In a world of rapid change, it is tempting to stick to things that are comfortable and familiar: An old chair, a favorite sweater, a local lunch place. For a business person, the phone on the desk might be one of those familiar things. It’s handy. You know how to use it. It just works.

Or does it? IT people know that phones are just nodes on a network, whether that network is public or private. Because of that, phones can be easier or harder to use based on the underlying network and the services available through the network.

Shifting from older TDM systems to VoIP makes the phone a far more powerful node on a far more powerful network. In a rapidly changing world, though, the phone’s familiarity might place it last in line for upgrading.

Utah State University waited a very long time between phone system upgrades – 20 years! In the meantime, faculty and staff were serving 30,000 students a year and sending cutting edge science projects into space.

Yet, as that fundamental piece of infrastructure aged, the IT staff discovered it was spending more and more time and money keeping it running. Office moves required a lot of manual labor just to make sure the phone was installed and connected properly and calls could be routed from the huge switching handsets that office administrators used. Staff turned to the equipment after-market to find parts because the system was no longer manufactured or supported. The IT budget and staff bandwidth was eaten up with the University’s legacy phone system, constraining any resource to be put toward educational technology.

Utah State implemented VoIP technology from CenturyLink using handsets from ShoreTel. The project replaced all 3,500 handsets across campus. In addition, 800 phone switches and 550 Ethernet switches were upgraded. Utah State saved thousands of dollars in running the new VoIP system and a whopping $120,000 in staff time from all the trouble tickets the old system produced. IT staff recovered 80 productive hours a week to put toward new initiatives. That’s like adding two additional headcount.

By incorporating intelligence into the system, faculty and staff also gained productivity. Administrators got rid of the 30-button phones on their desks and office moves on a dynamic campus no longer required people plugging in and testing phone connections.

As Utah State discovered, a phone system is so familiar as a technology that we often overlook the need to upgrade as new technology becomes available. VoIP not only brings the phone into the digital world, it makes the phone system – and the phones themselves – integrated into their modern digital infrastructure. Digital phone systems can unify communications for an organization, increase efficiency and help mobilize your workforce for even greater productivity.

And you can wear your favorite sweater in your comfy old chair while enjoying all those benefits. What would you do with 80 extra hours per week from your IT team? Transition to CenturyLink’s VoIP and make it happen.

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