The transition from premises-based to hosted solutions has become all the rage in information technology, and for good reason. The ability to receive the same or better services while also eliminating costly hardware maintenance is an easy sell. While your business may have already transitioned email and applications to the cloud, it may also be time to explore an alternative phone service. Using a hosted voice solution gives you the full functionality of your phone system wherever you can get online.
In the event your business still utilizes analog phones, an analysis of your hardware, maintenance and support costs might surprise you. Aside from cost, these traditional phone systems lack many of the features available in modern deployments. Rather than hosting phone system hardware, many businesses have elected to adopt a hosted solution utilizing VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). VoIP phones can be configured to also ring on your cellphone, transcribe voicemails into text and enable the use of “softphones,” which run as an application on your computer without the need of an actual handset. While it is possible to have a hybrid phone system, utilizing both premises-based phone system hardware and VoIP phones, the real cost savings come from using a fully hosted model wherein all of your phone system hardware, aside from the actual handsets, reside in the cloud.
Eliminating the on-site phone server and ongoing maintenance, coupled with the freedom of being able to take a call anywhere, makes hosted voice solutions a seemingly easy choice. As with all transitions, however, careful analysis is required before making the move. For starters, you must ensure there is adequate Ethernet cabling throughout your building to facilitate and pass the voice traffic, as well as a network switch capable of segregating your voice and data traffic. Another limiting factor when moving to any hosted solution is your internet bandwidth. The bandwidth that your VoIP phone service requires will depend on the average number of concurrent calls. A hosted VoIP provider such as 8×8 or an outside consultant can recommend the internet speeds required for optimal performance.
Hosted voice services simply give you more for less and offer small businesses the communication tools once reserved for large companies. Not having phone system hardware also eliminates the need for telecom specialists and the costs associated with updates and upgrades, as that is all handled online. Most hosted providers also offer pay-as-you-go billing models, making it easy to control your costs. Businesses will not find themselves stuck with unwanted features, and adding new phones or entire locations to your plan is a breeze. When exploring the potential cost savings to transition from outdated on-premises solutions, do not forget about your phones.
Please contact Elite Card Processing/Elite Business Phone systems for more information.
Tom Shanley is the director of professional services for IQ Systems, Inc.