Right of Use
Where collaboration and
communications technology is headed
More than half of businesses are expected to adopt cloud unified communications as a service (UCaaS/hosted PBX) by 2020, surpassing premises-based PBX.1 This reflects a shift to the cloud by businesses of all sizes for their communications and collaboration solutions.
Whether you’re considering deploying a new system or upgrading an existing one, you probably have a number of questions about UCaaS vs. other more traditional technologies and what to expect if you deploy a cloud solution. This guide provides answers to the most common questions customers have and gives an overview of your choices when it comes technology platforms—PBX, IP PBX, and cloud.
What exactly are cloud-based phone systems?
How is it different from my existing service?
If your customer’s like the majority of businesses out there, they have a basic phone service through their local carrier with a traditional hardware-based PBX, along with a tiny room somewhere in the back of their office filled with wires that some IT expert needs to manipulate every time they hire a new employee or make a change. With the cloud, all of this hassle goes away. No more PBX hardware or dark, scary, wire-filled phone rooms. With a cloud solution, they can configure their phone system–add new lines, change answering services, or record a message played for callers—all from an easy-to-use web interface or smartphone. Every change made, from setup to adding new offices, is instant and as simple as clicking a mouse.
What are the benefits of a cloud-based system?
2. Cost savings: With no hardware to buy up front, no maintenance costs, and all-inclusive monthly charges, cloud-based systems are less expensive than traditional solutions. For a 20-person business, you save approximately $10,000 up front on the cost of a traditional PBX, and thousands more annually because of no maintenance and lower monthly bills.
3. Ease of setup and use: A cloud phone system takes just minutes to set up and all changes go live instantly.
4. Scalability and flexibility: Cloud phone systems are extremely flexible and customizable to meet the needs of your customer’s business, so they can configure their phone system exactly the way that they need it. And as their business scales, adding or deleting new users and locations is as easy as clicking a button.
Do I get to keep my phone number?
Yes. When your customer moves to a cloud-based phone system, they can transfer their existing numbers from their old system. This is often called LNP, or local number portability. That means there is no need to update all their business cards or ask their customers to learn a new phone number.
Do I need special equipment?
No, they do not need any special phone system hardware to use a cloud phone system. It is recommended that they get IP phones that are fully supported by cloud services. With these phones, getting started is as simple as “plug-and-ring.”
How reliable is the cloud?
Cloud solutions are extremely reliable and offer redundancy that is not available with non-cloud solutions. For example, if they experience a snow storm, a hurricane, or an earthquake, and their office is damaged because of flooding or just shut down due to snow, their cloud–based phone system will not be impacted since it is not located in their physical office location. They can simply log in from anywhere and reroute their customers’ calls to employees working anywhere.
But what if my internet goes down?
With most cloud providers, even if their home or office internet goes down, they can use their smartphone to access their system and re-route calls. Basically they carry their backup plan—their trusty cell phone—in their purse or pocket.
Can it meet the changing needs of my business?
Yes, that is the beauty of cloud-based solutions. They can grow and contract based on the needs of your customer’s business. Are they adding new employees? No problem. Do they need to add a new office? No problem: they add an office with the click of a mouse and never have to buy another PBX hardware box. Changing their business hours to take advantage of a busy season? That’s OK; it’s easy to update. Their service can change as their business changes, without the risk of losing investments made in PBX hardware or long-term contracts.
Will it become obsolete when the next big tech thing comes along?
No. This is the power of cloud-based technology. Not only are cloud companies the leaders in technology innovation, but they never have to manage multiple versions of a product, and all technology changes go live instantly to all customers using the cloud service. For customers, this means that they automatically experience the most advanced and current version of cloud technology without having to do anything. And cloud services benefit from seamless feature updates because there is no hardware or software to upgrade. They’ll get the latest features as they become available.
Who is using cloud-based phone systems to support their business?
Small to large businesses are reaping the benefits of cloud phone systems. A one-person IT consulting business can be on the go but accessible to his or her customers, thanks to the cloud. A real estate office can easily add a line when a new agent comes on board and create an auto attendant to direct calls virtually. So, whether your customer is a 4-person business or a 400-person business spread across many offices, cloud phone systems are right for them.