Q

Are we too late for VoIP?

Has our company missed the VoIP bandwagon?

I feel like our company, in trying to save money, missed the VoIP bandwagon. Should we still attempt to roll out VoIP or just concentrate now on unified communications (UC)?
The VoIP bandwagon has not passed you by, so it's not too late. VoIP has moved beyond the "early adopter" stage, but has a way to go before becoming truly mainstream. The bigger question of skipping VoIP and going straight to UC is too complex to address here, and I will just focus on your immediate need. Everyone is cost-conscious today, and that's a core virtue of VoIP.

If you have never used VoIP, there are two basic ways to go – either gradually in phases, or completely on a wholesale switchover. In your case, the former would be best, and you can painlessly trial VoIP on a small scale and gauge the savings for yourself. One way would be to VoIP-enable a branch office and use it as a test case. Or you could just get a couple of VoIP lines to trial on their own.

Most VoIP services do not involve contracts, so if it doesn't prove worthwhile, you can easily drop the service. I should also add that trialing a few VoIP lines can easily be done on your own, without the involvement or expense of bringing in an IT consultant. You will need their services if you decide to deploy VoIP on a larger scale, but for now, a simple trial should be sufficient.

This was first published in January 2009

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