One of the best things that you can do is have each vendor provide you with a competitive analysis. They would be happy to do so, and trust me, they have these documents. You also want to compare the features that you have on your current system to those provided by each of the other systems. If cost is a factor -- which would not be a surprise -- there are also ways that you can interface to each of these vendors using other phones, which may provide a savings.
It is hard to just pick one vendor over another with all of the variables involved. My favorite sneaky trick is to check each vendor's Web site under the press releases section. Find someone that installed the system a year or so ago. Give them a call and ask them how the installation went, what surprises they have had since, and how the current administration of the system is going. Ask if they had to reconfigure their network, as this is not an expense that would normally be included. Also, have each vendor provide you with an ROI/TCO comparison based on your situation.
There are several Nortel VoIP systems running over Cisco networks and vice versa. But you should have both look at your switches, routers, etc to be sure that quality of service will not be an issue. Finally, and this is really important - look at your cable plant. If it is faulty, it can wreak havoc on your VoIP network!
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