So here we’ll discuss the basics of saving money with a hosted phone system, a cloud-based or hosted VoIP PBX.
Let’s recap what we know about VoIP phone savings for a moment. VoIP saves us money because we take our dial-tone services and bring them across our Internet pipe, or perhaps a Wide Area Network (WAN) connection that exists between our branch offices.
The next logical step then is to get rid of the phone system itself if at all possible, right? I mean who wants to pay for expensive equipment if we can simply use hosted VoIP PBX services that are out on the Internet?
So this is the crux of any hosted phone system offering i.e.: buy and use IP handsets to do VoIP, then have all the features and functionality (and maybe even more) by using a service provider’s Hosted VoIP PBX that is “in the cloud” out on the internet. We don’t have to buy the VoIP PBX, or the phone lines, or all the “extra features” like when we put a phone system in our telecom closet back at the office.
“Cloud Computing” For A
Hosted Phone System…
That’s Hosted VoIP PBX!
We don’t have to insure a hosted phone system, it won’t get stolen, get hit by lightning or burn up in a fire. Another big plus is it never becomes obsolete, as the hosted phone system is maintained and updated by the service provider we choose. So no maintenance costs, and no need to replace it again – ever. Talk about a great Return On Investment! (ROI)
Lastly, it’s the single best way to assure a robust and redundant Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery plan (BC/DR plan) because workers can use the hosted phone system services no matter where they are, even if the office is closed or they’re on the road!
Ready to get more info?
Hosted VoIP PBX Pricing Considerations
We generally buy hosted phone system service “by the seat” meaning no more phone lines, just IP handsets for each “seat”. So we may have a “seat” at a desk with a person on the phone calling long distance all day, or pay somewhat less for a “seat” that is a handset in the break room or conference room.
The virtual phone lines that come across our internet pipe are then generally included in the hosted phone system price.
Hosted VoIP Comparison
Ok, so what are some of the basic features we can get here from a hosted phone system vs. a traditional on-site PBX?
- Voicemail to e-mail – lets you automatically receive voicemail as an audio attachment to your in-box, PDA, whatever. You can then act on it, store it or forward it on to someone else for action (I like assigning it to others, makes delegation easy! Now if I could just find that someone <;-))
- No long-distance charges between branch offices – assuming all offices are on the same hosted phone system, we generally don’t incur toll charges for this type of calling.
- On network dialing between branch offices – so here everybody in our organization is not only a “free” call but also a three or maybe four-digit extension away. Now we can transfer calls, pickup voicemail from any branch using Hosted VoIP as if we’re back in the office.
- Call flow – we generally can set up our own auto attendant if we need one, and then have calls flow through the organization, all from a simple web interface. So no more calling “the phone guy” to set up the right processes.
- Simplified Moves, Adds and Changes (MACs) – when a person moves from one desk to another they simply take their IP phone with them, be it across the hall, or across the country! Hosted VoIP PBX makes it simple.
- Attendant Console with “Presence” – Many providers can give us a console for “the Receptionist” so he or she can see who’s in, on the phone, if they’re out, maybe even transfer calls to their cell phone, whatever. Some Hosted VoIP providers can also provide this on a handset by handset basis.
- Ring Back service – this is essentially the ability for an employee to use any telephone and make a call using a toolbar on their PC to ring them back with the called party on the line. It makes it look like I’m in the office, even though I’m on a hotel phone at the beach in Acapulco (don’t tell my boss, OK?)
- BC/DR – as I mentioned above, no more snow days, sorry guys! Employees who are at home are expected to either use their hosted phone system softphone (on a PC w/ headset) or their home or cell phone to make “ring back” calls and be productive. Awwwwww…
- Since we’re buying “seats” for each phone, theoretically if we have enough internet bandwidth, we will have a ‘voice path” for each phone in the business. This is a huge difference from having to calculate how many concurrent calls we need with an on-site PBX and then determine how many “phone lines” to buy.
- And the last and very best benefit of using a hosted phone system for your business – it may cost thousands less!
Take Another Look at a Hosted Phone System
So, that said hosted voice services deserve a deeper look, great Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) because we don’t have to buy a PBX and take care of it all those years just to have it become obsolete one day. Great Return On Investment (ROI) because we get a really nice phone system and don’t have to pay for all this stuff upfront, we only have to buy the IP handsets. By the way, Hosted VoIP PBX providers generally sell the handsets super cheap, because they want your business!