- Card failures. Often individual cards will start to fail rather than the whole system. If your system is past warranty and your cards are failing, it is time to start thinking about replacing the system.
If you catch a failing system in time you can prevent downtime that stems from shipping time on discontinued parts as well as the time it takes to reprogram a system. You will also prevent the loss of important voicemails saved in the system.
Sometimes replacing a phone system is a good sign for your business. You’ve simply outgrown your existing system. Adding additional offices, adding more extensions than your current system will allow, and needing more advanced features are common reasons why you would replace an existing phone system that is still functioning properly. When purchasing your next phone system you should consider the potential for further expansion and find a phone system that can accommodate your growth.
The key to knowing when to replace or upgrade your phone systems is to be proactive rather than reactive. If your system is past your manufacturer’s warranty and you are requiring more service work than usual or needing to reboot frequently, it is time to start looking at updating your system. If your business relies on your phone system, you can’t afford the downtime from a sudden crash.