Voice-over IP (VoIP) technology confers a whole host of advantages to businesses using them. Foremost among its benefits are its cost-effectiveness. Using this technology is much cheaper compared to conventional telephone lines, especially when it comes to long-distance communication spread across countries and continents. In fact, the total cost of setting up and deploying VoIP in a company can begin to fetch rewards as early as the first year of its deployment. And by the third year, the total invested amount would have been retrieved. The set-up costs and maintenance costs of VoIP are much lower compared to conventional telephone services. (Forbes, 2009)
VoIP provides other qualitative differences too. One such is improved productivity at the individual level. With the ability to integrate voice facility in email, chat or conventional telephone network, VoIP adds a great deal of convenience to the individual worker. As a result, his/her productivity automatically goes up. For example, VoIP users can work from anywhere, accessing the office network via the Internet. This is especially important for a workforce that is constantly on the move, either travelling between office locations or just commuting to home. With VoIP, employees can check “voicemail and email, access project data, and place calls – all over a single network, using a single communication device”. (Kaufman, 2008, p.2)
For the same reasons of compatibility with other communication channels, VoIP helps increase co-ordination within teams and collaboration with clients. In the globalized world of contemporary business, video conference calls have become routine affairs. And with the aid of optic cables and broadband bandwidth, the conference experience can be very realistic and high quality. VoIP’s easy integration with other communication technologies such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management) applications and Microsoft Outlook make them an invaluable business tool. These days, integration with CRM is almost mandatory for boosting productivity across various departments. The system can
“automatically retrieve customer data on an incoming call–thus service representatives have a caller’s history at their fingertips, and sales has the necessary information to target a pitch or track a customer’s order status. And everyone can benefit from unified messaging, which delivers voicemail messages to the user’s email inbox. Nortel’s CallPilot Unified Messaging, for example, combines voicemail, fax, and email into a single location accessible by internet or phone.” (Kaufman, 2008, p.2)
VoIP also helps companies to respond quickly to their customers’ requests. This means that the quality of service offered to customers is enhanced. VoIP also offers a great deal of flexibility for employees. They offer a broad range of functionalities for users to choose from, which they can customize according to their needs. Customizing and finetuning features to fit individual needs can be done through a user-friendly graphic interface, not requiring the help of trained IT personnel. As a result, the costs incurred on support staff can also be reduced. In terms of functionality, VoIPs offer all the functions of PBX systems and top of that provide unique and new features. These include “advanced call forwarding and electronic messaging, custom auto-attendant, three-way conferencing, videoconferencing, and Advanced Call Distribution (ACD) functions such as skills-based call routing” (Kaufman, 2008, p.3)
Hence, in sum, VoIP are essential tools for contemporary businesses. Irrespective of the industry or domain of the business, availing the power, flexibility and cost-effectiveness of VoIPs will reap handsome rewards for a company’s bottom-line.
Clare Kaufman, The Benefits of Business VoIP, www.VendorGuru.com, 2008, retrieved from <http://www.teledata.com/PDF_Resources/Resources/Not%20ShoreTel%20-%20Why%20VOIP%20makes%20Business%20Sense.pdf> on 18th May, 2011.
Callahan, Renee (December 9, 2008). “Businesses Move To Voice-Over-IP”. Retrieved from <www.forbes.com> on 18th May, 2011.
Korzeniowski, Peter (January 8, 2009). “Three Technologies You Need In 2009”. Retrieved from <www.forbes.com> on 18th May, 2011.