What Goes Wrong When Company Develops its own VoIP Software?
Problems that Arise During the Start-Up As Well As the Business Growth Stage.
VoIP has greatly reduced communication costs for businesses and allowed many companies, big and small, to enter the VoIP software market. However, a certain number of these new entrants developed their own versions of the tried and tested program. Let’s see why and where they went wrong.
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How and Why They Developed Their VoIP Solution?
First, the business owner could be the developer. He might possess general or even specific knowledge about programming and has decided to start a company based on that. Benefits include no external fixed costs and the fact that the software can be customized to the owner’s needs.
Second, a wider group of in-house developers may work on the project. Similar to the first case, the benefits of internal development are spread out among the team members. However, these programmers are devoting time to tasks outside their main areas, which could have been spent on more profitable tasks.
Finally, a freelancer could be hired to build the VoIP platform. With numerous sites, finding an inexpensive but talented freelancer is easy, although the quality of the product may vary. The overriding theme in all these scenarios is saving money, as businesses think that by developing their own system they can decrease the cost of the software. Additionally, some cases require extremely specialized functions not readily available, but can be developed faster in-house. An example would be the asterisk billing system that uses the Asterisk PBX softswitch.
The Negative Consequences
Developers will reinvent the wheel. Time, money and valuable human resources will be spent on something that either already exists or can easily be fine-tuned to do what’s needed. Without specializing in hosted softswitch development, a company is unlikely to create a groundbreaking or innovative product.
If a single non-specialized firm is working on the product, it is likely to omit some of the functions the users will pay or have already paid for. Furthermore, the focus will be on actually providing the services and not on procuring them in the most efficient and optimized manner. The result of these two is a waste of time and resources.
As just one company is developing the VoIP software, the alpha and beta tests will be carried out in a single place and provide unreliably positive results because the program was not tested against a wide range of problems. Other business will be reluctant to trust the company’s promises and it will lose money, reputation and customer loyalty. Even worse, system bugs will go unnoticed and undermine the platform’s reliability. For instance, errors in VoIP billing may bring about accounting mismatches. Confidential data may be accessed by malicious hackers, which hurts the business’s reputation, performance, efficiency and ultimately market competitiveness. Potential customers will be driven away by the firm’s negative reputation and there will be a lot of unearned income. Furthermore, due to the unreliability of the wholesale VoIP solution, current customers will relocate their businesses elsewhere because their needs are not satisfied. Thus, profit margins will fall, along with customer satisfaction and the company will go into the red, even to the point of losing all its revenue.
When the company has internal developers handle the telecom billing, a number of further issues arise. Keeping a developer and paying him just for one piece of software is both expensive and risky because the firm depends entirely on his skill. He will have to multitask and cover many areas of programming and will be not have the opportunity to specialize in just one area. All of this will make him more than just inefficient. Some of the extra work could be outsourced but external contractors aren’t as loyal as company employees and this requires complicated control mechanisms. The result is inevitably inefficient and poor quality work.
In-house developers can thus produce only an unfinished and/or undocumented system. A piece of software that does not keep thorough logs is more difficult to operate, complicating the support process. Errors that come about are harder to locate and deal with, so instead of focusing on clients, workers waste time on problem solving. Similarly, an unfinished program is extremely unreliable and features non-automated processes, which is the greatest sin of any tech company. VoIP softswitches that require manual work limit workflow, are cost-ineffective and eventually produce errors. Because some processes are inconsistent, the company cannot provide the functions the customers need. The system does not meet the requirements of customers and employees, and causes frustration and dissatisfaction. Employees will feel less motivated to work because of the inhospitable working environment. Their lack of effort and fervor will cause poor customer service and further worsen the company’s image. Even more, employee productivity will fall and the employee turnover will increase. As a result, employees will lose out.
Customers will suffer the most. The imperfect VoIP business will make them tolerate bad services, but only in the short run. In the long run they will spend time and money looking for an alternative provider. The company will disappoint customers because it will not meet their expectations. As a result they will slowly abandon the firm, which will result in a great profit loss.
When and How Problems Manifest
The previously outlined bad consequences of self-made VoIP software usually come about during the growth stage of a business. It is during that time the company takes on a greater number of customers, which puts more strain on the system, so all the small inconveniences are multiplied till they become big problems. The firm also finds itself specializing in two very different areas: 1) the provision of VoIP services, and 2) the development of a system for these services. As a small company cannot effectively cover both of these areas, it does not offer high quality in either of them. Because of all the aforementioned problems, small firms find that they cannot operate beyond a certain number of customers without drastically worsening their services.
On What Should the Company Concentrate?
The wisest thing to do is procure externally and professionally made VoIP software so that the telecommunications company can focus on what it does best: provide excellent service while Kolmisoft is able to provide a simple but effective solution to that – MOR.