Should Your Next Phone System Be Cloud Based?
The fourth installment of our blog series on cloud phone systems, Obsolescence and Scalability Issues for Cloud Based Phone Systems, covered the advantages of an internet based communication system in preventing early obsolescence and the ease of scaling a cloud system vs. an on premise system. Because a large part of any cloud based system is simply software, it is upgraded on a regular basis like any computer program or operating system, which gives a distinct advantage over some or most on site, hardware based system. However, some providers do charge for upgrades even of software, so be sure to understand their contractual commitment upfront. Again with scalability, a cloud system is built on software that is much more cost efficient to scale than hardware. Also, you can usually add devices one at a time, rather than having to buy an entire on premise system from the start. Be sure you understand any costs you may be responsible for, both for expansion and downsizing; some providers charge for both.
The nature of the ‘cloud’ allows any cloud based VoIP telephone system much greater flexibility than a traditional, on site system. Many businesses now rely on employees bringing their own smart devices which will work on a cloud system with a simple application. And because it is not centralized, your workers are not constrained by a physical business location.
Hardware based systems are not standing still, though. To compete with the rapid expansion of cloud based systems, business based systems have been improving rapidly. Now many offer similar flexibility to the cloud, while providing, in some cases, superior hardware and software. Plus, your telephones and other peripherals will be part of system designed from the start to work together, rather than pieced together and/or employee owned and connected only through apps that don’t necessarily work the same on all brands of device. In fact, with many new digital terminals, you can run applications just like on a smart phone while maintaining the integrity of an integrated system. The lines are also blurring between with two systems, with some on premise systems allowing for a combination of some VoIP and some traditional systems, based on your business needs.
Because all your data is stored in ‘the cloud’ rather than at your business, it can be accessed from almost anywhere you have web access. This makes a cloud based system ideal for any business with offices spread across many cities or states, as well as any company with a traveling sales force. It allows you to communicate with customers and partners from anywhere, sharing ideas, documents and even videos in real time. You can work from any branch office, home or even a coffee shop, using a single your desk number and still having caller idea, voice mail and more. But don’t count on premise systems out. As mentioned before, they are rapidly adding features to stay up to date, including very comparable remote access features.
Before you make an investment in a cloud based communications system, be sure your network is ready to handle the speed and quality required for voice communications. And before you commit to a service provider, be sure you understand their SLA and all other costs you will incur for growing or downsizing your system. Always consult with a reliable, trustworthy expert in the communications field. SoundTel will be pleased to answer any questions you may have and can help you decide if moving to the cloud is the right decision for your business. Call 1-800-797-3663 or 425-481-5493 for a free communications analysis.