What is Hosted Telephony? | Avandda

What is Hosted Telephony?

Introduction

Phone systems have been installed in offices of all different sizes for more than 40 years, providing a vital service to the business. Since then, telephone call handling has matured to become  intertwined with the day-to-day process of running  the business. Practices vary by country or region,  and are predicated on a traditional office culture  and user expectations of how to manage office  communications between customers, workers and  managers.

The average business phone system lasts anywhere  between six and eight years, after which the system is either out of maintenance or is lagging in  features, often to the extent that it is hurting the  performance of the business. Businesses that need  to upgrade their existing phone system will find a  huge array of new solutions available compared to  seven or eight years ago.

For starters, new software-based communications  solutions don’t need dedicated hardware in the  storeroom or data room anymore, because the  entire system runs in the cloud. In many instances,  “hard phones” such as your desk phone are not  even required. New phone solutions often include a  “soft phone” or “client” that runs on many different  devices, such as your PC, tablet or smartphone.

And modern phone solutions no longer offer just  “voice”. They have transformed to offer a range of Unified Communications (UC) capabilities such  as instant messaging, presence, video calling,  collaboration tools and mobility solutions, all designed to keep your business at maximum  productivity.

Here are a few questions to think about:

 

Missed Calls

  • How many phone calls does your business miss because the call either goes to someone who is out of office or all the lines are busy?

Disparate Systems

  • Do you have different systems in different offices resulting in features that don’t work the same, causing staff confusion?

Infrastructure Maintenance

  • Is your phone system a vital organ in your business and, if it goes down, so do you?
  • Have you suffered a network or equipment failure that has stopped inbound and outbound calls?
  • Do you worry about having to fix elements of the phone system yourself if something goes wrong?

Fluctuating/Fraudulent Expenses

  • Are you worried about unexpected bills with domestic tiered minutes pricing or high International calling costs?
  • When you bought your last phone system, do you think you got a good deal – or did you find out a lot of hidden costs after you bought the basic system?
  • Do you want to avoid hidden costs with maintenance of the system this time around?

Enterprise Usage

  • Do your remote workers struggle with calling people in the business simply because they are remote?
  • Do your staff struggle with those endless sets of buttons on the handset and end up dropping customer calls?
  • Do your mobile workers feel detached from the business when they are out of the office?
  • Do your younger staff use their own mobiles so you are never sure if they are working or not whilst in the office?
  • Does the phone system really deliver the professional image that you want to portray of your business?

 

How do modern phone systems  help my business?

It is easy to get lost in the jargon of technology with people  espousing acronyms about features that may or may not make  sense to you. So let’s try to narrow down your new phone system  into some key areas:

Costs

We’ll start with what is one of your primary concerns – costs.  Will this phone system save me money? Most cloud phone  services come with a fixed minutes and user plan. You pay a  certain amount for the user and the minutes come with it. That’s it – end of cost concerns. And many cloud systems also have very  powerful fraud management capabilities that will catch a problem  before you are even aware.

Flexibility

This is linked to costs. Chances are when you bought your last  phone system you ended up over specifying it because you had to  buy it in specific configurations. In the cloud, you just buy what you  need – no more, no less. If you need more capability in the future,  you just add it. You only pay for what you use today and add more  users as your business grows.

Disasters

We like to think they never happen, but they do. Suppose the  electricity board manages to put their digger through your phone  lines – what do you do? What happens if there is a fire or a flood?  With a cloud-based phone system, you can work from anywhere.  Everyone can decamp down to the nearest coffee shop and  continue working just as normal. Your customers will never know  the difference.

Consistency

You may have added offices over a number of years and inherited  different phone systems that work in different ways. With the cloud,  all the systems work the same everywhere. So your offices, mobile  workers and remote workers will all have access to the same  powerful range of features.

Usability

Cloud systems integrate with your IT systems so you can simply  click to call out of a web page or directory listing. Everything is totally  intuitive to the extent that you will probably forget about pressing  phone buttons within a few days of getting your new system. These  systems are also integrated with major cloud-based CRM and  customer support applications enabling your business to be more  efficient.

Professionalism

Cloud-based phone systems have a large array of featuresthat until  recently, were only available on very expensive systems used by major  companies. Now you can deliver a highly professional image by having  auto attendants, hunt groups and a range of other call routing features,  so that you always look totally professional to your customers.

Productivity

Imagine getting a new employee totally for free. With cloud-based  phone systems, you can implement a range of productivity features  that allow your current staff to communicate and collaborate much  more effectively than before, thereby improving the overall productivity  of your business. Features such as room-based collaboration,  conference calling and instant messaging can dramatically improve the  productivity of your business.

Mobility

Chances are your workforce is getting increasingly mobile.You need  to be where your customer is and so being mobile is vital. But being  mobile should not mean being disconnected from the business. Yes,  people have mobile phones, but do they know if a person is really in  the office or not? Can they get that vital message through at 5:55p.m.  to win a major new contract? With cloud-based phone systems, the  mobile worker is always connected to the central nervous system of  your business. They are not remote – they are just mobile.

Maintenance

The days of calling the telecoms engineer are well and truly over.  Chances are, with a cloud-based phone system you will never see  that person again. Phones are easy to move around with no specialist  skills involved. System management is all done via the web with lots of  handy videos to step you through the more complicated tasks. Cloud  systems are designed to make your life easy and just keep running  24/7 so you don’t have to worry about the costs or waiting for the  telecoms man to come and fix something.

 

Image result for cloud communications

 

Which Cloud phone system  should I choose?

There are many different types of cloud phone  systems to choose from, but it pays to really  understand the underlying technology – or  platform – behind your service provider. The  platform determines the provider’s ability to  innovate rapidly and drive the biggest impact for  your business.

Some phone system providers base their service  on freeware code that has been available for  many years on the Internet. It’s great for them  because it is low-cost to develop and allows them  to start their businesses up quickly. Unfortunately  many of these freeware-based services have  issues with quality and, more worryingly, security  that ultimately could cost you dearly with a fraud  attack.

By contrast there are some highly industrialised  platforms out in the market today developed by specialised vendors. They deliver superior  features and functionality, reliability and a proven  track record.

Today, BroadSoft’s platform is used by hundreds  of service providers worldwide, including 19 of the top 25 global communications service  providers. These leading service providers have  rigorous requirements, and require a platform  that is secure and powerful. With over 40 percent  industry market share today, and more than 10M  users deployed, you can see why the top service  providers rely on BroadSoft.

If 10 million people rely on BroadSoft’s solutions,  shouldn’t you?

 

Conclusion

Buying the correct phone system has the potential  to make a huge difference to the success of your  business in the next 5-10 years. Choosing the right  system could mean hiring less staff, winning more contracts, worrying less about disasters and yes, saving you money.

If you’ve outgrown your current business phone system, take the time to go through the questions we’ve outlined above, and write out your top needs  and requirements before contacting your local  reseller or service provider.

And last not but not least, be sure to ask about the underlying technologies that the service provider have in place. The fanciest features or the lowest price won’t do you much good if the quality, reliability and security are not core components of the service provider’s platform upon which your  services are offered.