How does a business know when to adopt VoIP?
There are a few key questions to ask that will give you a place to start when considering VoIP.
- Step back and take a holistic look at how the current phone system complements your business, specifically how it is utilized and what the critical functions are.
- Ask what employees like and dislike about the current system, as receptionist needs, executive management requirements and inbound/outbound call flow are important to consider.
- Look at the physical networking and switching. Most IP phones have two ports so you can connect both a computer and phone through the same wall jack. However, this limits the port speed of your computer workstations.
- Are your switches able to provide Power over Ethernet? PoE-capable phones conserve space by eliminating the need for AC power adapters. If not, then AC powered PoE injectors are options.
- If multiple offices are part of this equation, review interoffice communication, as the ability to extension dial between locations is sometimes overlooked.
- Are there field personnel who work from smaller satellite offices or remote locations? Teleworkers also impact call capacity. It might be worth having a phone system that allows IP or virtual private network connectivity, giving remote workers the ability to access the system as if they were on site.
- Consider whether to get a locally managed or hosted private branch exchange. The locally managed PBX is managed within your own organization by a telecom administrator or outsourced IT consultant. It’s a good solution for mid-sized to larger organizations because of scalability and control over provisions, features, handsets and ingress/egress call processing. It takes more initial capital investment but has lower operating expenses in the long run. Hosted PBX is a product powered by a cloud-based software phone switch, often good for small and mid-sized businesses, or businesses with multiple locations. Features are available to unite desktops, mobiles and telephones, and disaster recovery capability is possible. Hosted PBX is an operating expense with predictable costs per user.
- There are some core considerations when looking also at a service provider, including call quality control because voice quality and stability are directly affected by poor network performance, causing dropped calls, poor quality audio and loss of in or outbound audio.
- When considering price, look at the value of the provider as a whole and ask about network infrastructure and ownership, reputation with VoIP, how the implement/installation process works, equipment requirements and package options.