Author: Jim Machi – General Manager CCD, Sangoma
If you have a small business, chances are you have a business communication phone system someplace on premise. That PBX communication system is probably old, probably in some closet and maybe you can’t even get support on it anymore. And maybe the place you buy your telephony solutions from has brought this up more than a few times. If you’re starting a new business, you need to get a telephony solution in place, because no matter how hard you try, you can’t just deal with the outside world with a website and email.
One thing both of these types of small businesses have in common is that there is likely no IT department per se. You have a person who somehow got the task of looking after this stuff, but it’s not this person’s primary task or expertise. It may even be you as the small business owner. Another thing both businesses may have in common is a desire to “look bigger” to the outside world. This typically means answering the phone and responding as quickly as possible.
So, what should you look for when purchasing a new small business telephony solution?
First, you will need to consider whether you actually want a PBX / voice telephony communication system in your place of work (on premise) or not. The cost and complexity of using a cloud based PBX have come down. These solutions are now practical for small businesses, and easy to install. In fact, there is nothing to really install – you’re just connecting to a voice communication system that resides elsewhere. Since you likely have Internet connectivity, using that data pipe to connect to that cloud-based voice communication system makes it easy and affordable. However, there are advantages of having a PBX in your place of business. I will explore the pros and cons of hosted/cloud versus on-premise in my next blog.
You will also need to consider whether you actually just want a voice communication system or you want “more”. By more I mean additional applications beyond voice. For instance, the system could handle faxing as well. The system could include instant messaging with other employees. The system could have different phone numbers for different “departments” even though the end result might be to the same person. You could add other contact center attributes like video menus for smartphone callers. And the system could also combine your desk phone and mobile phone to insure calls to your desk phone get through to your mobile phone, using the desk phone number. As such you’d be enabling business while you were driving, or working remotely. In this way, your business would look “bigger”.
If you go either the on-premise route or the hosted/cloud route, security will be a concern because you’re connected to the Internet. A session border controller will be required, placed on the edge of our network, to help you wall yourself off from unregulated global Internet.
Communications and collaboration are vital to your business. Having one vendor handle everything (communications, cloud, security) means that you always have accountability and a rapid response when issues arise. Sangoma has the products, the people and the proven track record to help your small business shine with the latest communications and collaboration technology.