In almost all cases, outsourcing VoIP will save no more than 2 – 5 percent on direct costs versus implementing your own solution. In organizations with superior IT management and skills, outsourcing can actually cost more than implementing and managing your own VoIP solution.
That said, I am a big fan of assessing outsourced solutions for any operations that are not core to a company's business. Treating the telecommunications infrastructure like a utility could have many benefits beyond direct cost savings.
Outsourcing should be pursued as a priority based on the following criteria:
1) Avoid project risks and speed time-to-solution: The IT organization may not have the capability and skills maturity required to implement VoIP effectively, making outsourcing a better option in order to reduce the risk of project failure, delays or budget over-runs during implementation. With outsourcing, many organizations can move to VoIP sooner than purchasing and implementing their own solution.
2) Avoid service level issues: The resources and skill sets may not be adequate to support the solution post-deployment in order to maintain necessary service levels, move-add- and-change volume, or support calls. Telecommunication systems downtime can be very costly; avoiding it via an expert service provider could be worth hundreds of thousands in indirect savings each year.
3) Avoid calling costs: Because many VoIP programs include calling packages, an organization with extremely high call volumes will benefit more than one with marginal calling volume.
4) Reduce risk of change: In an organization that is growing or changing quickly, knowing the incremental cost of each user addition or deletion can be of great benefit, for known and less expensive scalability.
5) Transfer technology burden to service provider: If the VoIP platform that is selected is subject to frequent upgrades or requires major replacements in 5 year or less, it may be wise to avoid the capital purchase and upgrades via outsourcing, placing the burden of maintaining the latest technology on the service provider (although many service contracts do not adequately address technology refresh requirements).
6) Reduce up-front expenditures: Organizations that are short on cash or resources to allocate to telecommunications infrastructure can move to a VoIP solution with low change costs, requiring much lower up-front expenditures for equipment and labor.
For outsourcing of VoIP solutions, as with many IT infrastructure outsourcing, some direct savings are possible, but the softer benefits such as reduced risks and improved service levels are well worth a look. It is suggested that the decision making team analyze three different alternatives for VoIP: purchase and manage in-house, managed services to help manage the in-house solution, and completely outsourced.
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