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Advantages of VoIP
It is widely acknowledged that there are several advantage of VoIP when compared to the regular POTS. Most businesses are upgrading as quickly as they can – for instance when the budget allows – or simply waiting on their current systems to reach the end of life to replace them.
Some advantages of VoIP are universal i.e. they are applicable regardless of the configuration, type of deployment or underlying infrastructure. A few advantages depend upon the particular VoIP deployment being used by the organization. The two main alternatives for businesses when it comes to VoIP are purchasing hosted services from an external vendor or setting up their own, customized on premise solution via SIP trunking.
So while some benefits such as advanced telephony features are available on both types of VoIP configurations, others might vary. Some of the benefits of VoIP include:
Reduce Calling Expenses
This is almost the universal reason for most enterprises to switch to VoIP. It is probably the first thing they heard about the technology, which is widely advertised by various vendors. There are very few organizations which would not benefit from upgrading to VoIP and most of them will see their monthly expenses fall dramatically. This may be because of lower cost per call or because there is no need for capital investments.
No investments needed
This is where organizations need to differentiate between hosted VoIP and on premise solutions. Hosted VoIP services are extremely attractive to most businesses as they can get started quickly and without any need to invest in costly hardware or equipment. It makes it suitable for organizations with low or medium call volume, especially ones that cannot afford thousands of dollars up front. These organizations benefit from reduced total expenses per month if they go for hosted VoIP.
Lower total cost of ownership
On the other hand, on premise solutions are attractive to organizations that have in-house expertise and can afford the capital required to set them up. Over the total life of the system, the total cost of ownership is significantly less when compared to hosted services. This pays off in lower costs per call and is more beneficial for organizations with high call volume, especially international calls. It makes on premise solutions advantageous for call centers, customer support offices etc.
Basically when it comes to call expenses, companies need to decide if they prefer the benefits of lower costs per call or if they are more concerned with the total amount they have to spend each month.
Apart from cost, this is one of the biggest advantages of VoIP. Businesses can now access advanced features that were simply not possible before. A great example is visual voicemail. With traditional PBX systems, employees were forced to interrupt their current work in order to attend to voicemails. Additionally they could be retrieved from only one instrument and any information left by the caller has to be written down manually somewhere else.
With VoIP, all these issues disappear. Incoming voicemails can be transcribed and sent to an email inbox – whether it belongs to a particular employee or a group inbox for an entire team. It means employees can interact with voicemail just like they do with email and can reply to them from anywhere. The information contained within a voicemail is also stored safely in email archives and can be accessed from any computer or mobile device.
This is just one example. Other benefits of VoIP include find me follow me, multi device ring and other features that are essential in an environment where most people have multiple devices and work from different locations every day or week. Some of these features are useful to individual employees or groups within the organization while others streamline business operations throughout the enterprise.
For instance, setting up an automated attendant and a phone directory ensures that callers are directed to the appropriate person or department at the first try instead of being bounced around in the call. Banks and airlines offer this feature to customers who can easily check their account balance or flight status, so that support staff can concentrate on resolving bigger issues.
Integration with Other Enterprise Systems
Since VoIP routes phone calls over the Internet and other data networks, it is flexible and customizable. It is built on standardized IP technology which means that organizations can easily integrate the phone system with other enterprise services such as CRM. These integrations might not seem very valuable at first glance but they can help tremendously with productivity and ease-of-use.
For instance, many VoIP services and on premise solutions come with out-of-the-box integrations with the Salesforce CRM. While some people may wonder how this could possibly help organizations, the opportunities become apparent when you take a closer look. This integration allows employees to call contacts from within the Salesforce app and keep their notes from all interactions in one place. It means they are able to easily pull information from previous conversations when needed or set reminders to follow up with clients – weeks or even months later.
Integrating the older generation PBX phone systems with such applications is not possible without substantial work. While it may seem to be a luxury now, it will soon become a necessity as more business services start to utilize the latest technology such as cloud computing and mobile computing.