- To help information technology and telecommunications managers address successful VoIP implementation, XO Communications has developed two educational resources:
The XO webcast, “What Every Small and Medium Sized Business Should Know About Implementing VoIP”, and companion XO white paper, “Ten Steps to a Successful VoIP Implementation: What Every Business Should Know”.
The XO webcast and white paper outline the following ten-steps for evaluating and implementing VoIP:
• 1 – Identify Business and User Needs. Identify the business goals to achieve and assess end-user needs based on how they can best achieve overall goals, such as increasing productivity, improving service levels, increasing revenue and reducing expenses.
• 2 – Understand How VoIP Works. Understanding of how VoIP works provides the context to the entire implementation process and helps improve communications internally and with potential vendors.
• 3 – Assess Your Network Situation. Understand what you have in your network and whether each component of your network is ready to support VoIP.
• 4 – Identify the Right Partners/Providers. Develop a checklist that evaluates service providers based on such factors as coverage, experience, product and service options, web-based tools for managing the service online, consultative approach, creativity, implementation expertise, and support.
• 5 – Designing the Solution. In general, there are four types of VoIP solutions available to businesses: IP-enabled Integrated Access, SIP Trunks, Managed IP PBX and Hosted IP PBX solutions. Choose a solution that meets present and future needs for conduit and cabling, external connections, and changes.
• 6 – Select a Proposal. Develop a proposal checklist that considers the service provider’s depth of services, user needs evaluation, total cost of ownership, customer references, installation scheduling, financing options, performance penalties, training, cost, support, future growth and warranty.
• 7 – Install and Test. Develop an installation and testing checklist to help ensure a smooth installation and minimize disruptions.
• 8 – Manage Service and Support. Make sure that your provider offers training for your employees and a backup plans in the event of service failures and outages.
• 9 – Understand Your Bill. Understand how you will be billed. Will all of your invoices be on one bill? Will you have online access to billing history and usage data? Will you be able to pay bills online?
• 10 – Consider Future Options. See if your provider has an evolutionary product path in place to ensure an easy transition to a more sophisticated or larger system as technology changes and your business grows.
I would like to add number 11: Examine disaster recovery options!