It used to be that when you needed business phone service you contacted the phone company and they hooked you up. Well, those days are long gone. Today the choices can be overwhelming. Will a traditional digital telephone system meet your needs? Or do you need an IP (Internet Protocol) premise-based system, a hosted IP solution, a cloud-based IP system or some sort of hybrid solution?
According to our premier local carrier, ShoreTel, there are several key considerations involved in selecting the right business phone system. Here are a few of them:
- Assess your current system’s shortcomings, which may take many forms, including high maintenance costs, inflexibility, conference calling charges, and more.
- While an upgraded traditional phone system may meet your current needs, the world is moving to IP systems. Consider the many benefits, such as increased customer satisfaction, call volumes, call center agent effectiveness, mobility, and improved ROI.
- You can buy your own IP phone system hardware and software, incurring capital and operational costs, manage it yourself, or you can hire a consultant to implement and manage.
- Hosted or Cloud-based services put the responsibility for running your phone system on an outside company, most likely an MSP (Managed Services Provider). Such services usually entail a one-time installation fee plus a monthly cost per user.
- Consider the UC (Unified Communications) extras that are possible with your IP system, such as mobility, instant messaging, video conferencing, and collaboration capabilities.
- Take it for a test drive and check customer references. Ask current customers if they would buy the system again, what their costs are really like, and how easy the system is to manage.
Probably the most important observation you can make while assessing the need for a new system is of your own employee’s communications habits and preferences. If you notice them eschewing the company phone system and using their own devices instead (known as BYOD or Bring Your Own Device), a whole host of issues can arise.
Despite the risks inherent in BYOD business environments, particularly security, research company Ovum claims that the percentage of all employees using their own devices to access corporate data is up from 56.8% in 2013 to 69.2% in 2014. Clearly, the more your phone system includes UC features that integrate smartphones, tablets, laptops, and wearables, the better positioned you’ll be to address the BYOD phenomenon.
Infinity Systems is Savannah’s local and regional expert on the latest in voice, unified communications, and managed services. When it comes time to evaluate your current systems and explore your future options, contact Infinity.