29 August 2007
Before Bob Halper, CFO of Janou Pakter, decided to change his company's voice and Internet services, he used to compare his cranky, expensive in-house phone system to the one used by Alexander Graham Bell. For the New York executive search firm with branch offices in Paris, Milan and Los Angeles, the phone system is truly mission critical, with recruiters using it to help place creative design people all over the world.
Like many small businesses, Janou Pakter doesn't have a dedicated information technology staffer. So as CFO, Halper looks after all things financial and administrative, and that includes the phone system. As a nonprofessional, Halper ended up with contracts with four different companies for local and long-distance voice, data and Internet services. "I would pull my hair out if I had to deal with them, and unfortunately, I had to deal with them," Halper says. He wanted a new phone system that could save the company money, provide predictable monthly costs and leave some hair on his head.
Thousands of small and mid-size businesses are facing the same decision--what to do about their voice and data services. And a growing number of them are looking at voice over IP (VoIP, also known as IP telephony) to consolidate their voice and Internet connections on one network. But sorting through the hype, the options, the service providers and the hardware vendors--and deciding how and when to move to VoIP--can be a minefield for any business.