Evaluating and Implementing Hosted PBX

For many reasons including scalability, flexibility, and low cost of ownership, hosted PBX continues to gain strength as the phone system of choice for many small and medium size businesses.  Online hosted PBX companies like Ring Central, Vonage, Nextiva, and 8x8 are thriving as are many regional hosted companies in all areas of the country.   With so many benefits to be gained, but so many pieces of the puzzle to be considered for a successful implementation, how should a SMB go about evaluating the options and then implementing a solution? 

I think it depends on the resources of the company making the decision, does the company have an in house IT professional who can be involved in the process?  Possibly someone in management with experience in implementing and maximizing telecom solutions in the past?  If so, an internal needs and network assessment may a good place to start, followed by a request for conference call or webinar with several of the national hosted PBX providers to determine what is available and which features might best meet your organizations need.  Companies without in-house IT and/or staff members who are well versed in the latest telecom offerings may want to consider seeking out local experienced hosted phone system providers who can provide you with an on site needs and network assessment.  A good local provider can work with your IT vendor, provide guidance on Internet considerations at your address, and provide on-site training.  Most  "online" providers typically ship their phones to your site for your staff to install and provide all support remotely.

Are you looking for a business class hosted PBX solution with local support in Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas?  Please contact me personally to find out if hosted PBX is right for your business.  Richard Hill, SafeCall, Inc. Direct 704 927 4400 rhill@safecall.com

 

 

Net neutrality impacts your business!

When it comes to the Internet, despite the efforts of some very power players, I believe things are  quickly trending toward the people getting what they want, and the people want to pick and choose the services they want/need while not being forced into paying for what they don't need!  At home, many of us are already "cord cutters", choosing to get our local TV channels with over the air antennas and stream the rest of our programming from the sources we choose.  We want our Internet provider to be our "Internet provider" giving us reliable access to the Internet and the 3rd party services of our choice, not a proprietary link to the content of the provider's choice.  I think most people (at least I know I am) are more than willing to pay a reasonable price for this access.  What we don't want from our Internet provider is to place  limits on our options, either by providing faster lanes for some content and slower lanes for others based on the money they are making on the back end, or possibly by actually blocking certain providers in the future.  In other words, we want net neutrality from our provider.

If you agree with these statements when considering your home Internet, you should also consider what impact a lack of net neutrality could have on your business.  Small and medium size businesses now have access to affordable VoIP, unified communications, hosted PBX, and other "cloud based" technologies that offer features and productivity gains that they could only dream about in the past.  The development of these technologies has pushed the boundaries of what a small organization with a "small company" budget can accomplish and how quickly they can grow.  If Internet providers that serve businesses are allowed to give preferential treatment to the third party providers of their choice (or even their own brands) innovation will surely suffer.  Normally I am not a big fan of government regulation, but as regulations and oversight already have already helped create limited competition within the Industry, I believe when it comes to net neutrality, we now need a reasonable amount of oversight applied to the major carriers who enjoy that limited competition. .  That said, if you have several Internet access options of comparable price and bandwidth, are you going to choose the one that limits your options or the one that allows you to choose?  Here in Charlotte, N.C. Google Fiber just announced they are coming to town, we have had similar announcements from Time Warner and AT&T about our market being targeted for new bigger bandwidth offerings.  My fingers are crossed, hoping that increased competition in our area coupled with some government oversight will result in local business getting what it wants and needs, unfettered access to the Internet and the innovations that come with it.

Richard Hill has worked in the telecommunications field for over 25 years, 20 of those as the President and owner of SafeCall, a Charlotte, NC based company offering "cloud based" business telephone systems, premise based systems, and carrier consulting.

 

Tips for integrating mobile phones and business telephone systems

Tips for integrating mobile phones and business telephone systems

These days many of us have a mobile number, a main business number, maybe a direct dial business number, email on our desktop PCs/smart phones/and other mobile devices, voice mail on our business phone, and voice mail on our mobile phone.  It can be overwhelming for both us and those trying to reach us.

A few ideas to simplify and increase productivity:

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Ideas for the small business without a receptionist

Ideas for the small business without a receptionist

With the slow economy, ever increasing role of e-mail in business , and customers who often choose to call cell phones over main numbers, many small businesses no longer employ a full time receptionist.  In fact, many are highly mobile groups that may have no one in the office for long stretches during business hours.  Here are a few ideas on how to maintain a professional image and be as accessible as possible to your customers and prospects.

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Buying or leasing office space? Research this before you sign!

Buying or leasing office space? Research this before you sign!

If you have been searching for office or industrial space for your business, no doubt you have considered accessibility, cost per square foot, management of the property, and of course location.   There is another consideration that I highly recommend you research before you sign a lease or purchase commercial real estate, Internet access options.

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When making a telephone system decision, put the end goal first.

When making a telephone system decision, put the end goal first.

What highly important technical information should every business decision maker know about voice over IP, IP telephone systems, hybrid telephone systems, hosted PBX, SIP, TDM, and all the other buzzwords telecom vendors like to use?  Unless you are an IT or telecom engineer, I would say the answer is nothing!

It is easy to get caught up in the information overload of the web and the confusing technical information from telecom vendors who often seem to contradict each other.  I recommend that my clients focus on their business needs and goals first and not the underlying technologies like IP or TDM. 

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