In today’s fast-paced business world, many companies are switching to VoIP (Voice over IP) phone systems to save money and save time on the upkeep of a traditional phone system. It’s an attractive option for many businesses, but like anything else, it’s important to evaluate if it’s really the right move for your business needs. Here are three key questions to ask.

What equipment will be required?

Traditional phone systems require a lot of equipment to run an entire office of phones. Just like it takes a lot of servers and cables to power your network, it takes hardware to power a traditional phone system. But with VoIP systems, the equipment expense is typically much less.

Many offices embrace a bring your own device (BYOD) approach where employees simply use their cell phone as their work phone. You may still need to buy some desktop phones that will work with your VoIP system, but the equipment requirement is pretty low for VoIP. A reliable broadband connection is critical though, so be sure it’s up to speed.

How easy is the system to learn?

There are a lot of VoIP systems available, and they all have their own lengthy list of features. Stuff like custom hold music, call logs, call recording, conferencing, virtual fax, and much, much more. But any new system comes with a learning curve, so it’s important to evaluate how long it will take your team to learn the system and be able to use it confidently. And then how long will it take a brand new employee to get up to speed on the VoIP system? Some systems are pretty easy to learn, while others are much more complex.

One business owner, Sally, switched to VoIP because she was tired of having to call her telephone service provider to set up a new extension and do training every time she hired a new employee. But after she switched, she discovered the user interface for her VoIP system was pretty complex and had a steep learning curve. She ended up spending a lot of her own time to train new employees. Eventually, she decided the old way was easier and went back to a traditional phone system.

What’s the investment?

The investment you make as a business in any technology should be well researched. While VoIP can save many businesses a lot of money, that’s not the case for every single business. It’s important to look at the total investment for VoIP compared to your existing system and be sure the cost savings are actually there. Many VoIP services offer different packages based on your needs, so ask plenty of questions and involve your IT provider to ensure you get the right package for your business.

Before switching to VoIP or any new system, carefully evaluate the options and offerings to be sure it’s the right choice for you. Ask your colleagues about their past experience and be sure to involve employees in the decision as well.