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While many organizations have already migrated to the cloud, a significant number of phone systems remain on-premises.
Moving from a premises-based phone system to a voice-over-IP (VoIP) solution brings change and requires an investment. While many factors are involved, the most common are features, reliability, and costs.
At Luminet, we have worked with hundreds of organizations that have made the move to VoIP.
Below are considerations relating to these three factors.
VoIP solutions have progressed considerably over the past five years, however, you cannot assume that these solutions will have feature parity with your existing premise based phone system.
In most organizations, 80% of their users have relatively routine communication requirements that can likely be met by most VoIP providers. The other 20% of businesses often have business processes that center on specific communication flows or coverage requirements.
Understanding these scenarios is critical to ensuring that a new solution will meet the needs. It is important to identify these groups within your organization and spend the time needed to identify their specific requirements and understand why they operate in this way. In some cases, better options may be available meaning the way it has always been done doesn’t always mean that’s how things should be done, especially when technology advances offer new options.
The reliability of the solution will depend on several variables:
- The reliability of your internal data network
- The reliability of your connection to the VoIP provider
- The VoIP provider’s architecture in their data center(s)
It is important to understand the service provider’s infrastructure. How much redundancy is configured within their data center(s)? Does the redundancy include telco connectivity?
Many providers have multiple data centers, which can be used for failover if necessary. Digging into the failover policy of your solution provider may provide useful insight into the reliability of the solution.
Most services are available for a monthly cost per user and vary based on the license type. This is straightforward, and it seems simple to budget for your future costs.
However, additional costs may not be apparent in advance, including:
- Usage costs for local and/or long-distance calling
- Access/connectivity charges
- Implementation and set up fees
- Number porting fees
- Taxes, fees, surcharges
- 911 fees
- DID numbers (in use or not in use)
The best way to identify potential billing surprises in advance is to ask for a copy of an actual customer invoice without the customer information. This will allow you to see any additional charges in advance and create an accurate budget for the new solution.