In this blog we’re going to talk about what the best telephone system is for your business.
IT and Telecoms
The technology behind telephone systems has changed alot since I first came into the IT industry.
The IT system and the telephone system used to be two different systems - provided and supported by two different suppliers. The IT guys looked after the IT and the telephone guys looked after the telephones.
That has now changed. A modern telephone system runs on the IT system with a technology you might have heard of called VoIP - which stands for Voice Over IP.
I know lots of businesses who have transitioned to using VoIP already. On the other hand, I also know some businesses who still use an old-fashioned telephone line
Whatever your scenario, this blog is for you.
Onsite VoIP or Cloud?
The first aspect we’re going to talk about is whether to host your VoIP system in your office or in the cloud.
This is a similar argument to when we talk about whether to host servers for your business in the cloud or in your office.
Some businesses today will have a VoIP server type device in their office which controls the phones in their office.
The downside of having a VoIP server device in your office is that it is a bit of hardware that you have to buy and then pay for an annual maintenance fee for. Eventually, this device will get old and the process starts again.
That is not the type of cost model you need in your business. It’s much better to pay a monthly subscription rather than large one-off fees.
In addition, if that device stops working, then your entire phone system stops working too. In IT terms this is known as a single point of failure; a single device fails and you don’t get the service you need
So my recommendation straight off the bat is to look at a cloud-based VoIP system. You don’t need the hassle of hosting one yourself.
Let’s now look at a few different options. One option is to use BT or another UK provider called Gamma. The third option is to utilise Microsoft Teams as your business phone system.
BT Hosted Voice
Firstly, BT has a product called BT Cloud Voice Connect. This product costs approx £15.00 per user/per month. Included in this fee is an unlimited call package, so you won’t get an additional invoice for call charges.
As well as this, they’ll give you free VoIP telephones for your business.
I know some businesses who have signed up for the BT hosted voice product, and to be honest with you, they’ve soon regretted it.
At first, it sounds like a sweet deal, but BT are keen on trying to get you to sign a 5 year contract. In my opinion, I don’t think you need to sign 5 year contracts for any technology within your business.
UK Provider - Gamma
There are other UK Hosted VoiP providers and one which we recommend to customers is Gamma.
For approx £12.95 per user/per month you can get their hosted system. As with BT, Gamma will also provide free telephones for your business if you subscribe to their internet service too. This is done on a 3-year contract. This works out much better than BT
Or another option which I think is going to start flying off the shelves over the next few months is using Microsoft Teams as your business telephone system.
If you already have started using teams internally for collaboration, conference calling and group chats, then using the application as your fully functional telephone system is a great next step.
The product you’ll need is called Microsoft Business Voice and it’s available as a monthly subscription. In addition to this, you’ll also need a domestic calling plan. For the license and calling plan, the price is approx £12.00 per user/per month and there is no contract tie in.
This is a really competitive deal.
Now, let's talk about telephones.
We have customers who have always wanted an actual telephone sat on their desk, it’s what they’re used to.
But since we’ve all been working from home, people have got used to using headsets connected to their laptops.
If you are happy with this way of working once we’re all back in the office, then you’re going to save some money.
A USB headset such as this is approx £50.00, which is much cheaper than an actual telephone.
You can now buy telephones that are designed for use with Microsoft Team’s too, but these cost over £150 each.
Telephone systems have been slower in adapting to cloud technology than email systems and servers.
But now, everything has changed. You can get a much more flexible telephone system for your business and save a serious amount of money.