Transition to business VoIP is something that every business is going to have to accomplish eventually. Many have already achieved this, along with other elements of digital transformation. Business VoIP does not have to be a “like for like” replacement of legacy telephony. In fact, it’s the opportunity to revise and review business practices and ascertain the telecommunication requirements of the business going forward, for example, whether desk telephone handsets are even required anymore? The potential benefits for your business are huge in terms of efficiency, effective client communication and potential cost saving.

So what is VoIP? Voice of Internet Protocol is defined as “ …. a technology or set of standards for delivery of telephone calls and other voice communications over the Internet, involving conversion of analogue voice signals to digital form….”  Put simply it is basically a telephone connection over the Internet. The voice data is sent digitally, using Internet Protocol (IP) instead of using traditional telephone lines.

Why transition your business telephony to VoIP? By 2025 much of the traditional UK PSTN (Public Switch Telephony Network which includes your ISDN telephones lines) operated by Openreach will no longer be available to business and this alone makes transition to VoIP essential for every business. It is however rather more pressing than that: especially in the light of recent events “forcing” many businesses into a remote working scenario, with little notice and in many cases no preparation or preconceived plan. VoIP, configured, enabled and supported correctly, will free your business from any geographic or call routing constraints and make consistent and effective client (and supplier) communication seamless…… oh and probably save your business money.

So what is business VoIP?  Well, rather like other fit for purpose services, it’s the business version of a domestic, residential, social internet based telephony service. Whilst the basic concept is the same, business VoIP differs significantly in several key areas. Focus on “headline” price and ignore the benefits of business VoIP at your peril, you will regret it!

Business VoIP is substantially more effective for business, compared to social, domestic VoIP, in the following key areas: –

  • Quality – both in terms of calls and functionality
  • Reliability – consistent connectivity given like for like internet access
  • Configurability – features and functions vital to business call routing and answering
  • Security – voice data encryption
  • Features – full, enterprise level telephony functionality including Call Recording
  • Hot Desk Capability – effective for variable work patterns
  • Numbers – telephone number portability and availability
  • Interoperability – for example Outlook and MS Team integration
  • Statistics – vital for managing remote colleagues
  • Disaster Contingency – preconceived and automated fail over plans

What are the considerations for transition to VoIP? Transition from traditional telephony, from “social” VoIP, or from “inadequate” business VoIP is a complex process with the choice of vendor and product being of vital importance.

Business should consider the following when tackling the transition process: –

  • Business drivers for transition
  • Stake holders
  • Vendor selection criteria
  • Purchase profile
  • Return on investment
  • Internet Access
  • Network infrastructure
  • Data Security
  • Timescales
  • Risk management
  • Digital transformation integration
  • Legacy implications
  • Unified Communications considerations
  • Project planning and management
  • Implementation and training
  • Support and maintenance

 

In conclusion, transitioning to business VoIP (or upgrading from an inadequate VoIP service) should be considered an opportunity for your business and an integral part of any growth and development plans.

My advice? Engage a knowledgeable consultant or initiate discussions with trusted or recommended resellers/vendors without further delay. There is nothing to lose and much to gain.