A VoIP phone number is fundamentally analogous to the other…
Business Considerations for Hosted VoIP
Posted on: 2018-11-23 | Categories: VoIP Services
Switching to a new enterprise system is more than the technology. While you do have to make decisions regarding new products, services, and vendors, you should also consider the business case for the switch. How will the new system help your business – will it reduce costs or increase revenue? Will it make your employees more productive or offer new opportunities in other ways?
The same is the case when considering VoIP phone systems. Any business that is considering the upgrade needs to understand the technology and how to implement it. But apart from that, there are business considerations you should keep in mind. You have to consider the financial and business aspects of switching to VoIP.
Hosted VoIP for Business
For most small and medium-size businesses, hosted VoIP is the smart solution. You could give SIP trunks a shot but it can be expensive to set up. Generating a positive return on investment will take many years, not something that a small business can afford. Usually, larger corporations who want control over their communication systems prefer SIP trunking. However, even be companies are opting for hosted VoIP – saving themselves all the hassle and maintenance involved.
So what should you consider before opting for hosted VoIP services?
Business Considerations for Hosted VoIP
Calculate the Costs
Many VoIP vendors will give you quotes for their services upon request. Some of them even have calculators that will give you a general idea of how much it might cost your business. Use these calculators as they are a great starting point. But remember that these calculators are meant to be an approximation and may not cover all the expenses involved.
As a small example, none of these calculators take into account any training if required for your employees. Suppose you have an older workforce that is not completely familiar with computers. You may need a few training sessions on the new system. This will add to the total cost of upgrading.
You have to factor both short-term and long-term costs into the equation. Things like upgrading your existing network infrastructure and purchasing equipment are immediate expenses. You also have to pay the monthly phone bill to the service provider. But this will probably be a much smaller bill than you are used to.
What Features Do You Need?
Even before you approach a vendor for costs, you should make a couple of lists. On one list, put down the features that are essential for your business. Do you rely on faxes or voicemail a lot? Then digital faxing and visual voicemail are must-have features for you. Some other business might not need the same tools. This list should have all the features that your business needs to function normally.
Make a second list of features that are nice to have. These are features that you can compromise on, if necessary. Suppose the vendor you selected doesn’t offer one or two features on this list. If the price – and other considerations are met – is right, you may still choose to select this vendor.
How will Hosted VoIP Affect Existing Workflows?
Hosted VoIP services offer so much more than traditional landlines. You can do things with them that were more or less impossible with the PSTN network. Your employees can answer calls on multiple devices within the office or work from home with equal ease. You can shift employees between different offices without affecting their phone numbers. You can even assign the same number to a new person or team.
But all these things will affect business workflows. It means your employees will have to adapt or incorporate them into existing processes. So before you can deploy VoIP, spend some time planning for the transition. How long will it take for you to deploy the new service? Will your old vendor suspend service before then? You need to plan for these circumstances in advance. Otherwise, you will find yourself in a situation where the phones don’t work. For any business, this is nothing less than a disaster!
Integration with Other Enterprise Systems
The phones are not the only business system in your office. Most organizations will also have software like CRM tools, accounting software, HR apps etc. Can your new hosted VoIP service play nice with them all? Some vendors are better than others at maintaining compatibility with older enterprise software or providing APIs. Quite a few providers have developed software solutions that serve as a bridge between the phone service and other common enterprise systems.
While this might seem like a long list of things to consider before switching to VoIP, the actual process of upgrading is quite straightforward. Depending on the size of your business, you can be up and running within a few hours. Plan well and you will have a smooth transition from the old to the new!