Definition of a Cloud Based Phone System for Small Businesses
There seems to be no way that anyone can miss the bus to success when they choose to go with a cloud based phone system. This is mostly true, but the background scenario can have you gasping at the costs of buying, installing, maintaining and other concerns for a phone system in the cloud. You will also be daunted by the variety of systems, hardware and software currently available to build a phone based internet communications platform.
The cloud is simply another term for the internet. A cloud based IP phone system for small business in this article is interpreted as a number of phone units and related hardware like a PBX or VoIP installs in a network. The cloud part means the network can connect to the internet. This further means network owners are typically subscribed to a communication services provider with a phone application sitting on the cloud.
It is important for this article to delineate the subject of our title as precisely as can be done. The telecommunications markets are filled with this and that cloud PBX system. What is not usually said is that having such a system is not just a matter of finding one vendor, a quick install, and a smooth ride into internet based communications.
Problems One to Nth in Using the Cloud PBX Phone Systems for Business
We will categorically state in the most polite terms that the available business phones for the cloud are virtually useless. Why do we say this? Because, in an industry where your telephony hardware is built by one manufacturer and handsets are built by someone else, problems are natural.
In fact, these problems multiply if not become exponential when you scale your network. More problems are attached to integrating old and new hardware and phone units. Still more problems arise if you get communications apps for your network.
There is (supposedly) a standard protocol to help users for the above concerns, but everyone seems to have different interpretations of how this works. (Read: almost every other company in the industry will tell you their own version of things.) The protocol that applies should ideally be the latest version of the Australian Government Cloud Computing Policy.
The gist of this policy, for consumers, is to have telcos and internet services provider ‘reduce costs, lift productivity and develop better services’. In actual practise, the problems stated above may be solved in actual terms by a team of experienced telephone and internet experts.
Yet even these might have problems with systems that have funny ways of doing things and never as good as a fully integrated, in-house cloud PBX system. That said, this in-house system, still in the most polite terms, is hard to run — for good reasons.
The most critical of these reasons are maintaining and updating a system which requires an on site tech to make changes. This takes more time and money, with no assurance of unlimited reliability.
Narrowing Down Your Options to the Best Deal Possible
The most current problem zone for business phone users is the NBN. Not that the optic fibre broadband network is not easy to use. Or that there are unsolvable or really expensive problems related to converting older phone systems to run on the broadband. The thing, again, is that there are so many problems that can arise because of what is available in the markets.
Our main concern here is for small to medium business customers. Candour Communications has looked far and wide for a manufacturer of cloud based business phones who both manufactures the best cloud based phone systems with cloud apps or IP Offices and handsets. Plus, this manufacturer should also provide the benefits of both an in-house system and one that operates in the cloud. Finally, this manufacturer should have a specific unit that has or does the following:
- Add numbers to a company wide directory.
- Access numbers in that directory and place a call.
- Suppliers able to change the name on the handset remotely and at no cost.
- Suppliers able to change the buttons around on a handset, again, at no cost.
- Capacity to log in and out of call queues.
- Manual night switch for a system.
- Call routing to different handsets based on incoming caller ID.
- Add different users with different privileges to make changes.
- Call pickup for various groups of phones.
- Can be used in hotdesking where any one phone can be used with different extension numbers.
- Use an app on a mobile phone or PC to make and receive calls from the phone system.
- Park a call or retrieve it from any phone just by pushing one button.
Our experience in the telecom industry is of such an extent that we could find no higher standards for small business phones as the above. And we’ve found only one manufacturer so far who can answer to these standards. Avaya is that manufacturer, and it is a long time leader in providing innovative unified communications systems in the cloud.
Just set up a demo with a supplier of the Avaya IP Office in the Cloud to see how it easily matches to all our ideal standards mentioned above. A cloud VoIP system is great for scaling in any direction and ideal for smaller businesses, too.
Deciding When to Turbo Boost Business to the Cloud
An important thing to remember before you hop into business communications in the cloud is timing. Telcos or hosted VoIP providers providing a pathway into internet phones will say, “Now!” but the poet in Ecclesiastes still has it right: there is a time and a season for everything.
First off, it will profit your business when you study your options well with regards to business phone use. Or, you could have a cloud system working for you right from the start. Business dimensions, office and location factors, your profession or your business field, capitalisation, NBN availability — all these can decide which way you go.
In our business, Candour Communications will help you not jump the gun. Although we also understand that the cloud is eventually where your business communications should be. If you are starting with an all new set of equipment, then there is no cause delaying getting into the cloud. This applies anywhere in Australia, although it will work best if NBN is available in your area.
A longer game should fit your business if it is already established or has already run some years on the track. You should also see how well you can integrate telecommuting or remote staff options with your phone system. This future is for real, and there are lots of companies offering remote or offshore online staffing services or employees preferring to telecommute. Here, you’ll find that Hosted PBX works in the same way as a cloud based system.
…Today the Cloud, Tomorrow Scale and Sustain
In essence, scaling is the direction which hosted VoIP providers in the cloud can take you. There are several ways of scaling:
- Scaling back to streamline and remain fluid in the market.
- Scaling forward at speed to access fast changing market standards and structures.
- Scaling for resource conservation or sustainability — which means occasionally switching focus on products or services, types of audiences, and performance levels to support consumer trends that benefit all stakeholders and avoid market downturns.
This last is where we at Candour would like our customers to be involved in. Because, one, this is where the Avaya IP Office in the Cloud will be of greatest use. And second, well, the old brutal jockeying in marketplaces, cutthroat competition, territoriality, long time business (or even national) feuds and over the top sales campaigns are simply not going to work anymore.
Along with this maturation of mercantile values, the appearance and use of the internet is probably the most beneficent thing. The cloud is a space of unlimited space and possibilities and is spawning a culture of sharing, social responsibility, collaboration, respect for fellow businessmen, of getting more by giving back.
It has also helped businesses to understand the emotion-driven behaviour of consumers as never before and lets you avoid what Philip Salter calls “the complexity trap”.
With integrated online communications that enables multiple devises to work with hosted VoIP solutions, your phone system on the cloud provides stronger databases, more monitoring and business functions, and the ability to reach more people worldwide.
The Choice Scenario
So there you have it. For reasons discussed in this article, the choices for any cloud based telephony for smaller businesses can give you a package of problems. The one choice Candour Communications highly recommends does not, and gives you that smooth internet ride you would expect with something related to online space.
Avaya phones have that built in guarantee generally, and their latest in cloud telephone systems is the best. Of course, there are other phones who could come close. And because of Avaya’s IP Office phone system, other manufacturers may be coming up with compatible hardware sooner rather than later.
If for any reason your business wants to access a cloud PBX or VoIP solution to phone systems, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We have a good line of Avaya office phones for you and systems from the same company. We also feature other brands which excel for specialised call handling, cost effective solutions and the like. We never feature products that are not the best in class at least.
All our product choices in fact are based on the standards enumerated previously in this article. With the appearance of Avaya’s latest cloud system offering, we are happy to say that an ideal system now exists for small businesses who want to have the best internet based communications platform. Give our site a visit at https://www.candour.com.au/, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call direct at 1300 651 350.