Plenty of businesses are still using old-school landline telephone setups, and if these have served you well for many years, you might be hesitant to make the leap to a newer, cloud-powered system.
There are a few factors to consider when weighing up whether or not to take the plunge, so here’s a quick comparison to help you make an informed decision.
Eliminating the Issues of Hosting Hardware On-Site
Having a business-wide phone system used to be complicated and costly to procure and maintain, with the hardware needed to handle things like call routing for an entire office proving prohibitively expensive for smaller companies.
With a VoIP service similar to Google Voice, any organization can effectively outsource the hosting of this hardware to a third party, and benefit from a software-based approach to enterprise-grade telephony.
This isn’t just about keeping costs down, although that’s an obvious benefit. It’s also a move which means things like security are taken care of by providers that are better equipped to face down modern threats.
Embracing a Flexible Approach to Calling
Because cloud-based phone systems aren’t tethered to a specific selection of on-site hardware, the other major selling point is that you can access their functionality from anywhere.
So if you’ve got a smartphone that you’d like to be linked in with your business phone system, or even a landline at another location which you need to be part of the same loop of contact points, that’s eminently possible.
Aspects like call forwarding are part and parcel of the latest cloud solutions, so every time a customer needs to get in touch, you have a much higher likelihood of being able to answer their call, even if you’re out and about.
Investigating Integration Options
For the most part the cloud-reliant telephony solutions you’ll have available to you will not just give you access to calling, but will also bundle in a number of other communication services, and will even be able to integrate with third party software you’re using already, such as your CRM.
In an age of instant messaging, live chat, video conferencing and so on, having a telephone system which can tap into all of this and more besides will be a boon.
Another point to remember is that you don’t necessarily need to do away with whatever telephone hardware you’ve already got on-site. Lots of cloud services are backwards compatible with older handsets and exchanges, so checking this could save you cash and steer your choice towards a particular vendor.
Considering the Limitations
It’s not all good news when it comes to making the switch to a cloud-based phone system. The main issue that can scupper your plans is the quality and reliability of your office’s internet connection.
Patchy network performance or generally sluggish speeds and limited bandwidth will mean that the consistency and convenience of calling capabilities will suffer.
This will make upgrading your internet package a requirement of adopting a modern VoIP phone service hosted in the cloud. So it is possible that the costs of migrating will rise, depending on your circumstances.
The Bottom Line
For small businesses, particularly those starting from scratch, adopting a cloud-based telephone system is generally a good choice. Larger organizations with bigger budgets can also benefit from making the leap.
That said, you should only follow this trend if it matches your needs and fits your budget. Carefully considering your requirements and calculating likely costs before you go ahead with moving away from a traditional landline must be a priority.