Category Archives: Collaborative Cloud Strategy

Why a Legacy Business Phone System Could Be Hurting Your Business

legacy business phoneThe way businesses communicate is completely different than they did just a few years past. Nevertheless, many businesses cling to legacy business phone systems purchased over ten years prior. There are numerous reasons that businesses don’t make the switch, but the most obvious one is that you don’t fix something that isn’t broken. However, there are a few issues with that sort of thinking.

The biggest problem with legacy business phone systems is that they use technology and hardware that is now entirely obsolete. If your system breaks, you will have a difficult time finding parts for it because the manufacturers no longer support them. Hanging on to a legacy phone system to save some money will eventually blow a whole right through your budget.

The issue with older business phone systems goes deeper than that though; by sticking with obsolete equipment you’re limiting your business’s potential. For example, remote workers comprise much of the workforce. Legacy phone systems exclude a business from that segment of the workforce.

To put it simply, there has been a total transformation in telecommunications. If you don’t keep up with the changes, it could hurt you in the long run. With all that said, what are some of the biggest benefits of a modern business phone system?

Current Communications Equipment Costs Less

Years ago, brand-new business phone systems were often the most expensive idea companies purchased. The costliest part of that business phone was the PBX. Now, businesses have the option of buying a Virtual PBX. Virtual PBX’s allow the company to only buy the phones, drastically reducing costs.  

The other added benefit to Virtual PBXs and modern technology is the reduction in a catastrophic communications failure. If you have a hardware failure on a legacy phone, it could severely hinder your business.

Connectivity

As mentioned earlier, modern business phone systems erase geographic barriers and allow you to hire outside of your immediate area. It goes without saying that legacy phone systems don’t allow for remote workers—at least not practically. If you try to have employees work outside of the office (or predominantly work in the field), they could have numerous phone numbers and numerous mailboxes. Modern business phone systems make this endeavor a lot more practical and a lot less confusing.

If you have any questions regarding business phone systems, please contact Advanced Communication Systems today at 800-750-3624. You can also follow us on Facebook.

The Most Important Benefits of Virtual Call Center Software

virtual call centerMost business owners know what a call center is. A call center is typically a large group of call center executives working in a single location. What is a virtual call center though? Though only difference is the location. A virtual call center removes the large investment and resources necessary to handle a customer service team. The emergence of virtual call centers has allowed even the smallest of businesses to use call centers. Below we’ve outlined a few of the biggest benefits of virtual call centers.

Mobility and No Location Consent

Virtual call centers permit you to hire agents all over the world. This provides you with a larger talent pool, all the while ignoring distance. Another benefit of remote call center employees is that they won’t have to commute, which can play a role in reducing office stress. Self-oriented and relaxed environments tend to increase efficiency as well.

Reduced Upfront Cost

Virtual call centers cost less than traditional ones because you pay less in office rent and don’t have to invest in as much hardware. Unfortunately, traditional call centers require hosted servers, a PBX, and phone terminals.

A perceived drawback to virtual call centers is that customers will be able to tell the difference. Fortunately, this is not the case. Thanks to virtual call center technology, customers won’t be able to tell that your employees are all scattered in remote locations.

Eco-friendly

Virtual call centers are cloud based, which are better for the environment; their data centers use less wattage to provide back-up power and cooling for their data centers due to superior hardware setup. Also, as mentioned as above, your employees don’t have to burn up as much gasoline traveling to and from the office.

If you have any questions regarding a virtual call center or business phone systems in general, please contact Advanced Communication Systems today at 800-750-3624. You can also follow us on Facebook.

The Most Important Considerations When Buying a Small Business Phone System

small business phone systemThere is a vast array of small business phone systems on the market. When a small business wants to upgrade or switch to a different phone system, the choices can seem overwhelming. Many small businesses operate on an Internet Protocol (IP) network. This is the same network that connects employees, devices, and information recourses. Thus, how does a small business choose the most appropriate phone system for their specific business? We’ve assembled the most important considerations when buying a small business phone system below.

Know What Your Users Need

At the end of the day, your small business phone system only needs to do one thing: give your people the tools to be more efficient. Do your workers need one phone number to ring to multiple devices? Do they need prompt access to mobile communication or video? Therefore, these are features and capabilities you may want to include:

  • The ability to make and receive calls from smartphones or tablets
  • Automated attendant
  • Mobile softphones, for using a computer as a phone
  • Video or web conferencing support
  • Paging and intercom
  • Unified messaging (including email, text message, or phone notifications)
  • Instant Messaging
Be Prepared for Change

A great small business phone system can change the way your employees conduct their daily workflow. While all change requires an adjustment period, it should be a good change! A new small business phone system that doesn’t improve the way your office functions, probably isn’t the one for you.

Reduce Your IT Costs

The fantastic thing about small business IP phone systems is that they also consolidate your communications into one platform. Not only does this decrease IT strains, but it also reduces communications expenses.

Talk to Your Trusted Advisor

Before making a purchase, you should always speak to a provider or vendor. They are knowledgeable in what features and capabilities best fit your company’s business goals.  

If you have any questions business phone system questions, please contact us. You can also follow us on LinkedIn.

How to Handle an Obsolete Business Phone System

obsolete business phone systemIt happens to the best of phone systems. At first, your business phone system simply requires more repairs and updates than it used to. Soon, the maintenance fees pile up and you have a difficult time finding technicians and general support for your system. One day, your provider announces the End of Life for your system; you now have an obsolete business phone system.  

What now?

What End of Life Means

The first thing you should know about having an obsolete business phone system is that it won’t be available after the end of sale date. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to purchase new or replacement parts after this date. This is problematic for businesses who wish to expand or require repairs on their system.

Your obsolete business phone system also won’t be able to receive updates. You shouldn’t underestimate how important those updates are; without them, your system will be vulnerable to security threats.

At the end of the day, if you experience issues with your phone system, there won’t be anyone to call. Your only option if you stick with your obsolete business phone system is to search out technicians who have experience in older technology. That can get expensive very fast.

How to Handle End of Life

Therefore, one of the best things you can do if you have an aging phone system is to get a technology assessment. A technology assessment will determine if there is a better way for your business to meet its communication needs. Cloud communications are a fantastic option if they have reliable internet, and companies who switch to the cloud often experience consolidated costs and expanded features.

Even if the cloud isn’t for you, you must begin researching alternatives as soon as possible if you have an obsolete business phone system. If you are proactive, you can make the switch to newer technology without any disruption in your workflow.

If you have any questions on aging Business Phone Systems, or other Business Phone System questions, please contact us. You can also follow us on Twitter.

5 Benefits of Cloud Communications

cloud communicationsThe cloud is often mentioned in conjunction with business phone systems. However, what is it exactly? Simply put, the cloud is a network of servers that hosted by a third party. They can are anywhere over the Internet. When you place a call utilizing cloud communications, you are accessing the Internet to place your call as opposed to a traditional landline.

Modern communications indicate that cloud communications are only going to get more prevalent. Many businesses are switching to the cloud because it offers a host of benefits that you can’t find via traditional landlines. We’ve listed some of the biggest benefits below.

No installation fees

As soon as your company makes the switch, you will begin saving money. Cloud communications are in an off-site server, and thus, installation of equipment and hardware isn’t necessary.

Scalability

Cloud communications facilitate growth for small businesses. Companies who are expanding (or scaling down, for that matter) don’t need to change any hardware to add or remove extensions. The changes are all done through the internet. This also helps reduce costs—and headaches—when your company decides to expand.

No downtime losses

One of the best benefits of cloud communications is continuity. Local weather and power outages don’t affect your cloud communications. In any event, redundancy should safeguard against other causes of downtime.

Disaster recovery

As we’ve mentioned, data is stored off-site. Thus, disaster recovery is simple. If you have any issues with the physical desk phone or hardware, you shouldn’t lose any data.

Productivity 

Cloud Communications are also simpler to use. It is a more streamlined system for your employees and permits them to focus on their work instead of their phone.

If you have any questions regarding the cloud, or business phone systems in general, please contact Advanced Communication Systems today at 800-750-3624. You can also follow us on Facebook.

Are You Unhappy with Your Hosted PBX Provider?

Hosted PBXThe Virtual PBX (also known as Hosted PBX or Cloud PBX) has been a great benefit to companies. However, the product is only as good as the provider; if you’re experiencing problems with your Hosted PBX, it may be time to switch providers as opposed to ditching the service altogether. If you’re experiencing any one of the following, it may be time for a change.

 

Too Expensive:

While it is never a great idea to go for the cheapest price, it is undeniable that a lot of businesses are paying way too much for their Virtual PBX. For those businesses, it may not have begun that way; they may have started out at a reasonable rate, but their provider gradually raised their rates over time. Other businesses may have experienced a rate hike after their first contract ended. Either way, doing a VoIP comparison is probably a good idea if you feel like you are paying too much for your Hosted PBX.

Poor Customer Service:

If your provider isn’t offering superior and timely support, it might be a good idea to switch providers. A lot of businesses justifiably switch due to the customer representatives being rude and not knowledgeable. Sometimes this can simply be due to the provider’s sales outmatching the rate they are growing their customer support team, but either way, the customer is in their rights to make a change if they aren’t happy with the customer service.

Lack of Local Support: 

Cloud business phone systems have been a leap forward in telecommunications, but that doesn’t preclude the need for an engineer having to visit the site from time to time. If you have a local provider, this typically isn’t a problem; having a non-local provider, however, means that geography can sometimes impede them in getting an engineer out to your company in a timely fashion.

The Good News: Changing VoIP Providers isn’t Hard!

Before Hosted PBX, businesses had to spend a lot of money on their business phone system. To justify the expenditure, they had to hang on to the system for a while—which meant that switching providers due to poor service was unheard of.

With cloud business phone systems, making a change is simple. Nearly all businesses use an industry standard SIP phone, so changing providers doesn’t mean that you must change your phones too. Furthermore, cloud PBX hardware is in a data center, so you don’t have any expensive on-site equipment to replace either. Switching is as simple as your new provider programming the phones to recognize the new VoIP system.

If you are interested in Hosted PBX or have any other business phone system questions, please contact us. You can also follow us on Facebook.

Why You Shouldn’t Forget About VoIP Security

VoIP SecurityEver since VoIP was developed, it has been an enormous aid to businesses everywhere. It has allowed businesses the freedom to communicate in ways that weren’t previously imagined. However, you shouldn’t forget about VoIP security. While VoIP has a plethora of benefits, it is also vulnerable to fraudulent activity, security breaches, and DDoS Attacks. Fortunately, you can achieve VoIP security if you enact some preventative steps.

Fraudulent Activity

Regrettably, any business that uses VoIP can become a fraud victim. Sometimes, they won’t even realize that there has been fraud occurring until they receive their phone bill. When you choose a VoIP provider, you have to ensure that they offer fraud detection and protection. You can also prevent fraud by placing authentication systems on your business phone system. One example of this are personal passcodes.

DDoS Attacks

A DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack is an attempt to overload a network with requests. DDoS attacks don’t penetrate your system, but busy signals do render it unusable. The best way to avoid a DDoS attack is by working with your VoIP provider to make sure detection and deployment methods are in place. Also, be sure that your team is knowledgeable about DDoS attacks so that if it happens to your business, they will know what they are dealing with.

Consider Carefully

Don’t fall into the trap of feeling as though your company isn’t large enough to break into. Unfortunately, attackers will find reasons to target any system, and attacks can happen anywhere or anytime. VoIP has certainly been a major asset in providing more connectivity to users, but it does come with risks. The best way to stay safe—and get some peace of mind—is to put your security in place. 

If you have any questions regarding VoIP security, please contact Advanced Communication Systems today at 800-750-3624. You can also follow us on Twitter.

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

company sizeAs 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 business should take into consideration is company size. Your company size will largely determine the right business phone system for your business. 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 outdated 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.

If you have any business phone system questions, please contact us. You can also follow us on Facebook.

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.