Migrating to a state-of-the-art voice-over-IP (VoIP) telephone system offers a number of benefits to any company. VoIP brings features that improve overall communications and productivity, such as integrated fax support, call queuing, call screening, conference calls, call forwarding, call blocking, and voicemail-to-email transcription. Of course, the more sophisticated the VoIP system, the more training and support are required.
What is VoIP?
Webopedia defines VoIP - Voice over Internet Protocol is a category of hardware and software that enables people to use the Internet as the transmission medium for telephone calls by sending voice data in packets using IP rather than by traditional circuit transmissions of the PSTN.
The following is an excerpt from our free guide: A Simplified Guide to Chosing a New Business Phone System
The most advanced VoIP services are available with unified communications (UC) services. In addition to processing and routing voice calls, UC integrates additional digital services such as presence, click to chat, click to call, file transfer, phone directories, customer data access, and video conferencing. This level of sophisticated telecommunications not only requires employee training, but also will require new procedures and workflows to make optimal use of UC features.
Because the phone system is now part of the computer network, installation and maintenance fall to IT. The role of the IT team is to not only integrate the latest technology to improve productivity and reduce costs, but also be responsible for making sure that introducing new systems doesn’t adversely impact operations. It’s a balancing act between innovation and disruption; the innovation will improve operations in the long run, but in the short term, operational disruption must be kept to a minimum.
Implementing any type of organizational change can be challenging, especially when it comes to introducing new technology. Employees become used to established systems and procedures, and trying to get them to adopt something new requires acceptance and a willingness to change, as well as training.
And when you want to upgrade a high-profile technology such as the business telephone system, it can be even more challenging to get employees to embrace change.
Steps to VoIP Deployment
When choosing the right phone system for your company, change management and user adoption must be as much a consideration as functionality and innovation. Here is a high-level path to your VoIP phone deployment.
Step 1 Assess business requirements
What are the objectives of upgrading the current phone system?
What pain points are you specifically trying to address?
Step 2 Planning
Perform a network audit and needs assessment. Take a look at the entire network infrastructure with the understanding that any device in the enterprise can be a weak link.
Step 3 System hygiene
Ensure that all server software and security updates are current and that LAN and WAN systems are clean and running at optimal capacity.
Step 4 Update all devices
Be sure that the operating systems and software on all networked devices and endpoints are current, including handhelds and mobile devices.
Step 5 Phased Rollout
Implement the upgrade in phases. Run a pilot program before implementing the system company-wide.
Step 6 Educate employees
Be sure that employees understand the new system and are aware of hacker vulnerabilities, such as phishing attacks and social engineering.
Step 7 Set expectations
In addition to cost savings, be sure that users appreciate the new features and functions that VoIP offers.
Step 8 Remember regulations
If your business is bound by government regulations, such as HIPAA or Sarbanes–Oxley, be sure that the new phone configuration complies.
Step 9 Set up remote support
Set up virtual private networks and secure links to remote locations.
If you’re considering a new phone system, before going further, check out how companies are turning employee phones into a smart business phone system. If you'd like to try out Spoke for free, take advantage of our free trial - no credit card required and no strings!