Purchasing a phone system for your company can often be an overwhelming buying experience, packed with an unlimited combination of service types, providers, handsets and features. Our goal is to transform this convoluted array of options into a manageable, digestible process, starting with the three things you must determine before starting your buying journey:
- Are you needing a complete phone system that includes physical office telephones, or would your business be able to operate via mobility in the form of a virtual phone service that’s powered by cell phones instead of traditional handsets?
- If you do need physical office phones, what type of service do you require? Options include traditional landline telephone service provided by a local or regional phone company or a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) system, which is powered by your internet connection.
- A vast majority of businesses are transitioning to VoIP systems, which includes two hosting options. If you choose VoIP, do you want to house your VoIP system at your business location on-site (self-hosted) or have it hosted remotely by your service provider (cloud-based)?
If you already have the answers to these questions and would like to see how Vergent can provide your business with the best voice solutions for your specific needs, get in touch and we’ll have your new system running in no time!
If you don’t have those answers yet, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive into those questions listed above and learn how your business can benefit from:
- Virtual Phone Systems
- Traditional Landlines
- VoIP Phone Systems
- On-site VoIP Hosting
- Cloud-based VoIP Hosting
Virtual Phone Systems
It’s no secret that employment trends have shifted toward hiring remote workers operating from home. A virtual phone system is an affordable alternative to traditional handsets, as you simply connect a business phone to remote workers using extensive call-forwarding solutions.
- Pros: Virtual phone systems are great for giving employees the flexibility and freedom to work remotely, while customers are still provided with a fast response time and professional experience. Additional features such as automated receptionist, voicemail, call forwarding and more are also available with these systems, which aren’t available with mobile or home phones.
- Cons: While a virtual phone system is relatively affordable, it’s not ideal for businesses looking to scale. Unless your business is made entirely of remote workers or you’re operating as a sole-proprietor, you will eventually require either a traditional or VoIP solution to effectively manage moves, adds and changes.
Traditional voice solutions, such as T1 and PRI systems, are tried and true, reliable solutions that are supported by your local or regional phone company. Landlines use the provider’s copper wiring to connect the system and require on-premise PBX hardware, which is used to manage multiple extensions and features like call transferring.
- Pros: Traditional voice solutions are time-tested, reliable systems. For larger corporations with a capable in-house IT department, this is a viable option.
- Cons: The biggest downside of traditional systems is the high capital expenditure to purchase and maintain a PBX system. Smaller businesses are largely moving away from traditional voice systems toward cloud-based phone systems, which remove the large upfront expense and long-term maintenance costs.
VoIP Phone Systems
The beauty behind VoIP solutions is that they are powered by your existing internet connection, instead of traditional copper lines. VoIP provides small and medium sized businesses with the expansive feature sets that have traditionally only been available to large corporations, all charged on a low per-user basis.
- Pros: VoIP removes the large costs to buy, build and maintain traditional PBX solutions, as well as provides employees with mobility options, like plugging their phone into any internet connection and operating the same as being in the office. VoIP provides a robust phone solution, with all the features you can imagine, at a fraction of the cost.
- Cons: VoIP is powered by your internet connection, which in many cases may need to be upgraded to maintain QoS (Quality of Service) and overall phone performance.
On-site VoIP Hosting
As mentioned with VoIP, there are two hosting options: on-site or cloud-based. To self-host your own VoIP solution means paying for and storing the equipment – most notably, the private branch exchange (PBX), which powers your phone system.
- Pros: The benefit to on-site hosting of your VoIP solution is that your business will be in complete control of the system. Any adds, moves or changes can be made by your designated staff, all with your desired configurations.
- Cons: While maintaining your own system can provide a little more flexibility, the big downsides are the large upfront cost and responsibility for maintenance and repairs. Unless you have the budget and an IT department that’s capable of maintaining a VoIP system, cloud-based systems may be the better alternative.
Cloud-based VoIP Hosting
Hosting your VoIP solution in the cloud means having your service provider buy, build and maintain the voice system on your behalf, which translates to no maintenance or hardware expenditures, apart from IP phones. The cloud hosting solution provides growing businesses with a reliable and scalable voice solution at a manageable per-user cost.
- Pros: The reason thousands of businesses have switched to cloud-based VoIP is that there is no PBX hardware to purchase or maintain. Most VoIP solutions also come with user-friendly admin portals which allow for easy configuration and changes within your system, such as adding new employees, changing extensions, etc.
- Cons: While saving on hardware and maintenance cost is great, a downside to hosting in the cloud is that you’re not in complete control of the hardware. If your system ever does experience issues, it’s up to your service provider to repair the system.
Now that you know the types of phone solutions to choose from, as well as their hosting options, it’s time to choose the right provider for your business. Vergent has been providing businesses with voice and internet solutions for over 20 years and gives customers the proactive, tailored support you can only get from a trusted local partner, with the same scalability and quality guarantees as large global providers. We would love to answer any questions you may have about your future phone solution as we approach 2017. Get in touch today and learn how Vergent can cut your business phone bill by 20-50%.