- On July 14, 2015
We created a handy guide – a roadmap – for customers who are taking another look at their current telephone system and deciding if it needs to be updated. Given that we don’t make these decisions very often – we have seen customers with systems that are nearly 20 years old it can be a challenge working out where to start.
The first thing – always – has to be writing down your business needs – and we’re talking communications business needs here. Those needs may have changed from when your current system was first purchased. You may have more mobile workers who are challenged with keeping in touch, or you may have grown and added more locations and aren’t connected seamlessly. Or you may be used to some of the useful applications available on your smart phone or tablet and want a business version of those that provides the benefits AND the security you need.
Do you get a lot of incoming calls from customers that you could route to staff better – but don’t necessarily want to go the whole Call Centre direction? Perhaps the person who used to be your telephone attendant and receptionist now spends more time doing office work and would be great to offload even more by automating incoming calls?
If you just go out and start looking at features or applications you may get sucked into a rabbit hole and just like Alice, have a hard time getting back out. Technology can be addictive. If for personal use, fine. But for businesses, it should be matched to real needs and perhaps future needs, but needs nevertheless. Not what looks cute or sexy.
But what next? Is there a logical order to looking at my needs? The answer is yes!The diagram is from our eBook, that you can download here, and we think the first step should be deciding what type of platform best suits your business. A Cloud or Premise based telephone system? Why? Because many of the following decisions you make will be different.
For example, you don’t need to think about what kind of outside lines or trunks you need when you go to a cloud based system; they provide you access to your outside lines or trunks at their Data Centre – not at your premises. So you are not dealing directly with the local Telco to buy lines – no matter what type. So if you choose a cloud based system you don’t need to spend time on that decision. However, if you are going the premises based system route, then you clearly need to think about both the quantity and type of lines you need.
Why consider cloud in the first place? Well, we wrote a past Blog here, on why we think cloud is the future. That might be of interest.
At the end of the day it is likely that regardless of whether you consider a premise based or cloud based telephone system you are going to implementing a Voice over IP (VoIP) solution. (Often referred to as IP Telephony.) This will mean that you will have to also consider your existing data network – the switches that connect your computers together and the router that connects you to your internet connection. It may even be one device that carries out both functions. We will get into details in future Blogs on specifics, suffice to say that the quality of your voice calls will suffer, if the data network is not set up correctly. And setting it up will depend somewhat on whether those data networking devices have the built in ‘tools’ to allow it to be configured appropriately. Essentially giving the voice calls or voice traffic priority – sort of like HOV lanes on a highway.
We’re a big proponent of providing all the relevant information, the pros and cons of all solutions, and allowing our customers to choose.