What to Look for in Your Next Small Business Phone System
Updated: Feb 3
If you're a new small business startup or an existing business with an outdated phone system, you may be surprised by the features and affordability available in today’s IP PBX systems.
Unified Communications (UC) coupled with advanced mobile solutions give small businesses all the features once only available to large enterprises.
Cost will always be a major decision point when selecting a new IP PBX system. Our next article will be dedicated exclusively to the costs associated with different platforms and features.
Here’s what to look for in Your Next Communications Platform
Does the new system help employees get more done in a shorter amount of time by streamlining business applications and providing real time collaboration?
Does the new system support the mobility required by today’s mobile workforce?
Does the solution offer the protection required to repel network exploits, ransom attacks and information theft?
Does it provide a seamless, pain free transition from existing legacy systems without staff re training or cumbersome maintenance?
Please keep reading as we explore the answers to each of these questions. By the end of this article, you should have a clearer idea of the options available in today’s IP PBX systems.
All businesses want to get the most productivity they can from their employees, arming them with desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. However, employees waste a lot of time managing these devices and all the associated apps. Checking email, voicemail and texts can eat up a lot of the work day and make your employees feel overwhelmed by communications.
The solution to this issue is not to limit communications but to unify them. Unified Communications or UC, allows employees to access all their communication applications from one unified screen on any device. Voice, email, audio/video conferencing, file and screen sharing are available to the employee anytime and anywhere.
UC also enhances your customer’s experience. Voicemail and email are answered faster. Out of office employees are still available to their clients as though they were sitting at their desk. CRM and Help Desk integration is also available.
Fax services remain a critical pert of many businesses such as law firms and real estate offices. Next generation IP PBX systems have the ability to integrate fax services over the IP infrastructure. Businesses can simply plug their existing fax machine into a Fax over IP gateway. Faxes can also be sent and received on employees workstations and saved as PDF documents avoiding all the printing costs of traditional fax machines.
Mobility used to just mean having a mobile phone. Today “mobility” is a whole new world of unified communications that allow employees to work from any location. Many businesses have used this feature as a recruitment tool, allowing employees the flexibility of using their own devices (smart phones, tablets and laptops) while they work from home.
When choosing a new communications platform, look for mobility features that will boost productivity and add real value to your business.
Many IP PBX solutions provide full support for mobile workers with Unified Communication Apps, virtual private network (VPN) capabilities and advanced call features such as Find Me/Follow Me, Call Waiting and Multi Device Ringing. Customers and colleagues are able to reach employees quickly, no mater where they are located.
With any type of internet connected technology there is always a risk of a security breach. Network and DOS attacks, viruses, information theft and other types of cyber crime are prevalent in today’s office network environment.
Many IP PBX systems have robust firewalls and integrated VPN applications that greatly reduce the chance of a successful attack. Proper configuration and network design are essential for providing the security that will give your business the peace of mind it requires. Working with an experienced IT professional will ensure that your network is secure and functioning at peak efficiency.
Upgrading to a new IP based communications platform can be a great leap forward for your business, but not at the expense of business disruptions or downtime. You can’t afford to have employees spending hours learning a new phone system, missing calls or losing messages.
When evaluating a new IP PBX system remember that the simpler a system is to use and maintain the more employees will use it.
Systems should be easy to deploy, integrate with existing business applications (Microsoft Outlook, Skype, CRM Apps) and provide automatic updates and auto provisioning. Adding Users and Phone Extensions should be accomplished easily, without expensive technical support.
IP PBX systems offer a wealth of features and benefits to today’s mobile workforce. Evaluate any new system by applying the questions stated above. See how the system stacks up for productivity, mobility, security and simplicity. Following this advice will ensure that your new system will meet the needs of your customers and employees for many years to come.
Please contact CCR Technology Group if you need further information.