What is the Best Communication System for Me?

What is the Best Communication System for Me?

The exhibit hall at VoiceCon Fall 2005.

The exhibit hall at VoiceCon Fall 2005. (Photo credit: Alex Dunne)

The latest communications technology available to businesses large and small is more varied than before. Before, the choice was between a traditional on-premise communication solution and a managed service. The choice has broadened to include cloud telephony. Also, the scale of the communications system has widened to include not just the regular office worker but mobile workers as well. The need for a secure, reliable, efficient and flexible communication system has also increased because of this.

In this highly competitive world, businesses must be able to communicate with their employees, vendor, partners and customers, regardless of where they are located.

Managed and Hosted Telephony

VoIP/IP telephony is defined as the use of business class voice and multimedia applications through IP telephony systems, handsets and software. Managed solutions involve on-premise equipment with remote management and monitoring, while hosted services are hosted at the service provider’s location or cloud-based.

For small and midsize businesses, the managed or hosted model is an interesting option because they don’t have similar expertise or the balance sheet flexibility as that of larger businesses.

On an economic standpoint, managed or hosted telephony is advantageous because capital expenditure for equipment is eliminated. A monthly service fee is billed over a set contract term. The day to day management of the system is handled by the service provider so the IT staff would have time and productivity savings. It is also easier to undertake improvements or upgrades in a managed or hosted IP telephony and UC solutions because existing arrangements can be worked without having to renegotiate or waiting for the current contract period to end.

Finding the Right VoIP Solution for your business

Communication

Communication (Photo credit: P Shanks)

Businesses will find that VoIP and UC benefit them not only through cost savings but on other things as well. Productivity and collaboration improvements are greatly enhanced and improved as well. IP trunking is considered to be the most cost-effective method when creating an easily scalable IP telephony system. The important key is to find the best service provider fit for the business.

The cost of a solution is not the sole factor to consider when choosing a service provider. Other factors to consider are the following: the quality and coverage of the trunking service and the underlying network, the service provider’s experience in the market, availability of reference accounts, interoperability and support with other major UC vendors, expertise in trunking solutions and IP communications solutions, commercial availability of the IP telephony services, and the managed and professional offerings.

There is no ‘one size fits all’ VoIP solution. The business must find the solution which is right for their specific circumstances. To determine the best communication system for the business, the first step is to ensure the full support of all major stakeholders in the company. The deployment of VoIP solutions is not a one-time project. Commitment and collaboration from the management team is important in achieving the full VoIP deployment.

The second step is determining the VoIP needs of the business. Also assess the readiness of the business to accept and assimilate into a UC solution. When this is done, find the appropriate service provider that can deliver and support the communication system fit for the business. Service providers should be evaluated using criteria relevant to the current communications standards. Do not choose mainly because of the cost.

About the author

Michelle Patterson is an avid technology blogger and writes extensively about IP/VoIP and Unified Communication. She works with some leading companies to understand the trends of these modern communication technologies.

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