The economy might technically be out of recession, but businesses are still doing everything in their power to cut costs and save as much as possible. One possible avenue for savings is switching from a traditional business phone plan to a VoIP plan. VoIP is a technology that has been around for a little over a decade now, and allows you to make and receive phone calls over digital internet lines instead of over traditional phone lines. Some common VoIP providers include Vonage, RingCentral, Skype, and Google Voice. For the enterprise – there are even more options from vendors like Cisco.
Here’s the important part – unified communications, collaboration, and VoIP technologies are really impacting the modern business. There was a recent study done by Dimensional Research which pointed out that:
Today’s most productive knowledge workers — business professionals who are contributing, sharing insight and experiences, participating in decision making, and influencing change — are a company’s true competitive advantage. They are paid to think and collaborate with distributed team members, contractors, partners, suppliers, and vendors across an increasingly global workplace to help grow an enterprise’s bottom line. As digital ways of working change how knowledge workers exchange information, companies must ensure that effective workplace collaboration keeps pace. Employees need enterprise collaboration solutions that work equally well both inside and outside the organization. Content must be able to flow easily between the different parties involved in the process while allowing for secure collaboration with external consultants, partners, and vendors.
Furthermore, their key findings showed us the following critical metrics:
Collaboration is essential to knowledge workers
- 98% of connected employees collaborate
- 94% say collaboration is important
- Morning (48%) and early afternoon (24%) are the best times to collaborate
Technology is necessary for effective collaboration
- 83% depend on technology to collaborate
- 82% would be impacted by the loss of collaboration technology
- Only 49% use mobile devices for collaboration, but most (92%) say it is important
Today’s collaboration tools do not deliver — especially among millennials
- 59% experience challenges with their collaboration tools
- 71% of millennials face challenges with their tools compared to 45% of baby boomers
- Millennials say chat or text is their preferred way to collaborate
- Baby boomers say it is the least effective way to collaborate
Employees find ways to collaborate, even if security is ignored
- Only 38% always think of data security when collaborating externally
- 51% rely on personal email for work email
- 51% use public document sharing for work collaboration
- 16% say they use public sharing tools not approved for use
With all of this in mind – let’s look at one very specific aspect around unified communications and collaboration; VoIP. VoIP offers a lot of advantages over traditional business phone plans. For one, the technology is a lot more customizable, giving you a huge range of options for how, where, and when you receive calls. For example, with a VoIP-based phone plan, it’s a trivial matter to take phone calls on an office phone during business hours, and then to transfer them to your private cell after-hours. They also offer features like standard video calling, the ability to run your own internal telephone board exchange (PBX), and to control all of the equipment that handles telephone service in your office.
The biggest benefit of VoIP for the business, though, is the cost. VoIP plans are often significantly cheaper than similar plans offered by traditional commercial telecoms. In fact, a casual analysis of the most popular VoIP plans for small and mid-market businesses puts the average cost at around $20-$40. Some offer bare-bones service for significantly lower prices, while even top-of-the-line unlimited everything small or mid-market business packages rarely go over $50. Compare that to telephone companies, which seem to start at around $50 and go up quickly. VoIP definitely offers a strong possibility of savings for your business.
Of course, VoIP services offer some disadvantages too, and these need to be weighed carefully before making the plunge. First, to take advantage of the best customization and control options, you need fairly extensive equipment set-up (although more and more, these options are made available through cloud services). Of more concern to businesses, unlike traditional telephone lines, VoIP requires both power and internet to be functioning in order to work. Lose either one, and you lose your phone lines.
Is the savings worth it? That’s largely up to each individual business to answer. In the meantime, look for VoIP to increasingly become a mainstay in business telecommunications. Most of all – make sure you align your collaboration strategies with your business. To really make this happen, you must work with technologies which support your goals and align with a partner which can get you there. Reach out to MTM Technologies today to learn more about your digital users and how collaboration, unified communications, and even VoIP can help!