Transitioning your telephone system to Voice over IP might feel like a daunting prospect, when you consider the broad range of on-premise and cloud-hosted solutions on the market.

Still trying to get your team on-board and switch to VoIP? To decide which type of VoIP system will work best for your business, follow our simple guide to better understand your requirements and the available options.

The first step is to determine your individual needs, which will largely depend on your locations, employees, and organization structure. Ask yourself these questions:

  • How many offices does your business currently have, and do you plan to add more sites?
  • How many employees do you have, and what proportion work remotely?
  • Do your sites have common areas that require phones? (reception, lobby, kitchens, labs)
  • Do you require phones for conference rooms?
  • Do you operate a contact center environment?

Once you’ve identified your high level requirements, the next step is to assemble a team to select, design and implement the new Voice over IP system. You’ll need technical experts and senior executives who can approve the solution, and you should consult with managers from a range of departments including Sales & Marketing, Finance, IT, HR and Customer Service. Each of these departments may require unique phone features and functionality.

Next, get your team together and start to think about what you want to achieve. Modern VoIP systems come packed with a vast array of powerful features. Some of these might be critical to your organization, while other will be less relevant. Consider the communications tools you use each day, such as instant messaging, conference calling, and online meetings. Then create a list of essential capabilities. These might include some of the following:

  • Voice and/or Video Conferencing
  • Instant Messaging
  • Online Meetings with Desktop Sharing
  • Computer Telephony Integration (CTI)
  • Voicemail to Email Transcription
  • Full Functionality on Mobile Devices
  • Call Recording
  • Contact Center Functionality

Now that you know what you want your Voice over IP system to do, it’s time to identify the best solution. Cloud-hosted unified communications systems can be deployed quickly, for a fixed monthly fee and no upfront costs. Alternatively you can choose an on-premise system, which will involve purchasing new hardware and software.

Your choice may be influenced by the type of cabling in your offices and the availability of high-speed Internet connections. Voice over IP is designed to operate on the same infrastructure as your data network, but since it’s a specialized application it might make demands that your existing architecture can’t support. Check your routers, switches and Ethernet connections to ensure they will all support VoIP.

Investigate multiple vendors and service providers to find the ones that that meet or exceed your requirements, and create a shortlist of preferred suppliers. Once you’ve narrowed down the list of potential service providers, it’s time to ask some questions to ensure they’re a perfect match for your business.

  • Can they provide references or testimonials from satisfied customers in your industry?
  • What are the upfront and recurring costs for the solution?
  • How much training is needed for employees to become competent with the new system?
  • Do they offer a Service Level Agreement?
  • How do they guarantee performance, availability and call quality?
  • How do they provide help and support to users after installation?

The final important step before implementation is to make sure your employees are well prepared.Resistance to change is inevitable, and the new solution may not be welcomed by employees who have grown accustomed to the old system. The best way to overcome resistance is to keep them in the loop from the beginning, and invest in the necessary training to bring them up to speed with the new platform. This will help your staff become confident using the system, rather than being wary of change.

To learn more about how your business can benefit from a switch to Voice over IP, as well as the options available to you, contact SpectrumVoIP today.