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Mitel Acquires ShoreTel

MitelLast week, Mitel announced that they reached a deal to acquire ShoreTel. This is part of their larger trend of acquiring Unified Communications (UC) companies. The move, perhaps provoked by increased customer demand for cloud-based solutions, will strengthen Mitel’s position in the UC market. The combined company will emerge as the #2 player in the UC market. Therefore, it will create a supplier with the technical ability to enable customers with new cloud-based solutions and applications.

The newly merged company’s headquarters will be in Ottawa, Canada, and will operate as Mitel. Rich McBee, Mitel’s Chief Executive Officer, will lead the organization.

“This is a very natural combination that enables us to continue to consolidate the industry and take advantage of cost synergy opportunities while adding new technologies and significant cloud growth to our business,” said Mitel CEO, Rich McBee. “Together, Mitel and ShoreTel will be able to take customers to the cloud faster with full-featured, cloud-based communications and applications.”

Uniquely qualified to bring customers and partners to the cloud

Together, the combined company will boast about 3,200 channel partners and an industry-leading portfolio of communications and collaboration solutions. Mitel and ShoreTel have stated their commitment to providing continued support for all customers and partners, whether they are cloud or premise.

“With the announcement today, this concludes our comprehensive review of strategic alternatives by delivering a significant cash premium for our shareholders,” said Don Joos, CEO of ShoreTel. “Customers are clearly moving to the cloud at a rapid pace. The combination creates a new UCaaS market leader with a differentiated strategy and solution, and a clear migration path so that no customer is left behind or will have to abandon what they already have to cloud-enable their organization.”

Once the merger is finalized, Mitel will be uniquely stationed to offer all customers the rewards of cloud-based communications. For enterprise customers, ShoreTel’s solutions will bolster Mitel’s ability to cloud-enable customers with existing premise or mixed estate deployments. Therefore, they will create the technical foundation for the emergence of next-generation cloud applications.

If you have any questions on the Mitel acquisition of ShoreTel, or other business phone system questions, please contact us. You can also follow us on LinkedIn.

The Most Important Business Phone System Maintenance Strategies

Business Phone System Maintenance StrategiesHave you ever considered, what would happen if your business phone system crashes? It’s a scary thought, as even a short disruption in services would be extremely problematic and frustrating; it may even result in havoc to business operations and result in considerable losses. There are multiple Business Phone System maintenance strategies your company can take to ensure the worst doesn’t happen. Thus, we have listed a few of the most important ones below. 

  • Defective phone systems can damage your business productivity and reliability. Therefore, maintenance checks and back up plans should be enacted.
  • Early detection of faults can prevent major losses in business. A regular maintenance plan can ensure that minor faults don’t become major problems.
  • Scheduled backups ensure a simple disaster recovery plan in case of an unexpected issue.
  • Your service provider can aid your business in software and technology upgrades. Updates guarantee a secure and reliable business phone system.
  • Most importantly, an overall, well planned maintenance program allows for total peace of mind for business owners. If you don’t have an efficient maintenance plan you run the risk of inflated labor expenses in case of emergency services and loss of competitive edge.  These cascading effects can bring the entire business system to a standstill.

Considering how much most businesses rely on their business phone systems, a dependable maintenance program is one of the most important Business Phone System maintenance strategies for a company to take in guaranteeing that your system is always operational. Therefore, at Advanced Communication Systems we use the latest technology updates to ensure that your communication system is reliable.

An effective maintenance plan for business phone systems is important to ensure business continuity.  Large organizations depend heavily on various communication channels like fax, voicemail, communication and web connectivity and thus need a reliable business phone system for seamless and effective functionality.

Our typical maintenance program:
  • Necessary software upgrades
  • Faulty equipment repair and replacements
  • Infrastructure changes
  • On-site and remote support for diagnosis and fault correction
  • Preventive maintenance checks
  • Dedicated plans to minimize costs

If you have any questions on Business Phone System maintenance strategies please contact us. You can also follow us on LinkedIn

Hosted IP Business Phone System Vs. Premised-Based IP

Advantages of Hosted IP Business Phone Systems

With Hosted IP Business Phone Systems, you only have to pay for what your business requires. Due to how easily you can scale the system, a growing business doesn’t have to predict future growth but can rather add additional seats as you need them. Furthermore, Hosted IP Business Phone Systems are simple to move if your business ever needs to relocate.

Hosted IP Business Phone Systems also have a wealth of features small businesses can enjoy. Find me/Follow me capabilities, Conferencing and Voicemail to Email usually aren’t available if a business is on a limited budget. Your business wouldn’t even need to hire an IT person because they are handled by the system provider.

Disadvantages of Hosted IP Business Phone Systems

While Hosted IP Business Phone Systems offer multiple advantages, there are a few drawbacks. Some users have expressed concern that the voice quality isn’t quite as superior as they anticipated.  If your business is set on a Hosted IP Business Phone System, research the service provider beforehand; oftentimes voice quality differs depending on who you chose.

Another disadvantage is that Hosted IP Business Phone Systems are one hundred percent dependent on your Internet service provider. If they are experiencing downtime, your phones will also be down.

Advantages of premised-based IP phone systems

Premised Based IP Business Phone Systems are highly customizable. If you want to change your number or add new users it can all be completed on-site without having to go through your Service Vendor. You also have more control over your choice of features that would typically cost extra if you were using a Hosted IP Business Phone System.

Disadvantages of premised-based IP phone systems

If you select a Premised Based IP Business Phone System, you may need to hire a dedicated IT person to maintain and troubleshoot the on-site system, or at the least have a phone technician that you can use piecemeal should issues arise.  

 

The Advantages of MiCloud Business

MiCloud has many cloud business phone systems to accommodate your entire office, regardless of whether they are local employees or telework employees. MiCloud’s cloud based business phone systems offer numerous features, providing a cost-effective approach to unifying all of your communication needs. Here are some of the best features:

  • Chat, Presence, Click-to-Dial and more are all rooted in the MiCollab software (included in your subscription to MiCloud Business).
  • In the event of a power outage within your office, with MiCloud business phone systems, calls are effortlessly routed to other devices, i.e. smartphones, tablets, etc.
  • MiCollab features Outlook calendar sync, which permits you to create profiles based on your availability and location. Now you can push calls to voice mail, your mobile phone, soft phone, tablet or smart phone!
  • You can now offer next level customer service, by integrating MiCloud Business with your contact. This includes options for CRM and Salesforce integrations, meaning you can link customers and data in real time.
  • Effortlessly manage email, voice and IM from one screen to decrease management complexity and increase productivity and efficiency.

By collecting all of your communications tools into one cloud and one application with MiCloud Business, your office will experience a seamless experience on any device, no matter the location.  Contact Jay Faulconer to learn more about Mitel MiCloud Business!

 

 

Has Your Business Outgrown its Business Phone System?

A phone that made and received calls used to be the only thing that mattered when shopping for a business phone system. Those days are long gone.  Now, our clients and customers expect that the businesses they patronize utilize a business phone system that can receive voice mails, use three-way calling, and even have the option of e-faxing. These types of business phone systems can make your professional life much easier. We’ve compiled a list of some key warnings that your company has a business phone system that isn’t keeping pace with today’s changing world.

  • Lack of Features– Many older business phone systems don’t have the latest features. If your business is unable to do tasks with the current system that other businesses can do, it has become necessary to upgrade your phone system. At the very least you should have features such as auto attendant, e-faxing and find-me-follow-me.
  • Customer Service– Perhaps the most important warning sign that your business phone system is outdated is poor customer service. If you and your staff are unable to give your patrons the type of service they deserve, your business will suffer.
  • Lack of Real Contact Capabilities– Older business phone systems do not allow for a number of real contact capabilities. New business phone systems allow for out of office contact between employer, employees, as well as customers.
  • Compatibility with Software– New business phone systems have the capability to work with a variety of software. Older business phone systems that don’t have these options will disallow you and your staff the flexibility of communicating with clients and vendors in any environment.

 Moving up to a newer and more current business phone system will improve everything related to your telecommunications needs, not to mention great customer service!

How an IP Phone System Can Benefit Your Business

Contemplating a move from a traditional business telephone system to an IP phone system?  It very well could be one of the smartest investments that a company can make. IP phone systems provide countless benefits such as the ability to save money on long distance phone calls, mobility and remote connectivity.

IP phone systems are known for having tremendous flexibility and offers features that a business needs to keep running smoothly. One of the benefits that business owners may not be aware of is the mobility that using one of these systems provides. At one time, the only phones that could be used were those that were on a traditional phone cable. Mobility became a bit easier, in the sense that individuals could move around an office because of cordless phones.

However, even though cordless phones have the ability to make and receive calls in the office, they do not offer complete mobility. Cellular phones afford the individual more flexibility; however, that can be an additional expense, unless the mobile is connected to the office’s IP phone system. With an office IP phone system, the business owners and staff that are out of the office can have phone calls routed to their cell phone. This is highly beneficial, as individuals no longer have to miss those important business calls when out of the office.

Another incredible benefit is the ability to connect to the IP phone system remotely. This means the individual can connect and use the IP phone system to access the Internet to make calls, send text messages, listen to voice mails, or more without having to physically be at their desk. This flexibility means excellent customer service which results in your business growing exponentially!

Is SIP Trunking the Answer?

As you look forward to the new year you may be asking yourself how your business can simplify its phone management.  SIP trunking might be the answer you’re looking for!

You can spend significantly less time managing telecom issues and more time focusing on business because SIP Trunking will eliminate the need for installations and maintenance.

That Was Fast!

An SIP solution can be deployed within 30 to 60 days, or even a few weeks depending on the scope of the project. Because SIP trunking installation is handled behind the scenes by your SIP trunking provider, your business will be able to be up and running without any disruption to your business.

There is nothing additional to configure on your end, as long as you have a strong connection to the Internet and a SIP-compatible business phone system.   

Maintenance

Once you’re up and running, increasing capacity is as simple as contacting your provider. No more waiting on vendors to install cables, all you have to do is request additional trunks to scale your solution. Your SIP provider can also manage the network, disaster recovery and so much more!  

Remote Locations Are Seamless

With SIP trunking, you can integrate with local phone numbers to streamline interactions between employees across multiple locations. Remote locations can be added easily to the same network.  Everyone will have access to the same communication applications no matter their physical location!

Status Quo or Growing Like Weeds

It used to be a guessing game to forecast adding new lines in advance to prevent capacity issues.  I won’t even mention the investments made in time and money for physical space and installation management required to turn up additional lines.

With SIP trunking, call capacity can be increased on-demand to support unlimited calls. No more will you spend time installing additional lines when your business demands change.  Planning for future growth or overpaying for lines you may  or may not use is a thing of the past with SIP Trunking!

 

 

3 Reasons Why SIP Trunking Is A Perfect Match For Small Business

There are a number of reasons to implement SIP Trunking into your small business. Not only can you greatly reduce your telecommunications costs, but it works fantastic with unified communications functionality. The big question though is what exactly is SIP Trunking? SIP trunking is Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and streaming media service based on the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) by which Internet telephony service providers (ITSPs) deliver telephone services and unified communications to customers equipped with SIP-based private branch exchange (IP-PBX) and Unified Communications facilities.  Simply put, it is a way to deliver voice and media over the Internet. If your business phone (or PBX) can connect to the Internet and uses SIP to make calls over the Internet, then SIP Trunking is a great option for increasing the quality of your voice services without additional hardware.

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Here are just three reasons why SIP trunking pairs perfectly with small business:

  1. Removes Geographic Barriers and Delivers the Same Office Experience

SIP trunking supports consistent voice and media data so you can operate all of your communications over one network. By removing geographic barriers, you’ll be able to deliver a uniform experience across multiple office locations and between remote employees. This increases employee productivity a great deal.

  1. Scalability when YOU need it!

Most businesses experience growth, or even seasonal fluctuations in call volume. With SIP trunking, you can easily add phone lines to support those changes. Call capacity can be increased on-demand to support unlimited concurrent calls. If this sounds too good to be true, don’t worry; you’ll never pay for more than what you need. All you need now is to call your carrier, not attempt to forecast how big or small your company will be at a later date.

  1. Getting Ready for Cloud

If you aren’t quite ready to make the leap to the cloud, SIP Trunking is a great way to transition into it. It combines onsite UC solutions, ensuring that you can maintain control of your onsite solutions, while still benefiting from the best of what the cloud has to offer.

 

Options For Replacing Your Nortel Phone System

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When Avaya acquired Nortel in 2009, many customers were left wondering what would happen to their business phone systems. They wondered where they would get replacement parts and how were they going to hire qualified technicians when they become scarce?

 Unfortunately, the reality is that companies still getting by with Nortel business phone systems are soon going to have to face facts; Nortel  will soon be obsolete with no technicians to fix them.  This is an unavoidable fact, but if you prepare and educate yourself, the transition to a newer system can be painless. Here are just a few of the common causes of failure in old Nortel systems:

 System Programming Failure

Earlier Nortel systems still require a super-capacitor in order to store system memory. However, the problem with a super-capacitor is that they frequently fail as they get older. Thus, in the event of a power failure, every aspect of your programming vanishes (call handling, extension numbers and names, etc.). The only fix is a complete re-programming which usually necessitates hours of billable labor.

 Power Supply Failure

The most common reason Nortel systems fail are their power supplies. With Nortel systems, the power supply is converted from everyday AC electrical current harvested from a wall socket. This power is then converted into a lower voltage DC current. However, this process puts off heat which will erode your power supply. Obviously, if your power supply fails, the entire phone system crashes.

 Norstar Component Failure

Nortel business phone systems rely on a lot of hardware, made up of several modules and cards.

 If the T1 card fails, your system is incapable of inbound and outbound calls. When a customer phones your company, they hear the ringing but won’t receive an answer, resulting in irritated clientele.

 When a station module fails, the phones stop working altogether. There is no feasible method of predicting when a card or a module will fail.

Back in the day, Nortel business phone systems were reliable and well-engineered. Alas, just like any electronic component they possess a limited lifespan.  As mentioned earlier, service on the system only has a finite lifespan as well.  Many can no longer garner parts or find technicians who still work on these old systems.  Thus, in many different facets, Nortel systems are quickly meeting their end.

Advanced Communication Systems is a certified business partner with Avaya, Mitel as well as ESI.  Be prepared, call us today to discuss which option best suits your individual business phone system needs!

Tips for Updating your Old Business Phone System

40699060_sFeeling frustrated with the lack of options your old phone system leaves you?  Is your boss’ moto “it’s not broken so don’t fix it”?  It’s your job to make a case to update your small business phone system.

Costs

Back in the 90’s voicemail was new and very costly.  Chances are your boss thinks that an upgrade would be expensive, but he couldn’t be more wrong.  The newest in small business phone systems is a buy as you go approach. This means that you only buy the parts and licensing that your company needs.  You can buy in individual sizes and not in bulk like the 90’s. Have a telecommunication vendor meet with you and take a walk through your building so that he can gear the proposal around your company’s  individual needs.

Hybrid Small Business Phone Systems

Your boss may be curious about VOIP.  Any hosted or IP phone system takes a network structure in place. If you work in an older building it may be costly to re-cable for the newest technology. With a hybrid type small business phone system you can probably use your older wiring and have digital phones.

What Irks You?

How do you convince your boss to get a business phone system?  Point out your coworker who is in the field and asking you to take his calls while he is out of the office.  It would be much more productive to take advantage of newer options such as “twinning” to alleviate this issue altogether. 

Productivity

See how much more productive the office would be by upgrading your business phone system.  Your telecommunication vendor lives and breathes this technology and can educate you on all of the newest options to make work much simpler!

Contact Jay Faulconer for a no obligation quote.