Voice over Internet Protocol telephony (VoIP) is one of the latest and most advanced technologies in telecommunication. By sending telephone communications in voice data packets over the Internet, VoIP offers large and small companies, as well as residential customers, the chance to save money on local and long distance charges. Business customers stand to gain the most from implementing VoIP, especially if they have their own pre-existing IP network. Nevertheless, with all the savings, companies must face the following question: is their enough return on investment (ROI) from VoIP to cover the costs associated with VoIP implementation?
VoIP ROI can vary greatly from one company to another. The variables in VoIP ROI equation can include the size of the company (i.e. the number of lines needed, and the number of workstations where these lines need to be located), the technical specifications of the existing IP servers and network, physical location(s), the company's typical long distance charges, and corporate culture. What companies have to decide is how long it will take to recoup the costs associated with VoIP implementation (many of which are related to the variables above), and whether that time is short enough to ensure that company profits are not too badly affected.
There are several different VoIP ROI formulae available. The simplest of these looks at how many lines a company uses, how much long distance employees typically use, and the amount of that long distance which is intra-company (i.e. between branch offices, which is free on a private IP network). Newer sophisticated VoIP ROI formulas examine everything from the costs of purchasing and installing hardware (including changes to the office space) to the costs of educating workers to use the new VoIP system (changes in dialing procedure are usually the only significant changes, but training workers does lead to lost productivity). By using one of these formulae, you can get a quick view of how much and how long your company will be paying for VoIP implementation.
There are many ways that companies can increase their VoIP ROI. Some companies are timing their VoIP implementation to coincide with a move to new office space, which can significantly reduce installation costs. Another way to maximize the ROI for a new VoIP system is to purchase hardware in volume from a major manufacturer such as Cisco Systems, or even to purchase jointly with another firm so that your purchase qualifies for a volume discount.
Although VoIP implementation can be a significant expense, the ROI for VoIP implementation in larger companies is usually also significant. Because of the tremendous long distance and long-term infrastructure savings, VoIP usually pays for itself quite quickly, allowing the company to enjoy increased profits and an excellent VoIP ROI.