Legacy telephony has long been the root of our communications system for generations. Needless to say, there is always room for improvement and for change. As time has gone on and as technology has proven to be a significant influence over our lives, there has been many changes in how our communications are delivered and how they serve us. VoIP (Voice over Internet Provider) and Unified Communication (UC) represent two of these changes that have had impacted our daily communications with one another. Since business has moved past legacy telephony, it will be necessary to consider these solutions. So how are you supposed to know which way to go? It is important to get outside of your office and consider not only the needs of the business needs, but also the culture that supports it.
Examine the Needs of Your Business:
Thinking about the needs of your business is obviously very important when making communications decisions. These systems will be functionally used by everyone in your company. In most cases, typical legacy phone systems work just fine, however there are pressures around us that make us crave reduced costs, which is the core driver for VoIP. If you want to keep your existing telephony as you have had it with possibly a few extra features at a lower cost- adapting VoIP could be the solution you are looking for. VoIP is deployed fairly easy and if your infrastructure is ready, quickly as well. This is beneficial to you and your company's long and short term plans. When all communication modes can ride over the same data network and connection, voice becomes a part of something bigger and better. However when the overall need shifts from cost saving to the needs of employees and making them more productive, it may be in your best interest to look into UC and its features.
Meeting the Needs of Your Employees:
Looking beyond cost savings and to the future of your communications needs, your employees will often provide a reasonable predictor of your future. Communication patterns are influenced by shifting technology advances and the deeper you look into what your employees are doing and how they are doing it, the easier it will be to determine if a UC solution will be successful. If, during your research, you determine that standalone voice with a desk handset will continue to be the core of your communications, VoIP is the best choice. Implementation of VoIP alone will be beneficial to the road ahead for UC, which will eventually become required for businesses to compete in the market. UC solutions are interchangeable and unlike VoIP which is all or none, you can implement some basic features and add additional features over time. UC provides options for a wide range of communications styles but, if your users stylistically will not adapt them, then waiting to on this may be beneficial. You know that old adage, you can lead a horse to water but.... you cannot make it drink.
Assessing the Needs of Your Management:
Regardless of what IT or employees want or think, the business decision makers will ultimately decide if VoIP or UC is the right call for your business. If management is mainly concerned with cost cutting, it is in their best interest to evaluate VoIP. Even so, if the overall priority is to cut costs as much and as quickly as possible, the decision will be steered towards in a cloud or leased solution. In more cases than not, management will push to implement UC when they understand the value that it brings to employee productivity. Although it is harder to quantify the savings that employee productivity brings as a result of a UC implementation, VoIP cost savings are bottom line visible. At the end of the day, it is important to consider all factors, look at the pros and cons of each and based off of that, decide what is going to be the most beneficial for you over time.
When everyone comes together in this decision making process, and a mutual agreement is reached about what is best for the company, there is an opportunity to create a powerful integrated communications platform that enables collaboration and propels achievement.
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