Must-have features for enterprise VoIP

Make sure your big company doesn't buy a small-company phone system.

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If your company has 100+ users and is in the market for a hosted VoIP phone system, be careful.

Remember the scene in the movie Tommy Boy, “Fat Guy in a Little Coat”? You don’t want your company’s new phone system to feel like this.

You won’t hear it from the salespeople [collective gasp] but most hosted VoIP solutions are designed for micro-size companies. If you want an “enterprise” system, you will have to dig a little to find a provider catering to larger companies.

“Okay” you’re thinking… “But how do I sift-through the wannabees and recognize enterprise VoIP when I see it? What do I look for?”

As a business VoIP broker of 14 years, I’ve seen hundreds of hosted VoIP service providers and attended hundreds of training sessions and phone system demonstrations. I’ve learned the way to spot a legit “enterprise” solution is to look for a few key features and capabilities.

There are probably 20 things to look for, depending on your company’s requirements, but let’s talk about the top four features that are the easiest to spot and nearly every company (with 100+ users), needs.

1. Customizable user templates

As an IT professional for a decent-size company, you know your users are always changing. People get hired and people get promoted nearly every day. And depending on what department and position they have, they will have certain permissions activated or blocked on your phone system.

For instance, some users can pull call reports on employees, listen to other employee’s phone conversations, see the status of people on their team, make international calls, change their location for the day, etc. And some cannot.

What if every single time an employee was hired or promoted, the IT staff had to reference an Excel spreadsheet and manually enable or disable each of the appropriate features for the person’s phone system account.

You’d be a little grouchy, right? You’d be thinking “We should be able to create a template so I don’t have to keep doing this. Doesn’t anyone else have this problem?”

And you’d be right. An enterprise phone system will have this feature. But shockingly, most of the big-name hosted VoIP phone systems do not.

2. Professional installation, training and support

As a company with hundreds of employees you do not have the time or expertise to install your own hosted phone system. Nor does it make sense for you to hire a third party to install your provider’s hosted system.

It is also not feasible for your IT department to conduct company-wide training sessions on the new phone system.

And after it’s installed, you shouldn’t have to call a third-party vendor to come troubleshoot your company’s handsets.

Enterprise-grade hosted VoIP providers understand this. They have professional, on-site installation and support as well as training available to your organization. They will not simply ship your company handsets, pre-configured routers and a link to a YouTube channel for training, and tell you “Call us if you have any questions!”

An enterprise solution provider knows you need one company that will take full responsibility for installation, training and service.

3. Custom software integration

If a hosted VoIP provider has a list of three software applications they integrate with (i.e. Salesforce, Outlook and Google)... quietly back out of the room. It is not an enterprise solution.

An enterprise-grade hosted VoIP provider will build-out any type of software integration you require. They are aware your company needs applications like your Oracle ERP system to integrate with the phone system and they are ready to accommodate.

4. Dedicated circuits

Enterprise VoIP providers understand call quality is often non-negotiable for large companies. They know if their system doesn’t have perfect call quality, they won’t have very many enterprise customers sticking around.

As a result, hosted VoIP providers always have an option to deliver a dedicated VoIP circuit to your location, so they can control QoS and guarantee land-line call quality 100 percent of the time.

So, what if you can’t find a hosted VoIP provider with all 4 of these features? Either make more calls or enlist a broker for help. Don’t settle and don’t think hosted VoIP is only suited for small companies. The reality is hosted VoIP is just as beneficial to large companies as small, as long as you’re on a suitable platform.

I hope you enjoyed learning another Service Provider Secret. Don’t be shy. Hit me up with any questions.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

Bing’s AI chatbot came to work for me. I had to fire it.
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