But What About All of My PBX Features

The corporate telephone system truly is one of the technological marvels of the modern age. Feature-rich and reliable, it is the one constant in any organization about which virtually no one gives a second thought. Users don't come to work wondering if the telephone system is working. When a person picks up the phone to make a call, they expect to hear a dial tone. This incredibly high standard for availability does not happen by accident.

Inside the telecom organization, where you will find technology professionals dedicated to the upkeep of the PBX, documented processes are in place regarding how to handle almost any circumstance. For example, these professionals have a process for when a user moves or wants new features, as well as for when a new user is brought into the organization or must report a problem. Reports document when all calls were placed or received, including duration.

More than anything else, when companies look at IP telephony, they begin with a feature comparison. They are concerned about losing features during a migration to IPT, and if so, which ones. They are concerned about training their users to take advantage of the features of the new system. They also wonder how managing the new system will differ from managing the existing system.

The average PBX has hundreds of features, such as call transfer. This simple-sounding capability can actually become complex. On the surface, one might describe the call transfer feature as the ability to take a phone call that has just been received and send it (transfer it) to another person. However, it doesn't stop there. When the call is sent to the next person, do you just hang up, or do you stay with the call to announce it to the next user? What about the person who is going to receive the call? What do they hear when the call comes in? What does that person see on the phone (if they have a display phone) that indicates that this is a call being transferred? Do they see who is performing the transfer?

Even features that seem basic and ordinary can carry with them a complex set of conditions that must be considered when migrating to a new telephone system.

This chapter discusses some traditional PBX features and how IPT can enhance them, as well as how an incremental deployment can help improve the training process.

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