At this point, your business has already made the decision to migrate to an IP phone system.
Congratulations! This is a big step in improving your company’s overall communications. With a new IP phone system in place, your company can:
- Enhance productivity
- Reduce monthly telecommunications costs
- Improve network security
- Experience clearer calls
Here’s the thing, though; you’re not quite there yet. You still have some big decisions to make, which will make or break your overall communications experience.
Choosing the wrong hardware and software could make things worse—so it pays to do your due diligence and conduct thorough research before you make a purchase.
Here are some top things to consider when buying an IP phone system:
Your End Users’ Preferences:
If you’re migrating to an IP phone system, you’ll most likely have to purchase new hardware.
There are many different options available, from companies like Yealink, Vtech, Panasonic, and Poly. Phones can vary significantly in terms of size, features, and functionality.
Here’s our advice:
Before you purchase any hardware, spend some time talking to your workers and get a sense of what they really want to see in a phone system. You could even send out a survey via email, and ask for genuine feedback. You may find that many of your workers want larger and more comfortable handsets, or fewer buttons. Ask around, so that you can find a solution that matches their exact needs.
The State Of Your Network:
One mistake that businesses tend to make when migrating to a new IP phone system is they rush in, without conducting a thorough network test.
Voice over IP Protocol (VoIP) can put a significant strain on a network. Networks that aren’t prepared to handle extra data tend to suffer from major call quality issues. Oftentimes, businesses will move forward with a VoIP installation, expecting it to solve all of their problems—only to have to go back in and retrofit their network to accommodate it.
So, round up your IT team and get their input. You may even want to ask them to sit in on a sales meeting, so they can provide a realistic assessment of whether your network can handle a migration. If work is needed in advance, they will be able to steer you in the right direction— saving you a great deal of money and frustration down the line.
Key Communications Features:
Once you have a basic idea of the hardware you want, and the overall state of your network, it’s time to start looking for a communications provider.
Today, most companies that are leveraging VoIP are using it as part of a larger unified communications (UC) system. UC involves combining multiple communications services into a single, centralized platform. UC combines IP voice, video, messaging, presence, fax, and more.
Make sure that your communications provider offers access to a robust platform with all of the above-mentioned services. Just like when looking for hardware, keep in mind that there are many UC providers on the market each offering similar solutions. Shop around to get the perfect fit.
Business Continuity And Disaster Recovery:
As you narrow down your list of UC providers, don’t forget to consider business continuity and disaster recovery.
Remember that VoIP alone won’t guarantee constant uptime. You’ll want to partner with a company offering geo-redundancy, along with real-time network monitoring, and seamless failover. Your provider should be able to guarantee ongoing service, even if you lose local connectivity.