If your business is hoping to improve efficiency and productivity, then it might be time to review your current communications infrastructure. Today, landline telephones are dropping in popularity to make way for internet-based telephony, which offers many benefits such as lower costs and better integration with other systems.
If you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) or change your existing provider, then you’ll be faced with several options. Not all VoIP services are made equal, and every system comes with a unique pricing structure and a different set of features. These tips will help you choose the right option for your business.
On-Premises vs. Hosted VoIP
The first and most important thing to understand about VoIP technology is that it’s available in two very different forms: on-premises PBX and hosted VoIP. With an on-premises system, you’ll need to implement and manage your own VoIP server, while a hosted solution is managed by a third-party vendor. Both options have their pros and cons, although there are few discernable differences as far as the end user is concerned.
Opting for an on-premises PBX-connected system tends to be the preferred option for larger organizations and dedicated call centers. It’s highly customizable, but it also requires on-site management and a great deal of expensive hardware. Although an on-premises system does, in theory at least, offer greater control, the higher costs and greatly increased management requirements make it impractical for most small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
Most SMBs opt for a hosted VoIP service, and with good reason. They’re much cheaper and easier to implement because there’s no need to have an on-premises server and pay a dedicated IT professional to maintain and manage it. Instead, a hosted VoIP service is implemented and managed entirely by a third-party vendor and delivered as a cloud-based platform. That means lower initial and ongoing costs, and no need to buy additional hardware.
One of the huge benefits of VoIP is that it may be integrated with other core business process tools, such as for enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM). Although on-premises systems can theoretically provide more customization options, hosted solutions are also built with integration in mind; hence, they work with many industry-standard systems.
Most of the mainstream VoIP solutions can integrate with a variety of third-party applications, ranging from productivity suites to CRM platforms. With a big selection of optional extensions at your disposal, it’s now possible to implement a VoIP platform that works flawlessly with your overall technology infrastructure. That also means less time spent alt-tabbing between different programs and a reduced need for additional staff training.
While many hosted VoIP services are ready to work with a variety of industry-standard business applications, organizations with more specific requirements may want to choose an on-premises platform. This will allow you to have custom integrations developed that the limitations of a one-size-fits-all approach simply don’t allow.
Security and Support
Security and support should be your top priorities when choosing any new business technology, and VoIP is no exception. With the cyberattack landscape evolving every day, proactive security is imperative. No matter what you intend to use it for, you’ll almost certainly want to choose a VoIP system package that provides end-to-end encryption and multifactor authentication.
Since any modern business relies heavily on dependable communications, you’ll also need to have a support team you can count on. Fortunately, most service providers offer round-the-clock support, although you’ll want to make sure the support resolution times provided by your vendor’s service-level agreement (SLA) are up to your needs and expectations.
OC-IT offers cloud-based and on-premises VoIP deployments to provide customized telephony solutions tailored to the precise needs of our clients. If you’re ready to usher in a new era of workplace productivity and efficiency with a communications infrastructure you can depend on, contact us today for a free assessment.