Know-how  | Topic: [Hosted Voice]
   

Buying Hosted Voice? 7 Things You Should Know Before Signing

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Once you’ve captured your requirements and decided on a hosted voice solution, you’ll be eager to press on and get the ball rolling.

The solution design phase of your hosted voice purchase is critical. But, even before you start to design your next telephony deployment, there are some things you should know before signing the order form.

1.  Connectivity requirements

Before you install that first phone, you need to be certain that your connectivity and network is fit for purpose. When rolling out hosted voice, there are a few important considerations.

  1. Can you segregate your voice and data traffic? If you’re running a leased line or dedicated circuit, your connectivity provider should be able to section off the required bandwidth dedicated to hosted voice. This ensures quality of service and stops any browsing, application and streaming services interfering with your voice traffic. For FTTC and ADSL users, you might want to consider a dedicated connection.
  2. Do you have sufficient bandwidth available? When moving to hosted voice for the first time, you are introducing another service to run over the internet. Check that you have enough bandwidth to section off for hosted voice. Here’s a quick formula to aid you in working out how much bandwidth you require.

Concurrent Users

Dedicated Voice Bandwidth

1

100Kbps

10

1Mbps

100

10Mbps

It is important to note that this only refers to concurrent calls. If your business has 100 users on the phone at any one time, this will require more bandwidth than a business with 100 users but only 2 or 3 users on the phone at a given time.

  1. If you need to make changes to your connectivity, have you allotted enough time? You may need to get approval from a change board, order an upgrade of your line or get another connection installed. Ensure you factor this time into your overall lead time. Setting expectations throughout the business is crucial to successful deployment.

2.  Implementation

Making your implementation as seamless as possible is the priority of every voice provider. Take note of these checklist items to make sure you have given your provider as much information as possible. If you don’t have these, make sure they are taken care of before you sign up for hosted voice.

  1. User acceptance testing – during a pilot phase, a formal test plan is required. Completion of this testing removes most niggles and intricacies on go-live day.
  2. Scheduled downtime – there are ways and means of minimising downtime with hosted voice deployment but it’s best to communicate when changes will be taking place. Incoming support tickets are reduced when users know what is going on.
  3. Communications plan – keeping everyone in the loop is crucial during implementation. Your service provider can assist with wording and timings. Key information includes what is changing i.e. a new handset, when to expect this to change i.e. first thing Monday morning and the benefits of a new phone system i.e. voicemail to email.

3.  Number porting

When moving from ISDN to VoIP, you likely need to keep your existing phone numbers. Number porting enables you to move your group numbers and DDIs onto your new VoIP handsets and soft phones.

Pre-migration, it’s important to obtain all number information from your current provider. The way the numbers have been provisioned historically will impact how you can schedule your number porting.

Sometimes, it is possible to break out down migrations department by department. Other times, all numbers may have to be moved at once. Having all information to hand – and verified by your number provider - will ensure your numbers get from one phone system to the other.

4.  What happens to your existing phone system

Unless there is a specific reason to keep your old system running, it can be disposed of. Dependent on the type of phone system, some providers run a scheme where discount can be provided in exchange for old phones.

For brands excluded from these campaigns, there are companies that specialise in recycling or disposing of legacy phones system.

5.  Legacy devices

When replacing a phone system, you must take stock of the existing devices that were attached either to the phone system or the telephone lines. Dependent on your current and future state, these types of devices can either continue as they are through the hosted voice solution, or via analogue adapters. For older technologies, you may have to check with the device manufacturer.

Typical legacy devices to look out for include:

  • Fax
  • Lift Lines
  • Warehouse Ringers
  • Door Entry Systems
  • Pagers
  • Alarms
  • Credit Card Terminals
  • Franking Machines

Likely up-front charges

Once the above is taken care of, you are ready to discuss commercials. When implementing a future proof solution like hosted voice, the monthly costs are crucial. However, it is just as important to calculate the one-off charges for professional services, project management or specialist equipment.

To avoid surprise charges, it is imperative that your requirements gathering is as precise as possible. Once your requirements are fully captured and signed off, your new provider will be able to scope of your hosted voice solution as accurately as possible.

Understanding any applicable up-front charges is crucial to calculating the total cost of ownership. When looking at a three year model for communications, your strategy and business case must cover all aspects of the solution.

Getting started

Following connectivity, implementation and commercial considerations being satisfied, you are ready to sign with your new provider. The period that follows must be well-defined and follow a demonstrable structure.

Cadence is vital when rolling out a new product of any kind. Hosted voice is no different. SAS will walk you through, and document, the next steps that you can expect. This will include the expectations from you and your end users, the teams and people that need to be engaged to plan and deliver your solution, and all information needed to hit the ground running.

To get started with SAS, and start planning your hosted voice deployment, book a call with one of our hosted voice specialists today.

 

If you would like to find out more, then you may like to read one of our other blogs or downloads, or request a conversation with one of our consultants. We are always happy to discuss, without obligation.

Useful Resources

Complete guide to hosted voice  <https://www.sas.co.uk/learning/complete-guide-to-hosted-voice>

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 Editor's notes: Published on January 7 2019

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