Upgrading to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system offers clear benefits, including better pricing, rich features, and flexibility. Even so, the transition to a new communications system that relies on a different underlying infrastructure can be a daunting process. Take a look at 10 steps your enterprise can follow to ensure a smooth-as-possible process:
- Plan the Problems. Setting up a project plan with delegated assignments for relevant parts of the process is just the beginning. This will help you stay on schedule and make sure you are matching your transition to your priorities. Design a plan that anticipates problems that you will face along the way. Make these potential problems the focus of planning meetings and resist the mindset of “crossing that bridge when you come to it.” It will come; the question is, will you be prepared?
- Detail Requirements. You need to know how you’ll plan for a VoIP system to improve your current processes and systems. Don’t rely on another company’s plans, because you may miss critical pieces of the planning process for your organization. A detailed requirement list helps prevent getting lost in the volume of features offered with VoIP. Create your list, highlight your priorities, and evaluate whether you’ll want to add additional features later.
- Test the Network. Your VoIP system will rely solely on the internet connection, so be sure your network has the speed to keep up. There are free tools online that help you test the speed of your network and determine whether your current bandwidth has the appropriate capacity for the solutions you’re considering.
- Examine Quality of Service. It doesn’t require a top-tier VoIP system to outperform land lines, but VoIP still can have quality issues. These are generally traced back to the network, but can be mitigated by IT and the Internet Service Provider (ISP) with a jitter buffer, a VoIP optimizing router, and traffic monitoring.
- Evaluate Providers. Look for a provider that is accustomed to working with businesses of your size, and, ideally, in your industry.
- Get Familiar With the SLA. Your service level agreement (SLA) will detail the features and services of your VoIP system, as well as how your provider will be held accountable.
- Consider a Dedicated VoIP Connection. If your main internet connection runs into issues, it can be beneficial to have a line that ensures communications are not interrupted.
- Prioritize Security Features. Look for a VoIP system that offers end-to-end encryption, multi-factor authentication, and administrative controls. VoIP systems come with risks like call hijacking, denial-of-service attacks, eavesdropping, and more. Make sure your solution comes with antivirus protection as well as the above security features.
- Prepare Your Team: It’s important to include many voices in your transition process, in order to improve buy-in, anticipate how the change might impact different departments, and help capture all of the necessary system requirements. Enterprises should also invest in training so that employees feel equipped to operate VoIP technology.
- Test, Test and Test Again. This is one of the most important steps in the process, because it helps you detect any problems before your organization is fully relying on the VoIP system.
Upgrading to a VoIP system is one of the most important investments you can make to drive down costs and improve productivity. That doesn’t mean it’s always an easy process. Contact us at AMD Communications to get started with a plan that anticipates challenges and helps smooth the way for a successful communications upgrade.