With the ISDN shutdown in effect and Australian businesses now making the move to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), there is a lot of discussion around what it might cost to migrate. Businesses that have used ISDN services for years might not be ready to transition, but the choice is no longer theirs to make. By 2022, all Australian businesses will have had to transition as ISDN services and support will no longer be available.
VoIP makes use of the Internet to make calls. It basically converts calls into data packets that are then sent via the Internet to the receiver. The data packet is then unpacked and deciphered on the other side. Generally speaking, having Internet-hosted services will reduce your communications costs over time, making it an extremely cost-effective way to run your business communications. But what about the initial setup? What are the costs involved in aligning your business, staff and hardware with a transition to VoIP? We explore the factors that might influence your costs in moving to VoIP.
Cost Of Moving To VoIP
As mentioned previously, VoIP is a more cost-effective alternative to standard ISDN telephony. It is the setup and hardware that could incur costs for you. Setup factors such as cabling, modems, phone systems and engineering can all add up, but these are usually covered within the initial setup cost.
What Will Increase The Cost Of Moving?
If your current infrastructure is not set up to accommodate the move to VoIP then your costs for migration will escalate. You might need to implement an entirely new phone system if yours is over four or five years old. If your phone is not compatible with the new NBN fibre technology then you will have to upgrade. If you’re unable to afford a new system straight off the bat, you can opt for an interim system to be put in place. The interim system sits between VoIP and ISDN, and will be an adequate solution to keep you operational.
Find out if your service provider offers telephone systems at affordable prices, or if they will help you pay one off. Telstra gives you the option of paying off a new compatible system over 24 or 36 months, which relieves the pressure of having to make a large lump sum payment in one go.
What Will Decrease The Cost Of Moving?
Once you are set up, you will enjoy a number of benefits in the cost department. There are no fixed line charges, plus seamless connectivity between desktop and mobile devices, free intra-office calls, plus standardised local and international calls. There are also products that offer you the facility to pay only for what you use, so you can scale up or down according to the size of your business or who needs to be connected.
Cost Of VoIP Product
Choosing a service provider will influence the product bundle you receive. Make sure you choose a provider with NBNTM Business Accredited Adviser status. The product you want might also influence the decision-making process when it comes to providers who can confidently supply you with what you need.
What Will Increase The Cost Of Product?
Things you need to consider when evaluating the costs for your new product:
• Bandwidth: You will need to ensure you have adequate bandwidth to handle your new system, which might mean you need to upgrade.
• Minutes: Do you need X number of minutes per month or an uncapped option? Some providers offer a number of free minutes per month, which could be adequate for your business.
• CRM integration: Do you need your new system to integrate with your current CRM. Not all service providers or plans offer this.
• Extras: Do you need any extra features? Unlimited Internet fax? Video conferencing for a certain number of delegates? End-to-end encryption?
What Will Decrease The Cost Of Product?
If you require a fairly simple system to be set up, you can opt for a more basic business plan that will give you the bandwidth and minutes you need, without any more complex features. It all depends on your business requirements.
Some providers offer plans according to how many users you have in your business. This could be a more cost-effective option for you if you have a smaller business. This will allow you to scale the costs as people leave or join.
Cost Of VoIP Training
As part of your migration plan, you will need to have adequate training take place for your team. Once they are empowered with the knowledge to operate in the new working environment, business can carry on as usual, but this is an important part of the process as they will be executing on business requirements using the new VoIP setup.
The service provider you choose might offer adequate training and handover to your business as part of the package you select. If not, there are ample online resources and training centres that can help.
What Will Increase The Cost Of Training?
If your team has little or no technological background, it might take a little longer to disseminate the information with this new transition. Patience needs to be executed here, as this is a big move for the entire country.
What Will Decrease The Cost Of Training?
Sending your entire team for VoIP training can be costly and also needs to be perfectly planned to ensure that not everyone is on training at the same time. It might be in your best interests to get key players to attend formal training sessions to learn exactly how the new system works that they can then communicate this to their relevant teams and colleagues through personalised, hands-on sessions.
Cost Of Downtime Associated With VoIP Migration
Downtime is something that needs to be avoided when migrating to VoIP, but unforeseen circumstances can always arise. Planning ahead of time is the best way to prevent your business falling prey to delays. Delays that prevent business from running as usual will be extremely costly in the long run.
What Will Increase The Cost Of Downtime?
Poor planning is the number one cause of downtime, so it’s important you select a reliable RSP to guide you through the process. Ensure that your replacement system is in place before you are cut off from ISDN. You will lose your number, never be able to retrieve it, and it will be an extremely time-consuming exercise to get you back up and running again.
In saying that, appointments need to be aligned for ISDN cut-off and VoIP activation, so it’s essential that proper project planning is in place to make the changeover as seamless as possible.
Number porting is currently causing delays, which could set your business back. Start the porting process as soon as you can and put an alternative temporary number redirect in place should you need to.
What Will Decrease The Cost Of Downtime?
Ensuring that you are prepared for the migration is your best bet to decrease any downtime. You can do this by setting up your business infrastructure, having a solid migration plan in place, and equipping your team with all the knowledge they need to handle the transition.
Using the services of a reliable and trusted retail service provider (RSP) is also one way to ensure you minimise downtime during this changeover. Select a team that has displayed a particularly impressive track record with the current changeovers. You will be at their mercy as they will be your point of communication throughout the process, so it pays to have a solid, professional team at your disposal.