IP-based telephony has been providing organizations with documented benefits for going on two decades now, but a surprisingly large number of businesses still depend on legacy copper phone lines. Nemertes Research has estimated that more than 70 percent of U.S. companies still use time-division-multiplexed (TDM) voices services running over copper, although most at least have IP in the mix.

Given the essential nature of business phone systems, hanging on to older technology is probably not a wise strategy. With a push from the Federal Communications Commission, major carriers are actively transitioning from TDM circuits to IP networks. Companies clinging to older infrastructure will face rising maintenance costs and heightened risk of failure.

Beyond the hard costs of service and support, aging phones also have significant opportunity costs — particularly if they are impeding digital transformation initiatives. Outdated features, limited mobility capabilities and fragmented applications create quality and operational issues that restrict productivity, inhibit innovation and frustrate customers.

Voice over IP (VoIP) phone systems lay the groundwork for digital transformation by synchronizing an array of communications and collaboration tools, and by enabling broader integration with key business applications. This helps create an agile, engaged and connected workforce through the delivery of a consistent, reliable communications experience across multiple devices and locations.

Beyond increased functionality, cost is another important consideration. Research aggregated by The VoIP Report shows that businesses see average telecommunications savings of between 50 percent and 75 percent after switching to IP phone systems. This savings come from cutting the costs for leased lines, local calls and toll calls.

When migrating to VoIP, organizations first must decide how they want to deploy the technology. On-premises deployments and cloud-based solutions each offer substantial business benefits, but understanding their differences is important in deciding how to best implement VoIP to reduce costs and gain efficiencies.

With an on-premises, the organization purchases, deploys, operates and maintains all its own equipment, including an IP-PBX, servers, routers, cables and other devices.  The IP-PBX is the switching system that routes all voice, data and video transmissions internally and transmits all external calls to the telecom provider’s central office.

An on-premises solution may provide greater control over the telephony environment, including the ability to manage features, expansion and security. However, organizations that lack in-house VoIP expertise could wind up with a poorly performing system that does not meet their needs.

Cloud-based systems are particularly popular with smaller businesses that don’t have large IT staffs, primarily because they shift acquisition costs and internal staffing burdens to a provider. Service is typically delivered on a simple “per-seat, per-month” cost basis, and upfront costs are a fraction of those for traditional PBX equipment. However, there is little opportunity for customization.

Vigilant monitoring and management are key to any type of VoIP deployment. With voice being delivered as data packets across the network, lost or delayed packets lead to intolerable communication interruptions. Network managers are often shocked how many different tools and monitoring products are required.

A managed service provider with experience in VoIP can address such issues in any type of deployment. SSD has staff with expertise in a wide range of tools for managing and monitoring voice traffic across the network. We can conduct network assessments to ensure your existing infrastructure can handle a VoIP migration, and configure, deploy and troubleshoot any necessary equipment. Let us help you reduce costs and improve business communications with a transition to an IP-based phone system.