How to be Smart about VoIP

ROI: what to consider for a voice over IP (VoIP) system?
Voice over IP solutions have gained a lot of attraction in recent years. Far away are the days when a VoIP implementation was more of an “experimentation” than anything else. Mixed results with occasional catastrophes were also more the “norm” than the exception. In 2013 however, the entire industry has largely reached maturity level and for many of us, It is now more about “when” to go down this path rather than “why” or “If”.

Merging voice and data into a single network improves productivity, which impacts the bottom line. How much? On average, $105 per employee move/change. Analysts have estimated that the payback period for VoIP implementation can range from 4 to 19 months depending on the size of the system and the number of users.

Example of a VoIP ROI calculator.

Cost savings after implementation of the system

Long Distance Calling
A large proportion of savings from VoIP comes from long-distance telephone services. It is estimated that VoIP long distance rates are around 2 cents per minute and represent a savings of between 20% and 40% on per-minute rates for long distance calls. Overall, VoIP is said to decrease telecom costs 25% to 60% on all types of long distance services (long-distance voice services, video conferencing services, etc.) with average savings believed to be 50% after implementation.
Conference Calling
A very common practice for companies is to subscribe to a third party provider that provides a central number and an individual pass code for each conference call. This can be very expensive over time….
Video and audio conference calling exemplify the largest potential costs savings when using a VoIP network. Due to the large amount of data involved in conferencing (particularly video conferencing), it is estimated that costs range from 25 cents to $1.25 per person per minute over a traditional phone network. The use of a VoIP system can reduce these costs to as low as 1 or 2 cents.
Private Branch eXchange (PBX)
VoIP allows companies to convert their PBX environment into a softswitch technology, allowing them to connect dispersed locations using WAN. Sources of cost savings stem from the elimination of site-specific PBX and peripherals, termination of lease and amortization agreements with each PBX supplier, and the ability to perform moves, adds and changes to PBX vendors.

Benefits from the features offered
- Employees can seamlessly route their calls using a telephony toolbar
- No more managing multiple cabling infrastructures—phone and Internet are converged into a single network
- Using “find me/follow me” features results in fewer missed calls, leading to more sales and business opportunities
- A single inbox for voice mail and email means faster response times and improved customer satisfaction and retention

There is no doubt that VoIP telephone based systems provide individuals and companies with enormous potential cost savings. However, savings are not the only return associated with an investment in VoIP. The numerous value-added features and services that are constantly being developed provide a future return on investment that is difficult to quantify.

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