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January 14, 2009

Voice Over IP Implementation Options Remove Barriers for SMBs

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor


Voice Over IP is arguably one of the few recession-proof investment propositions for the enterprise. The technology can easily deliver five-figure savings in monthly phone bills, although initial implementation costs traditionally deferred that savings. VoIP can reduce the overall cost of communications, streamline communication processes and deliver a strong return on investment.

The real challenge does not lie in deciding whether or not to implement a VoIP solution, but instead in which solution to choose. Now, new options are emerging to alleviate the upfront requirement to smooth out the investment-return cycle.

A recent VendorGuru.com piece highlighted current options in VoIP implementations that are designed to distribute initial costs. These options include hosted solutions, equipment leading plans, and phased migrations. With such options, even small businesses can tap into the savings potential that VoIP can offer.  

A hosted service model is generally positioned as delivering enterprise business solutions for small business budgets. With a hosted solution, the service provider assumes the upfront hardware expense and charges the customer for access to the technology on a monthly basis. The provider maintains the system and provides an easy user interface for day-to-day administrative changes.

Taking VoIP equipment on a lease is another option that can distribute the expense over the system over several years. Leasing can be a preferable option as the equipment has a longer depreciation schedule than standard PCs. Taking the option to lease instead of purchase still leaves room for flexibility and scalability if changes need to be made.

Companies seeking to implement VoIP can also consider a phased migration. Such a solution repurposes public switched telephone network (PSTN) equipment in an IP environment. By phasing the VoIP implementation, the company can “ease” into the cost, use and savings of the solution over time.

As with any technology implementation, there is no “one-solution-fits-all”, yet small businesses can find a VoIP solution that fits their needs and their budget when considering alternative implementation solutions.

By considering hosted, leased or phased migration options, SMBs can consider VoIP implementations without the barriers that have traditionally stood in their way. Now, VoIP savings can be a realistic benchmark that can be reflected as early as the first monthly phone bill.

Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by
Stefania Viscusi


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