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5 Tips for a Smooth Transition to Hosted VoIP

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5 Tips for a Smooth Transition to Hosted VoIP

5 Tips for a Smooth Transition to Hosted VoIP

"It's the journey, not the destination" is an common adage, often meant to encourage focus on the present instead of the future. With VoIP, though, the journey might not always be enjoyable if you didn't start by picking an experienced hosted VoIP provider. In that case, you could be in for a tricky switchover from your legacy PBX phone system, with general troubles related to staff preparation, service plan selection and networking equipment setup.

The good news is that if you did team up with a partner such as Telesystem, then you should sail through the transition and reach the destination you want; namely a scalable, flexible, secure and cost-effective hosted VoIP solution that works for your entire organization. But how do you know if you've got the right VoIP provider? You can start by looking at how they will help you make the initial switch.

Dialed-in: What to focus on for the best possible VoIP transition

Making the jump to hosted VoIP is greatly simplified by working with someone with consultative expertise, who can guide you through the entire process from initial estimates to service turnover. More specifically, a trusted VoIP partner should help with tasks and items such as:

1. Defining VoIP-ready specifications for the network

Hosted VoIP offers prominent benefits such as reduced  cost and complexity in infrastructure management, improved scalability and feature-rich functionality, including auto attendant, call forwarding and distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) protections. However, it still requires a capable network to deliver these key advantages.

An account representative from the provider should be able to help define device-specific requirements, but in general, for superior VoIP service, you'll need:

  • Firewalls that support NAT Security Policy as well as Quality of Service (QoS), i.e. the measurement of service levels for users and applications.
  • Managed switches with QoS, to make sure voice gets priority across the network for acceptable call quality.
  • CAT5 or better structured cabling for preventing signal loss and noise and also reducing crosstalk.
  • An assessed LAN, with documented capabilities in handling high-quality voice traffic with minimal jitter, latency and packet loss.
  • Adequate bandwidth and CPU power, sufficient backup power and up-to-date firmware and software.

2. Collaborating on plans for training and design

One of the biggest potential hurdles in the upgrade to VoIP is the prospect of end users initially struggling to learn new technologies. This hiccup doesn't have to have happen, though. It can be avoided through a thorough, properly paced implementation process prioritizing detailed training and customized design.

Your hosted VoIP provider will help you implement a solution that is both technically sound and well-understood enough to meet all your particular requirements and expectations. For example, the provider may help with per-user phone configuration, endpoint ordering and training objectives, in addition to performing assessments of the technical components we listed earlier.

Along the way, end users benefit from trainings that might focus on activities such as how to use a softphone to make calls from a PC and how to forward office phone calls to a mobile device. VoIP has many more useful features than traditional PBX alternatives, and with the right solution rollout these capabilities will significantly improve your communications without seeming intimidating.

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3. Hedging against security risks in advance

Every modern software and hardware platform must be hardened against a broad spectrum of security threats, from fundamental vulnerabilities in many CPU architectures to massive targeted DDoS campaigns. At the same time, many organizations simply do not possess the money or the manpower to effectively defend their networks against these risks. 

An Enterprise Management Associate study in 2017 found that almost 80 percent of surveyed security teams reported feeling overwhelmed by the volume of alerts and maintenance tasks they had to deal with each day. It now makes sense for many organizations to entrust these responsibilities at least partially to an external provider. 

The ongoing shift to hosted VoIP among enterprises and SMBs presents a golden opportunity to enlist the security expertise of VoIP providers. With Telesystem, all services that pass through the core network are shielded by built-in DDoS protections, which are included in each service plan at no additional cost to the customer.

4. Bridging the divide between IT and the rest of the organization

With your provider's specifications and recommendations in mind, it's a good idea to ensure your staff, network and processes are prepared to bring these blueprint to life. Doing so may require the dissolution of organizational silos that might have separated technical teams (i.e., IT) from everyone, and that could impede VoIP adoption.

Since it traverses IP networks, VoIP is usually viewed as a data service, which would seemingly put it within the purview of the IT department. At the same time, it is also a voice service and a replacement for the PBX system the entire company relies on, meaning that it will likely be overseen by other teams in operations and the line of business, too.

It's important for IT to understand expectations of voice services (e.g., they need to be more reliable than any other app IT has worked with) and for executives, middle management and project managers to become familiar with the technical features and requirements of VoIP. Collaborative frameworks such as DevOps, which is popular in organizations that develop software, offer models for how to get everyone on the same page. Vendor trainings and information sessions can also help.

5. Selecting a service plan that works for your organization

What will you use your hosted VoIP system for? Will it support on-demand and scheduled conference calls? Does it need to be deployed to mobile workers at branch offices? Or it something that will reside in a break or guest room?

By having answers to these questions before implementation begins, you can minimize the risk that the final product will not work as expected. Hosted VoIP providers like Telesystem offer multi-tiered plans with distinct features designed for different use cases and budgets.

Start your VoIP transition on the right foot

VoIP is far more flexible, versatile and cost-effective than legacy telephony. As powerful as its underlying technology is, its provider makes tremendous difference in how ultimately beneficial it is for customers.

At Telesystem, we offer reliable, secure hosted voice solutions backed by industry-leading customer service. We're committed to ensuring your VoIP system supports your organization's growth while helping you get more from each dollar spent. Request a quote today or contact us for additional information on your options.

 

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