Your old telephone system has done some incredible things during its time. It has connected your business to the outside world, driven innovation, and has generally made business easier. After all, could you imagine using an old 1860’s style telegraph system to implement a multi-national, multi-million dollar inventory management strategy? Neither could we.
In 2017, businesses need to adapt to current technologies to prepare for the future of business. This is what VOIP (or Voice Over Internet Protocol) is all about. It’s about innovation. It’s about being and remaining competitive. It’s about the future.
If you believe it’s time to upgrade your old telephone system (or quit using your LTE equipped smartphone to run your business), but don’t know if VOIP is right for you, consider the following:
– VOIP lowers telecom costs
– VOIP improves communications and productivity
– VOIP allows you to scale back IT by leveraging existing cloud systems
– VOIP will allow you to be technologically competitive in the marketplace by modernizing your outdated phone system
Transcription of PDF is as follows:
Introduction: Why the Time for Hosted VoIP Has Come
Every business organization needs telephones, but until recently options were limited — especially for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). They could not afford to buy systems giving them the latest capabilities. While the quality and reliability of legacy phone systems have historically been good, they are expensive, harder to service, and they have had no technology innovations in decades. Small to Medium size businesses have not been a priority for traditional telephone system providers. This brief summary will discuss why hosted or voice over IP (VoIP) is a good solution for most businesses, and particularly why they should consider hosted VoIP services.
The Case For and Against Legacy Telephony
Why would a company move away from legacy telephone network which is called the PSTN or Public Switched Telephone Network? PSTN generally works pretty well. In a simpler time — before the Internet and even for some time after — nothing compared to it. It was a tried and true solution.
Even now, the quality and reliability of PSTN is still very good. While VoIP quality and reliability have improved, they still leave something to be desired if not installed properly. PSTN vendors are well known and easy to work with.
On the other hand, legacy systems are expensive. Maintaining a dedicated voice network is costly, especially when fewer office workers are using desk phones in the first place. With no technology changes since the 1970s, legacy systems have stayed static and produced no innovations in decades. In fact, most vendors of traditional systems have seen major declines in sales and have PBX’s in the Cloud. In fact, some of the largest PSTN providers have declared copper dead.
Most problematic, legacy networks are isolated from other communications systems. Compared to a smartphone, for example, a legacy system can’t do much. It can make and receive phone calls — and that’s about it. This means IT departments must maintain one system for phones and a separate data system for everything else. And, other than the network connection or phone connections most hosted systems are serviced and upgraded by the hosted vendor. This also takes a load off the IT department.
When considering the move to a Hosted VoIP service, ask yourself what your business priorities are. What do you want to get out of telephony? In general, companies want:
– Lower telecom costs
– Improve communications/productivity
– Scale back IT/leverage the cloud
– Technology refresh/modernize phone system
Integrated communications including video conferencing, operational software integration, IM/Chat capability, web chat capability to support sales and service staff. Making it easier for their customers and employees to communicate!
Hosted VoIP systems in general can provide all these things. VoIP offers a lower cost of service, in which you pay monthly rather than amortize an expensive system over several years. It also costs less to set up as the infrastructure is cloud-based or otherwise off site.
With more and newer features, VoIP improves productivity. It offers more options voice, from emailed voicemail to Web-based calls to BYOD (bring your own device) options. Employees will not be limited to their desk phones.
Perhaps most importantly, VoIP is the technological successor to legacy systems. Eventually support for these systems will go away for legacy systems. PSTN providers have plans in place with regulators to stop supporting legacy systems over the next few years. While this won’t happen overnight, it is coming.
Why Hosted VoIP?
When moving to a VoIP service, there are three deployment models companies can choose. These are:
– On-Premise: Phone system, routers, etc. are on premise. This is the most common model, but it is the most expensive and technologically complicated.
– Hosted: Infrastructure is operated off-site by a telco or an IP service provider. This is an attractive for SMBs with limited or no IT capacities. It is easy to outsource to a hosted model.
– Hybrid: This is any combination of the on-premise or hosted models. It may be a transition phase for companies that aren’t ready for the cloud or who want to keep some things in house.
The Case for Hosted VoIP
One of the most important advantages of hosted VoIP is the expense. Your organization can shift from an expensive product – CapEx (Capital Expenditure) model — like a legacy phone system — to an OpEx (Operational Expenditure) service you pay for monthly. Telephony is easier on the budget because of the OpEx instead of a CapEx.
There are no internal IT issues with hosted VoIP because infrastructure is outsourced. This also enables you to take advantage of economies of scale. In the cloud, cost is nominal as it is, and costs for storage and technology are declining. You can increase the capacity of your system as needed.
Hosting VoIP in the cloud improves your business continuity and disaster recovery. Data centers have multiple redundancies that make them essentially bulletproof, or at least less susceptible to things that can take your network down.
Because the service provider is responsible for updates, you know your VoIP system is always current. This supports virtual and decentralized operations. Because you can host everything from the cloud, hosted VoIP is ideal for home offices and SMBs with multiple locations. All you do is move phones to a new place and plug them in. We can guarantee an almost 100% up-time if recommendations are followed.
More Benefits of Hosted VoIP
– Viable for any size business
– Supports any type of telephony environment (fixed copper lines, SIP trunks, PRI, TI, ISDN, etc.)
– Easily scales up or down — you can right-size your telephony any given month.
– Utility model — scalability makes it easy to manage your spend
– Easy to integrate with other applications and unified communications (UC) (video, IM/Chat, software integration). In fact, most full featured systems come with this capability.
How to Move Forward
From incumbent telco providers to cable companies to specialized vendors and system integrators, there are many more choices for business moving to Hosted VoIP than there ever were for legacy systems. While this is good, it means organizations need to do their homework in advance. Here are a few key buying considerations:
– Quality. Select the right physical phone for audio quality, durability, features on keypad, wireless range, etc.
– Some VoIP providers have a short track record. Make sure you are dealing with a respectable company.
– Is VoIP core to the business? VoIP is a side offering for some service providers, while its core to others’ business models. Find a service that you know has the technical expertise.
– Trade-off between price and quality. While VoIP is rapidly becoming a commodity service, they are not there yet. Less expensive systems are likely to be lower quality.
– Security. It’s well known that the cloud presents security problems. In some cases, this may mean you must keep data on premise. Ensure your solution meets regulatory requirements. Some products allow for a hybrid system that also runs a real time highly secure version in the cloud. (Vendors should provide a written guideline of security measures)
When considering your telephony, are you buying a phone service or a communications solution? Are you thinking strategically about this? Hosted VoIP is a service not a product, and you can do more with your communications with Hosted VoIP.
Article shared by requested copyright permission from Ziff/Davis.
Still not sure which direction to go? We’re the VoIP experts. It’s what we do. Give us a call so that we can discover what your actual needs are and suggest the best VoIP service solution for you. It’s our goal to help you get the best solution for the least amount of cost!