Hosted communication systems are talked about a lot, especially their benefits - which include streamlining your business communications and gaining a higher return on your investment. Even with all the positives of a hosted telephony solution, it still sounds like a huge task to undertake for a business, As they might already have a telephone system or just be using mobile phones to make business calls.
With all the benefits of a hosted system, is it right to change?
Having the right tools makes it easy to do a great job. To encourage great communication whether it be internally or externally of a business, we need to make sure you have the correct equipment and software to help employees to work effectively and promote a credible business, as the last thing you want when dealing with clients and potential clients is poor voice quality and the perception of a very small company.
Other than giving you new and improved features, what else does a professional hosted telephone system have to offer? We have created a fictional situation to show one way how it could help.
So let's imagine Stephen runs a marketing agency and he is going to be having a conference call with a big potential new client in London. He sends out emails, which include invitations and the agenda for the call. Stephen needs to make sure his telephone equipment is working perfectly to make sure he has a successful call.
Let's imagine that Celia from a SMB company is going to have an audio conference with a key potential customer in London. After sending out invitations and listing the agenda and preparing notes, she needs to make sure her telephone equipment functions perfectly for a fruitful meeting.
She makes a checklist:
This is just one scenario out of many that happens day to day in the workplace and there many other different scenarios that we could speak about, for example voicemail, as every incoming call is an opportunity can you afford to miss a call and not listen to your voicemail till your back in the office. Wouldn't the message being sent by text or email so you can listen on the go be beneficial.
A professional business phone system isn't just about lowering costs and bringing you better ROI. As a boss think about this practically, this type of system will offer you more features making your working day more productive and effective, whilst still being very simple to use. Just a reminder you will have to switch to a new telephone system soon with ISDN and PSTN lines being shut off.
Don't get Blindsided...
Telecoms issues you need to consider when moving office!
Planning to move offices can be very stressful with lots of things to consider. Often though telecoms isn't considered until last minute which can cause more stress as well as huge delays on connections and extra charge, so it is essential to consider your telecoms early on in your moving process.
Here are our five issues to consider;
1. Don’t leave it until too late
Regardless of who you make your telecoms order through BT OpenReach has a monopoly on all line installs, which means there is a minimum wait of at least 10 working days although this can vary on your location as well. An example of this would be in Surrey where the current lead time is six weeks, could your business survive six weeks without broadband?
For larger businesses needing ISDN lines you are looking at an average wait of between six to eight weeks and for even larger data connections that require EFM, this could take 40 working days with leased lines on average being installed in 60 working days.
2. Your existing numbers
Don’t underestimate the cost of changing your businesses phone numbers. With brochures, business cards, online databases and your own website and blogs publishing your current number. On top of this where is your number placed where you haven’t thought about etc, it will be easy to tell current customers and suppliers about your change in number but what about future potential clients.
A good thing to check is whether your new office is still within the same BT Exchange, if you are crossing exchange boundaries this can lead to loss of fibre services as well as change in area codes for telephone numbers. If you are changing boundaries then there are away around possible problems that would arise. You could move your number to virtual inbound however this can be expensive if you receive a lot of inbound calls. Another solution would be to install SIP instead of or as well as ISDN, this would result in you being able to take your number anywhere.
3. The property search
Most companies want super fast broadband which is also known as fibre and this can easily be found around the UK but there are still many horror stories of businesses moving into premises and being promised certain speeds by a supplier and then not getting those speeds, from February 2016 you will be able to terminate your contract with your supplier no questions asked if you are not receiving the speeds that you were advertised.
4. Moving your current telephone system or replacing it?
Moving to VOIP (what is VoIP?) will allow you to take your number where ever you go. If though you have recently invested in a new telephone system, it could be a costly write off that might leave you in the bad books of your accountant.
You should ask yourself three questions about your current phone system when moving. Is there life and money left in it? How old is the existing system? What is the cost of removal and installation of the system?
If you are thinking of going to SIP/VOIP it would be a good idea to check if your current systems are compatible as this would save you cost on buying new handsets. If you are considering VOIP read this article explaining further the Benefits of using VOIP >
5. Serviced offices charges
Before deciding on moving into a serviced office there are a few things to consider. The main consideration would be would you have the flexibility to bring in your own data and voice solution and if not now what about in the future. Can they add your existing numbers to their system? if they gave you new numbers would you be able to take them away with you in the future if you were to leave? Finally what are the detailed charges?
To conclude it is of highest importance to consider your telecoms and data early on in your moving process as it often the factor that determines the earliest date you can move in. It shouldn't be left to last minute giving you less time to evaluate your options, possibly ending up either in premises with no phones or, even worse, where the lack of broadband will have a long-term detrimental impact on the business.
How Does This Affect Your Business?
In case you missed it in 2015 Openreach announced that they will be switching off the PSTN and ISDN networks by the year 2025. From this customers are going to be migrated to a single IP core network that will eventually retire and replace all legacy networks and platforms.
PSTN and ISDN what exactly are they and what is the difference?
ISDN or Integrated Services Digital Network pushes both voice and date through digital lines, this allows you to video conference, transfer data and have direct dials ins. Another advantage of having ISDN lines is that they provide multiple channels per line, which would allow you to make simultaneous phone calls on one line.
PSTN, Public Switched Telephone Network or sometimes also known as (POTS) Plain Old Telephone Service are different to ISDN's as they only transfer analogue voice data through their lines. This is generally owned and operated by your phone network.
So what is the alternative and future?
Scrapping the ISDN and PSTN, which are the expensive bits of your telephone bill as they come under line rental, gives you one clear solution VoIP. VoIP which stands for Voice over IP works by transmitting your voice data over a internet connection. VoIP has been around for a long time and many businesses have been successfully using it for many years, this has already led to the steady decline in take up of ISDN and PSTN lines. VoIP is popular as it is a very cost effective way of managing telephony within a business.
If your business relies on one of the 3.2 million ISDN lines in the UK, here is what you need to know about the switch off of the ISDN and PSTN lines.
If you currently have a traditional telephone system, there is no need to panic immediately. Just take a look at your telephone contract and look when it is ending, most likely this will sooner rather than later. We have highlighted below what we believe are the key benefits of VoIP -
447 Services provide free telecoms audits of your business, providing you with free impartial advice on your telecoms, we'd also be happy to answer any questions you have on VoIP and also give you a demonstration as well.
What to do next?
We would recommend that your business moves to VoIP in the near future, ISDN is now just seen as a legacy platform which means investment and maintenance will slow in the coming years. This could result in current infrastructure and the standard of current networks suffering ending in poor telephone service.
In four years time in 2020 five years before the shut off of ISDN and PSTN lines, businesses will not be able to buy systems that support these networks, with this in mind this is we are recommending to switch to VoIP rather than upgrade current systems.
When 2025 rolls in OpenReach plan to have all customers migrated to an IP network making VoIP the perfect solution for your business now.