Whatever business you’re in, you will have heard of the hosted communications revolution; rather than relying on clunky on-site private branch exchanges (PBX), companies can instead use their internet connection to make and receive voice calls. Hosted is a form of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) communication, which is cheap, scalable and highly flexible. With your PBX hosted on a remote server, no on-site kit is necessary except for the handsets themselves.
With internet speeds drastically improving, hosted telephony is becoming an increasingly attractive proposition for businesses of all sizes, but why is now the time for your business to make the leap to hosted telephony?
Hosted telephony drives productivity through flexibility
Flexible working patterns are becoming ever more important to employees. Hosted telephony is able to accommodate flexible working, as calls can be routed easily from one number to another and employees can be contacted on the same number whether they’re working from the office, their home, or the car. Hosted phone solutions also provide smart “hunt group” services, which route calls intelligently within a group. For example; rather than distributing calls randomly, they can be assigned to the line that was active least recently, dividing labour more efficiently within your workforce.
In addition to this, the flexibility of hosted telephony provides excellent disaster recovery capabilities, as calls are easily routed from one premises to another; if your office is unusable for whatever reason your provider can simply divert incoming calls to another premises, with no loss of productivity.
Hosted telephony scales with your business
On-site PBXs can be a pain when it comes to growth and adding new users, a process which often involves engineering time and expense. However, hosted telephony systems can be expanded very, very easily, with the best solutions allowing you to add users yourself from a central admin portal that’s web based, meaning no engineering time incurred and no need to pay for lines you aren’t using. This lets you react quickly to your business’s circumstances, scaling your services accordingly- this is particularly handy for companies who have seasonally related periods of growth.
Manage your expenditure more efficiently
One of the biggest perceived barriers to shifting from on-premise to hosted services is the idea of sunk cost. Having already invested heavily in a PBX, companies understandably want to get their money’s worth before upgrading to a new solution. This is fine until you take into consideration all the additional costs that come with on-site solutions: software upgrades, additional features, adding users, and so on- all of these require engineering time and these extra costs are often more than persuasive enough for companies to let go of their legacy investment and move to a more cost-efficient model. Additionally, companies looking for an entirely new phone system may find the initial expenditure required for an on-premise PBX prohibitive.
Hosted phone systems work differently: there is usually no up-front cost involved and the system is paid for on a licence per user basis, and most of the ongoing costs are wrapped up in the monthly fee- including, from some providers, free calls to landlines and mobiles in the UK, automatic software updates and so on. So companies looking for new systems can move quickly and cost-efficiently across, and similarly, businesses looking to move away from the Cap-ex model to an Op-ex model will find Hosted ideal.
Making the move to the Cloud
There are many businesses who see the benefits of hosted telephony but find the concept of shifting their entire communications system online daunting.
The move to hosted telephony doesn’t need to be complex, and any provider worth their salt will fully manage the key stages of migration, which should include: defining requirements, defining any improvements, reviewing connectivity, making sure there is a Disaster Recovery plan in place, number porting and any training requirements needed.
With most hosted systems this process is very quick: it can be rolled out in matter of a few working days, depending on the quality of the connectivity in place.
When your data is stored in the cloud, it’s held in a dedicated server room with a team of specialised employees who are solely tasked with keeping your information safe and secure. Most hosting providers also ensure that a second ‘mirrored’ server is running at all times in a separate location, so that even if their primary servers should fail there’ll be no noticeable disruption to your service. Because you’re putting your data in the hands of specialists it’s much safer than keeping it backed up on your own servers, and is less susceptible to memory loss and illicit access.
The bottom line
Hosted telephony has quickly become the gold standard for companies looking to move with the times, save money and become more competitive and flexible. If you’ve not yet made the switch, it’s time to find out what hosted telephony can do for you!