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The trouble with telephony...

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I'll tell you what the trouble with telephony is: the costs associated with it always look too much like a telephone number, there are just way too many digits for comfort. It doesn't help either that organisations are always beholden to a third party telephony supplier; even in the biggest in-house IT teams I doubt you'll find too many specialist telephone engineers. And there's so much kit, and so many upgrades and expansions, and relentless moves, adds and changes, and seemingly ceaseless fiddling. It's hard to know if you're getting value for money, and it's impossible to be sure when and how much your next phone-related expenditure is going to be. And don't let's get started on the costs of renting ISDN30 lines…

At a time when so many businesses have made huge strides in streamlining their IT - and their cost base - through judicious use of Cloud-based services, maybe we should scrutinise our 'telephony bill' a bit more and see what the Cloud can offer?

Upgrading or replacing an on-premise PBX in a multi-site enterprise could easily tip over into six figures just as capex; that's before your line rental and your annual maintenance agreement, and excludes any subsequent expansion projects. This is a big ballooning cost - but the Cloud can burst it.

With a hosted, fully managed IP telephony service, you have no tin on the walls, no handsets to buy, no maintenance contracts to run, no upgrades to worry about, no redundant ISDN30 lines to rent. What you do have is just one figure, a known per user monthly cost. You have plenty of capacity with on-demand provisioning. You have access to a wealth of useful call functions. You have in-built business continuity and if you do lose a site, calls can just be instantly rerouted via the Cloud. For multiple sites, you're looking at free intra-site calls.

In a nutshell, you're leveraging existing investments in connectivity as you move to converged voice and data - with no drop off in performance. In fact, when it comes to uptime, our hosted solution outperforms on-premise installations by quite some margin. You might not think there's much difference between 99.99% and 99.9% but try telling that to the company with the mission-critical telephone environment who every month is suffering four hours downtime. That could cost them very dearly indeed.

With telephony, certainty is everything. We've all grown up expecting 'dial tone reliability' - you pick up a phone and you can always make your call. But businesses have ended up paying a very big price for that certainty. Cloud-based telephony and convergence are now ringing the changes and ensuring that we don't just have certainty of operation and capability, but certainty of costs, and above all, certainty of value.

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