Is a VoIP Phone System Right for You?
If your company has multiple locations – branches, telecommuters, remote sales offices – that are already connected to a company Local Area Network (LAN) or Wide Area Network (WAN), you are a prime candidate for a VoIP system. You can share the full features of your phone system across all your locations. In addition, even if you have one office in Connecticut and one in California, VoIP allows calls between them via extension dialing, making it a zero cost call. For businesses with hefty monthly long distance charges due to calls between locations, that can be a very attractive reason to upgrade.
A VoIP phone system can also save money as you are setting up a new office – you will not have to run separate cabling for your phone system. In many cases, the best solution will be a system that uses existing phone wires within the main office and VoIP for calls between locations. This combination works well if you have relatively new telecom equipment - many PBXs can be IP-enabled with software upgrades and minor hardware additions. Sticking with digital phones internally will save you money, as well as increasing the overall reliability of your phone system.
Features and benefits of an IP PBX
With VoIP, any and all offices on a LAN or WAN can get the benefits of having a common office phone system, including extension dialing, seamless call transfers, and other features. In addition to making it easier to communicate, this sharing of features can enhance collaboration as employees at different locations can truly feel like they are part of the same organization. Plus, if they are on the company network, the phone calls are free – even if your offices are located thousands of miles apart. Simply looking at your current phone bill for calls between far-flung offices can give you an idea of how much you can save.
There are other cost savings that stem from the streamlined network infrastructure and improved administration. For network administrators, VoIP means they only have one network to maintain instead of two. There is still separate phone system hardware to maintain – but only one network. The Move, Add, Change (MAC) process also is greatly simplified, because almost all VoIP systems are configurable through a web interface that can be managed by the administrator. This means lower ongoing costs -- you will not need to call your vendor for every MAC. And because multiple offices are seamlessly connected, they can share a single receptionist, auto-attendant, and voice mail system.
Another significant benefit is for employees on the go. If your remote users connect to the company network via a Virtual Private Network (VPN), VoIP allows them to make phone calls from the road at no extra charge. One salesperson on an extended trip can save hundreds of dollars in cell phone or hotel long-distance charges.
Other familiar and essential phone system features like caller ID, call forwarding, simultaneous ringing across multiple phones, and other features you would find in PBX systems are available in most VoIP systems. VoIP also works with advanced Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) applications, such as call center management. These popular applications can prioritize incoming calls based on the caller’s identity and automatically bring up callers’ account information as the phone is answered. However there is little difference in this arena between VoIP and modern digital phones.
ATD offers Voice over IP (VoIP) products and installation. Contact us today for a consultation on whether VoIP is right for you.