Phone systems have been an essential part of business communications almost since the invention of the telephone. When traditional analog PBX systems were replaced by VoIP solutions in the mid-1990s, businesses were able to install software on servers and run their own phone system without paying for individual phone lines or extra wiring and hardware.
Today, cloud phone systems have exposed premise-based VoIP solutions as costly to implement, maintain and secure. With cloud communications, these responsibilities shift to the cloud provider and on-premise equipment is now hosted in the cloud. There are little to no upfront costs for implementation and the system is up and running quickly with no downtime.
While desk phones are still used in most cases, any internet-connected device can serve as a phone, whether it’s your smartphone, laptop, or tablet. A cloud phone system works wherever you work. In addition to providing the same features and functionality as a traditional PBX, a cloud phone system allows you to easily add and remove users and features as needed.
The business case for cloud communication is so airtight that companies just aren’t installing premise-based phone systems anymore. The only question that remains involves choosing the right cloud phone system for your organization. Here are important factors to consider when making that decision.
Why Are You Switching to a Cloud Phone System?
Multiple reasons are likely at play here. Are you trying to reduce costs? Enable more flexible, remote working? Allow for greater collaboration? Improve scalability? Reduce the risk of a data breach?
Cloud communication can accomplish each of these goals and more. The key is to determine which of these benefits will deliver the most value for your organization and develop a strategic plan that supports your goals.
What Features and Capabilities are Most Important to You?
During the coronavirus pandemic, Ancero has been in the trenches with small and midsize businesses, working to provide remote workers with reliable communication and the same tools and features they had when working in the office. Cloud phone systems provide a consistent user experience on any device from any location.
When you were forced to work remotely, did you have to give your personal mobile number to clients? Were you constantly checking your desk phone extension’s voice mail? This is a prime example of overcoming confusion and inconvenience with UCaaS features, which allows you to place and receive calls on multiple devices using your desk phone number.
For example, you can answer a call to your desk phone on any device. You never miss a call during business hours, even when working remotely, and you don’t have to juggle multiple numbers or give out your personal number. If someone calls after hours or while you’re on another call, the voicemail-to-email feature automatically transcribes your voicemail message and emails it to you.
Cloud communication has also driven the growth of Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS), which combines popular voice, video conferencing, email, text, and chat into a single cloud application. This makes it easier for remote teams to collaborate, respond to customers, and keep projects on track. Make sure the cloud phone system you choose has the UCaaS features your remote workers need.
What Tools and Services Must Be Integrated into Your Cloud Phone System?
Cloud phone systems are often integrated with the company website and customer relationship management (CRM) system to support marketing and customer engagement strategies. If you operate a contact center, integration with your cloud phone system, UCaaS, and CRM can improve key performance metrics, increase productivity, and add flexibility.
Just like employees don’t have to be in the office to use all features of a cloud-based phone system, there’s also no need to operate a contact center in a physical location. Agents can work remotely. When a customer calls, they’ll have instant access to a full history of interactions, and they can move from voice to text to chat without bouncing between apps. Meanwhile, calls that don’t require human involvement can be handled by an interactive voice response (IVR) system.
Different cloud phone systems can integrate with different business apps and services. Choose the system that has the tools to support your business goals and remote workers.
Is the Cloud Phone System Secure?
Security was a top concern during the early days of the cloud. However, the VoIP systems available today include robust security protocols as part of their offerings as well as security monitoring by the provider to prevent attacks or misuse of services. Security specifically for VoIP communications is examined typically examined in three important parts.
You also need to account for compliance. Do the cloud provider and phone system meet your compliance requirements? Does the cloud provider have experience with your industry? Can they demonstrate their ability to meet today’s compliance requirements? Get firm answers to these questions before choosing a cloud phone system.
Utility VoIP, Ancero’s hosted VoIP system, provides the flexibility, scalability, and cost-efficiency you need, with robust UCaaS, collaboration, and contact center tools. Contact us to learn how Ancero’s award winning support and the Utility VoIP phone system bring the power of the cloud to your business communications.