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5 Ways Optimizing Your Phone System Improves Your Company

When thinking about your business processes, do you think to yourself, "If it's not broken, why fix it?"

However, today's technological advances can enhance your productivity, create competitive advantages, and maybe even save you money in the long run. Phone systems are one example of how technology can improve your business processes.

Phone services for businesses have come a long way from the old-fashioned operator-assisted switchboards. Communicating with the outside world, including remote workers, road warriors, and a globally diverse clientele, has gotten a whole lot easier with the technological advances created by the Private Branch Exchange (PBX) telephone system.

As our sphere of influence expands, so must our methods of communication.

In this article, we outline the five areas to consider as you evaluate your current phone system and whether a new communications solution could elevate your business to a whole new level:

1. Total Cost of Ownership: Are your communications costs budget-friendly?

2. Device-Friendly: Is your current phone system suitable for today’s BYOD business environment?

3. Employee Productivity: Is your current phone system conducive to employee productivity?

4. Scalability: When you grow your business in size or location, will your current phone system grow to meet your expanded needs?

5. Future-Proof: Will your current phone system be able to keep up with modern business needs and future technological expansions?

Our goal in examining these points is to demonstrate how an updated phone system can help you reduce communications costs, improve your employees' productivity, and provide scalability to support the needs of your expanding business.

Let’s get started by closely examining the first area, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

1. Calculate the True Total Cost of Your Company’s Phone System

Let’s look at how to easily calculate the total cost of ownership. This part is relatively simple, and not necessarily a compelling point to prompt a system upgrade, but it’s definitely worth considering. It’s not just about the cost of the phones, which you probably paid for long ago.

You can get the total cost by simply totalling up the following 3 costs:

1. Upfront Costs:

The capital costs associated with purchasing the phones, routers, software, and all standard non-recurring fees.

2. Installation Costs:

These include customized requirements and installation of hardware/software on-site.

3. Ownership Costs:

This includes the monthly fees, specialized training, maintenance and upgrades after the system is installed.

Also, it’s important to note that most organizations will use a phone system for five to seven years, so be sure to consider the cost on a longer timeline.

TCO Makes the Difference

Many phone systems are NOT as cost-effective as they seem and may require complex configurations to “fit” a business’ footprint. Those costs may even increase over time as that system becomes antiquated or as your company expands. Remember that telephone companies make their money by getting you into their ecosystem with great deals, then recuperating those costs over time.

All of these factors contribute to the possibility that the cost of maintaining an old technology over the years can exceed the costs of a new system within a more modern framework.

Also, you owe it to your bottom line to adopt a phone system that meets or exceeds your requirements and is easy to manage and upgrade with minimal out-of-pocket expenses to improve your total cost of ownership.

Some of our readers will view their current system as “sunk costs,” which in many cases is accurate, but as we mentioned earlier cost of ownership is just one consideration.

2. Do You Have a Device-Friendly Phone System

Is your current phone system suitable for today’s business environment of BYOD?

Getting your mobile workforce communications up and running can be a daunting task. Disparate applications, multiple device types, and a dispersed workforce create a huge challenge for your IT department. Add to this the fact that many businesses have moved to a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) model, whereby each employee is responsible for having their own devices—laptops, tablets, and smartphones—and that challenge becomes even more daunting.

It’s imperative that your current phone system meets the needs of your business.

When your employees are using their personal devices to conduct business, you put your entire business in their hands. You have to trust that they’re answering the calls from your customers in a timely manner and with the most up-to-date information possible. You want to ensure that your phone system is working for you and not against you.

Here are the features of a BYOD-ready system:

Mobility:

A full range of communications services specifically designed and optimized for the mobile workforce. Increased mobility allows for better connected employees and geographical freedom for company employees.

Security:

Security and protection with 2-phase authentication and Multiple Active Device Manager (MADM). Heightened security gives you more confidence in the confidentiality of your business conversations.

Collaboration:

Complete integration of all communication, collaboration, file sharing, call center, and messaging services. Speedy and efficient collaboration creates an effective team dynamic that gets things done.

Work vs. Personal Communication:

Tools so you know who is calling, from where, no matter where you are. These enable your team to easily, confidently, and accurately answer or reconnect when they’re both on the job or off the clock.

Staying Connected:

Unified communication features over cellular data (39 and 49) and Wi-Fi connections allow people to stay connected from any place, anytime—no matter where they are in the world.

If your system doesn’t offer all of these features, then you’re not ready and it may be time to move your communications to a more robust telecom provider.

3. Employee Productivity

Is your current phone system conducive to employee productivity?

In order for your team to work efficiently and productively, you need to provide them with the tools to communicate effectively. This includes team messaging, file sync and sharing, and project management software, all of which make it easier for them to communicate, collaborate, and excel.

Here are the features a modern communication system needs to realize a remarkable increase in performance:

Real-Time Presence:

Knowing who is available and who is not could mean the difference between making a sale and losing a customer.

File Sharing:

Staying updated on specs, drawings, and policies in an ever-changing environment means you can conduct business with confidence knowing that you’re providing the best service imaginable.

Team Messaging:

Group messaging gives employees the power to ask a question one time and have multiple people provide their feedback and expertise.

Unified Business Analytics:

When supervisors and managers are keeping tabs on employees’ phone time (or lack thereof), they’re better equipped to make the necessary decisions that create a more productive and skills-based workforce.

Your communication system must incorporate these features to realistically see an increase in performance over time.

4. Phone System Scalability

When you grow your business in size or location, will your current phone system grow with you?

Dealing with the complexities of a business communication network with multiple offices, subsidiaries, or remote employees is no easy task. Traditional voice solutions require multiple products, applications, and services per location and remote users are still left with limitations.

Add to that all the other communications that we use on a daily basis to maintain network synchronicity and the cost and headaches are compounded.

There comes a time in every successful business when they need to make the decision to grow or die. Maybe your phone system met the needs of 10 employees, but it is creating issues with 50. If your phone system is holding you back, you may need to consider your options based on the following conditions:

Location, Location, Location:

Whether you’re moving to a bigger space or adding additional locations, your phone system must be able to grow with you.

Increase Your Staff:

Increasing staff comes with the inevitability of either adding to your already overburdened phone capacity or upgrading to a more efficient and cost-effective communication suite.

Integration:

Technological advances in communications makes it imperative to be able to integrate all of your communication functions seamlessly, which includes your phone system.

Dispersed Workforce:

Catering to employees that work in the office is entirely different from utilizing a remote workforce to increase your corporate footprint. Your communications solution must be suited to all environments.

Scalability should be an essential feature when choosing your company’s phone system. When the above conditions are met, you’ll be able to ensure that your phone system is capable of growing along with your company.

5. A Future-Proof Phone System Infrastructure

Will your current phone system be able to keep up with future technological expansions?

Does your existing phone system guarantee "future-proof" infrastructure that includes infinite scaling, service updates, and 24/7, “30-second instant support” for life, thereby eliminating costly obsolescence? Probably not.

You owe it to the success of your business to keep up with technological advances that can create competitive advantages and accelerate growth.

Ideally, you need an infrastructure that adapts as your business changes. Your business communication needs will continue to evolve, but can your existing phone system take you where you need to go?

Consider these attributes:

Ease of Adoption:

Let’s face it, if it isn’t easy to install and use—we’re not going to make it part of our culture. That is extremely true in the case of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS).

The tools you require to conduct business must be easy to install, easy to manage, and easy to use or you’re inviting inefficiencies. When you’re ready to replace your existing phone system look for a more robust and future-proof technology, but also one that will be easy to get up and running.

Adaptable API Integrations:

A phone is a phone is a phone—and the device itself hasn’t really changed all that much over the years; however UCaaS technology is taking this old standby into the future. API integrations are changing the landscape and creating competitive advantages.

For example, can your phone system integrate with CRM software, storage platforms, or provide functions like intelligent call routing, follow-me/find-me, or call-back queuing?

UCaaS based systems can do all that and more.

Why Wait? Upgrade Your Company Phone System Today!

Your ability to conduct business and be successful depends on a reliable, dependable, and fully integrated communications solution.

PanTerra is the most comprehensive suite of unified cloud services for mid-market enterprises. Our value-based seat packaging provides maximum flexibility to address individual and group needs. Options include: SmartBox Guest and Enterprise, Basic, Professional, and Enterprise Voice Services, and Streams Call Center for agents and supervisors.

All services are integrated into a single browser-based client, as well as iOS and Android mobile clients and include administrative interfaces to drive user adoption. Visit us today to learn more!