Hosted Business Office VoIP Phone System

Business VoIP, Office VoIP and hosted VoIP

Like many successful businesses, you are faced with spiralling phone bills… And increasing support and maintenance costs for your IT and telephone network.

 

If you switch your phone calls to VoIP technology, you can merge voice and data, boosting staff productivity and enhancing customer service. Moreover, you don’t have to jettison your existing voice system to do so.

As the price of high speed Internet connections come down, it’s well worth taking a fresh look at your long term plans for your phone and IT Network. One way of reducing your bills is to use your IT Network for phone calls between branches and use the Internet for external calls. This is known as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

 

What is Business VoIP?

Voice over IP is a technology that allows you to make business quality telephone calls using an Internet connection instead of a regular (Digital or analogue) phone line.

VoIP can be integrated with your current voice system. There is no need to make a radical change unless you want to upgrade entirely. This way you can retain any return on previous investment. It also gives you control allowing you to migrate to this new technology at your own pace.

Business Drivers for Office VoIP

Control: The ability to measure, analyse and control costs. This includes typical essential usage, wastage as well as managing to prevent fraud.

Simplicity and flexibility: You can increase or relocate your staff team and have them accessible quickly, easily and cheaply. Calls can be transferred across all networked sites.

Flexible working and Mobility: Integrating your mobile or home working employees as well as partners and suppliers, greatly reduces internal administration activity and costs.

Business Continuity: If a critical incident occurs within any of your current sites your customers, clients, or suppliers can still contact you on the same telephone numbers. This facility is of major benefit to your company disaster planning, risk management and recovery.

New Office: It makes sense to update your technology if you relocate to new premises.

Simplisity will guide you through the flock of suppliers and vendors. Because we work with so many different suppliers, you can rest assured that we have your interests at heart. We are not trying to make one solution fit all, we respond to your individual needs… call us now!

Hosted Voip?

VoIP applications currently provide capabilities such as voice mail, instant messaging, service management, and presence management. These services are delivered with the performance, features and uniformity expected from enterprise-wide applications.

Calls can be recorded, played back and stored. You can listen to the last three calls your customer made before they left you and went to your competitors to understand where improvements are needed to your service. You could even listen to these calls from a PC.

There are two types of VoIP systems. It is very common to use a combination because some of your offices may be different to others. Simplisity will help you to define the most economical and appropriate for your business.

Conventional VoIP

This integrates your current phone system (Key system or PBX) onto IP infrastructure to support your Voice applications. This avoids any drastic change and gives your business a stepping stone to move forward as you adopt the new technology.

Office to office calls, your outbound calls, your Internet traffic etc can still share the same connection with guaranteed availability and “up” time.

Benefits:
  • Compatible with all existing phone systems
  • All calls can be centrally controlled
  • No need for rip and replace
  • Free office to office calls
  • Calls to home workers can be transferred and vice-versa
  • Home or mobile users just connect via their broadband or WiFi connection and calls can be made, received and transferred to anyone else in your organisation… free!
  • Wide variety of payment options with no capital outlay.
Hosted IP Telephony

Replaces the local equipment at your premises. The service is centralised in the telecommunications network. You then access this service using a wide range of connection options (e.g. ADSL).

This is an ideal solution for a new office.

The features are the same as the VoIP service except that instead of connecting your existing telecoms equipment, the service extends through to your users’ desktops. Your lines and offices connect directly to the network. This means you no longer have to invest in phone systems or maintain on-site equipment. Instead, the network provider will maintain and upgrade the service for you.

Benefits:
  • A range of IP handsets or software to turn your computers into phones
  • Installation maintenance and management
  • Access to over 200 telephony and voice-networking features
  • Employees can log on at any extension whilst retaining their own phone number
  • Simple payment terms… payment per person gives low risk and reduces any capital burdens.

Is VoIP suitable for everyone?

This is a very big question and for 9 out of 10 the answer is yes. It really depends on where you want to go and what you want to achieve for your business.

We host open days and regularly speak at conferences. Contact us now and we'll happily invite you along. Alternatively, why not drop us a quick call now. you'll get to hear the quality first hand.

But Buyer Beware. here is the reality and the Questions you shouldn't ask.

Something you get free is worth every penny you paid for it!
Or rather, it could not be more apt than with internet telephony because making calls over the net and VoIP are two very different things. Business telephony is worlds away from a consumer wanting to call friends over the net for a quick chat..

Key Questions! Do not embarrass any salesmen by asking the following:

There are many hidden issues that VoIP suppliers won't always admit. Below are a series of questions that will save you time and expense now. We strongly encourage you to ask a network provider before you commit your business to this technology. It has taken us a long time to get here and Simplisity can answer the following. see how you get on..

  1. How can you guarantee I'll get business grade telephone calls? One of the most important questions you need to ask. the implications for your business if your top customer gets a bad line with poor call quality. We are amazed at how anyone could offer a guarantee when the majority of the call goes over a public internet..a service they cannot control or influence. There may be some sites where this will suffice. but you really need some quality of service guarantee. How can any network give a guarantee of quality over a public network such as the Internet?
  2. 999 Calls? By law, you must provide the facility for a 999 emergency call to be made. How can a 999 call be made when some VoIP services do not work in the event of power failure?
  3. Broadband connections: ADSL still uses BT to deliver the final stage of service to you. BT currently have a 48hr fix on ADSL problems and faults. Could your business go without connectivity for this amount of time? How do they propose to give you a business quality solution with these repair times? We have the answers, but does anyone else?
  4. Security: What is the real cost to include security? This should be included as part of the overall business justification. Please beware of headline savings. You will make a substantial saving, but do not compromise your security.
  5. Costs and savings: Are handsets available at £20 per seat level. Are your savings guaranteed in any way?
  6. Demonstrations: Ask any potential supplier for a demonstration at 4pm when the Internet is at its busiest (USA wakes up). Going to a demonstration centre is fine, however, it will not truly represent the final solution. Demonstration centres are built not to fail or compromise the sale.
What about quality?

The telephone is a rare breed of device. We naturally assume the telephone will never need any maintenance and will always work. with perfect clarity. every time. While the benefits of switching to VoIP are compelling, there is always going to be some doubt in an IT manager's mind that it could be a major risk to change their traditional phone system.

Of course any network provider is just as good as the equipment they use to build it. Simplisity only partner with IP networks that use "carrier grade" equipment with ingrained network resilience.

A major factor behind VoIP call performance is that it must be set up so voice is prioritised. With voice, the slightest delay or echo will be audible. Voice must take precedence.

 

Your Concern: Cost-conscious SMB owners, or any business owner for that matter, who don’t feel the pain of needing a new phone system won’t typically be a prospect for hosted PBX service. 

We Say: I completely understand. Something you might want to consider is the costs savings, and business continuity benefits of SIP trunking. There is a significant opportunity to reduce costs while leveraging your current phone system. At the same time, if you ever have a power or hardware failure, enhanced SIP trunks can auto fail-over to another facility, or a pre-configured PBX in the cloud. Or we can automatically call your cell phones. It’s that flexible. Your team remains connected to your customers, vendors and other employees. This also lets your business start to realize the many benefits cloud communications, and if you add mobile workers or new office locations, we’ll have great hosted PBX and unified communications options to offer your business. 

Your Concern:: I don’t want to lose control. Many organizations are accustomed to purchasing IT and communications services a certain way – they’ve built up infrastructure and staff.
They’re leery of surrendering administrative functions to a third party.

We Say: Moving communications to the cloud does not mean a loss of control; in fact, the organization has more control in many instances because of the greatly enhanced ease-of-use. Moving communications to the cloud is a cost-effective way to offload less critical applications.

Your Concern:: I’m concerned about call quality. This was once a legitimate concern, but isn’t any longer.

We Say: Proper installations and the ubiquity of high speed, high quality broadband connectivity has virtually eliminated issues such as jitter and latency; voice traffic will be handled over business class IT infrastructure. Additionally, prioritization technologies are used to ensure that voice traffic is optimized for the cloud service.

Your Concern: I don’t believe it will be less expensive.* Sometimes, cloud communications seems too good to be true; and there are a fair number of naysayers who weave tales of surprises costs, etc. Or your competition sells fear, uncertainty, doubt and greed (aka “FUDGe”).

We Say: An SMB eliminates or dramatically reduces virtually all upfront costs when it moves its communications system to the cloud; there’s no PBX to buy, so that CAPEX expense is removed from the equation. And that cost isn’t “hidden” so Cloud communications is less up front, and less over time. It also offers a predictable monthly subscription fee that delivers cost certainty, and the ability to scale up or down as needed. And that’s before you get to the upside ROI of having a more collaborative, agile business because of the seamlessness of communications on the cloud.

Your Concern: I’m concerned with cloud security.* What the SMB owners often mean if they bring this up is “I hear horror stories about fraud in the news media.” Of course, these stories are not the day-to-day reality.

We Say: Cloud security is in many cases, better than an SMB owners current security measures. Providers are required to have top notch systems and processes to combat the bad guys, and they are watching 24x7, and constantly improving. Politely point out to them the illogic of the thinking that the equipment in a closet at their office is more secure than the security and redundancy at a purpose-built data center. 

 

You can access better resources by being anywhere with great features.  

One of the core benefits of utilising any Cloud service is accessibility anywhere, and using a Cloud telephony service, the same is now true for your telephone land lines. With a Cloud based telephone service, you should be able to configure extensions on multiple devices (handsets, mobile apps, soft-phones), in theory, anywhere on planet Earth; as part of the same local telephone number and system. Practically speaking, you can plug in your IP handsets in Brazil, France or Australia and be able to make and receive calls on your local UK landline number. 0207, 0121, 0161, It doesn't really matter. Your 0207 London presence can be answered in Rome, Birmingham in the Bahamas, or Manchester in Manhattan.

This is great for business on so many levels, not just outsourcing. For one thing, you access the best (and most cost-effective) staff resources, without compromising the local presence you’ve built up over the years. You can hire a specialist freelancer in Manchester, for example, an award-winning call answering team in Leeds, or a sales resource where you are locally.

You can bring everyone together under the same local landline number in Birmingham you've been operating under for years. In practice for example, your incoming calls can get answered by the admin team in Leeds, and a call is seamlessly transferred by them to your Freelancer in Manchester. The call is going well, so your Freelancer conferences in the Birmingham Sales Manager and, as a team all on the same system, they close the sale and win a new customer. …And although the new Client explained all her requirements, the sales manager needs to clarify some points, and rather than embarrassingly call the Client back, he listens to the call recording of the conversation to better understand her requirements.

You can also expand your national or global presence by quickly adding regional telephone numbers to your web site and marketing collateral.  If business is good in Birmingham, add a Manchester number, and with a little marketing sparkle, you can test your potential influence in a new area without having to commit too much resource. As discussed, calls to all your regional numbers can go to one place, answered by the same person or team, so, relatively speaking, a non-cost for testing the water in new areas. 

Scalable infrastructure - Thinking about growth

If the infrastructure of your Cloud telephone service provider is right, you should be able to scale up/down your telephone service, quickly, easily and at low; predictable costs. Ask your provider about the guts of their service. What does their infrastructure look like? …ask for a diagram. Is it one, over-heating box, sitting in a rack, in a broom cupboard next to the boiler, running software that was last patched with a 5 1/4” floppy disk? 

As a user of Cloud services, you have the right to ask what’s going on behind the scenes - Which Data Centres are being used? Do they have global presence (You may want to launch a new site in Morocco). Are the DC’s temperature controlled? Uninterrupted power and diesel generator back-up? Entry via biometric security for named IT staff only? How resilient is their service? how available? Any downtime over the last 3 months?

Your supplier should be thinking, on your behalf, about scalability. This is where we find a small gulf between ‘Hosted’ and ‘Cloud’. As a business, if you experience a huge surge in demand for your product, 3 new sites are going live, each with a mini call centre and 25 staff, how will your supplier respond? A few configuration issues aside, your supplier should be ready to rollout hundreds if not thousands of extensions as and when (and of course, where) you require. The reverse is also true. If one of those sites was overkill, you should be able to scale down your requirement as quickly as you scaled up, paying only for what you use.  

As a business in the 21st century, regardless of size, you are entitled to this level of flexibility to support efficient growth/contraction.

Costs - Low cost doesn't equal low quality

Costs are usually a consideration, not always, but for most SME businesses, costs of phone systems can be eye-watering. Cloud telephone systems should reduce costs in a few ways. Generally, the sting of capital expenditures associated with the purchase of equipment should be alleviated almost entirely. You might pay for IP handsets or you may already have some, which should be straightforward to reconfigure, seriously reducing your capital outlay. 

Installation costs should be minimal, if there any at all (usually wrapped into handset and low service costs). Most Cloud telephony suppliers should offer an online control panel, so call routing pathways, forwarding and creating extensions should take virtually no time at all. The same is true for management of extensions and voicemail boxes etc.

We're finding this is key for businesses nowadays. IT teams are under more and more pressure to bring telephony into their control, so any Cloud provider should make it as easy as possible to manage extensions and features, so IT staff don’t have to faff about too much. Or so you Cloud telephone supplier can make changes for you, quickly, and without the financial sting.

Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity

Problems do, and will continue to occur. The objective must be to effectively and easily side-step issues when they arise. Connectivity could drop out, CRM’s could implode, networks could explode. In such situations, it should be minutes and hours to work around the problem rather than days or weeks. Re-routing inbound calls, setting up call forwards, plugging in handsets elsewhere, or a DR site, should be easy, with minimum disruption.

If done correctly, productivity should be almost entirely unaffected. The base-level work-around we consider viable at More Talk is for staff to take their handsets home and plug-in to the internet there. Crude, I know, but it works. All features like IVR, call routing and call-recording should be in the Cloud anyway, so there should be no impact, expect for the time it takes for a member of staff to get home or to another site.

Managed Service - Let your supplier take the headache

Utilising a Cloud telephony supplier is essentially, outsourcing. You’ve backed-off the management and stress to your supplier. You can account them on uptime and security, and ensuring all phone features are in place and functional. 

If you accept having hardware on site, you bring yourself into the circle of accountability. From the point of view of your business, if you’re using a Cloud service, it makes sense to ensure all aspects of the service, up to the point of call delivery are firmly in the remit of your supplier. Let them take the headache. By backing off that stress to the supplier, you free up your IT resources and you can hold your supplier to account. IT teams have enough to worry about, phones shouldn’t be among them. We have a range of voice quality guarantees. There is no alternative for a business. Talk to Simplisity now on 01923 200000