Adopting a new business phone system cannot be taken lightly by businesses. Consultant Melissa Swartz correctly wrote on No Jitter that these systems are often far more complex than they appear and warrant a lot of attention in the early stages of implementation. She said there are some common mistakes that organizations make when adopting VoIP, unified communications or other IP-PBX based systems.
A lot has changed for communications in the past few years, and organizations need to first realize this before making any sort of move toward a new communications system. This means that an assessment will be necessary to help make sure the business gets what it needs. Current communication issues and how they can be improved, areas that can be made more productive, and improvement of system acceptance should all be looked at, Swartz said. This should also help the company avoid making the assumption that every system will have common features.
"While this is true of basic features such as hold, with newer capabilities (especially presence and mobility) there are significant variations among products in terms of how much information is available and how it is presented to a user," she wrote on No Jitter. "It's crucial to see demonstrations of key features, and even better to involve business users who can provide feedback on which options work best for them."
Another common mistake companies make is not involving those who will actually be using the program in the decision-making process. It seems like common sense, but many organizations will end up simply adopting and integrating a system without seeing what employees think about it. Not only could this lead to users getting a solution they don't like, but it could hurt the enterprise from a productivity standpoint, as these users will often be able to get valuable feedback to help make sure the system is as good as it can be.
Other common mistakes that Swartz recommended businesses avoid when adopting a new phone system include:
- Insufficient training for users
- Failure to adopt other needed technology, such as analog tools
- Ignorance of infrastructure issues that could end up severely hurting a program
- Long term planning getting pushed to the side, making for a short-sighted technology implementation
VoIP mistakes may be most common
As a newer technology, VoIP business phone systems may have the most mistakes tied to them. TMCnet contributing editor Susan Campbell wrote that hosted VoIP is increasing in popularity, as companies like Fonality have some great offerings that can help business boost productivity and save money. However, some hosted implementations end up failing for a litany of reasons, including enterprise officials not knowing enough about it.
"In some failed hosted VoIP implementations, there is often a knowledge gap simply because the right people didn't take the time to educate themselves on VoIP before implementing a solution," she wrote. "This is not to suggest that you become a VoIP expert, but at least get a basic understanding so you can ask the right questions from the word go."Other mistakes include trying to implement VoIP without help, not being clear on the cost of the service and under- or overestimating the power of the technology.