Keeping employees connected is one of the top challenges I see facing today’s enterprises. More satellite offices, more on-the-ground employees and more telecommuting is making business logistics a top priority. Client-facing employees have less time to make trips into the office but they still need access to corporate information, and satellite offices need to stay up-to-date on changing business strategies and plans. Communication is the lever that allows businesses to operate in an increasingly decentralized business environment. So how do you make sure your organization is able to communicate with one another seamlessly across a multitude of channels? The answer is VoIP.
Let’s Break it Down
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) allows businesses to converge all of their communications onto a single platform. Since much of today’s business communication already flows via digital channels, it makes sense to move voice communications onto that same channel. Why does it make sense? Because VoIP solutions offer simplified management due to utilizing a single platform for all of your communication channels. You can also see a reduction in costs and increased productivity in your users. When done successfully, VoIP gives you a single, unified communications platform.
Building Out Your Voice Strategy
With communication forming the foundation for successful business operations, it deserves its own strategic planning. What I often end up seeing is a lot of organizations stuck in the reaction cycle. Instead of having a plan in place to deal with contingencies, many businesses react to problems as they occur. By failing to formulate and execute a strategy, businesses open themselves up to unplanned outages and downtime. A truly successful strategy involves planning out how you use communications today and how you plan to communicate in the future. As technology provides more effective tools, it is best to understand how you can leverage them to better benefit your organization.
Types of VoIP Communications Solutions
On-premises, cloud or hybrid VoIP solutions all have different benefits depending on the application and the business need. Many of the same features are available through any of these deployment options. The real question becomes how your company wants to procure voice services and what potential hiccups might come with each segment.
In this scenario, all of the equipment is located right in the office. When dealing with companies that have the in-house talent to tackle problems, I often recommend an on-premises solution. Skipping a step in troubleshooting by having personnel and equipment at the same location might improve your recovery time.
A cloud-based or hosted VoIP solution takes the management completely out of your hands. You use an administrative dashboard to make changes, but all of the equipment and troubleshooting happens remotely. When you don’t have a fully staffed IT department or need the ability to scale rapidly, the cloud can be a great option.
Hybrid uses both on-site and cloud-based VoIP technology to provide ample coverage. For a business with a large central office and many traveling employees, this might be a winner.
Ultimately, the type of service is less important than the scope. Any of these solutions might work for your business, but it takes a fully fleshed out voice strategy to find the right partner and service solution.
Developing a Voice Strategy
In many cases, budgets are dropping and responsibilities just keep adding up. The increasing work level combined with hiring freezes and less remuneration makes burnout a real issue among IT professionals. At MicroAge, we can help create a strategy that works for your business, as well as your existing lines of communication. It will leave you flexible and give your company room to expand. Your IT staff is already strained, and developing expertise in voice strategy takes time. Work with us and explore a variety of potential service partners once you have a completed voice strategy.
Author: Phil Tuckwiller, Telecom Practice Manager