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How To Build The Ultimate VoIP System

VoIP can save your company time, money, and headaches. But it's not as easy to build an enterprise VoIP system as you think. Here are tips for building the best VoIP system possible.

1. Assess corporate needs
The first step is to determine what the company wants out of the VoIP system, says Yaron Raps, services over IP solutions partner for the consulting firm Business Edge Solutions of Brunswick, N.J. A company with several offices spread over one or more geographic regions will have quite different needs than the firm with five employees at a single location. If the firm has complex needs, it will likely need to consult with industry heavyweights like Avaya and Nortel. If, on the other hand, the firm is small, with simple needs, it may be able to download everything it needs off the Internet.

2. Assess individual needs
VoIP includes features like call forwarding and ACD-type functionality without additional fees, or at much lower cost than getting these features on a traditional telecommunications system. But these features won't do any good if users of traditional voice mail and other features don't use them with the new system. That can happen because the features may operate slightly differently than with a traditional system. So train employees and managers how to use the new features.

3. Make arrangements with service providers
The service provider may just provide service or may provide differing levels of support, depending on your needs. The more technologically savvy a firm is, the less it may have need for support inside the company itself, though it will still need support for any issues between the provider and connections to and from the company location(s).

4. Read the fine print
There may be surcharges for excessive use or for some features. Many contracts stipulate one fee for "average business use" and a higher fee for additional use. Make sure you know what you're buying.

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