Business telephone systems…
…are not new, however VoIP, SIP, Unified Communications and IP PBX’s (IP enabled PBX or Telephone Systems) are still seen as new technologies to many businesses, especially to SME’s. However with the advent of smartphones and on device applications, businesses can now run a full telephone systems from a smartphone app or on a desktop PC, laptop or tablet. Business Telephone Systems have gone from being costly onsite hardware which dates and needs supporting and other expensive laments such as telephone lines, to being a pay per user per month for a cloud based unified communications service. Providing businesses with full telephone system functionality at a fraction of the price.
Enhancements to Cloud delivery, connectivity stability through Bonded Internet Connections, high speed broadband and 3/4G services also mean that the reasons for an onsite business telephone systems can no longer stand true. Onsite business telephone systems are now seen as an old way of working, costly and inflexible, they tend to be pushed by traditional telecoms and IT companies who have but and business around ’sell and support’ and some often lack good after care service . Cloud based unified communications as a services on a pay as you use basis and per feature required, allows businesses to be in full control of cost, quality and the customer experience. Importantly cloud delivery also means no or very limited onsite hardware, support for the traditional onsite business telephone system has often been costly, remote and reactive. SME’s have often struggled to get good support from a telephone system suppliers, and so moving to the cloud and subscribing to a unified communications business services removes the vast majority of support issues and challenges.
Hosted Business Telephone Systems
IP PBX systems have also been around for a while now, generally taking some kind of connection such as SIP or leased lines, however these systems take the PBX and move it from being onsite to being hosted. SIP has also been highly variable with some customers having a very poor experience whist others have been ok. A hosted PBX service can address some issues, however much of the inflexibility remains. Many organisations also struggle with call quality, support and system management. Organisations subscribing to a unified communications as a service have a number of major advantages, such as no contract commitments, better integration between fixed and mobile communications (FMC) and a simple self administration tool. Additionally the platform is designed to support multiple business and multiple users, they are highly secure and designed to accommodate flexibility and ad-hoc changes, generally on a month to month basis (due to bill cycles).
Keeping a large business telephone system onsite
For larger organisations who want Internet based calls and flexibility but have a large onsite traditional PBX (also known as a TDM switch) it is possible to add the additional capabilities without having to rip and replace a perfectly good working system(s). In these scenarios it is possible to add a gateway which sits between the old TDM PBX and the Cloud based united communication service. This has many advantages, limited deployment and change, fewer support challenges and project management as well as lower cost to migrate.
So Unified Communications as a Service is right for a large number of organisations.
Essentially the main difference is down to how it is deployed and who manages it. Typically systems are priced at around £10 per month per user for a dedicated telephone extension with voicemail, plus non-Internet based call charges. Compare this to buying a telephone system, installing it, having it cabled, buying desk phones, having a support contract, paying for line rental and call charges. The when you need help, paying for onsite support call out charges and when you reach capacity, ungrudging the system. These issues are exasperated when an organisation looks to move location or change something fundamental.