Riaan Pietersen, Tele-Enterprise CMO, says many companies have had their fingers burnt by Voice over IP (VoIP) implementations that left them with unstable and unreliable connections and cost them money in the long run. The poor quality of VoIP calls has given the technology an undeservedly bad reputation, he says.
To change perceptions of VoIP as a communications channel, Tele-Enterprise has launched a challenge seeking the worst VoIP implementation story in the country. If your company has telephony expenses of at least R15 000 a month, at least 25 phone extensions and a good story to tell about how VoIP let you down, you could turn the experience around by winning a trial implementation of VoIP that works, followed by a preferential deal on a next generation system.
Pietersen says: “Communications is the lifeblood of any business, irrespective of sector. But too many businesses buy in to vendor smoke and mirrors without a full understanding of the technology behind the solution.”
VoIP is a case in point, he says: “VoIP has a negative association because so many companies have tried it and had it fail and cost them money.”
But there are many reasons why a VoIP implementation could fail, and none of them are because VoIP is inherently a poor communications tool, he says.
“In some cases, technicians are not experienced enough and don’t have the experience to understand the full requirements of different VoIP implementations. VoIP is not a plug ‘n play or cut ‘n paste implementation.” Pietersen points out that buying cheap is a major mistake. “If cheap equipment is used to save money, this will lead to problems later if it needs to be replaced or is not scalable.”
Many VoIP implementers often make the mistake of focusing on savings for the client rather than service and added value, says Pietersen. “VoIP will save clients money in the long run – but the main objective should be about control, functionality and extended features,” he says.
The three most common reasons VoIP fails, says Pietersen, are that VoIP services are implemented without a full pre-installation assessment of the complete network and office environment; that sub-standard VoIP equipment such as gateways, connectivity mediums and routers are used; and that inadequate or no assessment of call performance is done after implementation.
A good VoIP solution needs to be tailored to meet the business’s individual needs and strategy, making it important for vendors to carry out a thorough business analysis before the VoIP implementation, he says. In addition, cost savings should not be the primary goal, and the equipment used should be reliable and scalable enough to meet future business needs. The implementation partner should offer on-going support and conduct post-implementation assessments to ensure the system performs optimally.
Because Tele-Enterprise’s team has a long history of experience in the VoIP arena, they have encountered numerous companies who regret their VoIP investment. The company believes the VoIP Challenge will turn around perceptions and illustrate that properly-implemented VoIP can deliver significant efficiencies as well as cost savings.
The company that submits the worst VoIP story in the VoIP Challenge will win a 30 day trial, during which it will:
- Not pay for calls or equipment.
- Have the latest virtual PBX with next generation IP phones and world class features under pinned by world class BroadSoft technology.
- Receive a free network LAN test and if required, upgraded to CAT5E with POE.
- Receive training on the immense functionality of this feature rich world class system.
After a successful trial period, the winner will have the following next generation system in place:
- A free video conferencing phone worth R3500.
- Automatic redundancy and failover to two networks that gives 100% uptime if any lines go down.
- Free servicing and maintenance.
- Onsite probe that will monitor all calls to all destinations to guarantee and prove call quality.
- Telephone expense management tool measuring each extension in the company – optional.
- Some of the lowest call rates in the market to offer cost savings.
To enter, write about your experience (not more than 1 page and without any mention of suppliers) and send your latest telephony account to [email protected] (T&Cs apply).