Choosing a VoIP system: 7 things to consider
As the world grows increasingly digitalized, it is no surprise that companies are making the switch to Voice over IP (VoIP) for a more versatile and affordable solution to their unified communications (UC) needs.
Not only is VoIP able to improve a business’s operating effectiveness, but it can cut telecom costs while increasing overall performance. Choosing the right telephony system, however, is a huge decision with warranted risks. Below, we discuss seven topics to mitigate those risks and help you find the best VoIP solutions for your business.
Hosted vs. On-Site VoIP
Both hosted and onsite Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems offer unique advantages. For a business with no pre-existing PBX hardware, a hosted service can be the perfect solution. Not only is set up easy, but, with everything in the cloud, you are saved both the cost of new hardware and future maintenance fees.
Alternatively, while an on-site system will require a greater initial investment and necessitate on-going maintenance, it arguably provides your business with superior flexibility and greater control over your telecommunications network.
Is Your Workforce Mobile?
The modern office isn’t constricted by walls, so why should your employees be? Whether working from the backseat of a cab, or from home, your workers should have the same tools at their disposal as they would from a conventional office, such as accessing their contact databases, participating in video conferencing, or using their mobile device to never miss a call.
This is what modern VoIP systems, such as Avaya’s IP Office and Mitel’s MiVoice do. Whether across the street or across the globe, they grant full mobility and full functionality while increasing quality of service.
Is Your Business Going to Expand?
If your business is growing, or hoping to, the last thing you want is for its growth to be curbed by an inadequate communications system. Thankfully, there are plenty of forms of VoIP, such as SIP trunking, which can quickly and easily expand or consolidate your lines on an ‘as-needed-basis’.
The good news is that virtually all existing PBX’s are compatible with SIP, and those that aren’t can use a simple gateway to convert an existing system easily.
Are You Switching From ISDN?
It isn’t complicated, but making the switch from ISDN to VoIP will require some research and a solid migration and porting plan, which should meticulously define your company’s communication requirements. It will help determine what criteria your new VoIP system will need to meet.
How Technically Involved Do You Want to Be?
When examining VoIP options, it is important to decide how involved you want to be in managing your new system.
For a company with limited IT experience, a hosted system (where all the maintenance and upgrades are handled by the service provider) could be ideal. If, however, you want full control of your system and possess the technical expertise to manage it in-house then an onsite PBX could be the preferred option.
Do You Need to Upgrade Your Connectivity?
An internet connection is the lifeline of any VoIP system. So whether you choose an onsite or hosted VoIP solution, you are going to need a reliable connection in place to support your network.
Consider the use of dedicated business broadband or leased lines. While dedicated broadband is intended to provide businesses with higher internet speeds, leased lines will guarantee voice quality by reserving the connection for your company’s sole use. Evaluate your business’s bandwidth needs and consult with several service providers before making a final decision.
Inspect the Costs
Each VoIP system comes with unique overheads. It is well worth examining the total cost of ownership (TOC) for each system to discover which one is best suited for your business.
Look at the initial set-up charges (both hardware and installation), upgrade costs, maintenance overheads, and monthly service fees. A hosted VoIP system, for example, requires a lower start-up budget and no maintenance costs, but comes with regular monthly fees that will add up over time. Alternatively, an onsite system is going to cost more initially and require ongoing maintenance, but avoids the monthly recurring fees associated with a hosted service.
Choosing the telecom system that is right for your business is a big step, but finding a VoIP service provider that is going to meet your company’s needs and provide quality support is just as important.
Even an hour of interrupted service can have major ramifications for your business, so make sure that your provider possesses the necessary resources to quickly and efficiently resolve any potential issues.
Matt Davis is senior systems engineer at Solution IP.
Published under license from ITProPortal.com, a Net Communities Ltd Publication. All rights reserved.