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VoIP pros and cons

VoIP pros and cons

We are looking to advise our clients on the pros and cons of VoIP. I was wondering if you had some thoughts or ideas on the subject?
Voice over IP (VoIP) technologies carry great promise to reduce telecommunication and networking total cost of ownership and empower businesses with new capabilities and agility. Because VoIP is relatively new, case studies on successful deployments, particularly those with quantifiable costs and benefits are difficult to find.

Early adopters of VoIP can often reap the greatest competitive advantage from investment in an emerging technology, but clearly the need for a solid business case is critical in today's era of tightened spending.

While companies and VoIP vendors struggle to outline the strategic and tangible benefits, and all costs and risks, a reliable financial analysis is the key to winning funding approval. (This will also act as a tracking tool through the implementation, to ensure the company can evaluate and reap the potential rewards of these solutions.)

Here's an overview of what to look for when making the business case for investment in VoIP technology:

Ways to save for corporations

  • Eliminate or reduce intra-office toll charges
  • Avoiding service and support contracts on existing PBX hardware
  • Eliminate the need for on-going Centrex services -- and charges
  • Reduce expansion costs via lower costs for adds, moves and changes; lower user hardware costs
  • Reduce the on-going costs for separate voice messaging systems
  • Provide productivity benefits for remote and traveling workers who can be empowered with the same integrated capabilities as office workers
  • Reduce user training and learning on phone and messaging systems
  • Cost-effectively implement unified messaging
  • Improve security
  • Reduce systems downtime and improve performance

Additional benefits for call centers

  • Virtualize call centers, allowing more flexibility in the center's configuration -- either helping consolidation efforts, or providing enterprise capabilities to telecommuting call center workers
  • Improve customer support services and reduce abandoned calls and call times
  • Improve customer satisfaction and reduce customer turnover via improved call center services

Cost considerations

  • VoIP telecommunication hardware and software
  • IP phone sets or soft phones
  • Network upgrades for possible quality of service and performance upgrades
  • Implementation labor and professional services
  • On-going support and administration labor
  • Support and maintenance contracts
  • Increased support calls and potential user downtime losses on initial deployment
  • IT Training
  • User Training
  • Write-off, write-down and disposal costs for existing telecommunication assets

Potential project risks

  • Quality of service/performance
  • User training and adoption
  • Administration and support skill levels and resources
  • Proprietary vs. open systems interoperability

This expert advice originally appeared on SearchSMB.com.

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