Looking at IP-based phone systems for cost savings and unified communications

03 January 2012 | Michele Bedford Thistle, Business Manager, Government, National Security, and International Organizations, Worldwide Public Sector

In our next installment of the Saving Governments Money blog series, I’d like to shine a light on perhaps one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways that your organization can save money: By moving to an IP-based phone system.

Today, the tools we use to communicate are changing. A recent study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 35 percent of American adults now own a smartphone. Also in the U.S., the National Center for Health Statistics recently reported that more than 25 percent of U.S. homes rely solely on cell phones and no longer own a traditional telephone. In Europe, Africa, and Asia, fewer people are tethered to landline phones, and the devices themselves are increasingly used for a variety of unified communications. Today people use advanced phones for things like voice, instant messaging, chat and video - far exceeding the capabilities of their predecessors.

While it’s difficult to imagine a future where government organizations are completely mobile, without question, the way these organizations communicate is evolving. Today, many agencies are making the switch from their traditional office phone systems to Voice Over IP (VoIP) technology, enabling all of their communications needs to be managed right from the computer.

If your organization is still hesitant to make the investment, even if it’s because your traditional system is thought to be cheaper to continue operating, consider our downloadable white paper The True Cost of Legacy Voicemail. What many organizations are finding is that having a VoIP phone system in place is actually more cost effective than having to pay for continuous maintenance on their legacy systems. Did you know that maintenance contracts on some legacy systems can run as high as $35,000 per year? In fact, for products that have reached end of life/end of support, additional vendor support that a reseller may lack can cost as much as $600 per hour!

Beyond cost savings, IP-based phone systems can help your organization and its employees collaborate in new ways that simply aren’t possible with traditional systems. By having access to the best of unified communications technology, employees can stay connected using video presence, instantly chat with knowledge workers for project support and easily engage in cross-departmental initiatives using the latest collaboration tools. This can have a transformational impact on your organization. It did for West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service. Learn more about their success story.

And, if you’d like to explore other ways that your organization can save money, be sure to visit our dedicated website a plan for government IT that reflects the times.

Have a comment or opinion on this post? Let me know @Microsoft_Gov. Have a question for the author? Please e-mail us at ongovernment@microsoft.com.

Michele Bedford Thistle
Business Manager, Government, National Security, and International Organizations, Worldwide Public Sector

About the Author

Michele Bedford Thistle | Business Manager, Government, National Security, and International Organizations, Worldwide Public Sector

Michele is focused on sharing stories from government customers creating real impact for citizens, employees, economies, and students. She joined the worldwide team from Microsoft Canada, where she was also marketing lead for several technology start-ups.