Choosing the Best Phone System for Your Business
Businesses have been shifting to remote work and changing their operations and processes to suit the Work from Anywhere environment. Some of these trends were already taking place in recent years, but COVID-19 has accelerated the change and is prompting more company leaders to take a fresh look at how to manage their technologies and everyday business operations. One of the everyday technologies that many companies are looking to change as part of their transition to remote work is something seemingly simple: the phone system.
With more people working from home than ever before, a traditional landline system might not make sense for your business. Company leaders in all kinds of industries are re-evaluating their telephone systems and looking for new ways to get phone service for their teams. Just as millions of people have dropped their landlines at home, many companies are switching from landlines to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone services.
If you are considering evaluating your business’s phone service, you might want to consider one of these cloud-based phone system options.
Here are a few of the most common types of cloud-based phone solutions and how to choose the best VoIP systems to fit your business road map.
On-Premise Telephone System
“On-premise” does not mean “landline.” With an on-premise telephone system, your business gets a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone system with all the necessary hardware and software located on-site.
The long-term cost of an on-premise system is generally lower because you own and manage the equipment. Since everything functions with physical equipment, this also allows more control over the system and its operations. For example, the phone lines and its extensions are under your management, and most on-premise phone systems are compatible with the technology your company uses.
With an on-premise system, your phone service does not have to depend upon the public internet. Instead of connecting to the public internet, your phone system connects to a private, managed Local Area Network (LAN) hosted at your business’s location. Setting up an on-premise LAN for your phone system can help you experience better quality internet connections without being limited by the ups and downs of a public network. This can help you get better reliability and call quality; think of all those calls where the sound is glitchy or the call drops – an on-premise telephone system can help you avoid these issues.
On-premise phone systems tend to involve some upfront costs to purchase and install the equipment. As previously mentioned, the cost of ownership and ongoing maintenance costs are usually quite low. Your business does not have to pay for ongoing monthly phone service fees because you already own the system itself.
One possible drawback of an on-premise telephone system is that it might not be flexible or mobile-friendly enough for remote workers. With many companies allowing employees to work remotely both temporarily and permanently, flexibility may be a must. If you are currently using an on-premises system installed a few years ago, the VoIP phone services might need to be updated, upgraded, or replaced to deliver the right level of flexibility for remote work.
Hybrid VoIP Phone Services
Does your business already have extensive landline systems in place, and you aren’t ready to invest in completely replacing existing systems? With hybrid VoIP phone services, your business can maintain an established landline system while adding the best VoIP system features.
With hybrid VoIP phone services, your business can keep what you like about your landline system while adding the best VoIP features. For example, suppose you still have on-site staff but are hiring new, remote employees. In that case, you can set up your phone system so that the on-site employees use landlines while also getting new VoIP features for mobile phones or video conferencing.
Hybrid VoIP systems are highly customizable and can be developed to suit your specific business needs. Choosing a hybrid VoIP model could be the first step to transitioning to an entirely cloud-based system.
Complete Cloud-Based VoIP Phone Services
If you are ready to be done with landlines and don’t want the cost and maintenance of owning and hosting on-premises equipment for VoIP phone services, then a complete cloud-based system might be right for your business.
Cloud-based systems offer excellent ease of use for business owners— there are no equipment installations or servers to host. It is merely a monthly service fee to start making calls almost immediately. Most monthly VoIP phone services rely on a per-user subscription fee, so you only pay for what you use. Cloud-based solutions tend to offer the most advanced, mobile-friendly features for call routing, enhanced voicemail, mobile VoIP, voice conferencing, and more.
Cloud-based systems also provide the flexibility to expand. If you hire new employees, you can add to your subscription. Be aware, though, that if you are scaling significantly and intend to maintain on-site staff, an on-premises phone system may be more cost-effective on a per-person basis.
How to Choose the Best VoIP System for Your Business
While the options seem endless, the right system ultimately depends on your business needs. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and each business must assess its functional requirements and location constraints. Consider the important factors such as business and customer essentials and overall cost-effectiveness. With a solid understanding of the options available, each business can narrow the focus and make an informed decision.
If you have questions about selecting, implementing, or adapting VoIP systems and features or otherwise enhancing your technology for your remote workforce, the Aldrich Technology team of networking and infrastructure professionals is here for you as a resource, partner, and advocate.
Meet the Author
Aldrich Technology LLC
Throughout her career, Peggy Kitzmiller has been a builder and coach of teams exceeding organizational objectives. In her role with Aldrich Technology, she leads the business and works closely with clients on their IT strategy, governance, and regulatory compliance. She is a skilled collaborator, enabling cross-functional success throughout organizations. She has built divisions of publicly... Read more Peggy Kitzmiller
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