TMCnews Featured Article
April 08, 2011
7 Mistakes to Avoid when Migrating to Hosted VoIP
By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor
When VoIP (Voice over IP) technology first emerged on the scene, there were challenges in terms of quality, adoption and even learning curves. Now, the technology has evolved to the point where not only is the quality superior, the cost savings drive a number of companies to adoption to streamline communications.
At the same time, companies are searching for ways to reduce their focus on supporting certain elements of the network in-house and a move to hosted VoIP is gaining in popularity. There are still some laggards to adopting this technology, however, due to missteps in first attempts to implement VoIP within the business. Let’s take a look at some of the pitfalls that have occurred and how your business can avoid these problems for a successful hosted VoIP implementation.
The Knowledge Gap – in some failed hosted VoIP implementations, there is often a knowledge gap simply because the right people didn’t take the time to educate themselves on VoIP before implementing a solution. This is not to suggest that you become a VoIP expert, but at least get a basic understanding so you can ask the right questions from the word go.
Didn’t Know Hosted VoIP Was an Option – this is especially true when businesses are stuck in a long-term contract with their current service provider. Hosted VoIP offers some powerful features that can be access through a hosted PBX. And, a number of providers will offer a hosted solution as an overlay to current systems so the business can take advantage of extension dialing, auto attendant, follow-me and more.
Didn’t Understand the Power of VoIP – this is a common problem as most business owners or decision makers are focused on the core initiatives of the business – not the power of a communications channel. While there is some initial upfront cost to making a change, your business can enjoy lower costs and productivity gains with a move to hosted VoIP.
Forgot to Calculate Bandwidth Requirements – it is a common problem for businesses to focus only on the financial gains that hosted VoIP promises and forget to complete their homework on what needs to happen internally to achieve those benefits. VoIP does rely on the company’s Internet connection to transport all calls, which means there will be more traffic across the broadband connection. It is important to measure and test to ensure a successful hosted VoIP implementation.
Purchased Proprietary Hardware too Quickly – it is easy to get excited about a concept without doing the research. If you purchase proprietary hardware and you want to switch providers, you can’t take it with you. Be sure you calculate the value of the freedom to make a switch in hosted VoIP players if it is necessary to do so.
Did Not Clarify Cost and Price – most small businesses are searching for ways to cut costs and while the lowest monthly fee may be attractive, you have to consider the total cost of ownership or operation. Cost and price are not the same thing and the evaluation on hosted VoIP needs to be an apples to apples comparison to get a true picture.
Braved It Alone – hosted VoIP seems easy enough when you decide that this is the best option for your company, but are you equipped to make the transition alone? It is always a good idea to turn to your hosted VoIP provider for help is making this change. In the long run, it will save you money and you will gain more benefit out of the system.
Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Janice McDuffee