Home Asia-Pacific III 2007 VoIP – the new standard for corporate communications

VoIP – the new standard for corporate communications

by david.nunes
Tim MoynihanIssue:Asia-Pacific III 2007
Article no.:12
Topic:VoIP – the new standard for corporate communications
Author:Tim Moynihan
Title:Vice President of Global Marketing and Channels
Organisation:Envox Worldwide
PDF size:272KB

About author

Tim Moynihan is the Vice President of Global Marketing and Channels for Envox Worldwide. Prior to joining Envox Worldwide, Mr Moynihan, who is a recognised expert on speech and communications technology, spent six years directing all of the marketing communications, product marketing, channel marketing and sales support activities for Intel Corporation’s media and signalling communications products. Before Intel, he held senior-level marketing management positions at Inter-tel and ENTEX Information Systems, among other companies. Mr Moynihan received his BA from the College of the Holy Cross and his MBA from Purdue University.

Article abstract

The Internet has had an impact upon communications quite different than expected. In addition to the services and content on the Web, the underlying technology itself – the Internet Protocol, or IP – is changing the way individuals and businesses communicate. IP makes it possible to combine the once separate wired and wireless networks for voice, data and images and reduce costs dramatically. Standards-based VoIP solutions let developers create cost-effective solutions for a wide range of personal and corporate communications needs.

Full Article

When we examine the impact the Internet has had on the way we communicate today, it is important to realise the magnitude of change that it has brought to phone-based communications. As people realised that voice traffic could be carried on the same network that powers the World Wide Web, the convergence revolution was born. It replaced the traditional model of a single network optimized for a specific media such as voice, TV or data with a ubiquitous network capable of handling all types of media traffic simultaneously. The shift from traditional telecommunications to a voice over Internet protocol, VoIP, model has been rapid and pervasive. Quality of service was an early concern, as people wanted the reliability they expected from the phone company. VoIP developers and service providers have worked hard to solve these issues and today a VoIP call is practically indistinguishable from a traditional voice call. Despite huge infrastructure investments needed, the pace of VoIP adoption at both the service provider and enterprise level has been astounding. The convergence of phone-based and Internet communications offers tremendous advantages. Cost savings is usually cited as the primary reason for a switch to VoIP. For enterprises, VoIP offers lower cost models than the per minute fees traditional phone companies charge, and eliminates the cost of communicating between networked branch offices around the globe. The standards-based servers that handle VoIP traffic cost less than the proprietary, hardware-based counterparts found in traditional models. Deploying a single network that can handle voice, data and more can significantly lower infrastructure and administrative costs. All of these factors add up quickly. Cost aside, VoIP offers tremendous advantages: • The convergence of voice and data has broken down the barriers between previously disparate technology and information systems, enabling richer solutions as more and more business applications, communication channels and data sources can be easily integrated; • The replacement of closed, proprietary systems with standards-based, platform-independent VoIP solutions has empowered developers to create a more robust set of solutions for a wide range of environments. Organizations today have more choices and can easily deploy best-of-breed solutions as they result in fewer integration issues. Agile organizations can leverage VoIP to continuously improve and quickly gain an advantage over competitors; • VoIP extends corporate communications systems to any location the Web reaches, enabling the seamless integration of mobile, field and at-home users; and, • VoIP offers more flexible deployment and management solutions enabling companies to replace complex network configurations with a new, centralized deployment model that enables true multi-site, global telephony communications. This model also provides administrative efficiencies and speeds upgrade and enhancement work. These factors enable organizations to go beyond traditional phone services to create new solutions that offer enhanced productivity, better customer service and new revenue opportunities for service providers. Impact of VoIP on business communications When organizations first migrate to VoIP, they begin by re-creating their existing feature set (voicemail, call forwarding, directories, etc…) on their new, server-based, lower-cost IP network. Nevertheless, the real value of VoIP lies in its ability to create new converged solutions that enhance business operations: • Seamless integration of distributed offices and personnel – VoIP enables organizations to extend their corporate communications systems anywhere the Internet reaches. Many have taken advantage of this to seamlessly integrate field and at-home personnel into their workforce; • Communications-enabled business applications – VoIP-based solutions enable organizations to embed phone capabilities throughout their organization. IT Help Desks can offer phone-based PIN reset, employees can utilize click-to-call functions from their Outlook or CRM systems, HR can provide phone-based time sheets, and sales people can process orders while on the road. Organizations should carefully examine their business processes to see where the efficiencies lie; and, • Enhanced productivity – When you examine the time spent trying to track down mobile employees, trading phone calls or waiting for email replies, it is easy to see the advantage of implementing solutions that boost connectivity. Many organizations are implementing speech-enabled front-ends to their auto attendant systems that incorporate both presence and follow-me technologies. This enables people to call in and be automatically routed to the right number, the first time. Unified communications solutions that provide a universal access to all messages can further help reduce response time when a person cannot be reached immediately. The impact of VoIP on customer service Customers today are extremely demanding. They expect fast, 24-hour service, immediate issue resolution and the ability to contact a company via whichever communication device (phone, Web, email, etc…) they have handy at that moment. Today’s VoIP-based interactive voice response, IP IVR, and IP contact centre solutions provide a number of ways to help meet – and exceed – these expectations generating more loyalty and value from each customer interaction. They can improve all aspects of customer service from richer self-service solutions to more efficient staff utilization: • Enhancing self-service with IP IVR – IP IVRs lend themselves to better integration with enterprise data sources and to more rapid application changes. Together, these two characteristics allow organizations to design applications that combine information from multiple sources for richer services, and to deploy them quickly to continuously introduce new ways to satisfy customers; • Boost satisfaction with multi-channel solutions – The converged VoIP contact centre can easily handle all communication types (voice, chat, email, Web, IM) in a single universal queue. Now, organizations can offer total convenience without missing a customer. VoIP also allows you to create true multi-media solutions such as voice self-service solutions that provide video answers to complex questions or initiate phone calls from a Web page; • Tap at-home agents to lower costs and provide specialized services – Because VoIP extends your contact centre infrastructure anywhere the Web reaches, you can recruit people from anywhere in the world that best meet your skills and budgetary requirements. IP contact centre solutions ensure seamless management of a distributed workforce and provide them with the same tools available to on-site agents; and, • Improve operations with IP contact centre solutions – Traditionally, each contact centre site had to be equipped with its own phone system that distributed calls across its specific, local, agent group. In a VoIP world, you can design a solution that answers all calls in a single queue and distributes them efficiently across the entire agent pool, no matter where they are located. This enables contact centres to utilize staff more efficiently to reduce wait time and cut costs. Adding skills and presence data makes it possible to intelligently send calls to the agent best able to help – the first time – for faster resolution rates and happier customers. The impact of VoIP on service providers VoIP has revolutionized cost models for telephony service. Now, service providers must seek alternative methods for gaining new customers and keeping those they have already won. Today, this market needs to focus on creating innovative services that provide real value to the consumer. VoIP and convergence itself has paved the road for many of these new services, such as online gaming, video messaging and more. They key to success is finding a service creation solution that ensures you are the first to bring these new services to market. An end-point Convergence began with a network designed to simultaneously handle both voice and data traffic; today, convergence has expanded to encompass TV, video, business applications, entertainment services, gaming and more. Organizations of all sizes should take the time to rethink their operations and see how they can increase productivity, better serve customers and create new revenue opportunities. Rather than being boxed-in by closed, proprietary systems, VoIP has enabled them to dream up new communications schemes and quickly make them reality. Today, VoIP is a technology that has come of age and is revolutionizing the way we communicate and do business.

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