Taking a Multisite Company to VoIP

Companies that have worked with and mastered traditional networks (either telephony or data) often think that it's just a small step to implement VoIP. Think again! If your business has multiple locations, don't even consider implementing VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) on your own.

Working with a qualified VoIP partner who is well-versed in VoIP can help save you money, and the money you save from the conversion more than pays for the partner's services. Your company can then gain the skills to gradually become experts in VoIP the same way it did with the key telephone system (KTS) or the private branch exchange (PBX) system — a little bit at a time.

Shed old-style thinking

Many people, without realizing it, develop a plain old telephone service (POTS) mentality, thinking of communications problems in terms of old line-based solutions. To adapt to the VoIP model, you need to shed this old-style mentality and look for ways you can effectively converge your data and telecommunications networks.

If you can see that the POTS side of what your company needs is the "small potatoes" part of a VoIP project, congratulations! Your challenge now is to recognize that you don't start any project — including VoIP — by focusing on small potatoes. It's much more important to figure out how you integrate VoIP into your multilocation computer network.

When you move to VoIP, you're putting your telephony systems onto your computer network. With all the new features VoIP brings to the table, it seems like you're multiplying your telephony applications exponentially, similar to how computer applications seem to multiply on your data network.

Don't try to apply a traditional telephony design model to the implementation of VoIP. The companies that do this end up failing or not doing as well as they could have.

Evaluate existing networks

If the VoIP partner you select can't do a thorough analysis of your existing networks, including all monthly billings, you need to make an executive decision and select a partner that knows how to do it. The result of the network evaluation should be a complete spreadsheet that lists each company location and all one-time and recurring charges that your company is paying.

It's amazing how many companies don't know what they're paying. In their defense, evaluating the costs can be complicated if the company has multiple carriers and a plethora of calling services and in-house telephony systems. When you do your analysis, start with your monthly billings. The billings paint the picture of your costs.

With expert help from your VoIP partner, you can then design a new telephony solution, implement your plan, review initial results, and enjoy your cost savings.

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