While there are a few different types of business VoIP services on the market, it is strongly recommended that small businesses deploy a hosted VoIP service. Hosted VoIP allows businesses to focus on more important aspects of their business, while delegating the maintenance and management of the corporate communications system to a hosted VoIP provider. The question remains, “Who is worthy of your business?”
By closely adhering to the following 4 steps, small businesses are ensuring that they not only select a provider capable of carrying out their communications requirements, but also that their VoIP investment is protected.
1. Evaluate each service provider and their capabilities as it relates to the breadth of their services and flexibility of their offerings. No two vendors are alike in the service they provide. There is an added value to businesses if they are able to secure service from a vendor that provides all of the necessary features needed to get the job done. The cost of managing separate suppliers is much higher than dealing with one that offers all of the services required, if the business requires faxing as well as voice and a provider offers both services it is best to use that vendor instead of a separate supplier for each service.
2. Ensure that the vendor is well established. Don’t be afraid to request proof of fiscal stability. There are many hosted VoIP providers on the market; some may appear to be stable at first glance. However, further investigation could lead to finding that they owe substantial venture capital funding. Failure to comply with repayment terms could result in the business being liquidated and leaving their clients without service.
3. Pay attention to infrastructure requirements. While it is not always a necessity to replace existing equipment, it is best to know beforehand if each item is compatible with the VoIP service. Selecting a hosted IP telephony solution helps to protect against the need to purchase expensive hardware upgrades.
4. Understand the TCO. Determining total cost of ownership can be difficult, and every VoIP provider claims to offer a reduced TCO. Challenge the providers who make the vendor short list to prove their claims. When determining the TCO remember to include training costs, and expected costs of upgrades over the next 3 years.