VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology is a catchphrase in today's business communication industry.
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There is no shortage of telecommunication providers who are eager to tout VoIP business systems, but few make it easy to perform side-by-side comparisons with other vendors.
Further complicating the selection process is the fact that the VoIP marketplace is rife with insider jargon and technological verbiage that confounds the average small business owner. Getting past the technical aspects of VoIP to conduct useful vendor analysis is challenging – but it's necessary to ensure a smooth transition and uninterrupted communications in your organization.
Cost counts, but it's not the only factor when choosing a VoIP business phone system vendor. Here are some other things you'll want to think about when you vet VoIP business providers.
- Expertise. Industry experience makes a big difference when it comes to VoIP business phone technology. Sure, you might be able to get a discount from a new to market VoIP business provider. But you'll pay later when your new vendor isn't able to deliver the level of support or technical expertise you need to maintain a functioning and fully-integrated system.
- Upfront analysis. VoIP business phone system vendors are notorious for promising big results from their products and services. Yet until they have conducted a thorough analysis of your current phone system, it's impossible for them to give you an informed estimate of how much VoIP will cost and the benefits you can expect. If a prospective VoIP provider doesn't offer to analyze your current resources, move on to a vendor who will.
- Open standards. If you are concerned about integrating your VoIP business phone solution with other business applications like your CRM application, you'll need to make sure your vendor uses open standards rather than proprietary technology. Although proprietary systems can be integrated with certain applications, it's a much messier process.
- Expandability. Good VoIP business vendors are eager to talk about how their products and services will make future phone system expansion easy and hassle-free. If your provider avoids talking about expandability features, it's probably a sign that the ability to resize their product is limited or non-existent.
- Licensing & authorization. Licensing tells you that your vendor has the proper insurance coverage and is in compliance with state regulatory requirements. Authorization, on the other hand, is the hardware manufacturer's word that the vendor has completed the necessary training to install and service system components. You should verify that the vendor has both before you make any buying decisions.