If your organization deals with a high volume of telecommunications traffic on a regular basis, then there’s a very good chance that it’s dealing with a number of unnecessary – and entirely avoidable – costs. It might be worthwhile switching over to a Voice-Over-IP implementation. Although it’s hardly a new technology, it nevertheless offers any organization that utilizes it a great deal, particularly if one is to take into account all the innovations and advances VoIP has seen since its inception.
We’ve already mentioned one of the most significant advantages associated with VoIP: cost. By utilizing existing networking infrastructure, a business can maximize one investment without having to make a second one. The same network that handles the flow of data for the business’s other major components can easily accommodate its telecommunication services, as well.
VOIP’s cost-effectiveness is particularly noticeable if you’re dealing with cross-country or international communication. Instead of having to count minutes and worry about long-distance charges, an organization can easily manage calls to anywhere in the world.
VoIP can also be a great boon to efficiency. By using a VoIP connection, employees can receive and make calls on your organization’s behalf anywhere they’ve access to a data connection. It’s also a lot easier to add new features to a VoIP connection as opposed to a traditional landline. That flexibility is incredibly important, particularly with how fluid many businesses need to remain in order to stay competitive these days.
There are two basic methods for providing your business with IP telephony capabilities. You can use a hosted service like Skype, which provides all of the necessary infrastructure — you just install the client. Or you can set up your own VoIP server hosted in a data center and managed by a hosting company — usually known as self-hosting. There are pros and cons to both approaches.
If you’re looking for a hosted service like Skype, you’re always going to be running the risk of signing on with a vendor that’s anything but ideal. Skype, for example, doesn’t provide the level of reliability and stability that businesses demand. Although they do offer enterprise plans, they are at their core a consumer product, saddled with all the problems that are too-often inherent in such (such as a long-standing bug which allows a Skype user’s IP address to be determined through the application).
What’s more, while you’ll be outsourcing all the technical stuff – and probably paying less overall for the installation – you’re ultimately going to have a lot less control over how your VoIP setup works if you choose a third-party solution. That might be a dealbreaker for some organizations, though it could be the best choice if you’re operating on a tight budget (or if you don’t have a great deal of technical knowledge).
If you’ve the knowledge base and the capacity to handle the administrative overhead, however, then self-hosting your VoIP server with a hosting company is unequivocally the better choice. The advantages of doing so are much the same as the advantages of running your own dedicated server: you’ve got complete control over how your VoIP installation is operated, giving you the flexibility to shape and adapt it to fit your needs.You can also easily ensure everything’s running as planned, without having to rely on a vendor for your uptime.
VoIP may not be a new technology, but it’s no less useful for it. Many organizations that deal heavily with telecommunications will notice significant savings through it, and with the wide selection of hosting options available online, there’s bound to be a choice that every business can benefit from.