The evolution of technology has given businesses the power to broaden their market and boost revenue growth. From start-ups to enterprise and everything in between, companies are leveraging cloud technology to gain a competitive edge in the market while allowing them to streamline business processes.
Gartner’s recent survey, in fact, shows that 62% of SMBs are already using cloud computing and another 33% are planning to implement the cloud soon. This data further supports the notion that cloud technology is an integral part of every business and the earlier myths regarding price, security, and uses are now irrelevant. However, when it comes to leveraging the cloud for business phone systems, most organizations still struggle to make an apples to apples comparison between the plethora of providers in the market. To complicate matters further, many don’t know what to look for when evaluating providers. And that’s OK – your telecom agent is here to help.
Understanding Your Business
Before selecting all of the features that you think you need, it’s important to make sure that your agent truly understands your business. The needs of a restaurant chain and a regional hospital are vastly different, and each will demand different feature sets, call flow setups, and security requirements. Having a good understanding of your business processes allows your agent to identify the features that are essential versus those that you may never actually use. Do you have a receptionist or is auto attendant needed? Do you have mobile employees that need specific features like voicemail to email or mobile app integration? These are just a few examples of business-specific features that you’ll need to consider when looking at the different features that each provider offers.
Hardware and Software Options
Moving your phone system to the cloud doesn’t mean that you will no longer need hardware. You’re going to require desk phones and the ones you have today may not be compatible with your new service. Furthermore, providers usually have different brands and pricing options (buy vs. lease). A good telecom agent will be able to provide you with a clear picture of what types of equipment are available from each provider and which is best for you. While some phones may offer a lot of cool features, identifying which employees require advanced functionality versus those who can do their job with just the essential functions is critical to ensuring that you’re not overspending on unnecessary hardware.
Onboarding and Post-Sale Support
While we would love to imagine a world where you can “flip a switch” and have your entire phone system up and running in a matter of minutes, the reality is that depending on your system design, business size, and a host of other variables, the process can take anywhere from a week to a few months. Your agent should be able to provide insight into the implementation process and provide additional resources to you and your team along the way. Be sure to find out what long-term support looks like with each provider, as well. Is there support documentation for your IT managers to troubleshoot issues? Does your agent or the provider have 24/7 online or phone support in the event of a problem? Understanding how you will resolve IT tickets is a critical element to consider when adding a cloud provider to your business processes.
Depending on your business, there are indeed other things to consider when choosing a hosted phone system provider. As the saying goes, the devil is in the details, so be sure your telecom agent takes the time to thoroughly evaluate your needs before implementing a solution for your business. Don’t have a trusted telecom agent or have questions on where to begin? LanYap Networks can help. Just give us a call!