Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Advantages and Disadvantages to Cloud/Hosted VoIP Phone Systems, Premise Based Phone Systems



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Cloud/Hosted VoIP systems have become a preferred choice for many that are looking for a new business grade telecom solutions for their offices. And on the surface it's easy to see why. In most cases there is a small initial investment, one bill for equipment and service, the entire solution managed entirely by your hosted provider, latest technology, etc. However there are advantages and disadvantages to both cloud/hosted as well as the traditional premise based solutions that should be considered before investing in a new solution for your office. Office Telesystems has taken this into consideration with our system offerings.




Office Telesystems did an evaluation of several cloud/hosted VoIP providers with the intent to offer a cloud/hosted VoIP solution. We evaluated this not only from our perspective but from the customer perspective as well. After all, the marketing today on phone systems says Cloud/Hosted VoIP will be the solution of choice by 2016 and moving forward. Here are some things we’ve heard from new customers in the past who removed cloud/hosted VoIP systems in favor of a premise based solution when we considered a cloud/hosted VoIP offering: “Our previous hosted solution provided overall poor quality service and support, the equipment was marginal in quality and additional features significantly increased monthly cost.” We’ve also heard “lack of flexibility unless you buy all the add ons”, “hidden costs”, even excessive downtime and lost business due to substandard support. With a cloud/hosted solution from Office Telesystems, we understand how to not only design your cloud/hosted VoIP solution to avoid these pitfalls, but provide you the highest level of support to boot. This is one of many reasons why we have chosen the NetFortrisFonality line of cloud or hosted VoIP  phone system as our choice of cloud/hosted VoIP offering. You must be careful when choosing the right cloud/hosted VoIP solution for your office. Below are some advantages and disadvantages to cloud/hosted and premise based solutions. Hopefully this can help you choose the right cloud/hosted solution or premise based solution for your offices:



Advantages and Disadvantages to Premise Based and Hosted Solutions

For Premise Based (server on site) Solutions
Pros
Favorable total cost of ownership for just a few sites
Security of Network  
Control
Broader Feature Set
Higher quality desk sets in most cases
Higher level of equipment support/dealer support
Life span‐once lease is completed, retain benefits of equipment after lease with no equipment payments (the average phone system lifespan is 7-8 years)
CapEx or OpEx financial options

Cons
Upfront equipment cost if purchased (Leasing can offset this as OpEx)
Integration to separate services provider, 2 or more bills
Cost of professional services usually more
Cost of upgrades (wrap into your lease to offset this)
Equipment possibly outdated or no future upgrades available (Make sure your equipment is NEW or supported by manufacturer and provides software updates)

Cloud/Hosted VoIP Solutions Pros and Cons
Pros

Flexibility
Low Up Front Investment
Multi-Site Integration
Lower short term total cost of ownership for mix of large and/or small branch sites
Reduce long distance expenses for remote sites in other area codes
Easy, one payment plan for both equipment and service in most cases

Cons

Higher long term total cost of ownership in most cases
Basic feature set‐upgrades significantly increase monthly cost
Average to below average Service/Support after the sale if no SLA service response guarantees
Lack of performance guarantees
Minimal equipment and service for your money

Office Telesystems prides itself in providing a level of service you deserve and expect from your dealer, whether you choose an on premise or cloud/hosted solution! Contact us today. 972 484 4900.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why Do You Need Call Accounting or Call Management Software?



Why do You Need Call Accounting in your Office?




         Here are 20 Reasons:       Request a Quote

1.     Detect fraudulent phone activity. Track questionable inbound and outbound calls, helping you quickly detect problems and avert risks.

2.     Reduce Labor Cost by identifying peak calling times, adjust staff accordingly

3.     Alerts on defined trigger patterns for calls like 911, 411 and other sensitive numbersGet 911 notification by extension, text, phone call, on screen.

4.     Facilitate timely client billing and cost recovery.  Set time/date for billing reports that automatically calculate usage and cost by client, tenant or partner.

5.     Scheduled Reports.  Email reports automatically based on preset criteria, allowing managers to respond immediately to call volume changes.  This can reduce your labor costs.

6.     Measure Campaign Responses and Effectiveness.  Know where your prospects are calling from and to which campaign or ad they are responding to.

7.     Analyze Traffic.  Capacity planning tools help you identify peak calling times and who’s calling. What-if analysis allows you to balance infrastructure needs and take proactive measures to ensure uninterrupted and efficient phone service.

8.     Flexible call costing & time-billing-Flexible options for bill back.

9.     Trunk Analysis-Eliminate underutilized trunks for cost savings
10.  Multi-site capability providing consolidated or individual office reporting 

11.  Export reports to multiple formats like Excel, Word, PDF, HTML (to view using Web browser on the internet from Web folders)

12.  Call costing with user-programmable rate plans and rate tables

13.  Automatic scheduling of all reports and data archival

14.  Time billing reports based on hourly consulting rates

15.  Completes the feedback loop on agent productivity and phone presence, telemarketing efforts and service levels

16.  Understand call distribution (IN/OUT) for agents during various times in the day and days of the week by category

17.  Wildcard searches for random/specific calls, information

18.  Import contact information from ASCII files generated by Outlook etc.

19.  Network-based remote and consolidated multi-site reporting capability


20.  A complete call management tool to increase productivity, profitability, with rapid return on investment!  Ask for a product demonstration today!

 Ask for a product demonstration today! Request a Quote or call 972 484 4900.

What Type of Phone Service or Cloud VoIP Should You Use and Are You Paying too Much?



Analog (POTS) lines, T-1 (PRI), SIP Trunks, Cloud VoIP Phone Systems.  Which is right for you, and are you paying too much?

No matter what voice and internet carrier services (AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Business Class, XO, Birch, Telepacific, etc) you have for the phone system in your office, chances are you have an auto renewal clause in your contract (most agreements are 3 year terms) with the provider you currently have. In most cases, a written cancellation 60-90 days before your contract ends is required on your contract. If you do not address this prior to your contract expiration, your providers contract may auto renew and you’ll be paying 30-50% more than you should for your services for another year, and even longer in some cases.  This includes cloud or hosted type voip phone systems, which are also offered in a contract term format.
Check your contract now. If your voice/internet services or cloud/hosted voip solution are coming out of contract, Office Telesystems could save you up to 50% on these services, which can also include faster internet, more inbound/outbound lines and more.  This includes cloud phone systems, which offer voice/internet services along with your desk phones, and the features associated with them.  If your phone system is separate from your services provider, it can also help you afford a lease payment on a new system.  The savings could even pay for the entire monthly payment!  Office Telesystems works with several different providers so we can find the right one for your needs.  Office Telesystems also offers Cloud based VoIP systems such as Fonality cloud/hosted solutions.

Service Types Include:


Analog or “POTS” lines                                      Request a Quote

These are the type phone lines you have at home or in small businesses.  They use copper wire in most cases, but can also be delivered by T-1 or VoIP type delivery.  Many small businesses still use them if their needs are minimal.  2-6 lines and DSL type internet are still cheaper than other services designed for larger applications and usually doesn’t require a contract of 3-5 years. They are adequate for most offices with 2-8 employees.

PRI/SIP Service                                                    Request a Quote

PRI has been around for a while but is still very prominent in the marketplace. One PRI circuit allows for up to 23 voice channels or “call paths” and can be sold as a “fractional” PRI, usually provided with 6 or 12 channels instead of a full PRI's 23 channels. You can even have multiple PRI's. Many larger systems hold up to 8 PRI's with 23 Channels each! There are some advantages of PRI services over analog lines.  All carriers we partner with provide PRI type services as part of their carrier offerings. Systems will require a PRI card for operation per PRI circuit.  The cost to deliver PRI service to offices has decreased steadily over the last few years.  As contracts come up for renewal, there is a good chance for a customer to save money on services renewal, enough to justify a new phone system or an increase in internet speed (bandwidth).  PRI generally gives better sound quality throughout your system, along with some additional direct dial numbers, a block of long distance minutes and less cost per line than analog lines when your needs require over 8 lines.  PRI also can let your phone system provide additional features that are not available with analog lines.

Cloud or Hosted VoIP systems                             Request a Quote  


If you have a cloud based VoIP system, you usually have a contract term associated with your system.  Evaluate your system 6 months or so before your contract expires to see if it is providing you the features you need, and you are getting adequate support from the provider. In many cases, if you have purchased your VoIP desk phones, you can re-purpose these phones onto a new cloud or hosted providers services.  In many cases you can realize improved feature set and reduced cost from a new provider.  

SIP Trunks                                                             Request a Quote

Cloud or hosted VoIP systems utilize SIP trunking, but later model premised based systems can utilize this type of service as well.  SIP Trunks are a VoIP type voice line, or “call path”, similar to PRI T-1 but with a different delivery method.  The number or SIP trunks can vary from just a few to a few hundred in one location, whether in cloud design on premise based. The main advantages to SIP trunks are that multiple area codes can be provided in one location for centralized answering. If you're using a premise based VoIP phone system, you can usually add SIP licenses on the same card in your system that supports your VoIP phones. SIP licenses for an existing VoIP card will cost less than a PRI card in many cases.

Long Distance Service-Analog phone lines usually have a cost per minute associated with the line, but many carriers have gone to a block of long distance minutes with business services. In some cases you can have “unlimited LD” for business customers (most cloud/hosted providers provide unlimited LD), but check with your provider for details. PRI/SIP services usually have an LD bundle ranging from 1000 minutes of LD to 100K minutes or more for premise based systems, depending on customer needs.  

Ask Office Telesystems how we can help get you the right services provider for your cloud/hosted or premise based system.  It could end up providing enough return to pay for a whole new solution!  Call us today 972 484 4900, (817) 529-1700 or visit our website at www.officetelesystems.com.