Why Should Unified Communications Be Part Of Your Strategy?

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1 oip Why Should Unified Communications Be Part Of Your Strategy? It s not just the large firms implementing Unified Communications (UC), small organisations are also starting to reap the benefits.

2 Who Should Be Considering UC? UC is not just a solution for large enterprises. In fact, many small and medium sized businesses can realise greater benefits from adopting a unified approach. If you are a start-up business, deploying a unified infrastructure from the outset makes a great deal of sense. It will reduce your capital expenditure on ICT and provide a solution that will scale seamlessly as your business grows. If you are a small business that runs out of multiple offices, UC can deliver significant cost savings and improve productivity. Making your users more easily accessible to your customers and suppliers also helps improve customer service and time management. If you are planning a merger or acquisition, now is a good time to move to a UC platform, rather than being stuck with disparate legacy systems and vendors. If you are outgrowing your current telephony system or your PBX is going end-of-life, it is an ideal opportunity to migrate to a UC platform. Taking your communications to the cloud provides a more flexible, future-proof solution. If you are a larger business that is establishing a contact centre, UC can help improve customer satisfaction and agent performance as calls are routed quickly and intelligently. If you are implementing remote working or Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategies, UC can deliver improvements in user productivity, collaboration, cost management and IT provisioning. If you are looking to implement greener working practices, UC offers support in terms of reducing the overall IT estate and helping to reduce the power and cooling requirements for your datacentre. Greater collaboration and a more immersive remote working experience also reduce the need for user travel. 2 Contact

3 Financial Comparison of Vs. On-Site PBX If you opt for a Hosted IP solution, your up-front costs are minimal-to-nothing. The capital investment has already been made by the provider their own hardware, their own phone systems and their own servers. You simply access their technology and pay for what you use on a monthly, utility basis. Cap Ex Versus Op Ex Cap Ex Cap Ex (capital expenditure) requires you to purchase equipment outright. With this comes a monthly service charge and the implications of hardware depreciation and redundancy. Op Ex Op Ex (operational expenditure) allows businesses to finance any hardware, software, service and support costs into a single, predictable monthly cost. With Hosted IP telephony now offering the resilience, security and quality of traditional systems, there really is no need for companies to buy their own phone systems. There are many ways a Hosted IP solution can keep your initial and recurring costs down: No initial investment or setup costs for hardware or expertise. No on-going maintenance, servicing and upgrade costs. Your provider or host shoulders all the risk, work and complexity. The system is shared by numerous companies bringing down costs with scale. Add one user and only pay for one user as opposed to adding multiples of eight or 16. If your building connection drops out, users can carry on working using any internet connection. Disaster recovery options are intrinsic to the system. 3 Contact

4 Financial Comparison of Vs. On-Site PBX SIP Trunking Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking is the use of voice over IP () to facilitate the connection of a private branch exchange (PBX) to the Internet. In effect, the internet replaces the conventional telephone trunk, allowing an enterprise to communicate with fixed and mobile telephone subscribers worldwide. In order to take advantage of SIP trunking, an enterprise must have an IP PBX that connects to all internal end users, an Internet telephony service provider (ITSP) and potentially a gateway that serves as the interface between the PBX and the ITSP. One of the most significant advantages of SIP trunking is its ability to combine data, voice and video in a single line, eliminating the need for separate physical media for each mode. The result is reduced overall cost and enhanced reliability for multimedia services. With SIP trunking, subscribers can: Initiate and receive local calls Initiate and receive long-distance calls Make emergency calls Access directory assistance Record calls Use fixed and mobile telephone sets Employ and texting Browse the World Wide Web Make free, on-net calls. SIP is an IETF standard for initiating interactive multimedia user sessions; a trunk is a line or link that can carry many signals at once, connecting major switching centres or nodes in a communications system. 4 Contact

5 Financial Comparison of Vs. On-Site PBX If your current connection does not meet the performance requirements for, you will need to arrange for a business-grade solution that is tailored to your specific voice and data needs. Any connectivity should include QoS (Quality of Service) as standard. There are a number of solutions available that provide fast and secure connectivity at reasonable rates. As bandwidth continues to increase and connectivity prices come down, enterprise-class performance becomes available to small and medium-sized businesses; featuring SLAs that guarantee the number of voice channels available. Fibre to the Cabinet (FTTC) offers a cost-effective, entry level solution that provides uncontested connectivity. For those looking for an alternative to leased lines or ADSL, or those without fibre access, Ethernet First Mile (EFM) technology provides a cost-effective option. For larger businesses with more demanding connectivity requirements, Ethernet connectivity provides scalable access at speeds of up to 100Gbps. Remember, not all connectivity is created equal. Despite creative naming policies and claims to the contrary, not all fibre-based services are true fibre. Some will include lower speed components, such as copper cabling into the premises. If you get the connectivity right, you can realise some cost savings across the business. Consolidating voice and data services provides a flatter, easier to manage network. Plug and play installation reduces time to operation and eliminates the need for specialist installers. Scalability of connectivity is essential if your essential services are to provide long-term support as your business grows. 5

6 Quality of Service What is QoS? When you hear (Voice over Internet Protocol) providers or IT experts talking about Quality of Service what they are referring to is the overall performance of a system or network. This performance is usually measured by what the end-users think of as the system s performance and by looking at other statistics such as bandwidth use, transmission (call) delay and error rates. Why is it important? QoS is not just used for systems. It has been something even traditional phone providers strive for. Think back to your original landline service -- chances are 99 per cent of the time call quality was perfect, or near perfect. This is because traditional phone network providers invested in physical networks and connections that offer high QoS, all of the time. If you switch from one provider to another, there is a good chance that quality doesn t change. With these well-established physical networks, you are going to have to pay more though. Most traditional phone systems are more expensive than, because the network providers have to physically maintain their transmission network. This high-maintenance cost is also the reason there are only a couple of phone providers in your area it s just too costly for small companies to launch a traditional phone network. Broadband connections have enabled and have led to a high number of providers, largely because you don t need to own the transmission network (in this case the internet) to launch a platform. Because of this, the QoS amongst providers varies drastically. What this means for you is that you should be taking a provider s QoS into account when looking for new systems. To help you ensure that you are getting the best possible, here are three questions you should ask prospective providers: How much do you own of the network infrastructure your system uses? Almost every provider will rely at some point on public internet in order to transmit their services. Essentially, the less infrastructure a company owns, the greater the risk that quality will be lower. Conversely, using more public systems means lower prices, so it really is a trade-off you need to think about. For businesses that rely on phone systems, one of the best options is to look for facilities-based providers. These companies own all, or most, of the network that carries calls and can therefore offer better services and quality. 6 Contact

7 Quality of Service How much traffic will run over public Internet? This answer will vary. Some of the most popular solutions among small businesses and home users, such as Vonage, will use almost 100 per cent public internet for their traffic. Other companies will use a mixture of public and private networks, often using public for more affordable services and private for high-end users. For example, cable providers who offer calling will often use public Internet to carry lower-level traffic, while high-end business plans will often run on private networks. The reason to ask this question is because traffic that goes over public internet networks will be subject to bandwidth sharing. If there is a high demand for bandwidth in the general area, call quality may drop. What level of quality can you guarantee? Good providers will be able to guarantee a QoS that is comparable, or even better, than traditional networks. This is especially important for businesses who are looking to switch to a full solution. What a provider should do is run a few tests on your network and then give you a quality assurance. If it is too low, then look for another provider. Sample Network Architecture PSTN TDM Trunks to PSTN Plain Old Telephone System (POTS) Phone Redundant core routers SIP/PSTN gateways level 3 alternative carriers Redundant Network (no single point of failure) Private GigE Connection Redundant core routers Virtual Office Servers Customer PBX, core call flow processing and backup servers Virtual Office Servers Internet access via multiple GigE connections to level 3 and major ISPs Customer Premises Internet or Private Network Router IP phones connection established to router, IP phone and Softphone 7 Contact

8 Why choose IP Solutions? Why choose IP Solutions? IP Solutions, one of the UK s leading independent communication services providers, has over 10 years experience providing communication solutions for organisations of all types. Using their extensive market knowledge and analytical tools, they provide cost-effective solutions for businesses that are looking to maximise the benefits of unified communications. IP Solutions combines technical expertise, commercial focus and a deep understanding of the business communications market to provide objective advice. Our services cover: Review and Assessment We make sure we have a thorough understanding of your business and your IT from the outset. We often find our clients don t know whether they re getting the best value from their data, IT, voice and mobile services. Using advanced software, our experience and expertise, we re able to deliver visibility into these significant costs. Having this data means we can help you make more informed decisions about your core infrastructure and any services you might want to add in the future. Selection and Implementation Using the results of our assessment, our specialists are able to specify your ideal communications infrastructure and manage the process of integrating the different elements into your existing operations. Our skilled engineers and project managers will ensure the least possible disruption and a smooth transition to your new services, providing support and training where necessary. The whole implementation will happen quickly and efficiently with minimal downtime or end-user input. Dedicated Account Management As soon as you become a client, we ll be your single point of contact for all services. We ll also continuously review your business requirements to ensure you re getting maximum value from your communications. This means you ll never have to investigate new technologies or talk to individual suppliers again we ll give you all the information and advice you need to make informed decisions while still focusing your time and energy on your core business. 8 Contact

9 Why choose IP Solutions? Added Value Our solutions are designed to address business objectives and help organisations achieve their strategic goals. The systems we provide have a positive impact on profitability, because we give as much consideration to what you ll need in the future as what you need right now. Long-term savings can be made when indirect factors are taken into account: the effect of communications on efficiency, customer service, future scalability and collaborative working, for example. Our deep understanding of the suitability of different telecoms systems for different applications enables us to provide insight into these areas. By understanding how your organisation runs operationally where your employees are based, how customers communicate with you, how information is shared and so on we can improve the way your business communicates. There are a number of other ways in which we can reduce the financial burden of your communications infrastructure without compromising quality. For example, by building in a robust disaster recovery service we can protect your organisation from the often devastating effects of downtime in the event of a major incident such as fire or flood. We can also ensure that your organisation is making economies of scale wherever possible, particularly across multiple geographical locations. Our consultants are experienced in finding solutions that reflect commercial objectives. That s why our solutions favour operational expenditure over capital expenditure, and why we warn against investing in systems and hardware that won t easily scale to suit future demands. We re market leaders in cloud technology, which gives organisations of all sizes access to high quality services at a fraction of the conventional cost. Success for IP Solutions at Comms National Awards The 2014 Comms National Awards saw IP Solutions pick up three awards, including the prestigious reseller of the year award. The CNAs are awarded to resellers who go beyond simple managed service excellence; they recognise those who have designed, implemented and managed solutions that have a positive impact on the way a business operates enabling them to overcome challenges and achieve ambitious goals. 9 Contact

10 Why choose IP Solutions? Best Murphy Construction This solution is a clear demonstration of how hosted telephony enables businesses to respond rapidly to developments within their industry and provides infrastructures with the agile and flexible characteristics required for a fast moving and ambitious business. Our solution eradicated capacity concerns and restraints that are inherent to traditional telephony and enabled Murphy to respond to customer needs more quickly. Best Contact Thistle Hotels Through our deployment of a cloud-based contact centre, Thistle are able to adapt to the challenges of multi-channel customer support by integrating voice, , live chat, Twitter and Facebook feeds into a single desktop environment that improves the level of support they can provide. The solution has virtualised the contact centre across all hotels, eliminating the need to have a standalone location for the contact centre. Award The is awarded by industry experts to those resellers who have demonstrate a sustained commitment to excellence and it recognises the hard work and dedication of the entire IP Solutions team. This category is keenly contested every year. What won it for us in the end was our joint focus on delivering cloud-based solutions that provide tangible business benefits and our aim of consistently delivering exceptional levels of Cloud Contact 10 Contact

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