Expert Roundtable: Secrets of VoIP Deployment
VoIP can be one of the most challenging projects for any IT pro, especially if you've never done it before. We created a VoIP deployment checklist for your network to get you started. But, how do you truly know if your network is ready? And what pitfalls should you be looking to avoid?
In a recent Expert Roundtable hosted by Spiceworks, professionals from across the industry discussed best practices from years of VoIP deployment experience and what IT pros need to know before delving into VoIP.
Experts Featured in the Roundtable:
Director of Solution Design Engineering at West UC
Lead Sales Engineer at CenturyLink
Manager, Sales Engineering at Fusion
Mid Market Segment Marketing at Avaya
Vice President, Sales Engineering and Deployment Services at 8x8, Inc.
Topics Discussed in the Roundtable:
- Creating a checklist for pre-development must-haves
- Assessing your network for VoIP readiness
- Pros and cons of moving to a cloud-hosted provider
View the recording at the bottom of this page to learn what we and our competitors recommend as best practices, how the vendors differ, and what you need to know when considering VoIP deployment. Get answers to common questions like:
- How do I convince my boss to switch to VoIP?
- How do I know if my company should use VoIP on-premises, cloud-based or hybrid?
- What should my disaster recovery plan look like?
- Can VoIP be used for emergency services?
- Can I send and receive a fax using VoIP?
- How do I prepare my IT staff for a VoIP solution?
- How do you manage security?
On top of the experts in the video, I thought I would go over what I viewed as some of the more important questions and take some time to answer them myself. Below are the VoIP deployment questions I chose followed by the answers.
What does VoIP mean to you and your customers?
In many ways it boils down to capability and economics – getting more capability with a pricing model that provides a better fit. We’ve only ever provided enterprise voice services hosted in the cloud, so our commitment to VoIP extends back to 2000. Since then, we’ve seen how clients are able to leverage the flexibility and scalability provided by hosted services to drive process and organizational transformation.
How do I convince my boss to switch to VoIP?
A good first step is to talk with like-firms who’ve already made the migration. Seek to learn how the change impacted their capability, their capital budgets, and their ability to tackle other strategic projects. Getting an unfiltered response is always a good first step. But then take that learning and apply it to your own situation – how would your IT team change, what could it focus on if it no longer had to babysit aging technology? How would the move away from large periodic capital expenditures impact the organization’s ability to initiate other projects?
Then look at how a hosted solution, which is perpetually upgraded with new tools, increased reliability, etc. Allow your team dynamic to evolve – what’s the impact of that significant jump in team productivity?
By laying out the projected positive impact, you’ll find most bosses get very interested very quickly.
Do you see more companies using VoIP on-premises, cloud-based or hybrid, and which types of companies should be looking at each option?
Deployments for each continue to climb. Whether SIP trunking into an existing IP-PBX or a fully hosted solution, or somewhere in between, companies are embracing VoIP. The key for clients is to work with a partner that can provide the right solution, or combination of solutions, for their organization. Deciding which way to go will depend upon a number of factors, including: previous investments in technology; the rate of organizational growth, especially the number of remote locations; requirements for mobility support; the need/desire to migrate away from on-prem tech, and the need to redeploy limited IT assets and resources towards more strategic uses – ones that help the organization develop sustainable competitive advantage.
How do I prepare my IT staff for a VoIP solution?
When you’ve selected the right partner, you’ll find that they act as an extension of your IT team. So at the outset, lay a foundation of information sharing and setting expectations. That will allow trust to build over time – which in turn provides the IT staff with more flexibility and the confidence that comes with a well-managed solution. For the team members impacted the most, those who may have devoted their time to ensuring the on-site PBX continued to operate well past its prime, the change to a hosted solution means moving away from looking for parts, for hard to come by software upgrades, and the like, and instead moving towards managing solution usage/utilization, towards user training, etc. all so the team gets the full benefit of current call, conferencing, and collaboration technology.
What are the main things I should be looking for in a VoIP vendor?
Finding the right VoIP vendor is different from company to company. It depends on how your organization evaluates itself and its future. However, in general, you shold be looking for a team you trust and understands your goals as a company.
Top Three Things to Look for in a VoIP Vendor:
- A proven commitment to service