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VoIP for SMBs: Making the Transition

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McKay Bird

Chief Marketing Officer

It’s a question many small and midsize business (SMB) owners face, but one that isn’t always as easy to answer as it seems: How do we move from our traditional landline phones to a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system?

There are a number of issues and variables that should be taken into account before making this move. However, SMBs that undertake the transition armed with more information and understanding of the process — as well as their own needs — will be able to make the move more smoothly and start reaping the benefits of moving to the cloud.

Infrastructure Issues

Some SMBs think of adopting VoIP as being a plug-and-play process. And with some services, that can be the case, but there are certain obstacles that can pop up. Obstacles that have nothing to do with the vendor or solution selected.

Many of the largest challenges for SMBs are related to the physical infrastructure of the building their office is located in. Is the office cabled correctly? Does the building have the proper space and infrastructure to handle a VoIP system? Does the structure have enough power (or backup power) to maintain the VoIP system?

Another obstacle can be related to the SMB’s larger Internet solution. Does the company have enough bandwidth? Is there a backup system in case of Internet outages?

An organization should answer each of these questions before making the transition to VoIP. In some cases, one or more of these issues will prevent a business from making the move just yet. At the very least, asking these questions will help uncover any potential issues and pave teh way for the easiest transition possible.

Looking to the Future

The next big hurdle for SMBs when it comes to the VoIP transition is thinking about a service that will fit the company’s needs for the medium and long term, not just for today. For smaller SMBs, the VoIP question can lead to issues of mobile integration and call quality. The business owner needs to consider whether “going small” will provide the features that will enable growth and ease of use.

Once an SMB gets a little larger (between 51 and 250 employees), analysts have found that issues that haunt smaller SMBs, such as the lack of an IT department, start to fall away.

“Their needs will be more complex than smaller SMBs, and they will lean more to traditional providers since they offer more complete solutions,” analyst Jon Arnold said recently.

The Bottom Line

No matter the size of your business, cost is usually the largest issue discussed in the switch to VoIP. The bigger picture, however, for SMB owners should be to look at which solution provides the features that will fill today’s needs while positioning the business for future growth.

Being an SMB owner can be stressful, with every penny making an impact in the bottom line. And the transition to a VoIP solution can be painful if the SMB doesn’t have all the necessary information upfront or if they don’t consider the whole picture when weighing their options. The business owner that prepares will be able to make a smooth transition and maximize the return on this important business investment.

For more information on how to work smarter with technology solutions for the modern SMB, check out our Top 10 List When Considering a Cloud-Based Contact Center Solution whitepaper.

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