If you are in the process of sourcing a new phone system for your business and are completely bamboozled by what’s available and what to choose - Traditional -v- Hosted, then please read on.
|Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
With a traditional premises based telephone system, you initially purchase the hardware and software upfront and this means you have to gauge how much capacity is necessary, now and for the future. Ultimately, if you are going through a quiet patch or your business is seasonal, you can’t scale down, so are paying for lines and services that are not in use. However, with a hosted system, it is simply a case of adding or taking away extensions and services when demand dictates. This is especially important if your business is growing, as you are only paying for what you need now.
Generally a premises based telephone system costs more than a hosted system and generally delivers less in terms of functionality unless expensive bolt-on modules are added. We’d say this is probably one of the main reasons that business communications are moving rapidly over to hosted telephone systems. With features such as; easily accessible call reporting, voicemail to e-mail, compatibility with CRM software using TAPI or API integration for click to dial and screen popping,auto attendant, call queues and cascading. All these features can be relatively easily implemented to create a bespoke system for your exact needs. Making such alterations/changes to a premises based PBX are either impossible or take a long time to configure and at additional cost too. So, now every small or medium business can benefit from sophisticated features that once only the larger companies could enjoy, plus the system can be tailored EXACTLY to your needs and changed with very short notice.
- Business continuity
If business continuity is important to you (and why wouldn’t it be!) then a massive benefit of a hosted telephone system is that you can easily divert calls from your business to other phones and locations easily if disaster strikes. You can divert to a mobile(s) or another landline(s) or both, just to keep your business moving along. With a traditional system, it can take several hours to divert and also to take the divert off once everything is back to normal. Of course, with a traditional telephone system, you can only divert the lines to one number, whereas with hosted phone system you can divert to any number of devices. Infact, with a hosted system, you can set up an automatic divert so that calls instantly fall over to another phone if your data connection goes down or there is a fault on the line.
If you have several sites or offices or occasionally work from home, then a hosted solution gives you the flexibility of being able to work from anywhere, providing you have a data connection . This data connection can be broadband, 3G or 4G. You simply plug your own extension in, and the phone acts exactly as it would on your own office desk! This particular feature is practically non-existent with a traditional system.
One distinct advantage with a hosted phone system over a traditional system is that you can make numerous concurrent calls at the same time, whereas with a traditional system you can only make and take calls over the lines you have. A broadband connection with a 1 Mbps upload speed is equivalent to 10 lines.
- Future proofing
Having a system that is easily upgraded with the current release of software is really important, bringing any improvements and benefits to you instantly. Comparing this to making upgrades to a traditional system which take time, and an engineer to sort out, adding extra cost.
A current benefit is SIP forking which means you can link your desk phone and mobile phone, so any incoming calls can be taken on either.
There you have it, game set and match to cloud communications!
Tina Bricknell for
The Merlin Team