Using VoIP in the Single-Site Office

Considering VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) for a single-site, smaller company has a lot of parallels to putting VoIP in at a larger multilocation company. There are also some big differences. These differences typically pertain to the company's mission and scope, the volume and categories of calls, and the company's strategic plans for the future. It may not seem like these three things are critical for a smaller company, but they determine if VoIP is a good fit.

Location, location, location

If a single-location company does the majority of its business within a three-mile radius of its location, the majority of its calls are likely to be in the local calling area. In this case, there wouldn't be enough of a reduction in toll charges to offset the startup costs for VoIP. VoIP isn't for everyone; in this case, the company should make the most cost-effective use of its existing plain old telephone service (POTS) infrastructure.

On the other hand, if a single-location company does the majority of its telephony business outside the local calling area, it should look at the monthly expenses for telephony and computer data networking.

In small, single-site companies with largely local calling area telephony usage, the risk is that VoIP could become an added expense that may not have a payback and may not change the company's productivity. These are crucial points that a smaller company needs to think through before making a VoIP decision.

Location alone doesn't give you all the information you need to recommend a conversion to VoIP. To make sense in a small company, VoIP has to change the cost picture. The bottom line is that VoIP has to either reduce your operating expenses or help in some way to increase your revenue.

Figuring out those contracts

After a thorough analysis of how your single-location company makes and receives its telephone calls, you can determine whether a move to VoIP is worth making. That said, you also need to know your company's long-term plan so that you can factor your goals into a VoIP design.

Another significant factor is whether the company is encumbered by any current contracts. If it just signed a three-year lease for a non-VoIP private branch exchange (PBX) and all its telephone stations, the lease costs must be considered in any plan. Any carrier services contracts can usually terminate without penalty or can be modified with a new term but now running with VoIP.

After current monthly billings, the long-term plan, and any outstanding contracts are figured into the potential for going with VoIP, a complete analysis can be performed to financially support a decision.

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