What Are The Intangible Costs of Replacing Your Legacy Handsets When You Migrate to VoIP?

What Are The Intangible Costs of Replacing Your Legacy Handsets When You Migrate to VoIP?


There are some significant direct cost savings should you decide to retain your legacy handsets when moving to IP telephony but there are also a number of intangible costs savings that many people tend to disregard to their detriment in their evaluation


The most intangible cost is environmental. I am not an environmentalist but it is a growing concern that all of us will have to address at some point if you have not already started. If you are only going to go the “rip and replace” direction until your employees are ready to move to softphones or use one of the many other multipurpose devices for their calling what happens to the IP phone when that move takes place?


IP phones tend to be built with disposal in mind. Most are not as well built as the old desk phone you have on your desk that may have been around for decades and most will have a much shorter life than you have come to expect from your old desk phone. What happens to those orphan phones?  Your old digital PBX desk phones were made to last and many have years of service and usability left in them. There used to be a very large remanufacturing industry built up around phones but there are so many used phones out there now the market is failing due to over-supply.  The mantra of the 1990’s of Reuse, Reduce, Recycle has been replaced by Recycle, Recycle, Recycle but again there is a cost to that process and a limited demand for the ground up pellets that results. If you reuse your existing phones when moving to VoIP there are environmental benefits that cannot be quantified.


Although a tangible cost, the book value of existing handsets are still one of those costs that many people forget to build into the migration cost equation.  Due to accounting methodologies applied by many companies those same legacy phones may still have some value on corporate books and a move to IP phones could result in a write off of the corresponding amount on the books.  You still have to write off any remaining investment in the PBX but as many of those are End of Life already that write off has to happen no matter what you do.


There are two other intangible costs that are often forgotten when looking at VoIP migration; the cost of disrupting the workforce as changes are made to the telephony system and the cost of training people on new phones.


Many people ask what disruption. Well, if the migration occurs during downtime, the “rip and replace” process is not an issue. But when do you find that downtime. I know of one instance where new cabling for the new IP phones was to be run on a holiday weekend only for the union involved refusing to work on a holiday weekend.  For that entity, they operated on a 24/7 basis (think of a hospital as an example) and had real trouble making time available for changes without affecting day to day operations.  For some universities upgrading cabling and installing PoE switches can only be done as part of campus wide renovations that can stretch over a five to seven year period. Operational cost savings can be delayed for years under a scaled in implementation. Not an issue when using existing equipment on a new VoIP platform.


The last intangible cost is training employees. These days there is so much education already occurring on the job that having to learn how to use a new phone is for many companies a step too far. I have been amazed by the number of people I have spoken to who are delaying VoIP migration because they do not want to have to teach their employees how to use a new phone. Maybe short sighted but a fact of life. Another customer, a carrier this time, advised that they had switched all of their digital PBX customers over to their IP telephony platform using Aastra and SNOM phones before they learnt they could have continued to use the legacy phones. They then migrated all of their Centrex customers over to their platform leaving all of the Centrex handsets in place. They advised that they get four to five trouble tickets a week relating to the IP phones verses only four to five tickets a YEAR where they left the Centrex handsets in place. Makes you think, doesn’t it.


If you want to see how to reduce the cost of migration call us or go to www.citel.com. VoIP migration should be easy.