How do I manage phone hardware and carrier contracts?
It is important to understand the difference between the phone provider (or carrier) and the phone system vendor. The phone carrier is responsible for providing dial tone to your building over one or more lines. Examples of phone carriers are Verizon and Line Systems, Inc. The phone system vendor maintains the hardware or the actual physical phones. Sometimes these systems are leased and sometimes they are owned. In most cases, you will have a contract with a vendor to provide support for the system when trouble is encountered or when hardware needs to be replaced. Examples of phone system vendors are Siemens and Nortel.
When considering changes to your phone system, you will also need to assess any phone hardware that exists. For instance, do you have a phone system with voice mail capabilities? These systems are often referred to as key systems. You should contact the vendor responsible for maintaining the phone system and discuss what options are available to you. Depending on your specific needs, it may be the appropriate time to make a change in the hardware.
It is important to note, that you can make changes to your carrier without any effect on the hardware. For example, you can always renegotiate your carrier contract for better rates with little or no impact on the hardware. However, it is always a good idea to include the hardware vendor in any conversations with a carrier to identify potential changes upfront before any changes are implemented at the carrier level.
You can contact the Diocesan Information Technology Department at 856 342-4111 if you have any questions in regard to your phone systems. They can also recommend potential vendors that might be able to assist you with any issues you may be experiencing. Additionally, the department can simply provide a second opinion or take a look at any proposals that may have been submitted to you.