Saturday, January 28, 2012

Switching to VoIP - A Hosted or On-Premise Phone System?

Once you have taken the decision to switch to VoIP, the next decision is whether you want to own your own phone system or opt for a hosted solution or virtual. There are pros and cons of each, however, as a rule an on-premise phone system is the best solution for large companies with complex routing and call centers.

For companies with a minimum number of users, a hosted solution may be the perfect way to take advantage of VoIP technology at minimal cost. The premise of a hosted phone system is that of an outside vendor to maintain all hardware, software and communications. For small businesses without their own IT support systems, with the seller to maintain and troubleshoot the current system, employees to focus on day to day business operations and growth. Hosted solutions have many of the basic features seen in the large on-premise systems. Things such as auto attendant, voicemail, music on hold, conference calling and call forwarding are usually included in the systems of most of the accommodations.

With a virtual PBX, the business owner does not have to allocate space in your home location to the telephone exchange. This can be particularly difficult in the properties of small shop where space is at a premium. The business is changing to the point of physical location is no longer a limitation. With the use of a virtual PBX, small business has the same competitive advantage as their larger competitors. With VoIP technology small business can now allow their partners to work in a home office, a customer, or even a hotel room. The versatility of VoIP technology allows the extension to go where the employee leaves.

When you buy a virtual phone system, the issue of support should be addressed during the checkout process. A service level agreement is essential to ensure that vendor support will provide a timely manner in case of a system outage. For movements additions and changes, there is usually a web interface that allows the company to make these simple changes yourself. However, an agreement could include these changes if desired.

A central premise is generally much more expensive but are generally much more robust. Due to the large number of users in multiple locations, a unit that is located and maintained by the business owner usually requires a complex configuration involving multiple circuits, a considerable amount of hardware as well as the ability to interact with many systems external. As this type of phone system is used to help customers self-service, as well as running a call center right, the need for additional features, such as vectors, hunt groups and analysis of ARS, is evident. If you already have a plant with capacity for VoIP, then you can make voice over IP technology gradually. This allows the company to leverage existing hardware that he or she already has that still works correctly. As the extensions that add new hardware in the system or replaced, IP phones can be purchased. Over time this becomes gradually all devices in the IP telephony system enabled phones. This allows the company to defer the cost of moving to VoIP over several years. This is where having a phone system that will run the old and new technology side by side can be beneficial.

Support for this type of system requires someone with knowledge and experience to maintain the system to keep it running as smoothly and efficiently. If domestic support is not available or not desired, as in the virtual PBX, support can be provided by your telephone system. Again, a service level agreement would be needed to ensure a timely response to system problems and outages. Maintenance shall include replacement of hardware in the event of a failure. If this is not included in the maintenance contract, the business owner would have to pay each time the hardware needs to be replaced. This sophisticated phone system, this can be very costly in time. A well-planned maintenance contract, which includes both support and hardware replacement is often the best solution. When the hardware needs to be replaced, a technician from the supplier, just bring the new equipment at no additional cost.

By switching to a VoIP telephone system, there are many options available. Any system chosen must provide reliability and scalability. Future business growth should also be considered before buying. For those companies with rapid growth, the purchase of a system that can handle the anticipated future needs will be more profitable. Since it is likely that prices will be mostly from the competition during the initial purchase is a good idea to take this price to have the capacity before you need it.

Switching to VoIP is a business decision that offers great versatility, flexibility and significant cost savings. With the possibility of extensions almost anywhere, no limits to where your business can go.

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