Small businesses often don’t have the same options in adopting new technologies as large businesses do. Funds and resources restrict decision making for small businesses. VoIP can offer significant cost reduction and a number of other features that are otherwise unaffordable. Traditional phone services cost a small business around three times more per employee. VoIP service providers recognize this emerging market in SMB and now offer packages tailored to SMBs. The initial investment in VoIP remains the most important challenge.
There are four cost sources:
• IP phone terminals
• Core infrastructure for call handling
• License fees (ongoing)
IP phones today are the most expensive element of the overall solution. However, many vendors are emerging with cheaper alternatives that fit the bill for small business.
The core infrastructure for today’s VoIP is heading towards a bundle offering, where one box contains multiple call-handling elements plus inherited features from a traditional PBX. An IP PBX, such as ours, could provide an optimal solution that is cost effective and efficient.
Service providers might offer an overall bundle that includes the core infrastructure. There are also service integrators who, along with service providers, could present cost-effective solutions that include the terminals.
It is recommended that an organization studies the services that can be made available through a VoIP offering. An organization can have the flexibility of hiring people to work from home because of the ability to handle calls over a VPN tunnel. In addition, an organization can have more employees on the road at a low cost with the availability of softphones. The one major benefit of VoIP is the ability to move around employees without the extra effort of relocating phone extensions. Those examples highlight the flexibility and mobility that VoIP can bring to an organization. Nevertheless, VoIP brings a new dimension to network management that didn’t necessarily exist before.
Depending on the state of the data network and telephony structure in a company, a business infrastructure can be dramatically changed from the introduction of VoIP. VPN concentrators might be required to handle remote and mobile soft clients. New firewalls that handle SIP traversal over NAT might be a necessity. The IP network planning could require an overhaul because of new IP assignments.
For more information on how VoIP works, VoIP considerations, and how to implement it, download our White Paper: VoIP for Telephony.