How to Switch to Cloud PBX Efficiently and Effectively

Calling a business is the first point of contact between the business and the outside world.  This first impression must be a good one.  Most callers nowadays expect a response, and a failed call is not an acceptable outcome.  Additionally, most callers expect to be able to use a variety of communications methods, traditional PSTN calls, internet access to a call centre and digital interfaces over specialised applications and social media.

The advent of digital PBX solutions has allowed all businesses to move to digital telephony as part of a unified communications strategy meeting these requirements. Cost savings, improvements in business profile and increased customer service levels are some of the major benefits of a digital PBX environment.

Switching to a Cloud PBX is a programme that involves both technology and people.   Doing it efficiently and effectively requires careful consideration of both elements.

The new PBX environment will be critical to the organisation’s internal and external communications.   Staff need to know how to use it effectively from day one, and operational procedures may need to be reorganised to meet business requirements. 

As with all projects, it has three major steps, planning, execution and switch-over.

Planning Step

Planning Step

The first step, as with all new business systems is to set out the objectives and measures for success. 

Some key points:

  • Involving staff in the process is essential

  • Education and training is a key part of the implementation project.

    You need to consider awareness workshops to educate users in the features and functions of the new system.  Each user should be given a small A4 laminated summary of how to carry out common tasks on the desktop handset.

  • Operational Changes

    The new features provided by the Cloud PBX need to be looked at, for example, hunting groups, call attendants, voice response systems, and if appropriate, operational procedures set up to implement them. Set up user working groups to set out how advanced features like hunting groups and call pickup will work.

  • User Definition

    • Create a definitive organisation phone list.  

    • Assign each user of the new phone system an access code and a security level (local calls only, local and regional, no restrictions). 

    • Create hunting groups, call pickup groups, automated call attendants and verify their proper operation.

    • If you are using a billing system., make sure each user is assigned to the correct cost centre.  Check that the call cost reports are correct.

  • Corporate Network review

    • Create a network map showing the location of all phone installations.

    • Every handset will need a network connection.  Depending on the handset and local practice this could be Ethernet or WiFi;

    • Every handset will need power.  In an Ethernet environment, this could be using Power over Ethernet, so all switches need to be PoE capable.   If it isn’t economically sensible to replace a switch, a possible solution is PoE injectors.

    • Some devices, especially old modems, fax machines, and alarm systems don’t have a digital capability.  Provision needs to be made to either replace them or make sure that they are linked to an analogue connection to the existing PSTN.   This is particularly important for alarm systems.

    • Make sure that there is adequate space, power and network capacity in the network centre to support the new installation.  

    • PBX installations have been used as entry points for malware and network penetration, so you need to look at any new network security requirements.

  • Create an implementation plan with tasks, responsibilities, and timescales.

Execution Step

Execution Step

Use standard Project Management techniques to roll out the new infrastructure, install handsets and carry out user training.



This is a critical activity and must be planned to ensure the minimum disruption to the organisation’s operations. Loss of internal and external communications could be very damaging to the organisation.

Depending on the company’s operational schedule, it may be better to carry it out at the weekend.  Have a roll-back plan just in case any problems are preventing the switchover. Make sure that all internal and external key players are fully in the loop.

The key to a smooth and effective switch over is, as always, careful planning.  Because of the changes in the workplace, it is essential to have the staff on board and informed during the process.