Voice Over IP (VOIP) is the Solution

Updated: 21 Sep, 2011 | Neha Singh Gohil

You've probably heard buzzwords such as VoIP, IP PBX, and IP telephony, but what is it? How can you benefit from it? Doing all the necessary research to understand it all can be daunting. And after that, performing a cost-benefit analysis of going from a "Plain Old Telephone Service," or POTS system, to a Voice over IP telephony system can be complicated. The inputs are so many, and some of them are not readily measurable in dollars. At Prialto, we're using voice over IP exclusively, and actually, our business wouldn't be viable without it - proof of its cost efficiency.

How Can VoIP Save Your Organization Money?

Reduce your phone bill

Saving on phone bills is the most obvious benefit. Typically, the biggest savings can be realized if your organization has many branches or if you have people working from home or on the road. For companies who have employees traveling abroad, the cost savings can be substantial. Prialto can quickly help you analyze how voice over IP could benefit your organization by simply looking at your monthly phone bill.

Less maintenance, simple to administer and more scalable

Because these systems run on normal servers, it is typically less expensive to deploy them than POTS equipment, and that's even true when it comes to a small office of 1-5 people. And if additional offices need to be connected to the same "corporate" phone system, that can be done quickly and easily too, allowing companies to grow without incurring large expenses for infrastructure.

Another benefit is that because there are less specialized systems to maintain, there are fewer things that can go wrong and it reduces the need for system administrators at each site. Additionally, with fewer machines to maintain, the fewer maintenance contracts are needed.

Because thenphones run on the same type of network as regular computers, there's no need for additional wiring for phones. Again, this means less infrastructure components to maintain and troubleshoot. Lastly, most things related to extensions or phones can be administered by the user, which reduces the need for IT staff.

Cut costs using alernative phones

A voice over IP system allows users to make calls from their computers. These so-called "softphones" are cheaper and work just as well as a regular desk phone. However, if a person or organization prefers to use a standard desk phone, these compatible phones are fairly inexpensive, starting around $100. The main difference from a user's perspective between a  IP phone and a POTS phone is that VoIP phones offer many more options and more flexibility.

Interactive Voice Response (IVR)

IVR, or Interactive Voice Response, is a feature built into most modern corporate telephony systems. An IVR allows callers to interact with the system by pressing a number to be taken to a menu or a department. The benefit of an IVR, if properly implemented, is that it can quickly and accurately route calls to the appropriate recipient. However, it is a hotly debated topic. Proponents say that it can cut costs by replacing receptionists; although the impersonal nature of the system can also be a source of irritation and frustration among callers. The ubiquity of IVRs today has made a rare experience of getting an actual human being answering calls. By combining the technology of IVRs and the human element (receptionist/office assistant) though, Prialto has created solutions that is not only efficient, but offers a personal touch as well. With its front-office services - Receptionist+, Time Manager, and Productivity Assistant - it is hard to beat.

Call routing

An IP PBX can be highly automated. As with call trees that are configurable through the IVR feature on a VoIP system, calls can be automatically sent to a particular group, like sales, or to a particular person. On an individual level, users can set up calls to ring both their office phone and their mobile phone at the same time, or one phone first and then the other. It can be really handy if you're out on a business trip. You can even set your extension to accept and/or reject calls from certain numbers.

Intangible benefits

While many of the features and benefits of aren't easily quantified in terms of hard cold cash, there are ways of assessing their value. Companies like Prialto can help analyze business processes to identify cost or time savings.

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