So Your Company Wants to Adopt VoIP… How Do You Know If Your Network Is Ready to Make the Transition?

Predeployment Network Assessment

So Your Company Wants to Adopt VoIP… How Do You Know If Your Network Is Ready to Make the Transition?

While the cost savings and new applications of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) are rapidly attracting many small to mid-sized companies to this popular communication solution, it may come with a significant price to your network.  Not only must your network carry more traffic, but VoIP traffic demands very high performance and is more sensitive to normal network problems like delays and choppy communication.  Even modest levels of impairment, unnoticed by users of most data applications, will cause significant caller frustration and will not sit well with your customers, business partners, or even your own employees.

Before investing in a large-scale VoIP deployment or even in a small trial, you need to know how well your network infrastructure will handle the additional, quality-sensitive voice traffic.  Many seemingly well-planned trials encounter delay after delay, exceed cost estimates, and are eventually cancelled when the network proves unable to meet the unique requirements VoIP places on it.  However, these business issues can easily be avoided if your telecommunications provider properly assesses your network ahead of time to truly understand the scope and type of work required to ensure a successful transition to VoIP.

Gartner reports that 85% of networks are not ready for VoIP.  What’s even more shocking is that 75% of companies that do not perform a pre-implementation analysis of their network infrastructure will not realize a successful implementation.  These are astonishing statistics because without conducting a network assessment with a quality assessment tool, the potential for wasting time and money is extremely high.  In order to increase the likelihood of a successful VoIP implementation, an evaluation of the network must be properly executed and should include the following four steps.

  1. Pre-Deployment Assessment

The pre-deployment assessment step analyzes the current capabilities of the network, evaluates its ability to support VoIP, identifies potential problems, and determines the requirements needed to handle expected call traffic.  It is strongly recommended that the pre-deployment test is conducted prior to the purchase or installation of any VoIP equipment.  The analysis should include such items as bandwidth, utilization, jitter, throughput and latency.

  1. Post-Deployment Assessment

The purpose of the post-deployment assessment is to gain a complete understanding of VoIP quality and network efficiencies prior to turning it on.  This step determines the level of success and prevents issues with call quality or dropped calls.  Whenever new equipment is introduced to a network the chance for unexpected issues rises; therefore, it is critical that post-deployment assessment is not overlooked.  This assessment should be immediately performed so any changes can be made in a timely manner.

  1. Regular Maintenance Assessment

As you’re probably aware, your network is dynamic and constantly evolves.  New devices such as IP phones, laptops, switches, and routers are added or removed.  Whether it’s a minor change or a major one it will impact your network.  Therefore, it is important to re-evaluate your network regularly to identify any faults so they can be corrected as soon as possible.  Conducting ongoing assessments will help your organization increase quality, optimize system infrastructure, and reduce costs.

  1. Break/Fix Strategy

Unfortunately, unforeseen things may happen to a network that’s not readily identified by your IT department.  The situation may be brought to your company’s attention by a customer, an employee or business partner.  The Yankee Group has reported that some companies’ labor costs grew 30 to 40 percent with VoIP because of dealing with network problems.  Having a network assessment tool in place enables one to take action quickly, diagnose the problem, and resolve it, while minimizing its impact to the system as a whole.

Essentially, these four key steps have illustrated the primary objective and the many benefits of conducting network assessments.  Whether your company is about to take the plunge into VoIP or has already gone down that path, it is critical to deploy a tool that can accurately analyze your network.  Surprisingly, most companies overlook this integral component of the VoIP implementation process and the research clearly shows its negative impact.

As you tap into this relatively new communication solution that’s changing how business gets done, make sure you ask yourself this question.  What is my telecommunications provider doing to create a network environment that enables my company to take full advantage of VoIP? If network assessment is not included in the response then something is definitely wrong.


Chicago hosted phones

5 Tips to help you choose the right hosted provider!

My colleague Harry Bhattia wrote this article. I was really impressed – so impressed that I couldn’t say it better myself.

In the recent times, VoIP service providers have crowded the market and made it difficult for businesses to choose the one that would actually do what they commit to. You may have made the toughest of your decisions while moving to VoIP services from the traditional phone set up and you would definitely not expect your business to face down times due to a poor telephone network.

Promoting managed IT services that save money and provide greater functionality, is like marketing of any other service, which means that the providers must take into consideration the time-honored factors of price, promotion & distribution. With all the sophistication in their pitching styles, it is possible for you to get trapped in a non-rewarding deal. So, we have stated a few points that to help you select a reliable VoIP service provider in Chicago.

Ask to explain things & talk out of the acronyms – The telephone technology is full of acronyms. They may be comfortable using terms like VoIP and PBX but you, as they may overwhelm a customer /the SMB owner. In a confused state, you may not even understand what they are trying to explain and consequently you may miss important details of the technology you will be using thereafter.

Demand a complete solution – Do not forget that you are on the demanding side. Understand the details of how the VoIP services offered by the provider will influence their businesses. Look at what’s unique in his offerings. Also, study their previous works and customer feedback so that you get a brief about past experiences of businesses like you with the service provider.

Plan & implement wisely – Ask the provider to spend a weekend at your business set up (pre-installation planning) to understand how the present system works and where is the need to rebuild things. A good installation plan will make the configuration easy for you. It really makes a difference.

Safety must be the first commitment – A recent study revealed that about 40% of the VoIP users did not have specific plans to secure their VoIP deployments. The end-points of your VoIP systems are vulnerable to attacks right from their operating systems to internet protocols and management interfaces of VoIP phones. It sounds scary; it also means that there is a lucrative chance for those who sell VoIP security services. Check if your VoIP provider includes a security plan in his package to cut down on the cost of hiring another provider selling security services.

Training as a part of service – Plug n play does not imply installing software and leaving the rest. The automation also requires users to be trained to know how the new software will help them reduce efforts. It is a bad idea to leave users baffled on a completely new set up of devices. Ensure that your VoIP provider will train you on using the VoIP systems.

Well, if you are convinced that these tips will help you build a better VoIP network that never fails, you may consider another advice from us. Call us – we talk in plain English (without jargon and we define every three letter acronym we use!).

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Cloud for Human Resources

Cloud and Human Resources

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Cloud computing is penetrating every corner of business, and this includes human resources. Human resources professionals can benefit greatly from effective communication, instant access to information and applications, and cloud-based systems. HR is often thought of as a pretty administrative job. With the implementation of cloud tools and resources, HR professionals can remove this administrative stress and instead turn their attention to the employees and the business. Here are some benefits of cloud computing for human resources:

Cloud Software for HR

There is a lot of HR cloud software available, and the best ones combine the many functions of HR into one central place. This software can help get a lot of tasks done, including tracking applications, searching resumes, generating reports, calculating payroll, tracking performance appraisals and maintaining data on current employees. This streamlines many HR processes, helping to boost productivity and communication. And the end environment remains familiar. Users might not even realize they’re working in the cloud.

Businesses and customers also get quick access to the software they need, as it can be installed company-wide in hours, rather than days. They will also receive access to the latest software updates automatically, which is a perk of a cloud software subscription.

Efficient Recruiting

Recruiting is a huge part of human resources, and today the pool of talent is increasingly competitive and complex. HR cloud solutions make it easier to create job postings and expand their reach to multiple platforms, while collecting candidate information. HR and talent acquisition professionals have to be able to grow their reach without needing to greatly expand resources. Luckily, cloud software can track, measure and report from various online databases that hold candidate information, helping HR professionals access more talent. And once they’ve accessed talent, big data can compare various candidates and provide both relevant and targeted results to HR professionals. This means that positions can be filled faster, reducing time between hires and costs of hiring.

A Mobile Workforce

You’ve probably heard it before, but we’ll say it again: cloud computing offers professionals the ability to access their data and applications on-demand via the Internet. This means they can work from any device, in any location, at any time. Yeah, that’s pretty hard to beat. This allows businesses to grow a mobile workforce. HR professionals can access their programs and data on the go. So if they’re off on a recruiting trip, these employees can still take advantage of cloud software and maintain communication with the folks back at the office.

An Affordable Solution

Cost concerns are always prevalent when considering new technology. Fortunately, cloud computing makes HR solutions affordable for any size business. The costs that often come with server space, extra in-house IT personnel, expensive software and licenses, and maintenance are eliminated. A provider like RapidScale comes in and manages the solutions, simply offering the business access to these resources.

Sophisticated Security

Like cost, security will always be top of mind when looking at new technology. Cloud security has greatly matured in recent years and HR professionals, who often work with sensitive information, get access to sophisticated security systems through their provider. Cloud provider’s depend on their reliability and reputation, so they go great lengths to ensure client information remains secure. This includes measures like in-flight and at-rest encryption, geographically diverse data centers, strong firewalls, 24×7 monitoring and support, strict SLAs, intense physical security and more.


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