Do you have a phone system that is sitting in your back office that has been bolted to the wall for the last 10 to 15 years? Or are you using a key system that isn’t providing you the functionality your employees need? Most old small business PBX’s are extremely reliable, they are built like tanks, and frankly just keep working. If you are like me (and I am a small business owner), you don’t look around in your office trying to replace business equipment that is still working. If your PBX is operating just like it did on the first day you turned it on, why replace it? Why invest your valuable cash on a new phone system?
If you are like most small businesses owners, you may not realize the potential benefits of a new business phone system. Today’s modern phone systems provide features nothing like your old and outdated PBX. Let’s take a look at some of the major differences between your old PBX and a modern small business phone system.
Perhaps the biggest differences lie in how the phone systems work. The original PBX was a purpose built appliance that as we mentioned gets bolted onto a closet wall. Dedicated wiring connected the PBX to the manufacturers’ specialized phone appliances. A new PBX connects all of the phones to your company’s Local Area Network. The benefit here is that you no longer need two sets of wiring in a building: the phone and the computer network. There are many advantages beyond the simplification in wiring. Because the phones are now on the LAN, so too are the voice signals, they have all been converted to a protocol called Voice-Over-IP often abbreviated as VoIP. Because the voice signals now run on your network as VoIP packets on the LAN, they can also travel over the Internet like any other data packet.
There are enormous benefits to using VoIP instead of dedicated wiring. To name a few, you no longer need dial tone delivered on dedicated data circuits that are expensive: T1’s, PRI’s or analog dial tone jacks. Dial tone is now delivered over the Internet as VoIP data packets; you can turn off the T1’s and PRI circuits the VoIP phone system doesn’t need then anymore. This reduction in the traditional dial tone circuits can save a small business owner, hundreds to thousands of dollars in reduced dial tone cost every month. It’s not unusual for the savings in traditional dial tone costs to pay for the new VoIP phone system in less than three years. After that its just money saved and in the bank.
Your old PBX had a fixed number of dial tone inputs and a fixed number of extension ports. It cost additional money to connect more phones than the system had in ports. You needed to buy and install more port cards as your company grew. Using a new VoIP system, there are no physical port connections, just a single LAN connection. So you can add phones as your company grows, in fact, you often don’t even need to buy new VoIP phones to connect additional users, because your phone system can also load a software application on your desktop that emulates a physical phone. And we can tae that through further, you can load software on your Apple iPhone or Android phone that also emulates a VoIP phone.
There are so amazing implications to that ability to turn your cell phone into an office phone by using software. So imagine if every employee had a Direct-Inward-Dial (DID) phone number, in my office my number is 267-628-1033, and instead of that number always ringing on a dedicated PBX phone wired into my office, now the DID will ring wherever you I am located when I have my cell phone with me. So essentially I can answer my DID from home, in the car, on vacation or at work. Imagine your employees ability to better serve your employees from within the company and also your vendors and clients? No more voice mails, no more waiting for answers, every employee is essentially always available to speak to a business contact.
I can program my VoIP cell phone application to ring me during the day and send calls to voice mail at night. I can also have the VoIP system announce who the caller is and let me decide if I want to accept the call after hours. The level of flexibility the VoIP system will bring and your employee’s ability to answer their DID line from outside the office will bring additional productivity improvements to your clients and your business.
I am just scratching the surface of what you can expect from your VoIP phone system. My next blog will discuss what Unified Communications is and how your VoIP phone system can change the way you communicate within your business today! Are you interested in learning more about VoIP? I am holding a Free IT webinar; click the link below to register for the VoIP information session to learn how VoIP might be the perfect choice for your small business.