Many people are excited about moving their communication systems towards VoIP, the Internet-based system that can save you a bundle while offering great features and flexibility. You can even get video conferencing services, if required, at a very reasonable cost. However, before you take the plunge and get into a VoIP situation, consider these issues:
Do you have the proper Internet connection and bandwidth to handle the VoIP volume?
Dial-up service is out—you cannot use VoIP over a dial-up connection. An ISDN or ADSL connection may be suitable, but with no mobility. Wireless technologies may work, but many are limited by distance and signal quality. Most LANs would work with cable situations with limited mobility. Inquire with your Internet provider about your online connection.
Should you get hosted VoIP or an in-house system?
Usually, if more than 25 employees use the system and you have internal expertise in this area, an in-house solution may be your best bet. A hosted VoIP system may fit your needs better if fewer users are expected and you don’t want to deal with maintenance and other technical issues. Some firms prefer the in-house setup because they don't wish to third-party communication systems involvement.
What specific features do you require?
Most VoIP systems offer similar services, and you should focus on essential features, such as auto-attendant, voice mail to email, or Wi-Fi connections. Make one list of features you need and another with functions that would be nice to have but are not that important. Many vendors dazzle you with all the parts the VoIP system can offer, and it is easy to get lost and lose focus.
Will the new phone system integrate with existing programs?
You will not change your CRM or ERP programs to accommodate a new VoIP setup. Rather, VoIP should be a good fit with your existing systems. Some VoIP programs offer APIs to facilitate integration, but not all. On the other hand, you may decide that you don’t want VoIP to integrate all systems. Talk with your IT staff to make a sound decision about this topic.
What do users have to say about the system?
Please don’t decide without talking to users about their needs and wishes. Maybe some key individuals need to conduct a 4-way conference regularly, and you’d never know that without contacting them. It’s better not to assume much and ask many questions to employees who use the phone system the most.
Buying a VoIP system can be confusing, but considering these issues, you’ll be more focused and knowledgeable and more likely to get an excellent VoIP system for your business.