If you are looking for a cloud-based phone service for your business, you may find it confusing to decide between the many options available. The low cost of the internet infrastructure is allowing more companies to offer their own cloud-based phone solutions. Since many of them are already bundling local & long-distance calling, caller-ID and voicemail into their monthly service, how do you know which option makes the most sense for your business?
The following information will provide you some of the top criteria to keep in mind when choosing your cloud-based service.
1. Local Presence
If your business operates from multiple locations, or you simply want to project a local presence to your customers, you will need to have a local phone number. A Cloud-based vendor should not only allow you to select from many ‘rate centers’, which are basically local calling boundaries, but also provide you with many phone number options to choose from, so that you can pick the one that suites your needs.
You will also want to Investigate how ‘easy’ it is to select your phone number. Do you need to submit a request form and wait for confirmation? Do they allow you to check on-line for a list of currently available numbers and activate it right away?
2. Mobility and Collaboration
If employees roam in and out of the office and need to keep in-touch with remote workers, your cloud solution should provide you with these tools. These can be things like:
A Softphone – a software program that would be compatible with your laptop and mobile device(s).
Find-me/Follow-me – The ability to have the call forward to your cell or another number you choose if you are away from the office.
Click-to-Call – Having the ability to dial a number displayed on your computer just by clicking it.
End-User Unified Communication Dashboards or Chat – These options allow for enhanced communication and productivity.
Additional questions to consider are:
Do these tools integrate with your current workplace computers, laptops and/or devices?
Do you need both Microsoft and Mac support or iOS/Android device compatibility?
Is there a learning curve and training required for your staff to adopt or do they simply integrate with your current software and applications?
Once you have determined what is offered, you need to determine if these features are included in the monthly cost.
3. Easy Setup and Operation
Configuring a phone system can be challenging. Try to find out if the cloud provider offers an intuitive way to help setup the basic elements, such as inbound caller greeting, routing options and phone extensions. Look at the process for adding users and services down the road, is that an easy process?
Questions to ask:
Do they offer a Quick Wizard or ‘Simple mode’?
Is there an online self-serve method, allowing you to make adjustments immediately or do you need to connect with a customer service rep or wait for email confirmation?
4. Future Proof
Setting up a phone system for your business is an investment. You want to make sure that the solution you choose allows it to adapt to your business needs.
Questions to ask:
If you need to switch to an on-premise solution can you easily switch to one provided by the same vendor?
Is there training required if you make this change or are the features and functionality the same?
If you need to change desk phones or devices, is the cloud provider flexible enough to adapt to new endpoints or are you locked in?
There are many things to consider when choosing your Cloud-based phone solution and depending on your business some points are more important than others. These criteria can change how ‘competitive’ the available solutions are and narrow down your choices for you.
For information on Sangoma’s Cloud-based Telephony Solution, called PBXact UCC, please visit http://www.sangoma.com/products/pbxact-ucc/ and feel free to contact us directly with any questions you may have.
Cloud technology has numerous applications in business as well as for consumers. During the mid 1990’s, the companies which were using point – to- point data circuits began using cloud technology for storing data as cloud technology was comparably cheaper and made for efficient use of bandwidth. We can say that the term cloud refers to drawing of abstract cloud by its programmers. Cloud is a symbol or tool marking the difference between a service provider and the responsibilities of the customer.
Cloud technology, unlike a ny other storage technology, allows one to access data from any device with the requirement of an Internet Connection.
Now what is PBX?
PBX is the abbreviated form of public branch exchange. It is the technology used by every telephone provider to route calls. Companies with multiple phones and a lot of interconnected phones as well as employees cannot function properly without a public branch exchange i.e. PBX.
So now coming to cloud PBX, we can state that it is actually based on cloud computing technology where data and information rather than being stored on a computer or some hardware storage disk, is actually stored over the Internet.
Cloud technology has been in the technological scene for many years but it is for the Cloud PBX Solution Providers that the Cloud PBX technology has become so popular among consumers. In recent years Cloud PBX has seen a varying and vast advancements, where PBX is made to operate automatically rather manually.
Well how will a Cloud PBX work?
The working of a cloud PBX is very simple where it is first connected to the IP of one’s system or to that of one’s phone with a working Internet connection.
Another necessary element needed to use cloud PBX is a VoIP or other IP system, well most of the VoIP providers do not include any charge.
The openness of the FreePBX project allows users, resellers, enthusiasts and Partners to utilize the FreePBX System and to build robust communications solutions that are powerful but at the same time easy to implement and support the consumers and their activities.
Your personalized account becomes the key to access your cloud PBX, when one needs to transfer data from one device to another. This straightway means that your stored data is accessible by the user on any device with an active internet connection. The cloud PBX provider you choose is actually the one in charge of storing as well as managing all the data that has been transferred over cloud storage and thus PBX handles it. Multiple devices are involved in the process of securing and accessing data through such software and it gives access to multiple accounts over the common cloud PBX system.
Your business needs effective communication to function effectively. This will be aided by the Managed PBX Solution Providers. A Managed PBX, so to speak, is a phone system of the business which is outsourced to another party. You should know that the equipment that is used is accommodated on the premise. The VoIP service provider maintains as well as manages the whole VoIP.
The cost of the installation and equipment is not necessary in this case. A managed PBX provider will only take the fee for the month which is generally determined by the number of lines or even phones. You do not have to worry about the installation and maintenance of the equipment as the provider will do that. The perks of using a managed PBX is your company will be free from risks related to the failure of the system of communications.
The features of IP PBX and a managed PBX are similar. However, a managed PBX has a few additional services as follows:
- The technical problems are managed by an experienced IT.
- The software is updated by a system admin.
- The client company demands that the hardware should be upgraded and it is done by scalability.
VoIP Gateways are basically devices which will assist you in the conversion of the traffic of telephony into IP. The procedure takes place in the following two ways:
- Incoming PSTN or the telephone line is converted into VoIP or SIP: The device enables in the reception of the calls and ensures that they are placed upon the telephony network used for regular purposes. You know that traditional phone lines assure greater clarity of call, hence they are used.
- The connection is established between a PBX or Phone System and IP Network: If your company has multiple offices, the cost of your interoffice calling can be reduced if the calls are routed through the Internet. VoIP Gateways have connectors which work for the IP Network and has more than one ports to which the telephone lines can be connected.
Help your business flourish with these devices!