Should you Roll out VoIP all at Once?Posted on: 2017-11-14 | Categories: VoIP Services
Switching to VoIP can be scary. Your business depends on the phones to function everyday. What if something goes wrong? Imagine the havoc if the phones stop working for an hour or two during the day. Customers can’t call you, you cannot reach partners or suppliers, your teams cannot collaborate with other offices and the list goes on. So it’s important you get it right.
Upgrading to VoIP brings a lot of benefits. Your monthly bills drop, in some cases quite precipitously. You are able to deploy more applications than you ever thought possible on a single network. You free up valuable employee time so that workers can be re-assigned to more important tasks. You can consolidate all your communication channels on one network which reduces maintenance and repairs.
Some businesses rush into the project without forethought and planning. While it is easy to upgrade to VoIP, there are several factors that can make the process more complex or time consuming. A small company will find it easier than a large one to make the jump. An organization with a single office has fewer requirements than a multinational company with multiple sites. If you have employees who travel a lot or work from home, you have to consider how best to integrate them into the VoIP network. So a little bit of planning will help you avoid mistakes down the road.
Rolling Out VoIP – Use the Trial Period
Depending on your scope and business needs, you may be able to roll out VoIP at once. But whether you do it in stages or go all out, you should test out the various services first. Most reputable service providers offer trials, demos or test runs. Some may require your credit card while others don’t demand one. The trial period allows you to evaluate how the service works in your particular environment. A high quality product in a test environment doesn’t always translate into real world capabilities.
During the trial run, make sure you test all the features available. A few vendors disable some capabilities for the demo. How can you tell if these will work correctly if you don’t have a way to test them? Suppose the plan you have in mind has say 20 features but you know you will use only 12 or so. Don’t restrict your testing to just the features you will use. You never know what tools you’ll need in the future. So evaluate everything as thoroughly as you can.
Can You Roll Out VoIP For Everyone at Once?
As discussed above, not everyone has simple enough requirements that you can roll out VoIP in a day or two for the entire company. If you are a small startup with 3 employees, then sure! All you really need is an Internet connection and service from a hosted VoIP vendor. You can download the mobile app onto your smartphones and make calls with your business number straight away. You don’t really have legacy infrastructure to get rid of. You don’t have to set up training for employees or IT teams. You probably have no need to use features like ACD queues or digital faxing.
But not all organizations are like a small startup. You can plan for a single stage rollout at all your locations. Given enough time and expertise, you might pull it off. But should you do it? Rolling it out in stages gives you several advantages. The first and foremost is that it allows you to catch problems before the entire workforce is caught up in them.
Say you introduce VoIP with a few employees in one office, department or even team (this will depend on the size of your company). You might find out that the automatic provisioning is not working properly, so phones need manual setup. Sure you can do for a dozen devices but hundreds? That’s just a waste of time and resources. You can go back and work with the vendor to fix the issue before rolling it out to everyone.
A staged rollout also lets you evaluate the need for training. If your employees are able to understand the dashboard and set up features on their own, then you probably don’t need extensive training sessions. Most providers offer help guides, seminars and manuals on their website for users. You can always supplement those resources with your own sessions if need be.
With VoIP you need to pay more attention to the security of your phone system. Since it uses Internet protocols, VoIP is vulnerable to the same security issues that plague your data network. A staged rollout will allow you to see how you can protect your systems and where the vulnerabilities are. So there you have it. Most companies will benefit from a staged rollout than flipping the switch for everyone at once.