- Prepare for updates: Although there can be fewer phone systems to maintain, the pace of software and hardware updates increases in frequency for VoIP compared to time-division multiplexing (TDM). This is something organizations must plan for and work around to be sure systems stay up to date with minimal down time.
- Plan ahead: Without proper planning and implementation, end user adoption can suffer. Consider the time of year that is most conducive to a successful roll out. For example, not tax season for accountants or the holiday season for retail businesses. Through thoughtful and accurate timing, businesses can avoid unforeseen issues
- Take it slow: Many times, businesses take the approach that they must implement all aspects of VoIP at the same time. It is often better to take a phased approach to roll out enhancements, features and functions to the end user community. Identify key areas, and start there first
- Test, Test, Test: Test and prioritize the network so you know up front if you have enough bandwidth to serve your traffic. This will ensure that the quality of service from your VoIP meets your expectations. Next, while deploying the system, be sure to test all locations before putting them into production. Lastly, document your network and system settings carefully for future deployments or troubleshooting purposes
- Communicate with end users: Establish proactive communication with employees both before and after the deployment. This will prepare employees for the change and encourage them to accept it as a benefit to themselves as well as the company. It is also important to provide sufficient training and support for questions and concerns regarding the initiative. Proper training will lead to a higher end user acceptance and less long term support costs
In the end change is good, and inevitable. With proper planning, testing and a business driven approach, the move to VoIP saves money on local and international calling as well as on cabling costs for new buildings. Further, switching to VoIP uses the same staff for network, data and telephone setup maintenance, saving time and headaches. If your business hasn't already made the transition, now's the time.
Read more about lans and routers in Network World's LANs & Routers section.