Everything Your Boss Needs To Know About VOIP
Making the case for VOIP – The five key points you need to cover
Your employer depends on you to ensure all their telecommunications needs are up to snuff. And when they’re not, you have the awesome (the big kind of awesome, not the “wow, this is so great” kind of awesome) task of presenting the facts and making the case for the budget needed to get things up to speed. As anyone in middle management knows, this is easier said than done.
If your company has been relying on a traditional phone system and your needs have grown more complex, perhaps you’ve identified Hosted VOIP /PBX as a viable alternative.
How do you get your higher-ups on board with a plan to revamp their telecommunications network?
While you may be convinced of the reasons and benefits, it’s not obvious to your superior. So it’s best to position your points as they speak to the concerns of the final decision maker(s). Likely these will include, but are not limited to:
• Competitive landscape
• Required resources
• Risk management
• Customer experience
• Bottom line
With these in mind, here are five key areas you need to cover in order to present a strong case for making the move to Hosted PBX /VOIP:
1. Competitive Landscape
How does your proposal stack up against what the competition is currently doing?
To bolster your position, and present compelling evidence, there’s no shortage of information highlighting how business cloud telephony is trending through industry studies and surveys.
Prospective service providers can also provide you with case studies that exemplify the issue your organization is facing and how it was solved by the upgraded phone system in a comparable organization within your industry. Whatever you showcase to the boss, make sure to explain where you sourced the information and what makes it credible.
Include a list of companies that are benefitting from the technology – ideally respected competitors.
You can also turn to your industry’s key associations to have them weigh in on the current telecom landscape for members.
2. Required resources
What will it cost in terms of time, money or human resources?
The concern that a change in technology will mean added strain on existing time, financial or human resources – or worse, require additional (i.e. – not in the budget) resources – is a very real concern for your boss when considering any new solution.
Involve other coworkers who are directly impacted by the technology. Consider IT leadership or personnel, or call centre agents and focus on how their current efforts can be further optimized by VOIP. If you’re lucky enough to have another colleague with experience in cloud systems, leverage their opinion.
Ultimately, you want to be able to show:
1) How the current resources will be able to not only accommodate the change, but also be better optimized as a result; 2) How the provider will supply the resources needed to facilitate a move without any additional resources from your company and 3) How your current resources will be better utilized as a result of the change.
Again prospective providers should be able to give you a cost analysis that covers both the short and long term looking at your current situation and the proposed solution. This should highlight the overall reduced cost of ownership; maximizing IT efforts; company-wide productivity. Each of these comes built-in with hosted VOIP and should be fleshed out into bottom-line impact report.
You’ll also want to ask for some reliable referrals that can provide supporting evidence regarding their experience and offer those up at the outset.
3. Risk Management
What can go wrong?
The stakes can be high when taking the road less traveled regarding essential infrastructure – your boss wants to know what the worst-case scenarios might be.
The pros and cons of Hosted PBX /VOIP have been written about extensively and there are many third-party source articles available to reference.
While it’s important to show your awareness and table the potential risks up front, ensure that its balanced with a roundup of the same category of risks that exist for your current system so that your boss is comparing apples to apples.
You also want to ensure that your plan is “future proof”. This means knowing that whatever technology you’re looking to acquire, if anything new comes out (software or hardware) you won’t have to rip everything out and start again. Look to annual industry publications for technology trends/predictions and ask prospective suppliers to speak not only to how their technology would adapt with the proposed solution, but for examples of how they adapted to last round of industry innovation and how it affected the service, technology and pricing for clients.
4. Customer experience
How will hosted VOIP improve the customer or client experience?
Often the thinking is “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it.” But in any highly competitive landscape, status quo thinking can lead to failure.
There are many popular publications related to the topic of cloud computing, unified communication and VOIP that identify the exact ways in which the proposed technology improves customer experience.
Naturally, this ties back to improved competitiveness – demonstrate the value of leading features like Unified Communications, automatic upgrades, presence, video conferencing, and how accessible key contacts are on a hosted VOIP platform.
Ideally, if you have customer feedback or satisfaction surveys to draw on, you will show the direct correlation between identified issues and how hosted VOIP features will help address those issues and improve service. If you don’t have such survey results, see if the opportunity exists to survey customers before presenting your case.
5. The Bottom Line
How will making the move to hosted VOIP positively impact the bottom line?
Ultimately, it’s the overall return on investment that your boss is looking to understand – how the output will outweigh the input.
Many companies are struggling quite a bit with maintenance and upgrade costs for on-site systems — your job is to show your boss exactly how hosted VOIP takes these priorities offsite while freeing up resources and reducing infrastructure costs.
Ultimately you want to provide a clear demonstration that you’ve considered all the key facts, have strong supporting material and a cache of objective information along with analysis and case studies form prospective vendors.
Once all the bottom-line savings, efficiency and productivity advantages are carefully articulated and you’ve presented the various benefits and aligned them with internal needs, consider a visual presentation that combines all the compelling evidence as it relates to the previous points and demonstrate how the outcome speaks to your company’s overall business strategy. Whether that’s cost savings, improved customer service, reducing capital expenditures or being the industry leader, or perhaps all of the above.
After you’ve thoroughly covered all these areas, give your boss time to digest the information while still providing timely updates about the latest news or trends or they pertain to each category of consideration. If there are any areas that your boss feels uncertain about, consider the possibility of sourcing objective third party experts to weigh in.
Claudio Nespeca directs Marketing strategies for Epik Networks, a leading VOIP and internet service provider headquartered in Toronto. His expertise spans more than 17 years in the North American telecom sector.