5 Questions To Ask Before Switching To A VoIP Phone System

Implementing a new VoIP phone system is a high-profile project that will impact every aspect of your organization. With stakes like that, you’ll want to identify the steps that will make the switch a huge success.

Start the process by asking these five questions. They’ll provide a solid framework for a practical and thorough project plan.

1.  What features do your employees want?

Before defining your business needs, it’s critical to get internal feedback up front. Employees are your best source of information about current processes and can help you understand obstacles to seamless communication. All this provides a solid foundation for your project requirements.

Start by understanding each team’s goals. While employees may not immediately see the connection between better results and specific VoIP features, it’s certain you will.

It’s a big task to collect requirements across the organization, which could encompass a dozen or more departments, groups or teams, each with its own set of needs and expectations. But this is absolutely the most important step in making the switch. Without a clear understanding of what each group needs from the new VoIP phone system, you’ll have difficulty getting employee buy-in.

2.  What are the system requirements?

Conduct an audit of your organization’s existing systems and equipment, including routers, wiring, switches, phones and local area networks. Your quality of service depends on these elements, so be sure to identify what’s missing and what needs to be replaced or upgraded. The wrong equipment can impact performance significantly. A weak spot in your LAN, for example, can ripple across the entire system.

3.  Who will handle system administration and technical support?

To remain competitive, your business should be agile. You need the flexibility to make administrative changes, such as adding users, on the fly. Ideally, you should be able to make routine changes and updates without having to call the vendor.

You also don’t want your IT team to be mired down troubleshooting technical issues. Look for a vendor that can provide both an administrative portal to ease day-to-day management, while also taking on the responsibility for keeping your VoIP system up and running.

4.  What are the project goals and how will we define success?

Define and measure three types of goals: technical, project and business outcomes. For example:

  • Technical goals include the availability of ongoing metrics for system uptime and quality of service.
  • Project goals include installation deadlines, the number of employees switched to the new system and adoption rates.
  • Business outcomes should show a tangible effect on business results. For example, look for ways to tie employee productivity and time savings to revenue. This will give you the data you need to prove the ROI of the project.

5.  How do we support a mobile workforce?

In all likelihood, much of your workforce is already using mobile phones to perform daily duties. Your new VoIP phone system should enable employees to use collaboration and productivity apps through their preferred mobile devices. Plus, all users should have the same features and functionality, no matter their location or their device. The bottom line: It’s essential for the vendor to have mobility baked into their solution.

Switching to a VoIP phone system will be a game-changer for your organization, especially if you’re jettisoning legacy telecommunications technology. With lower costs and greater flexibility, VoIP can offer your company a tremendous competitive advantage as your workforce becomes more nimble and responsive.

Learn more about ShoreTel’s VoIP phone system here.