What To Look For When Purchasing a Business Phone Solution

May 4, 2022

Purchasing a new phone solution for your business can feel like navigating a minefield. The terminology can be confusing and comparing products from different providers can be a nightmare. You can all too easily get lost in a phone-fog.

It is important to ask yourself some questions first, so that you know what you are looking for, and so that you can compare options. These would make a good starting point:- Are you replacing an existing system or starting from scratch?

  • How many people will be using your new system?
  • Do they all need to be on the phone at the same time?
  • Is everyone working from one place, or do you need to support home and mobile workers?
  • How many calls do you think you make and receive a month?
  • Are you mostly making calls or answering calls?
  • How do you think your needs will change over the next 1 year, 3 years or 5 years?
  • Do you need to keep your existing telephone numbers?
  • Do you need to integrate with other business systems?

The basic types of phone system

1. Traditional Phone systems

These are installed in your premises and based on PSTN networks (see blog) using copper wires.

Advantages:

  • Use a much newer technology than traditional phone systems.
  • Provide cheaper calls than traditional phone systems.
  • Flexible in terms of scalability.
  • Feature rich.

Disadvantages:

  • Rely heavily on capital expenditure, often supported by a long term lease.
  • Require ongoing support and maintenance, with an IT skill level.
  • Don’t provide much advantage in terms of disaster recovery, power failures, Internet connection issues, etc.

Our recommendation is that you do not purchase a ‘traditional’ phone system at this time. By 2025, it will be redundant.

2. On-Premise IP Phone Systems

These are installed in your premises but use Voice Over IP technology running over Internet connections, without reliance on PSTN networks.

Advantages:

  • Use a much newer technology than traditional phone systems.
  • Provide cheaper calls than traditional phone systems.
  • Flexible in terms of scalability.
  • Feature rich.

Disadvantages:

  • Rely heavily on capital expenditure, often supported by a long term lease.
  • Require ongoing support and maintenance, with an IT skill level.
  • Don’t provide much advantage in terms of disaster recovery, power failures, Internet connection issues, etc.

3. Cloud Based IP Phone Systems

The gold standard of modern business communications! The crucial difference between Cloud based and on-premise IP phone systems is that the all the equipment sits in the Cloud, not in your offices.

Advantages:

  • Use a much newer technology than traditional phone systems.
  • Provide cheaper calls that traditional phone systems.
  • Flexible in terms of scalability.
  • Feature rich.
  • Little to no upfront costs, operational expenditure instead of capital expenditure.
  • No technical knowledge required; support is taken care of.
  • Useful disaster recovery options.

Disadvantages:

  • Reliant on the quality of your Internet connection.

What is the right answer?

There is no right answer for every scenario, but for almost all situations a Cloud based IP phone system is going to be the sensible choice because it is cost effective, quick to deploy, and flexible.

Covid-19 highlighted the stark difference between businesses who had and had not adopted Cloud communications technologies. Those who had were largely able to pick up, leave their desks and carry on working in a new, agile way, with little or no fuss, leaving those who had not, scrambling to simply deal with basic, day-to-day working.

How Can PurpleUC Help?

We have a wealth of experience in telecoms and IT, which means we not only understand IP phone systems, but we also understand the broader context in which they operate, which is not something that can be said for all our competitors.

We have migrated many organisations from traditional telecoms to Cloud communications. We understand that it can be daunting, and we know how to make that transition as smooth as possible.

We work in various vertical markets, from law to accountancy, from manufacturing to retail, so we understand sector specific needs too.

We are engineering-led, not sales-led, so we know that one-size fits all is simply not the right approach. We offer a number of different solutions, each providing different benefits, and we will work with you to make sure you have a solution that meets your needs, not ours.

Some of the solutions we offer…

Microsoft Teams Phone

The use of Teams as a communication tool sky-rocketed during the covid-19 pandemic. At the end of 2019, the video platform had 20 million users[i], rising to 75 million by April 2020 and again to 145 million by 2021[ii].

Using Microsoft Teams as your all-in-one unified communications system is now very much a realistic option. With Teams Phone, you can now make and receive all your phone calls through the Teams interface… on your desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile phone.

For many converts to Teams Phone, it offers the benefit of being a cost-effective, familiar option, which allows for seamless transition.

3CX

Like Microsoft Teams Phone, 3CX is a software-based VoIP telephone system. It has over 12 million users globally, on more than half a million systems. Its feature-rich offer is great for small and growing businesses, particularly those that are sticking with remote or hybrid working patterns.

Whereas most other systems (including Microsoft Teams Phone) charge a fee “per seat” (essentially a licence for each user), 3CX’s charging system is based on the number of simultaneous calls that are being made. This tends to make it a cheaper option for small businesses that are not heavily dependent on phone use.

SWYX / Enreach

SWYX / Enreach has been offering an IP-based telephone solution for over 20 years, making it one of the most experienced suppliers in the sector. It is a versatile, customisable product, making it ideal for medium-sized businesses that need a slightly larger degree of control over their system.

Swyx also has the option of supporting traditional ISDN technology, which makes it stand out amongst other VoIP solutions and may be a useful factor to help your company migrate from old to new technologies.

What Now?

If you are interested in finding out what options might help your business succeed and improve your communications in this new world of hybrid working, please get in touch.

We would be happy to walk you through some possible solutions at a pace that suits you.

[i] https://www.businessofapps.com/data/microsoft-teams-statistics/

[ii] https://business.sure.com/news-and-insights/2022/the-rise-of-microsoft-teams/

Get in touch now to discuss what options are available to you and your business. PurpleUC has decades of experience in IT services including internet connectivity and modern IP telephony and is a platform/vendor agnostic provider of both. PurpleUC is a subsidiary of Purple Matrix, a Tier 1 Microsoft Gold partner.