In-House PBX+SIP Trunking vs. Hosted VoIP

What’s the Smarter Phone System Investment?

When it comes to making wise investments, organizations need to borrow a page from the consumer playbook and “get the most for the least.” This doesn’t necessarily mean getting the cheapest price. It simply means that businesses need to assess their needs, conduct marketplace research, evaluate potential solutions, and select the one that delivers the most long-term value.

However, just like consumers, sometimes businesses can mistakenly head in the other direction: getting the least for the most. And since this unfortunate fact doesn’t come to light until after a purchase decision is made, businesses in this situation are forced to absorb the excess costs or purchase a replacement. Either way, it’s costly, time consuming, risky and frustrating.

Here’s what the above has to do with business VoIP phone systems. Some businesses are led to believe that they’ll get the most for the least by purchasing a low cost in-house PBX system, and then purchasing relatively inexpensive SIP trunks (these are telephone line trunks delivered over IP using the SIP protocol, and are necessary for an in-house PBX system to function).

Yet, like some ideas that sound good in theory, this is typically NOT a wise money-saving strategy. Here are the key reasons why:

  • Deployment Costs

One of the primary cost advantages of a VoIP phone system vs. a conventional landline hosted system is that businesses can use a single voice/data network vs. purchase separate networks.

However, this is often not the case when using an on-premise PBX with SIP trunking. To prevent data network degradation— and angry end users — many businesses are obliged to purchase a separate internet connection. This can cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars a year, depending on the number of users.

  • Training Costs

It goes without saying that a VoIP phone system will only generate efficiencies and advantages if people use it! However, end user training isn’t included in the on-site PBX+SIP trunking strategy. Businesses must purchase this separately from a consultant or telecommunications firm.

However, this isn’t a cost category with hosted VoIP phone systems. Training is included in the package, because a phone system that isn’t being used properly and fully isn’t an asset — it’s a liability.

  • Support Costs

Perhaps the only thing worse than having unhappy IT staff, is paying for unhappy IT staff. Yet that’s the scenario that many businesses face with on-site PBX+SIP trunking, because instead of completing the tasks in their job description, IT staff are bogged down and held back by endless support requests, software upgrades, configurations, and so on.

As such, businesses must pay higher labor costs (i.e. their IT staff is less productive and/or they must hire additional IT staff), or they must purchase a pricey maintenance contract.

With a hosted VoIP phone system, all support — including handling end user inquiries and performing system upgrades/updates — are covered by the off-site Solutions Provider. And since hosted VoIP phone system deployments use managed routers, many system configurations and changes can be made remotely when the business is closed.

  • Electricity Costs

On-site PBX systems need greater computing power, both for regular operation and for cooling. They also need larger uninterrupted power supply (UPS) units to run the system in the event of a power outage. This translates into hundreds or thousands of dollars a year in additional electricity costs.

With a hosted VoIP phone system, power requirements are minimal. Only Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches and modems/routers need power, along with a relatively smaller network of uninterrupted power supply units.

The Bottom Line

When businesses do the math and add up all of the costs of ownership — both direct and indirect — they typically arrive at a surprising conclusion: the money they expected to save by going with on-site PBX+SIP trunking is not just offset by the added expense, but eliminated. In other words: they would have achieved their goal of “getting more for less” by choosing a hosted VoIP phone system from day one!

To learn more about your options, and to get a clear and accurate understanding of the REAL costs of on-premise PBX+SIP trunking, contact the DigitalPhone.io team today at (336) 560-4400. Your consultation with us is free.

4 Reasons to Choose a Local VoIP Vendor

We all know that all businesses these days need to 4 Reasons to Choose a Local VoIP Vendor

We all know that all businesses these days need to “think global and act local.” But when it comes to selecting the right VoIP vendor, this wisdom needs an adjustment: “think global and choose local.”

Let’s start with the first part of this advice: think global.

What this means is that small and mid-sized businesses should ensure that they get the same enterprise-grade telecommunications features enjoyed by large multinational firms, such as: auto attendant, live call forwarding, call transfer, automatic call distribution, online message access, call queuing, call announce, company directory, hold music, voice and fax email messages, message notification, and call analysis, and reporting. And of course, the system must be quick to learn and easy-to-use.

Now for the next part of this advice: choose local.

Choosing a local VoIP vendor – and in this context, local can also be defined as regional (e.g. Midwest, Southeast, etc.) – is vital for 5 key reasons:

1. Pre-Sales Consulting

A local/regional VoIP provider will visit your business on-site – possibly multiple times – to assess your needs, consult with your different user groups (e.g. executive, technical, infosec, operations, etc.), analyze your infrastructure, and provide you with a solution that is custom crafted to fit your needs and align with your budget.

National vendors put the bulk of their resources into sales – not into pre-sales. And so while you may get some videos to watch or brochures to read, you shouldn’t expect someone to physically come on-site. And even in the few instances where this is the case, the person or team that arrives will have their “contract signing” pen at-the-ready, and will do everything they can to seal the deal – not objectively assess your needs.

2. Expert Installation and Configuration

Many businesses that choose “mass market” nationwide VoIP vendors quickly recall the old adage: you get what you pay for. Or in this case, you don’t get what you don’t pay for – because installation and configuration is a tedious, time consuming and complex process that can last for weeks. Quite often, many businesses that head down this path end up paying a consultant to clean up the mess, or they pay their VoIP vendor exorbitant “professional services” fees, which more than offset any cost-savings they hoped to realize.

Thankfully, the above isn’t a risk when choosing a credible local/regional VoIP vendor. That’s because their in-house experts – who understand the technology inside and out – will handle all installation and configuration details. And since they’ll have carefully assessed your needs (per the pre-sales consulting described above), you can look forward to a smooth, streamlined and stress-free experience.

3. 24/7 Responsive Support

The importance of 24/7 responsive support cannot be underestimated – not because you should expect something to go wrong with your VoIP system, but simply because your business isn’t static and fixed: it’s dynamic and evolving.

For example, at some point in the future – and it could be sooner than later – you may need to equip employees with an IP phone that they can use from their home office. Or, you may want to provide your sales reps with mobile apps so they can stay connected while on the road. Or, you may want to launch a remote call center to handle a surge in customer inquiries.

Whatever the scenario, you can be assured that a local/regional VoIP vendor is ready, willing and able to respond. This simply isn’t the case with most large vendors. When you need assistance, they’ll either refer you to a FAQ or some other (useless and confusing) resources, or they’ll sell you a very pricey maintenance package.

4. You’ll pay less than you think.

Many businesses that expected to save big by choosing a nationwide vendor discover that the opposite is true: they’re paying more and getting less than if they went with a local/regional vendor.

This is why nationwide VoIP vendors are popular acquisition targets these days: they’re cash cows. Customers think that they’re saving money and getting a better deal, when this simply isn’t the case. The numbers don’t add up.

The Bottom Line

Thinking globally and acting locally is a critical business paradigm. But when it comes to choosing the right VoIP vendor – which is one that will provide you with the shortest path to value – then it’s all about thinking globally and choosing locally!

To learn more, contact the DigitalPhone.io team today. Your consultation with us is free. Your consultation with us is free. Call (336) 544-4000.

4 Signs that Your Business Should Upgrade to a VoIP Phone System

voip phone systemIn life, there are signs that alert us to potential trouble — and if we’re attentive and wise, we heed these warnings and avoid bigger problems in the future.

For example, our car may be sluggish and sputtering, and pleading with us for a tune up or some preventative maintenance. And our bodies often tell us through various aches and pains that we need to dial things down and take a break — or else a break may be thrust upon us.

Now, what does this have to do with telecommunications? It’s this: businesses also receive warning signs that their conventional landline phone system is no longer supporting their success and growth — on the contrary, it’s bogging them down and pulling them back. And while these signs aren’t as blatant as a car dashboard warning light, they’re pretty easy to spot if you know what to look for.

And so, here are 4 signs to help you clearly see that it’s time (or make that past time) for your business to upgrade from a conventional landline phone system to an advanced VoIP phone system:

  1. Your telecommunications costs are much higher than they should be.

Here’s something that most people don’t know: phone companies don’t make a great deal of profit from residential customers; in fact, sometimes they even lose money. But business customers are another matter entirely! They’re nothing short of cash cows, which is why bills range from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars per month — and that’s on top of a wide range of other fees, such as for maintenance, technical support, and so on.

VoIP phone systems dramatically lower business telecommunication costs — and not just for the first year. The savings continue into the future, since there are no maintenance costs, no update or upgrade costs, no long distance costs, and adding numbers or extensions does NOT require physically adding new underground lines — which makes doing so extremely affordable.

Add up the numbers, and most businesses can expect to see a year-over-year savings of at least 40% compared to a conventional landline phone system. And it’s certainly not uncommon to realize savings of well over 50%.

  1. Your remote workers are out of the loop.

While remote working isn’t new, in the last few years it has skyrocketed. As noted by Global Workplace Analytics, 50% of the US labor force now works remotely at least 20 percent of the time. And with the rise of tablets and other mobile technology devices, these numbers will only increase in the years ahead.

The good news is businesses that enable remote working substantially reduce overhead costs — which is especially valuable and vital for startups and small businesses who don’t just want to maximize working capital, but need to in order to survive.

The bad news is that conventional phone systems typically keep remote workers on the outside looking in, which makes collaboration difficult, drains productivity and reduces customer satisfaction. That’s where VoIP enters the picture and changes the game!

With a VoIP phone system, all employees, contractors and other authorized system users are connected on a unified, centralized cloud-based platform, which they can access anytime from and any device: computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Instead of working on disconnected islands, remote workers — whether they spend 100% of their time out of the office, or occasionally work in the field or from a home office (or their favorite Starbucks!) — are always in the loop, and can effectively collaborate, communicate and contribute.

  1. You’re losing business to larger competitors.

These days, SMBs can’t afford to be perceived in the marketplace as having less capacity and credibility than their enterprise-level competitors — or else some customers will take their business elsewhere. Unfortunately, this is what happens when SMBs are saddled with an old fashioned conventional phone system, which offers little more than features that haven’t been innovative since the 1980s: call forwarding, call waiting, voicemail, and so on.

Of course, this begs the question: why don’t these SMBs simply add advanced calling features? The answer is even simpler: because phone companies charge an arm and a leg (and often a few other valuable body parts as well!). Remember what we said about business customers being cash cows? This is a perfect example.

A VoIP phone system permanently eliminates this excessive cost barrier, by providing SMBs with a full range of advanced enterprise-grade calling features at no extra cost, such as: voicemail-to-email, voicemail-to-text, video calling, auto attendant, one-number service, direct-inward-dial, and the list goes on.

The end result is that a VoIP phone systems significantly helps SMBs compete with the “big boys” in their marketplace — which is critical for short-term success, and long-term survival.

  1.  Your business is located in an area where brownouts are common.

As noted by a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the nation’s aging and over-burdened utility infrastructure triggers thousands of brownouts each year. These are relatively brief — but certainly noticeable — power outages that can last for a few seconds to a few minutes.

The problem for business is that going off the grid — even for 10 seconds — can mean the difference between impressing a customer, or losing them to the competition. It can also mean critical internal communications get delayed and costly misunderstandings occur.

With a VoIP phone system, fearing brownouts are a thing of the past. That’s because the system is supported on an on-premise network of backup power systems, which immediately and automatically spring into action in the event of power loss. Even if computers and laptops can’t be turned on, users can simply access the VoIP system from their smartphone. Incoming calls from customers, partners, suppliers, vendors or anyone else continue as usual with no disruption or reputation-damaging “we’re sorry, the number you have called is not in service” recordings.

If your business is experiencing any — or possibly all — of the above, then it’s clearly time to upgrade to a VoIP phone system! To learn more, contact the DigitalPhone.io team today at (336) 560-4400. Your consultation with us is free.

Debunking 4 Myths about Cloud Business VoIP Phone Systems

Some myths in life are perfectly fine to be left as-is. For example, even the most practical of parents don’t want to be responsible for shattering their young child’s belief that Santa Claus lives in the North Pole with a tribe of friendly reindeer and elves. And what parent hasn’t silently said a “thank you” to the great soul who invented the Tooth Fairy. Seriously: is there a better bargain in the world than spending a few bucks to have a child look forward to losing a tooth vs. dread it?

voip business phone systemsHowever, there are some persistent myths that aren’t fun or functional — and like many disruptive technology-led solutions, cloud business VoIP phone systems are caught up in the misinformation net.

Fortunately, debunking these myths doesn’t take a lot of heavy lifting. It simply takes clear, basic facts. To that end, here are 4 things that you need and deserve to know about cloud business VoIP phone systems that you typically won’t hear from conventional landline phone system vendors, consultants, and other folks who have a vested interest in keeping you from the truth:

Myth #1: Cloud business VoIP phone system calling quality is inferior to a conventional landline phone system

The Truth: Cloud business VoIP phone system calling quality is actually superior to a conventional landline phone system. This is because cloud systems use certified VoIP phones that are designed to convert standard analog audio into crystal clear digital packets. The result is consistently outstanding call quality, regardless of what other users are doing on the network (e.g. sending emails, watching videos, surfing the web, and so on). Conversely, conventional landline phone systems essentially use degraded copper wire technology that was invented in the 19th century, and has not fundamentally changed in the last two centuries.

Myth #2: Cloud business VoIP phone systems aren’t suitable for startups and small businesses.

The Truth: Cloud business VoIP phone systems are ideal for startups and small businesses, because they are extremely affordable vs. conventional on-premises systems — both to setup, and to maintain. What’s more, businesses can start with less than 5 users, and scale up as required to over 5,000 users. That’s why both small startups and large enterprises are switching to cloud business VoIP phone systems. It simply makes bottom-line sense.

Myth #3: Cloud business VoIP phone systems aren’t as reliable as conventional landline systems.

The Truth: Conventional phone companies “go to the well” on this myth often in order to avoid losing customers. As you might expect, the truth is a very different story! Cloud business VoIP phone systems are actually more reliable than conventional systems, because they leverage multiple automatic backup and failover systems (learn more about these here). That’s why during brownouts and blackouts, when businesses with conventional landline phone systems cannot even get a dial tone, businesses with a cloud solution are making and receiving calls without any issue.

Myth #4: Cloud business VoIP phone systems lack solution control.

The Truth: Cloud business VoIP phone systems empower businesses with unprecedented control over all aspects of the solution via a simple-to-use web interface, which can be accessed from any computer, laptop, tablet or device — anytime, anywhere. Instead of having to “call the phone company” and wait days or weeks for a technician to make a change, businesses can easily adjust call flow rules, forward calls, add extensions, and so on.

The Bottom Line 

When it comes to making smart and successful decisions, businesses need to empower themselves with FACTS and steer clear of MYTHS. Keeping the above in mind will help you understand why a cloud business VoIP phone system makes sense — especially when it comes to your bottom line.

To learn more, contact the DigitalPhone.io team today. Your consultation with us is free, and we’ll gladly provide you with a live, guided demo of our solutions and services.

How We Help Government Organizations and Education Institutions Solve their Key Objectives

While they have different missions and mandates, today’s government organizations and education institutions share key objectives. For example:

  • They face increasing pressure to be more efficient, more cost-effective, more innovative, and essentially “do more with less.”
  • They need to enhance communication among team members, while making it easy and fast for remote users, partners and other stakeholders to connect and collaborate.
  • They must ensure security, compliance, and system-wide continuity at all times.

That’s where DigitalPhone.io’s VoIP hosted phone system enters the picture, and ticks all of these mission-critical boxes.

voip phone system for educationAffordable, Scalable, Secure & Easy to Change

Unlike conventional phone systems that are costly to purchase and maintain, offer limited features and functions, and are inflexible when it comes to making changes or scaling, a VoIP hosted phone system from DigitalPhone.io is affordable, scalable, secure, and easy to change — whether the goal is to adjust calling rules, add or remove users, generate reports on system usage, and the list goes on.

Substantial Year-Over-Year Cost Savings

In addition, budget and financial officers champion our hosted phone system solution because it saves their organization tens of thousands of dollars — or sometimes even hundreds of thousands of dollars — per year compared to a conventional system. Plus, there are no ongoing maintenance fees or technical support costs.

A Whole New World of Features 

End users love our hosted phone system solution, because they access a whole new world of advanced, yet easy-to-use features like: auto attendant, video calling, live call forwarding, call transfer, automatic call distribution, online message access, call announce, message notification, voicemail to email, call queuing, hold music, and much more.voip phone system for government

Robust Security & 24/7/365 Support

When it comes to security, we keep government organizations and educational institutions safe through several integrated strategies and technologies, including network encryption, next-generation security gateways, and comprehensive fraud management strategy that proactively detects and prevents misuse — whether accidental or intentional. Plus, our in-house team of experts is on the job and ready to help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Implementation & Training

We ensure that installation and implementation — including porting numbers and handling all network configuration details — is smooth and stress-free. What’s more, we know that some people are less excited than others about adopting new technology. That’s why our training team makes the learning curve gentle, easy and fun. Within minutes, people who were reluctant to use the system enthusiastically say: how on earth did we survive without hosted VoIP?

The Bottom Line

The bottom-line is clear: today’s government organizations and education institutions need a telecommunication system that is innovative, feature-rich, scaleable, efficient, easy-to-use and secure. That’s why they’re choosing a VoIP hosted phone system from DigitalPhone.io — and reaping significant and measurable rewards from day one.

To learn more, contact the DigitalPhone.io team. Your consultation is free. Call us today at (336) 560-4400.

Cloud-based Telephone Service

What’s the difference between cloud-based VoIP phones and the old on-premises PBX or key systems? Well, there’s the cost. And the support. It’s time to switch from the Traditional Telephone Company to a Lower Cost Cloud-based Telephone Service for your Business, Schools or Government offices. Affordable, Easy, No Contract Cloud-based Phone System. Call (336) 544-4000.