Take Your Business beyond the Confines of Office Walls with VoIP

    There’s a reason today’s legacy equipment has become associated with words such as “antiquated” “obsolete” and “archaic”; the technology simply doesn’t give companies the capabilities and bandwidth they need to survive and thrive in a 21st century environment. This is perhaps no more true than when it comes to office phone systems, as equipment that was once entirely sufficient has now become outdated thanks to the maturation of communication technology, including the rise of VoIP technology.

    The office phone system has advanced considerably over the years. For example, instead of having to route calls over the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN)—a process that involves circuit-switched telephony, or dedicated channels between two points for the duration of a call—companies can now utilize VoIP and transfer voice data across the Internet thanks to packet-switch telephony. Simply put, VoIP enables companies to say goodbye to the constraints and costs associated with the PSTN and hello to a wealth of advantages such as enhanced flexibility, noticeable costs savings and improved call quality.

    With such an array of benefits on the table, it comes as no surprise that IDG Enterprise predicts that by 2018 the VoIP market revenue will soar to $20 billion, largely driven by demand from SMBs for business VoIP solutions. Moreover, Infonetics Research predicts that a cumulative $377 billion will be spent on business and residential/SOHO VoIP services from 2012 to 2016, fueled primarily by SIP trunking and hosted VoIP/UC services.

    So, how can you take your business to new heights with VoIP? Let’s take a look at the chief benefits afforded by the increasingly ubiquitous technology:

    Ability to Support Emerging Trends

    Without question, trends such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), the rise of the mobile workforce and the demand for centralized communication and collaboration toolsets have rocked the traditional business environment. Fortunately, VoIP technology stands ready to help businesses embrace these burgeoning trends due to its flexibility, elasticity and scalability.

    One concept transforming the work environment is the idea of a remote workforce, or letting employees work out of their homes as opposed to on-site. In fact, one in five Americans currently work from home, and that number is expected to increase by 63 percent in the next five years, according to a Telework Research Network study. Thanks to VoIP,employees can enjoy working from home without having to miss a call, as the technology enables companies to transfer calls and have Direct Inward Dialing (DID) with the same number as the office phones. In so doing, employees are no longer confined to a phone that is tethered to one location; conversely, the phone becomes a virtual device that can follow road warriors wherever they might be.

    Moreover, with so many of your workers scattered across the globe, VoIP technology allows your company to have one central landline number, which gives the impression that all of your workers are united under one roof. And, with advanced options such as call forwarding, Find Me/Follow Me and voicemail to email notification, your key stakeholders will never realize that your remote workers are beyond your office walls.

    Substantial Cost Savings

    Just as each and every technology investment you make nowadays has to positively affect your bottom line, the choice you make about your phone system can greatly affect your OPEX/CAPEX spending. Upgrading to a modern phone system, thanks to VoIP technology, enables your business to streamline operations and positively affect your bottom line. Additionally, today’s VoIP phone systems can be configured to integrate with your core applications, like CRM, ERP or ATS, empowering each with the necessary functionality to get the most done in the least amount of time, which translates into saved dollars.

    According to an infographic by CustomerMagnetism, the most attractive feature of VoIP is its cost-saving potential, as the technology provides unlimited local and long distance plans, as well as cost-effective international calling plans. In fact, whereas modern phone bills can cost nearly anywhere from $35 to $45 per line before hardware is taken into consideration, VoIP can slash that cost by as much as 60 percent, at just $20 per user each month. Further, VoIP technology allows companies to dodge setup and contractual fees thanks to its plug and play feature.

    Not only can your company chop its CAPEX budget—by eliminating the need to purchase hardware, additional phone lines and equipment—but your business can also see its OPEX budget drop significantly. Teaming with the right VoIP provider removes the onus from your company’s shoulders to  handle disaster recovery and network maintenance.

    Enhanced Functionality

    Seamless communications and collaboration are the cornerstones to your business success—two things which are greatly enhanced with VoIP technology. Modern phone systems, powered through VoIP technology, offer a myriad of features that bring value-add to your company. Some of the most desired VoIP functionalities include Find Me/Follow Me call routing, which allows you to establish a list of numbers where you can be found before the call gets pushed to voicemail; call screening, which gives your workforce the ability to screen calls and decide how to treat each call before picking up; and auto attendant, a must-have for small businesses in particular, as it allows users to sift through a call menu to find the correct extension.

    However, one of most attractive parts of a VoIP phone is that it often boasts conferencing functionalities that support both audio and video conferencing. There is little doubt that conferencing has revolutionized the workforce. The technology brings heightened efficiency and productivity as well as enhanced collaboration to the workplace; in fact, after surveying 5,000 enterprise video end-users around the world, Wainhouse Research and Polycom found that the use of video conferencing as a business tool is growing rapidly. Here’s a look at some of the chief findings:

    • 71 percent are relying on video conferencing to meet with prospective customers and partners.
    • 87 percent of survey respondents listed reduced travel costs as the top benefit of video conferencing.
    • 39 percent of respondents video conference daily; 21 percent monthly; and 14 percent every few days.

    A comprehensives VoIP system will support audio and even video conferencing, allowing multiple individuals to participate in a VoIP conversation no matter their geographic distribution—all the while enjoying stellar call quality.

    With a vast array of VoIP benefits to enjoy, companies are increasingly doing a rip-and-replace with their legacy equipment in favor of bleeding-edge technology that catapults their office phone system into the 21st century.