Is VoIP good for Small Business?

VoIP for Business has become commonplace in the business and personal marketplace.  Most businesses use it, bringing them many benefits.  The increases in Increased remote working and working from home following the restrictions imposed by the pandemic has meant many more small businesses using VoIP for Business.

Originally VoIP meant a level of expense that put out of the reach of the smaller business, but shelf-units and PC-based virtual PBX software have brought VoIP for Business well with the reach of even the smallest business and SoHo users.   The increasing availability of Internet access, especially the roll-out of fibre to the home, is also providing benefits to digital telephony. That has, in turn, driving a need for VoIP in smaller businesses.

Before VoIP, whenever an employee left the building they were by and large uncontactable, with the possible exception of catching them at a client, at home in the evening or in their overnight accommodation. This meant communications between staff, the office, and each other were difficult at best.  All that has changed with the advent of affordable Business VoIP. Simply put, with Business VoIP and its inbuilt video-conferencing capability, individuals and teams need never be uncontactable, inside or outside the office. It is now possible to be truly mobile.

The Benefits of Voip to Small Businesses

Cost Benefits

Cost Benefits

Cost savings are probably the leading reason for adopting VoIP.  A leading cost-saver in being able to call individuals or multiple attendees using VoIP is a great cost-benefit.  Because the transport is now the Internet, rather than the PSTN,  toll charges can be pretty much avoided.   This is particularly beneficial in calls and conferences involving long-distance and international connections.

Improvements in the Mobility and Accessibility of Staff

Mobility Improvements

The ability of smart devices like tablets and smartphones to support VoIP calling over WiFi brings great benefits in accessibility and mobility.

Staff can make and receive voice and video calls and join the group and individual video conferences on their smart device anytime and anywhere.  Other VoIP features such as call forwarding and pick-up, voicemail placing and retrieval are available, though depending on the specific handset.

For remote workers, what is has changed is WiFi availability at both clients’ premises and in public spaces.  WiFi is common in business, and many public spaces provide free WiFi, either themselves or through their tenants.  Most hotels now have free WiFi for guests, and some municipalities provide it as a public free service.

Remote and mobile workers can now connect using a VPN to the Internet and the corporate network from anywhere that has WiFi coverage.

Remote and mobile workers can now be full members of the workforce.

Business Profile

Business Profile

Using VoIP can significantly improve the business profile of a small business.  Automatic call forwarding from a remote office to a central depot or call centre can give the impression that the business is local.  A business can give the impression of being a national or even international business. Other image enhancement techniques are to create departmental numbers, for example, calls to “Sales” are directed to a single extension.  This gives the impression that the organisation is larger than it is.   Using a SIP profile on a smart device that allows it to act as a network extension means that individuals are in touch with the phone network wherever they happen to be in the office or on-site, again enhancing the image of the organisation.

Improvements in Workplace Efficiency

Improvements in Workplace Efficiency

As an example of improved efficiency, staff no longer need to always organise formal meeting locations and facilities for video conferences.  All participants can participate from where they are.

Workplace efficiency and effectiveness can be greatly enhanced by having staff available anywhere and any time. This will bring significant improvements to the company’s business profile.

Looking at VoIP for small businesses, the business accrues significant benefits from adopting it throughout the organisation.  It reduces communications costs and improves communications among the staff. Finance is delighted with the reductions in comms costs. Management look at the improvements in intangibles like customer relations and teamwork and staff morale.

VoIP in Small Business is a no-brainer.

How Does Voip Work for Business?

In recent times, multimedia, voice and video conferencing have come together to create an entirely new form of communications.  A key element of this new wave is Voice over IP, (“VoIP”), a protocol for digital transmission of voice and video. 

Home and business VoIP telephony has grown to be a major segment in the VoIP market. It provides advantages in cost, mobility and increased functionality with a range of compatible devices.

Why should a business user consider moving to a VOIP for Business telephone system?   There are justifiable concerns, mostly over call quality, but also that that they will lose their phone service if they lose power, and that it is a difficult and costly technology to implement.

However, improvements in technology and the use of standby power go a long way to alleviating these concerns. Simply put, the advantages to businesses from adopting a VoIP for Business solution far outweigh any potential drawbacks.

Here are 10 major reasons why

  1. Call Cost

    Call Cost

    PTT charges are avoided by routing calls over the Internet rather than over the PTT network, thereby avoiding the call charges levied by the PTT. The cost of the call is absorbed in the overall cost of providing the Internet connection.  The cost saving can be significant if there are frequent long-distance and international calls.

  2. Cost Control

    Cost Control

    Some organisations have a cost-recovery model in place. Being able to use call logs to see who made a call, to whom, when, for how long and the actual cost allows users and departments to manage phone call budgets easily. It also assists in identifying miscreants who call unauthorised personal numbers.

  3. Mobility

    Mobility

    For the mobile user, the integration of VoIP with WiFi provides the individual with an amazingly low-cost communications platform. Software apps on smart devices simulating desktop handsets provide the user with the means to be always in touch wherever they are.

  4. This is accomplished with the implementation of SIP interfaces in the VoIP for Business configuration that allows a smart device to replace the desktop VoIP phone extension in a wireless-enabled environment.  A mobile smart device user has full access to the corporate VoIP phone system from anywhere that they are in range of the corporate WiFi network, both centrally and at remote offices. In addition, most VoIP providers provide a facility via a secure network for users to connect to the corporate phone system over the Internet.   This meets the Increasing need for remote access wherever they might be.

  5. Voice mail and fax mail

    Voice mail and fax mail

    Many VoIP service providers provide the facility to automatically forward voice mail and faxes to an email inbox.

  6. Productivity

    Productivity

    A digital VoIP system provides many new features and communications applications. As examples:

    • The mobility described above allows employees to become productive immediately they arrive at a remote office and connect to the corporate network. Without waiting to be allocated a phone, they can use their main office credentials, any handset or their smart device to join the VoIP for Business phone network, using their main office phone extension number.

    • Employees can see if a colleague is present and able to receive calls. No more repeated redialling, or leaving voice messages.

    • Help Desk consultants can operate the phone system using a softphone application on the desktop giving a point and click interface.

  7. Access to the full functionality of your VoIP for Business Phone System from anywhere if you are online.

  8. Hosted VoIP

    Hosted VoIP

    A hosted solution needs no on-site equipment. That means there will be less space used in a small office. If a larger is installing a VoIP for Business solution they may need equipment installed on their premises.

  9. Flexibility

    Flexibility

    It can be easy, though not always, to add features and functions. Often it can be done remotely and with no downtime.

  10. Security

    Security

    All users log onto the phone system with personal credentials from any connected device. In essence, security moves from the device to the individual.  No more sneaking into the manager’s office to make an unauthorised call.   International or long-distance calls can be placed by only those employees with an appropriate security level.

The ability to set up group and individual security profiles can be very cost-effective, particularly if used to enable call management and cost recovery. Users can be grouped by cost centre and reports drawn up showing the overall cost of calls from a cost centre, and if required, who called where, when and for how long.

One point to bear in mind is that not all devices can be connected to a VoIP system. Older devices like some modems and fax machines don’t have a digital capability, while others might need software updates. Be especially careful of alarm systems that potentially could become inoperable if connected to a VoIP system.

Are VoIP Solutions beneficial to Schools and Universities?

VoIP Solutions have been enthusiastically embraced by individuals and businesses. For some, it is no other reason than the substantial cost savings in moving from the tolled PSTN network to toll-free internet connections. There are, of course,  other benefits in improvements in operational processes and customer service levels.

One of the strategic moves forced on IT by the events of 2020 has been the move to remote working. Resources have been diverted from planned projects to emergency projects to enable the transition. VoIP Solutions have been a significant growth element, either as new implementations or developing an existing Unified Communications Strategy.

One question that is often asked, particularly in the education environment, is whether VoIP Solutions make a positive contribution. The answer is a resounding YES, and not just for Education. Any campus style, multi-building, or multi-site environment will benefit.Continue reading

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Before choosing a particular approach, it is best to consider firstly whether on-site or hosted VoIP is better suited to the business, and secondly, whether a Cloud-based architecture is appropriate.Continue reading

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Here are six reasons why you should switch to a VoIP Business Phone System in 2018.Continue reading

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