First of all, you can have your IT employees trained to handle VoIP telephony. While we have a clear bias when it comes to this larger question, we admit that it’s certainly possible to train your IT staff to the point where they become proficient enough with the VoIP and Unified Communications technologies to run your PBX systems effectively and efficiently. Training is always an option, and when it comes to switching to IP telephony it can be a really good option, especially if you have a robust IT department that is already experienced in handling your existing phone system but needs to focus on the particulars of the system you’re considering.
Of course if you follow this course your employees should get training in the specific system you’re going to adopt both: as users and as administrators. This will hold true to any new communications system, bet it a hosted PBX or a premise-based system. In fact, regardless of where that system is located, the concepts and operating principles of any IP PBX are pretty much the same.
However, even with training of your IT staff your business may still require consulting assistance from a VoIP expert at some point during your implementation and perhaps later. For that reason outsourced Unified Communications solutions are gaining popularity.
Specialized Beats Generalized
What environment will be more effective and efficient when it comes to storing and taking care of the equipment making up the guts of your VoIP phone system – your office, or a facility specifically designed to house this equipment? Clearly, the specialized environment will work better every time.
The same holds true when it comes to the human element of your IP telephony system. A team dedicated to nothing more than installing, monitoring and maintaining IP telephony systems will be that much more effective and efficient at keeping the trains running on time than a jack-of-all-trades IT employee. In our increasingly complicated technological landscape specialized will always beat out generalized.
Base Competency Required?
Now, that’s not to say you shouldn’t have an IT department within your organization, and that’s not to say you shouldn’t train your IT department staff to understand your phone system even if you choose to outsource the bulk of the system’s maintenance. In fact, it’s probably a good idea to make sure your existing IT personnel has at least a passing understanding of how your VoIP system works so that they could handle the day-to-day tasks involved in keeping your PBX in working order. But functions other than user administration and basic call routing trees will most likely require a more advanced set of telephony skills.
Believe it or not your IT department will probably prefer this arrangement as is. If your IT department is anything like the norm than they’re probably already stretched a little thin and overworked just a touch. By letting your provider take care of the day-to-day operations of your PBX system you will relieve your existing IT staff of a big burden, allowing them to focus more on the day-to-day aspects of keeping your on-site tech solutions running effectively.
There are certainly situations where someone might need to host their VoIP PBX system on-site and where they really should have their own IT department handle that system. Typically these companies have are either too small (3-4 users) and require very limited set of key system features. Others are very large and require advanced degree of integration of their Unified Communications into their back office system architecture.
The rest of the businesses fall somewhere in between and that makes them good candidates for hosted PBX solutions.