As a small business we need to make sure that we have a phone system that can handle our current needs and, yet, be able to grow with us.
For years we have used a traditional phone system and separate phone lines for our outside folks. This meant separate phone bills for HQ and outside, separate Internet plans and bills and reliance on hardware that may breakdown and/or become obsolete. Just over a year ago one of the “boxes” to our phone system stopped working. We placed a call with our phone guy and he was able to use “Box 2” as our primary. This caused us to lose 2 incoming lines and 3 extensions. Now we felt like even a smaller company 😦
To add insult to injury, the equipment provider was suffering financial troubles and was not able to replace our “Box 1.” This meant that we needed a better solution immediately and moving forward. I did some research and relied on a former colleague to help us find a better overall solution for our telecommunications needs. After much thought and calculations we decided to go with a hosted VoIP system by Jive. As for hardware all we needed was a PoE switch! The good news is that if this equipment ever went down I could literally replace it at Micro Center, Frys or some other computer super store same day!
Now, some of the other benefits we have enjoyed: Our outside folks just need a phone and an internet connection and that phone is preprogrammed with their extension making ads moves and changes a piece of cake! We have eliminated almost $500 per month on our overall telecommunications budget and enjoy top of the line telephony equipment (we chose Polycom telephones). Our plan comes at a flat rate per extension and includes long distance. Some of the other benefits have been managing the entire system through a web portal from anywhere I tend to be. This includes setting up extensions, running reports and viewing/listening to voice mail.
Prior to this we had 8 incoming telephone lines plus our fax. We now have one incoming line plus the fax and still have 9 extensions!
Please let me know your thoughts and experiences with VoIP. I would love to hear about them.