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Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology offers businesses a supreme proposition: streamline telecommunications whereas reducing total cost of ownership. VoIP integrates business communications into a single infrastructure: the data network. Especially for small businesses such as a real estate developer, VoIP can increase productivity, flexibility, and lower costs. Therefore, this report will evaluate VoIP which is being considered by a real estate developer in Pakistan. Furthermore, the focus will be on business benefits.
Review of the current situation regarding the topic
The company which would be implementing the VOIP technology is a real estate developer in Pakistan, currently developing one of the biggest mix-useprojects in the region. There is a central head office with the executives and administrative staff, the secondary office isnot very far which consists of the finance department,one oftheother twoofficesis the marketing office located on the main site of construction and the last office consists of the procurement, IT and HR staff.
An evaluation of the technology in business
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology
VoIP is a communication technique that uses the Internet to transmit the voice instead of PSTN which is public switched telephone network. The common VoIP connection methods are shown in the figure 1. In VoIP the connection is made via the Internet unlike in PSTN where the connection is made via phone carrier.
Consequently, organisations are beginning to appreciate more the importance of the building relationships not just within the company but between themselves and external entities such as customers, suppliers and service partners. However, as the marketplace in which they all exist becomes a global and intensely competitive one, the need to complete projects as quickly as possible and satisfy workers' potential reluctance to relocate becomes an interesting issue. Therefore, with new technologies such as VoIP, organisations can reap the benefits gained through collaborative working. As a result, with increasingly complex and fast changing environment of the knowledge era, organisations are being forced to seek new ways of leveraging resources more productively. Furthermore, in today's 'flat world' there is a new emphasis on knowledge management, both attaining and retaining the learning experiences of staff in order to fertilise the organisation with value rich tacit knowledge.
There are two types of benefits tangible and intangible. Tangible benefits are directly related to return on investment (ROI) also increased revenues or reduced costs. On the other hand intangible benefits are more difficult to define and often have strategic impact on the company.
However, Kaplan and Norton (2004) classified IT as an intangible asset along with human resources (HR), market position and innovative percentage. Furthermore, in order to find out the benefits they have to be measured. Measurement does not have to be difficult or require a significant resource investment.
VoIP technology is very beneficial for companies since it enables business users such as real estate developer to take the office with them wherever they go. What is more, they are able to access the system via the Internet and check their emails and voicemail, access project data or place calls all over a single network. Furthermore, businesses can allow employees to work from home or any other location and still have their office telephone calls delivered to them directly. Enterprises can also make use of mobile handsets, which allow workers that often have to leave their desks to remain available through wireless networks in the business. This ensures that workers are always available, allowing them to deal better with new situations that arise, as new information reaches them faster. This results in greater productivity.
VoIP technology is easy to use and users can make changes to the system without relying on IT support. Since they can make changes directly on an Internet dashboard. Furthermore, the online interface allows users to set call-routing preferences install new phones and add new functionality. In order to rearrange desktop phones staff will need to unplug and move them to another outlet. This leads to greater flexibility since unlike with PSTN technician is not required to move telephone lines as VoIP user can simply plug the VoIP phone in at the new location and the transfer is complete.
VoIP system does not require initial investment or other expensive equipment therefore, the startup cost is low. Hosted service providers offer the lowest cost of entry and monthly subscriptions that are specially tailored for small and growing businesses.
Service Options. VoIP offers a range of different service options not available through PSTN providers. The ability to choose between different service models and price structures results in a significant cost advantage for users. VoIP is available both as an on-premises system and as a hosted service. The more cost effective setup depends on the size and configuration of the company. A small, rapidly growing company will probably find an advantage in subscribing to a hosted service, which offers low maintenance and high functionality on demand.
Lower maintenance costs
Single network reduces the cost of maintenance also the network administrator's burden may be lessened as they can now focus on a single network. There is no longer a need for several teams to manage a data network and another to mange a voice network.
Business can control both the data network and the voice network as a single area of control. The same types of controls that were previously used to control the data network can now be expanded to control the voice network.
As above, maintenance savings extend beyond the obvious and dramatic benefit of eliminating an entire network. Data networks are cheaper to maintain-adds, moves, and changes happen via a software interface. In contrast, PSTN maintenance involves the manual rewiring and re-routing of office phone lines. Hosted IP services such as Packet8 and Vocalocity eliminate the telecom maintenance budget altogether by maintaining the switchboard software on site. Users perform daily maintenance via a web dashboard, and system upgrades are the provider's responsibility
Multiple Offices. VoIP offers businesses the option of hosting call processing equipment at one centralized location and deploying the service features across remote locations. All offices can enjoy standardized, high-level functionality without maintaining their own on-premises PBX equipment
Another reason for the lower cost of VoIP when compared to the traditional phone service is the fact that VoIP service providers are not classified by government regulating agencies as phone companies. This means that they and their service are not subject to the special fees and taxes that apply to most traditional phone companies. They can pass this savings along to you in a couple of ways. First, they are not required to charge you for any special fees or taxes. Secondly, their cost of doing business is lower, and they can pass this along to you in the form of a lower basic rate.
Usually, when a business decides to use a more affordable solution for a part of its operations, there is generally a period of adjustment before the benefits from the change is fully recognized. One of the greatest advantages of switching to a VoIP service is that from the very start, the cost reduction advantage is immediately experienced.
Voip technology enables businesses such as real estate developer to setup a conference with a whole team and communicate with them in real time. The reason for that is a VoIP compresses data packet during transmission and this causes more data to be handled over the carrier, resulting in more calls on one access line. Furthermore, VoIP calls can be saved together with relevant previous history, which simplifies record-keeping of calls.
In addition, VoIP offers new functionality not available through the PSTN. Unified messaging, for example, integrates voicemail, email, and fax capability. Studies attempting to quantify productivity benefits have found that "unified messaging can provide 25 to 40 minutes of added employee productivity each day. Doherty, 2003, p. 36" The ability of VoIP technology to integrate into other business applications such as instant messaging offers even broader productivity gains.Unified Messaging - Voice Messaging Management gives users the option to review voice mail on their phone, on their computer as a WAV file attachment in e-mail or as a unified message available in both ways. WAV file messages are useful as they can be archived for the future or forwarded to other parties
Collaborative Data Sharing
Collaborative data sharing is the technology by which different groups share their data .
In general data across these groups are incompatible in nature. It takes help from third technology so that data from one group gets shared by other group.
This can be compared to an intranet which has been perceived as a tool that acquire, store and distribute information for their own group. Thus, an intranet is an information tool designed around community groups who share the same interpretation processes.
VoIP technology enables users to indicate if the are available on the network or not. This can save time for the person looking for them because before the caller picks up the handset to dial the required number, he or she can assess the user's availability. If a user is unavailable, calls can still be made via the business' network to the user's cellular telephone if it is connected to the wireless business network as an internal (free of charge) call, provided the user has VoIP and wireless capabilities on his or her cellular telephone.
Data Integration. Another benefit is the integration of voice and data. The sales force, for example, benefits from instant access to customer data through Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. Operations managers enjoy instant access to relevant supply chain data when communicating with suppliers. And all workers can access and share data 'live' as they collaborate by phone or conference call.
Scalability. VoIP offers the ability to grow or downsize the communications system instantly to meet changing business needs. The impact of this hassle-free scalability plays out in several ways. First, workers have exactly the features they need when they need them. Second, the company pays for no more phone system than it needs at present. Traditional PSTN networks required owners to maintain unnecessary lines and PBX capacity in anticipation of future needs. VoIP eliminates wasted resources on an outsized system without risking the reduced productivity of an insufficient system. Hosted service providers take scalability a step further by hosting the system and parceling out capacity and features to offsite subscriber. A la carte functionality available on request represents the ultimate in scalability-in most cases subscribers can make the necessary adjustments via a web portal.
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