When you’re considering implementing a Voice-over-IP (VoIP) service, you have a tons of options and important things you need to consider. What requirements do you have in regards to features? Which provider offers the best price? Do you want control over your own infrastructure ? Also, not everyone is an expert on VoIP. How can you decide on a service when you do not understand what VoIP actually is?
What is VoIP?
VoIP allows business to place phones calls over the internet, allowing them to save a lot of money per month. It is more flexible, easier to manage and it integrates with many other business services unlike the standard telephone system.
Dynamix Business Voice is a great example of a cloud-based enterprise phone system, which allows users to place and receive calls over the internet without the need for any on premise equipment. An alternative to hosted VoIP is Skype for Business. Skype for Business, formerly known as Microsoft Lync Server, is a communications platform that integrates common channels of business communication and online meetings through on premise server software.
Skype for Business
Almost everyone is familiar with Skype. Skype was one of the earliest VoIP services and became incredibly popular with people trying to stay in touch with friends and family across international borders. Since Microsoft bought the business in 2011 and made Skype available for both consumers and enterprises.
The Limitations of Skype for Business
Skype for Business doesn’t sound all that different from the various VoIP services on the market. You get cheaper calls, group audio and video conferencing, IM integration, voicemail etc. but Skype is distinctly different from the typical hosted VoIP services in many ways. Skype does have certain limitations which may not make it the ideal choice for your organization.
In fact, Skype caters to a very specific type of organization – large corporations that use Microsoft Office. It is not a customizable service that is flexible enough to accommodate all types of businesses
Major hosted VoIP services work with Google apps, CRM Systems, IT Glue and so on. Skype for Business is notorious for lacking such third-party integration, although it works well with Microsoft’s own Office applications.
Its tight integration with other Microsoft products such as Office, Exchange and Outlook can be an advantage to companies which already have licenses to those products. On the other hand, it also means that companies that don’t have a need for these products may end up paying for them as part of the entire bundle.
Enterprise licensing plans from Microsoft are extremely complex and expensive. Over the long-term, the organization may not see much of a difference when compared to traditional phone service.
In the early days, the communication protocol SIP didn’t have the functionality we know today. Skype was developed as a service using peer to peer technology and does not use SIP. However, as the VoIP industry developed, SIP became the standard for hardware manufacturers, service providers and software developers.
If you choose for hosted VoIP services, you don’t have to worry about interoperability. Most SIP compatible handsets and equipment will work with the service and if you want to switch providers, you don’t have to buy new hardware. It is not the same case with Skype. Since the service does not use SIP, changing your telephony service provider may not be as easy as you think.
Ease of Management
With Hosted VoIP Services you do not have to maintain your own servers and other equipment needed for your communication service. This is all being handled by the provider of the service. Skype for Business works with an on premise configuration and this requires not only large capital expenditure on infrastructure, but high levels of expertise in server configuration and maintenance as well as telephony expertise.
If you already use the Microsoft Office suite, then going with Skype for Business makes sense. For most everyone else, Hosted VoIP is the best solution.