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How is VoIP Used in Business?
Businesses using VoIP fall into two distinct categories – those that are just getting started and organizations that are ready to move on to the next step, since they have been using it for some time.
Enterprises in each of these two categories utilize VoIP in significantly different ways, although in general the point from which they started remains the same.
How New Adopters Utilize VoIP
At this point, VoIP is not new or exotic technology. But for a business that is just now getting started with it, it often appears to be. It is especially true for small and medium organizations that lack in-house expertise as well as the resources to hire consultants for this specific project.
Fortunately with the proliferation of hosted VoIP services, there is no need for businesses to worry about technical details or maintenance issues that frequently crop up with the latest technology.
As a Replacement for Analog Phone Systems
When an organization starts using VoIP, they mainly focus on replicating features that were available in their old PBX boxes. So they may be concerned about voicemail, call hold features, call transfers etc.
For the most part, employees do not have to change their workflows or relearn the basics of making/receiving calls.
At this point the major savings of switching to VoIP comes from the price difference between traditional phone operators and VoIP vendors.
From lower cost per call – for both local and long-distance – to no service contracts, annual commitments and maintenance costs, it can add up significantly in as little as six months.
Exploring Bonus Features
Once the organization is convinced about quality and reliability issues and employees have become comfortable with the new systems, they may start exploring additional features offered by VoIP.
Slowly they may start adding auto attendant features, group inboxes for calls and voicemails, digital faxing, ACD queues and find me follow me, among others.
However these features may not yet be a central part of the communication strategy. Additionally, this step does not see much cost savings as these benefits become apparent over the long-term.
The visible benefits include more efficient workflows and more time for employees to complete their work. The cost benefits of improved productivity and efficiency will come down the line.
How Veterans Utilize VoIP
Compared to analog phone technology, VoIP is relatively young but there are many organizations that have been using it for 5 to 6 years.
Generally their employees have become extremely comfortable with VoIP and regularly utilize many of the more advanced features available to them. In fact, they may have started to hit the boundaries of the existing system and may be clamoring for more.
As a Stepping Stone for Unified Communication
VoIP can play an integral role in unified communication within the enterprise and many organizations deploy VoIP with an idea to upgrading it later.
At its core, unified communication is not a single product or technology. It is more of a marketing term to define a suite of products that present a common user interface and user experience across many communication channels (both real-time and otherwise), media and locations.
For an enterprise, it might mean integrating many applications such as instant messaging, video and audio conference calling, presence indication, voice communication, mobility features as well as speech recognition and data sharing.
Quite often, VoIP becomes the pillar around which other interfaces added because the technology supports most of the required features by default.
Even though businesses may spend quite a lot of resources and time on deploying unified communication suites, the productivity and quality of work enhancements offer tremendous benefits. In a globalized world where flexibility and agility is a highly coveted prize, VoIP can help organizations stay competitive.