[Quick] Guide to Picking the Perfect Phone System Provider

Business Phone System

By Joe Roche on June 20, 2018 in Business, Communications & VoIP, Technology

A bombardment of strong — often similar — promotional campaigns and offers can make it difficult to discern the benefits of one business phone system provider over another.

As well as this, modern phone systems are no longer just the business landline, they’re a feature-rich collection of communication and collaboration tools. It can be tricky to find a provider that matches your business needs and provides an array of value added, customisable features.

Key Questions
What features are offered? What features do we need? Will they help with international numbering or expansion? Will we even be in this office? What about scaling? How long will we wait to upgrade again?

The final question is vital, particularly in telecommunications, as the industry in a dynamic state of flux.

Many telecommunications providers are making their service IP-based and with that, old on-premises hardware will be relatively obsolete and even more difficult to maintain (even with a SIP Trunk). This guide will help you ask the right questions so you can get a future-proof system, with features and services that match your company’s needs.

Reliability

Internet speed
One of the early question-marks hanging over VoIP and cloud PBX systems was reliability. These problems stemmed from low internet speeds’ difficulty carrying high volumes of real-time traffic, as well as understanding VoIP best practices.

According to the Blueface research, internet infrastructure has improved in highly populated areas. In 2014, the average was 10mbp/s, today the majority of Irish businesses operate with 50mbp/s minimum, so traffic flows more freely (BCT 2018).

For these reasons, many older enterprises reliant on concurrency opted for telecoms providers who provide Hybrid-PBX solutions. Hybrid is a mix of cloud-based and on-premises that offers the benefits of the cloud, with the perceived security of the physical box.

According to our research, Hybrid is the solution of choice for companies with legacy infrastructure as it paves the way for fully cloud-based PBX systems.

BCT 2018 Statistic
85% currently on Hybrid plans intend on upgrading to fully cloud-based remote hosting when their current contract expires.

Modern IP-telephony first companies have invested in infrastructure to ensure an always-on experience, robust SLAs (99.999% uptime as standard) and fully redundant servers should your system encounter complications.

Flexibility and Scalability

Scalability

According to the World Economic Fund achieving scale quickly is crucial due to of “the self-reinforcing nature of network effects” and the “implied winner-take-all outcome” that comes with that.

In short, success in hyper-growth markets requires business agility. Line-based telephony requires new lines and if your on-premises system has reached its limit — will require a full system upgrade. This process incurs monetary and efficiency costs.

Larger, multinational organisations require many providers for their phone systems in different countries.

Multi-Site & Internationalisation
Establish a presence anywhere in the world in a heartbeat with international numbers and multi-site. Dial out from any country from your headquarters and with federated accounts.

All-in-one unified communication providers – like Blueface – are cloud-based, meaning they’re not dependant on physical lines and can create a presence anywhere in the world.

Even if you only have one office, cutting-edge phone systems like Blueface’s provide a platform for remote working and BYOD policies. Utilise co-working spaces or help your employees create an immersive home office.

True Cost

True Cost

Pairing your solution with your budget is difficult, particularly with telecoms providers where advertised fees aren’t always representative of what the end user pays.

Common Hidden Fees
Account management, support, maintenance, activation, conferencing, product mapping, upgrade costs, lines and more. Blueface does not charge for any of these features and offers bill analysis and fee transparency.

Dependent on your system, upgrades and maintenance can be a huge drain on your budget — particularly with equipment approaching obsolescence.

Cloud-based phone systems are remotely maintained and are not dependent on line-based telephony, so upgrade and maintenance variables are handled and your fixed bill will stay the same.

Reliability is another consideration for cost. The cost of downtime can be monumental to a business and as more companies enter the cloud PBX market, their learning curve may result in system inefficiencies. Dependent on your needs and users, opting to go with an experienced provider in both the VoIP and Unified Communications space will save your business time and capital.

Finally consider the impact on your staff, how intuitive the system’s tools are and how expensive the training could be from an SHRM perspective.

Unified Stakeholders

Unified Communications

Endless communication, collaboration, and automation tools have made growth and scale more sustainably achievable than ever.

Cloud-based communications offer the ability to scale staff, operations and offices quickly without large investments but with growth, IT can gather stakeholders just as quickly.

Potential Siloed IT Stakeholders
CTO, CEO, Network Operations, Database Operations, Customer Care, Application Teams, Server Teams (Local).

Prior to all-in-one solutions, a possible department-based territorial blame-game can occur — resulting in a litany of potentially inefficient behaviour.

Modern IP phone systems feature intuitive software that grants users (with custom permissions) visibility over the system, a type of innovation governance sorely needed in a tech-driven age.

Many systems feature AI fraud-detection staff can quickly identify and solve the problem efficiently with little damage to productivity.

Secure Encrypted Communications

Security

Cyber-attacks are estimated to have cost the US economy over $3Trillion in 2016 alone.

The extreme volume of structured and unstructured data we are creating makes malicious attacks more dangerous than ever to an organisation with cloud-based operations.

If you were to choose the wrong provider, your voice, text and video communications are just as vulnerable as the Internet of Things, which has notoriously struggled with malfeasance.

Transport Layer Security (TLS) & Secure Real-Time Transport Protocol (SRTP)
SRTP secures voice-level data while TLS secures signalling and ensures that data — such as file transfers, VoIP connections, instant messaging and VPN — is securely transferred. Always research provider network encryption. SRTP without TLS is like creating a cypher and publicly broadcasting the solution to the code.

Introducing new technologies is a complicated process between actual use and data compliance. Make sure your staff receive full and ongoing training and protect their job security.

IP-first telecommunications companies know that security is paramount and fully understand the risk mitigation process.

Long Term Partnership

Contract

Phones systems are integral to internal and external business operations, and depending on your solution and hardware — your company may be with the same provider for 5 – 10 years.

In that time your staff and company will grow, more offices will open in more locations and new technologies — that will need integrating – will be introduced.

Managing rapid growth can be difficult with cumbersome phone systems, but it’s made easier when you are supported by your IP-comms vendor.

Choose a provider who works with you to design your account with future growth in mind, with a history of timely — to spec — delivery.

Intuitive Software
Cutting-edge providers offer powerful administrative controls, so you can add new users, offices, hardware and features from your office — instead of having to reach out to your provider.

Finally, ensure that your service has ongoing support from a dedicated account manager or a skilled customer support team if you do need to reach out.

If you do not have the internal competency and your prospective provider has a hands-off history, the partnership may not work.

Better Business Communications

Need a quick recap on your quest for better business communications? Here are the key considerations when choosing your next business phone system.

— Reliability
— Flexibility & Scalability
— True Cost Assessment
— Unify Stakeholders
— Secure Encrypted Communications
— Long-term Partnership

Blueface delivers enterprise-grade communications technology with features and tools that allow unparalleled control of your system.

We support our customers from implementation to activation and beyond to ensure that you have the right solution for your business. Most importantly, the Blueface Network is secured by our proprietary Anti-Fraud AI, that automatically protects against fraud.

Your phone system grows seamlessly with your business, so you can revel in your success instead of suffering operational stress.

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