The role of IT when it comes to buying a VoIP solution is a pretty major role. Investing in technology is a necessity for today’s businesses. VoIP phone systems are more cost-effective than traditional PBX phone systems, and they provide many additional benefits for SMBs as well.
VoIP phone systems are easy to install and to maintain. What’s more, a VoIP phone system offers greater functionality than a traditional business phone system because it works in tandem with many of the tools your sales and support teams need to work efficiently. A modern phone system combines a wide variety of voice calling features, along with the ability to add any number of software applications for a single source of data. Call quality has always been important, and now with a VoIP phone system, you can get flexibility, scalability, and redundancy as well.
The Role of IT in Buying Technology
In order to better understand the role of IT in buying a VoIP solution, you must better understand their overall role in software purchases. Your IT department will always offer valuable input when you need to make decisions about purchasing technology. As necessary as technology is for your business, it requires a big investment of your time, money, and resources. We’re seeing bigger innovations and advancements in technology than we’ve seen in a long time, and that makes it tough for companies to keep up with investing wisely in technological solutions. To complicate things even more, vast changes are occurring in the marketplace at the same time, forcing businesses to adjust and adapt to remain competitive.
While your IT department plays a strong role whenever you need to purchase technology, they also work with various other people and departments, including executives, procurement, and sales and support managers.
As counterintuitive as it seems, the right technology can actually position your company to rely less heavily on IT for your daily technology needs. Your VoIP service provider takes care of many technology needs under the contract.
Overall, the role of IT is adapting to conditions in the marketplace along with everything else. When it comes to purchasing a VoIP phone system, IT plays a major role in benchmarking the right systems and solutions and in understanding how they meet your business needs.
Why IT Benchmarks Solutions
It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your competition. Your IT department has the expertise to benchmark your current technology needs and solutions against those of your competitors and the best practices for your industry. Rather than doing all the research yourself, your IT director can give you the information you need to inform decision-making about technology.
Benchmarking is an important part of researching IT solutions. It’s not a quick process, and it’s not a one-time process. Your IT director can be instrumental in continually benchmarking your technology needs to ensure your sales and support teams can perform optimally. You’ll find that your director of IT has a specific process for how they approach benchmarking.
How IT Benchmarks Solutions
Your director of IT will know how to apply benchmarking against any process, function, or product within your business. IT directors spend a good deal of their time researching technology innovations and solutions. It’s necessary because new products and applications are continually coming into the marketplace. Part of their role is to weed out the bad technology solutions from the good ones for your company.
As you strive to become more efficient and effective across every area of your business, benchmarking gives you the information and tools you need to accomplish that. A benchmark shows any gaps in performance that your business may be experiencing. Using research and data, your IT director can help you close up those gaps to make it easier for you to reach your goals.
The Role of IT in Understanding a Business’s Needs
Technology is one small part of your business operations. Your IT director needs to have a good understanding of the business needs that are affected by technology. Some of the business needs that IT directors factor into their decision-making include:
- Quality technology programs
- Risk management
- Customer satisfaction
It’s also important for your IT director to work closely with your legal team. All the technology solutions you implement require some sort of a contract. For that reason, your IT director works with your legal team to review and approve contracts. Lawyers are sometimes also involved in contract negotiations.
The best way that your IT director can address your business needs is to continually plan and actively manage your technology needs and alert you when new opportunities for growth arise.
The Steps IT Takes in Buying a VoIP Solution
A type of technology that’s made a huge splash in the business world is VoIP (voice over internet protocol) technology. With VoIP technology, you can make voice calls (VoIP calls) over a broadband internet connection in lieu of using a traditional phone line.
With a VoIP phone system, you and your employees can call others that have a traditional phone number, cloud phone number, mobile phone number, or even a toll-free or international phone number. Many businesses are finding that a VoIP phone system is more cost-effective and functional than a standard PBX phone system. Because a VoIP system is a cloud-based phone system, it saves a great deal on the cost of long-distance and international phone call charges.
Generally, your IT director takes the lead in purchasing a VoIP phone solution. Here are some of the steps for the role of IT in buying a VoIP solution:
1) Benchmarking solutions
Your IT director will research the benefits of a VoIP phone system, including how it can save on technology costs. With a VoIP phone system, there’s no equipment to install or maintain. The ongoing costs are minimal, because a VoIP phone system is a subscription-based service that makes it easy to budget for your communication needs. Another thing your IT director will consider is that the VoIP service provider takes care of system maintenance and security. Also, your IT director will consider the impact of adding VoIP integrations to your voice phone system to increase efficiency and productivity. Another important consideration is uptime. With a VoIP phone system, there is no risk of your phone system going down due to an electrical outage or natural disaster, because it’s cloud-based.
2) The RFP process
Your IT director will generate an outline for the RFP process. The outline will include a list of the requirements for your preferred VoIP phone system. It will also list the features you wish to have, even if they’re not essential. An RFP generally includes information on the following issues:
- The needs of your VoIP call center
- Specific features to improve the efficiency and productivity of your call center
- Use cases
- Security requirements
- Referrals by other customers
- The impact on UX
- The preferred integrations with the greater ecosystem
Overall, an RFP provides on a high level, the general scope of a VoIP phone system purchase. It also includes the expected completion date, any price caps, and protection clauses.
At the shortlist stage, your IT director will help executives agree on the final choice and begin negotiations with the vendor. At this point, it’s appropriate to ask for a trial period to ensure that the VoIP phone system is a good fit for the business. It’s also appropriate for the IT director to research emerging technologies, read reviews, and benchmark market prices for VoIP phone systems. This is also a good time to read the contract terms of areas for VoIP service providers. If the contract contains any deal-breakers, you may be able to negotiate them. The top contenders may be willing to offer discounts or sign-on bonuses to get your business.
4) Implementing a VoIP phone system
Once you’ve decided on a VoIP service provider, you can pursue the project management phase of the purchase. Your IT director may enlist the help of a project manager to take the project from start to finish.
These are some of the things that go into project management for implementing a VoIP phone system:
- Defining the basic terminology
- Defining the project lifecycle and building out a schedule
- Establishing the high-level components of the voice implementation
- Defining the scope of the project
- Developing a plan for managing risks
- Establishing a budget
- Defining the roles and responsibilities of the project management team
- Developing a process for managing changes in the project
- Establishing plans for communication of the project
- Outlining a plan to monitor the progress of the project
- Outlining how to close down the project
5) Managing the technical aspects and network integration
A VoIP phone system requires reserving a certain amount of network bandwidth. The standard recommendation is only to use up to 80% of your internet bandwidth. It’s essential to have a reliable internet connection when implementing a VoIP phone system. Your IT director will also need to set up quality of service (QoS) on your router that will prioritize voice traffic for your call center on the network. To get the most from your voice phone system, your IT director will also research the most appropriate VoIP call center software integrations for your business and help call center managers to get familiar with dashboard analytics.
6) Administering your VoIP phone system
The final step in implementing your voice phone system is setting up users, settings, and billing. This step entails deciding how many call center agents you will employ and developing an educational program to train them on the features, programs, phone systems, and software integrations. At this stage, you’ll also set up your call center features like call routing, IVR, and voicemail. You also need to make arrangements with your billing department to set up purchase orders or whatever else is necessary to pay the monthly subscription fees.
Now that you know the role of IT in buying a VoIP solution, we hope that you have a better idea how to understand your businesses needs. At Aircall, we understand all that goes into benchmarking for successfully purchasing and implementing a VoIP phone system. With Aircall, you can set up phone numbers in over 100 companies. Believe it or not, you can get a VoIP system set up in just one day. Overall, Aircall gives you a comprehensive contact center that connects all of your business tools for a single source of data.