Time to Ring the Changes…

Embracing change is the best new year resolution for public sector organisations – for 2025…

It’s that time of year where homes and businesses in towns and cities across the country are beginning to turn on their Christmas lights and turn up the Christmas carols. But for the public sector, is it time to start considering how we turn things off?

2025 hails the proposed end of diesel car sales in Norway, the completion of the Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile and the end of Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) and Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) services here in the UK. And whilst the latter may not be as monumental as the rest, it still spells a fundamental change to the way UK organisations will need to operate.

According to Ofcom, in 2017 there were over two million organisations still with an ISDN connection in the UK – all of which will be affected by the planned switch off in the coming years. A survey at the end of 2018 has also shown that a quarter of the UK’s organisations are still unaware that the switch off is even taking place!

2025 may seem way off, but the phasing out of ISDN starts this coming year so the time for planning for the future isn’t later; it’s now. Why? Because it won’t be the big things that will fly under the proverbial radar, it will be the little ones – and in the public sector those little things have a huge knock-on effect.

Things like lift alarms and phone functionality, red cord alarms and even good old fax machines – they all require an analogue phone line. So how will this work when your core phone platform has had to evolve to meet the need to move from the existing analogue ISDN and PSTN connections?

With consideration, planning and foresight, these considerations should be nothing but wrinkles in the delivery or communications across your organisation. What’s really exciting is the opportunity this evolution holds for the public sector.

Change brings opportunity, and in this case, change s occurring to the very infrastructure that powers that public sector. We have been talking for a while now on adopting a “cloud first” mentality, and this change underpins that very mindset. Moving to a cloud-based solution, communications – not just phones – will give your organisation so much more than just a dial tone.

Being able to work from anywhere, releasing the independence of the individual and allowing you to consolidate the buildings and resources you use is just a small measure of how the retirement of ISDN and PSTN will change the very way you operate.

So whilst you must bear in mind the services and ways in which you operate currently; carefully assessing how you will keep these operational during this transition – don’t forget that this really is an opportunity to evolve what you do and how you do it. The prospect of doing things better, more efficiently and at a reduced cost.

But the time to begin the scoping of these decisions is now. Remember the words of the great Steve Jobs:

“Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity – not a threat”.

Andy Riley is Head of Public Sector Sales at Daisy Corporate Services

This article originally featured in Public Sector Focus Magazine Dec/Jan 2020