Business collaboration is a hot topic nowadays, and with the rise of remote working, firms of all sizes have started to realise the many benefits of using cloud-based collaboration tools of the type provided by VoIP services.
Contemporary working practices continue towards cloud communication, and for some organizations, this transition has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
More and more organizations are ditching traditional telephone systems for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). This technology enables you to make and receive phone calls over a digital network and solves many additional challenges for the modern business.
Advantages go beyond those of lower setup costs, reduced infrastructure and cheaper calls. With more VoIP services to choose from than ever before, integration with third-party services and applications is no longer an issue, and VoIP for business now enables secure cloud collaboration, which is essential to all organizations today.
What is VoIP for business?
Using VoIP for business not only reduces costs, but can also be a useful collaboration tool, especially in the age of flexible and remote working.
VoIP enables you to move your communications to the cloud and brings all those different technologies together in one simple, secure platform. This also enables you to have a single clear view of analytics and reporting, which is crucial for businesses today.
It’s easier for both IT departments and employees to have services and platforms integrated and accessed all in one place. This saves time, streamlines processes and improves productivity.
There are a number of features that VoIP providers have implemented to enhance efficiency and productivity on a daily basis. One benefit is the elimination of constant switching between applications. Employees no longer lose time jumping between applications to send messages, make calls, or join video meetings.
With a range of VoIP services on the market, businesses can choose providers based on the features they want to use. Caller ID, call forwarding and call waiting are some of the ones offered as standard, but there are also add-ons including virtual assistant, conferencing and call recording.
For example, 8x8 X Series, among others, host a full suite of voice, video, chat and contact center applications on the cloud that can be easily integrated with existing third-party tools like the popular Microsoft Teams.
When businesses integrate VoIP systems with their preferred CRM software or cloud storage service, they have the ability to streamline even the most complex of business processes.
Whether employees are working from home or traveling on business trips, the ability for employees to immediately communicate with suppliers, clients, customers and co-workers from anywhere increases productivity, business efficiency and reduces workplace stress.
How VoIP telephone systems secure your company communications
The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated that organizations needed to be adaptable. Those that had already embraced cloud-based technology fared better with the sudden introduction of company-wide homeworking, and could adapt quickly with less downtime.
As a result, modern businesses have realised that traditional business landlines are now almost redundant in today’s era of remote working with plentiful broadband internet.
Since March 2020, many businesses switched to VoIP to help them operate effectively during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 global crisis. A key learning for companies was that communication and collaboration with clients, customers and employees in a crisis was paramount, and could lessen the effect the unprecedented times.
During the pandemic, companies including staffing agencies, educational establishments and healthcare organizations had to quickly find new ways of working and turned to cloud communications. One example is Every Child Pediatrics, a non-profit based in Colorado, Denver who had to move away from their traditional on-site and in-person counselling sessions to video conferencing. This enabled them to deliver medical and behavioral healthcare and counselling to as many children as possible.
This new and popular way of working can protect all types of organizations from future global crises, and enable them to continue operating as normal.
VoIP features and benefits compared
How does VoIP compare to other types of phone service?
|Cost effective||✔ Subscription service||X||X Cost on the number of users and overall usage||X Cost on the number of users and overall usage|
|Easy scalability||✔ No need to buy new equipment||X New hardware at additional cost||X Cost increase||X More expensive as system grows|
|Features||✔ Many: voicemail, call forwarding, DND||✔ Fewer than VoIP||✔ Fewer than VoIP||✔ Features come at additional cost|
Key: PBX = Private Branch Exchange; POTS = Plain Old Telephone Service; PSTN = Publich Switched Telephone Network
What are the benefits of VoIP for my business?
Flexibility: The ability to adapt VoIP to any situation means that there are a lot of features specifically created to enable collaboration, which is vital in the contemporary world of business.
Take the simplicity of screen sharing for example - this can help explain information in a visual way to colleagues and can also be used for training purposes. It enables you to combine audio and visual in a new way.
Financial savings: With organizations under increasing pressure to work within budgets, VoIP provides cost savings from call costs to line rental. With traditional phone systems, upgrades are often required but with VoIP, the provider often covers upgrades as part of the contract, which enables you to have access to the latest equipment.
Scalability: Small and medium sized organizations need a communications system that can grow, whilst avoiding budget spend on products or features that are not needed yet. With VoIP, companies will not need to buy new equipment to grow. It is easy to scale up if a new branch office is opened.
Conversely, in times of downturn, VoIP enables the company to scale back without any operational disruption. Typical upgrades usually require a simple software update and more bandwidth. As VoIP phone systems are scalable, businesses don’t have to buy expensive new hardware nor purchase additional dedicated phone lines. And if a business has to purchase a new phone, IP phones and VoIP headsets are cheap and loaded with features.
Unified communication approach (UC)
When it comes to technology, it is safe to say that we have innovated so fast that the number of communication and collaboration tools available is enough to overwhelm any employee or IT department.
UC is the umbrella to bundle all types of digital communication into a single package, something which VoIP providers attempt to do in order to help businesses work collaboratively. Messaging, calls, team collaboration, conferencing and file sharing can all be accessed together.
VolP for business is a well-established business telecommunications service that has been running since the late 1990s, and advantages over traditional phone solutions were immediately seen.
This tried, tested and trusted business telecommunication tool has come a long way its early days - the technology underpinning VoIP services has developed remarkably. It is easy to set up, and rapidly trace and resolve any faults.
If COVID-19 has taught the market anything, it’s that business communication is critical during a crisis. Traditional phones are for yesterday’s workplace, and nowadays employees communicate through multiple devices, across different locations, on a variety of platforms. VoIP technology demonstrates that in addition to cost savings, the range of features and add-ons means that VoIP for business really is the ultimate secure cloud collaboration tool.
Organizations benefit from the integration of apps and systems. Co-workers and clients can now collaborate in ways never seen before, whilst working remotely. If VoIP wasn’t on your radar before, it certainly should be now.
If you're looking the right VoIP service for your business, read our in-depth guide to the best VoIP providers.