Category Archives: Collaborative Cloud Strategy

How to Chose the Right Business Telephone System Based on Your Company Size (Part 2)

As we discussed in Wednesday’s blog, trying to decide on a business phone system can be challenging considering the vast array of options on the market. One of the biggest factors a company should take into consideration is how large it is. The size of your company will largely determine the right business phone system for your company. In our last blog, we discussed the best business phone options for personal, small, and medium sized businesses. Today, we will examine the most popular choices for large businesses and enterprises. 

 

Large Business and Enterprise

Popular Options:

  • Business VoIP / Unified Communications
  • SIP trunking
  • On-premise PBX

Large businesses have entirely different needs than that of smaller or medium sized businesses. Large businesses have numerous office locations, unique sales and support operations, and executives with personal assistants. Usually large businesses will need unlimited calling packages, CRM and business software, and multiple local and toll free phone numbers. Most large businesses will also need call center capabilities.

The best option for large businesses are unified communications services. Most frequently these will come from business VoIP providers. Business VoIP has an online interface that permits account administrators to add users and configure features in real-time. They also offer web-based products that incorporate voice, video, and messaging, as well as other collaboration tools like multi-device compatibility and screensharing, to give a complete business communications solution.

Some large businesses prefer even more control over their business phone system. With SIP trunking and on-premise PBXs, companies have more customization options. The drawback is that SIP trunking and on-premise PBXs necessitate on-site servers and hardware. If you elect to go this route, you will need an in-house IT team to maintain and update the system.  

Customization isn’t the only advantage; on-premise solutions are often selected for security purposes. National companies, government agencies, and banks all have strict requirements to ensure secure communications. Doctor’s offices also need special HIPAA-compliant business phone systems to encrypt patient data.

Business Telephone Service: Finding the Right Fit

There are a plethora of business phone system options on the market, but recognizing the size of your business can eliminate a lot of options that simply won’t work. With that said, landline phone systems, in general, aren’t a great option for any sized business in the modern world. Besides being outdate and expensive, they have poorer call quality, less features, and are problematic in terms of scaling. Landlines will also typically require a business to sign a lengthy, non-negotiable contract.

Company size is one of the biggest factors when determining the best business phone system for your company, but it isn’t the only factor. A business will also need to consider their budget, as well as a business phone system’s reliability, user experience, and capabilities. Choosing the best business phone system will mean considering all of the above.

How To Manage A Phone System Disaster

15806132_sWhether it’s caused by a big storm or some other unpredictable problem, phone system issues can create large problems. If your business hasn’t prepared for an unexpected outage, productivity can greatly suffer, costing your company money as well as resulting in unhappy customers.

In the past the one way to guarantee that this didn’t happen was to duplicate all of your systems and implement a complex disaster recovery plan. Unfortunately, this means a huge investment in equipment and infrastructure. For this reason, many companies have opted to cross their fingers and hope for the best.

Today, there’s a much better solution that is cost-effective and more efficient. Cloud-based business phone systems have advanced system recovery and business continuity in the event of an outage.

Cloud based systems are hosted virtually. This means that there is no need to worry about the same type of disruptions that are typical with on-premise or landline services. Even if Internet service is interrupted, phone calls can be automatically routed to a backup cell phone. Here are a few more note-worthy benefits:

  • Cloud-based phone systems have huge flexibility.  Call flows can be re-directed as needed from one site to another.
  • If you find yourself in the unfortunate circumstance of a total power and internet failure, cloud-based phone systems would still allow employees to connect from anywhere that they are able to obtain power and a data connection— their home, the local shop, wherever!
  • Cloud-based phone systems are less expensive up-front than on-premise solutions, even including a built-in disaster recovery plan.

Give Jay Faulconer a call to discuss your options should the unexpected happen!

4 Signs That Your Company Needs to Upgrade its Business Phone System

11205404_sHaving a viable business phone system is one of the most important tools a company–whether small or large–has. Here are some signs that your system isn’t doing you any favors and that it is time to upgrade.

  1. How much time do you devote to your business phone system?

A business owner’s biggest duty is to ensure a company grows and thrives. If they are spending more time merely managing the business phone system–as opposed to the business–then it is time for an upgrade. Here are a few questions to ask yourself if you think you are spending too much time tinkering with the phones:

How often do you have to call the vendor for troubleshooting?

How many different vendors do you have for phone related services?

Do you manually install software updates?

  1. What is the Impact on your Bottom Line?

A business investment is meant to help your bottom line, not to hinder it. This includes your business phone system. Is your phone system aiding your employers in being more productive and efficient? Here are a few questions to ask yourself regarding your phone systems role in aiding your bottom line:

Is your staff more productive because of the business phone system?

Are applications such as ATS, ERP, CRM, and others integrated into your phone system?

Does data from your phone system allow you to evaluate employee performance, optimal staff size, and how much to spend on marketing?

  1. Is your business phone system available from any location?

If your business phone system is only available from the office, then you are missing out on a host of features–including providing the best service for your clients. Expanding your accessibility allows employees to transfer phone calls to other co-workers who may or may not be physically in the office.

  1. Is your business phone system the most relevant system?

In today’s marketplace, your business must have the features of a cloud based system in order to stay competitive and relevant. Without VoIP and cloud technology, your clients are not receiving everything that they might get from a competitor.

How the Cloud Can Help Lessen Growing Pains of Your Business Telephone System

 

30910261_sThere are certainly many advantages to owning a small business, namely having less employees means that your job as a manager is, theoretically, less complicated. However, one of the biggest unforeseen challenges to starting a small business are growing pains; just how fast is your business going to grow? That question makes it challenging to figure out what type of contract you should sign with a phone service provider. If you sign on without enough coverage, in a couple of months you may find that it is not sustainable to a larger team.  At least that was the case until the cloud.

 Add Lines Easily

With a traditional phone system, adding new lines to your system necessitated a visit from a technician–and added fees. However, with the cloud you can add new lines with just a few clicks of the mouse. Not only is it more cost effective to add on lines with the cloud, but it is much easier.

Support Remote Working and Travel

Say that your small business has now grown to the point that you are on the road quite a bit of the time. Or maybe you have chosen to hire remote workers to handle some of the overflow. Either way, the cloud makes these options all the easier with the online softphone. No matter what device you are calling on, with the softphone it will all be under your business number.

Add-On Features

As the number of clients gets larger, you may find that HD video conferencing, online faxing or web conferencing to be ‘musts’ instead of ‘wants’. Cloud business phone systems allow you to bundle these add-ons into one–all without complicated contracts or added charges.

Contact Jay Faulconer at ACS to find out all that the Cloud has to offer your company!

 

 

Caution: Your Business Is Losing Money By Not Using Cloud Based Business Phone Systems

41468387_sInvesting in a cloud based business phone system is one of the smartest decisions a small business could make. Starting at a low monthly fee, you can get a virtual system that requires little space, empowers the business phone system you already have, rejuvenates your business identity, and even increases incoming calls.

Shrink the Cost of Office Equipment                              

Starting a small business can be a costly endeavor, especially once you factor in the plethora of office equipment you’ll need. If you don’t invest in a cloud based system, you will need to spend money on:

  • Complex phones
  • Faxes
  • Software for contact management
  • Salaries for customer services representatives

By eliminating these expenditures, you can focus on growing your business, all the while keeping up with technological advancements.

Increase Inbound Calls

By investing in a cloud based business phone system, you ensure that you growth potential is unlimited. With a cloud based system, you can add unlimited extensions. Furthermore, you can get a local number for your business. Studies have shown that local numbers increase the odds of a customer calling your business.

Eliminate the Startup Image

Oftentimes, your first impression with a potential client is through your business phone system. All businesses should be able to transfer calls, place clients on hold, and ensure that the phone is answered during business hours. A cloud based system will make it possible to do all that and more.

Why Your Business Should Take a Phased Approach to Communications-in-the-Cloud

41468387_sIf you’re in the business world, you have probably already heard about the benefits of cloud-based software: easy upgrades and security patches lower initial costs, consistent monthly billing, remote workers with complete access to business applications and tools, easy disaster recovery due to data storage in multiple places—the list is endless.  Business phone systems that benefit from the cloud, i.e, desk phones, don’t have to be tethered to a traditional, on-site PBX. Instead, they are placed in the cloud and accessible through IP-based hard phones or desktop soft phones and mobile apps.

If this is a lot to wrap your head around, Avaya offers a variety of cloud-based solutions for consumers. At VMworld 2015, engineers exhibited Avaya UC and CC, which are hosted on VMware vCloud Air (the company’s cloud-based service platform). One of the key benefits of vCloud Air is that it is available in a phased rollout.

 “A phased approach gives customers a chance to try a smaller piece of the infrastructure in the cloud and builds their confidence in cloud-based solutions,” said Mohan Gopalakrishna, one of the lead engineers on the project. “We can gradually retire servers from the on-premise campus and into the cloud. Avaya protects the investment and gives you an easy migration path to the cloud at your own pace.”

Switching to the cloud in a phased approach means that you’re not ripping and replacing. Avaya’s Enterprise Solution Practice team helps architect cloud migration plans for their clientele. Gopalakrishna estimates that it would take a midsize company a month to fully switch to a unified cloud communications system under the phased approach.

Under this approach, your company can operate as normal while undergoing a big switch. With Avaya’s philosophy regarding the cloud, there is no longer a reason to postpone a decision that will not only enhance your company but also save you money.

 

 

 

Should Your Business Use the Cloud for Disaster Recovery?

Disaster recovery—getting business phone systems back online with full data capabilities after an unplanned service disruption—is universally critical among all businesses. The Bureau of Labor states that twenty percent of businesses will endure a failure (power outage, flood, fire, natural disaster, etc.) in any given year.  15806132_s

To combat these alarming statistics, many businesses are utilizing the Cloud for their business telephone systems; not only does the cloud present an alternative for companies with limited IT resources, but it is a model perfect for disaster recovery. Disaster recovery sites stored in the cloud decreases the need for a physical data center or IT infrastructure and recourses. These benefits enable smaller companies to utilize disaster recovery options that were once found in only larger companies.

The cloud is accessed through the Internet, so before your company switches to this disaster recovery option, it is vital to understand bandwidth requirements. The right provider can help you ascertain whether or not your company currently has enough bandwidth and network capacity to redirect all users to the cloud as well as how long a cloud based restoration of operations will take in the event of a disruption.

Advanced Communication Systems, LLC can help your business find the disaster recovery option that best fits your needs. Visit us at www.advcomsol.com or call 1-800-750-3624.

Avaya IP Office Contact Center and Google Cloud

avaya handshakeNetwork services software provider Avaya and Internet giant Google have joined forces to create a new subscription-based cloud call center that will soon be available to businesses across the globe. The partnership effectively takes the Avaya IP Office Contact Center platform and makes it available via the Google cloud.

“The cloud model has seen unprecedented demand and growth in the Contact Center market over the past few years,” analysts write. “The hosted/cloud model is not just a viable, but, increasingly, a preferred model to deploy Contact Center technology.  It enables greater flexibility, scalability and business agility for Avaya Contact Centers, while saving significant costs over the long term.”

Cloud technology will enable Avaya Contact Center managers and employees to reach their platforms from anywhere and on many different types of devices. As a result, employees can check on the status of operations no matter where they are.

In our area of northern Virginia, DC Metro, this will be beneficial to the thousands of telecommuters who utilize Avaya IP Office Call Center via Google.  Avaya Call Center agents will be able to work from home as easily as they can at the downtown locations.

Is Your Phone System Ready For an Update?

Man with Phone BusyIf your company is failing to keep up with the increasing pace of an ever-changing business world, you’re not alone. The majority of all contact with customers—68%—takes place by phone. If your phone system is antiquated, it might be time for an update!

You Can’t Keep Up with Customer Service

A larger business needs to ensure that employees are able to take calls wherever their location happens to be. If your phone system is unable to meet the demand of a rising amount of phone calls each day, it may be time to upgrade.

Your Current Phone System Can’t Integrate With Your Cloud

Any growing business is susceptible to stress. However, with the right technology you can make the changes go smoothly. One upgrade to reduce growing pains and ensure that all calls are answered in a timely fashion is a cloud-based phone system. Adding a new phone should be as simple as a few clicks. With the new cloud services, you can add a new phone in a matter of minutes. If your current business phone system doesn’t support easy growth, it’s probably not the best phone system for your business.

You’re Current System Lacks Functionality

Handling every call may seem like a daunting task, but not if you can route them to your cell when you’re away from the office. VoipNow has multiple functionalities such as filtering incoming calls based on Caller ID, forwarding calls to your handset, time of call, and rules. With the FollowMe function the call is shifted from phone to phone until you answer the one nearest to you. VoipNow Mobile can even virtualize your desk phone on your smartphone!

A fluid phone system that is compatible with everything else in your office is the only way to ensure that your customers receive the care they deserve.

Cloud Computing Can Help Engage Millennials

Cloud-Computing-Millennials
With cloud computing, your company is on the forefront of providing a more efficient and better-equipped communication platform for the business world of today.

With instantaneous communication available at our fingertips, millennials have certain expectations when it comes to their work environment.

Your company many not have some of the same resources as Facebook or Google to attract the millennial work force, but that doesn’t mean you can’t offer a streamlined form of communication. With a proper cloud computing system, you can attract young and dynamic talent.

Cloud Computing Offers Efficiency

When a millennial starts working for a new company, some of the practices may seem too out of date, and may leave a millennial uninspired. Having to pilfer through old file cabinets or contacting different departments to locate a specific project or document is very daunting. Millennials are accustomed to more efficient resources such as cloud computing for storage and collaborative projects, and cloud computing allows younger employees to work more efficiently. Overtime, the whole office will be able to adapt to cloud storage, and with the right system in place, every worker will feel more efficient. Continue reading Cloud Computing Can Help Engage Millennials