Making a successful switch to VoIP
How to plan for your move
More and more businesses are moving their telecoms systems over to IP and Cloud, and the benefits for doing so are widely accepted. But making the switch is a major project; every part of your organisation will be affected, and in the long term it could have a significant impact on how your operations work.
With that in mind, it is important to put in some careful planning to make sure the project goes smoothly. Here are four key points to consider to before you get started.
1. What do you want to achieve?
Any major project needs to start with a clear vision of how it will improve the business. Deciding to move to VoIP is no different; there needs to be an understanding of what the benefits will be in terms of efficiency, productivity and the bottom line. These should be tangible and measurable, and should form goals to judge the progress of the project against. Technical metrics for areas like quality of service and system uptime can be included in this.
2. What changes need to me made to your IT infrastructure?
Although VoIP is designed to run on the same basic hardware as your internet connection, it is also a specialist system which may make demands your existing IT architecture cannot support. Analyse your LANs, routers, ethernet connections and switches thoroughly, making a note of their technical specs so they can be compared against different products. Don’t settle for shortcuts – weaknesses in the system you have to run VoIP will affect the quality of service you offer.
3. Which system features will make the largest impact to your business?
Different teams and operation units within a business may have different communications needs, and these will demand different features. Understanding this variety of requirements and then matching them into a unified system where everything works fluidly as a whole is a major task. As an example, some members of your team may benefit from mobile devices, if they are not using them already. Looking at how to integrate these with your VoIP phone system, and whether the product you choose supports the rich variety of collaboration and productivity apps available, is an important consideration.
4. What do your staff think?
Much of the success of the systems you introduce into a business will depend on the people who use them, so it makes sense to get their input on any changes. Employees are also in a good position to give you feedback on the specific needs of their team, and understanding their level of comfort with new technology will help you match products to their skills. In any case, involving your people in the process is a good way to secure buy-in.