Networking

Avoid changing equipment simultaneously with office move

My company went through a physical relocation in January this year. I wrote about some of my experiences; today, I'll talk about the move again, but this time with a warning about not changing equipment at the same time as the move.

My company went through a physical relocation in January this year. I wrote about some of my experiences in this blog. Today, I'll talk about the move again, but this time with a warning about not changing equipment at the same time as the move.

Like most mid-sized companies, we had an existing PBX system already in use at the old premises. Because it was old, we decided to purchase a new one. It was a fairly easy decision since we figured it would be risky to dismantle the old PBX and expect to get it up again by the next day at the new location.

We scouted for a new system to be installed and commissioned ahead of the actual move. Installation of the PBX was uneventful if you disregard a mini scare over the wrong cable used for the wiring. Everything was on schedule and worked flawlessly. At least that's what we thought until Monday morning, when the phones started ringing en masse.

The main issue was that an IP-based telephone system works differently from a traditional one running off analog phone lines. I understood that at a technical level, however, but that didn't really prepare me.

I'm not saying that we purchased a dud; in fact, the IP-PBX performed much better than the old PBX we'd been using. The new PBX was able to handle more than double the calls - unbelievably, that turned out to be the problem.

You see, over the years, our customers had been trained to expect a busy signal when nobody was available to serve them. The busy signal resulted from the limitation of the old PBX. With the new setup however, practically all calls were getting through, but because the number of personnel picking up the calls remained unchanged, the calls were left unattended.

Customers were puzzled and then became irate, starting to call their sales representatives on their mobiles to complain. Believe me, this took a while to identify and sort out.

In a later conversation with the engineer who installed the PBX, I found out that issues like this are common. In fact, the engineer told me that he typically allocates at least a couple of days per installation to attend to such unanticipated issues.

Have you ever installed an equipment or tried out a service in which problems arose from a totally unanticipated angle?

About

Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.

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