White Paper. Is your PBX system strangling your business? By John Zeppel at Pact IT Solutions T E

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1 Is your PBX system strangling your business? By John Zeppel at Pact IT Solutions T E

2 Introduction This paper outlines the problems of a traditional PBX/PABX system and a surprisingly simple solution: unifying your communications. This unified communications solution has the same functionality as existing PBXs, but with many more features, at a reduced cost. And, because the solution is a web-based software interface, it's a system that is easier to use, easier to manage, cheaper to upgrade, and quicker to get back up and running in a disaster recovery situation. Introducing unified communications and how it instantly saves money, boosts collaboration, and increases productivity Unified Communications (UC) is delivered through a software PBX: your voice, video and data are rolled into one simple, scalable solution. It means employees can keep in touch with customers and each other, anywhere, in real time. Simply put, your business will never miss calls again, no matter where your team are, and what time they are called. What's more, collaborating is a breeze video and conference calls are only a button push away. And because a software PBX puts your calls and video through the internet, bills drop. At a stroke, issues with a traditional PBX system are eliminated. Not only do you get corporate-wide unified communications, you also get the flexibility businesses need. Setting up new phone lines, or transferring calls to different lines or offices, is simple and easy. How can employees answer calls wherever they are? Softphones are a key feature of UC solutions which enable staff mobility. Softphones are software applications which allow voice and video calls to be made over the internet. And with softphone clients for Windows, Mac, Android and ios, employees can answer their office calls even when they re away from their desk on their laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Managing hold music, hold messages, and voic s is easy too. In fact, voic s are ed as sound files so employees never miss that important call. More effective company-wide communication Another key feature of UC is the ability to 'see' other users on any standards-based IP phone. This means you can avoid making or transferring calls unnecessarily. What's more, it also allows you to inform colleagues about your availability and control how your calls are handled. Other time saving features include: Inbound faxes are converted to PDF and forwarded to users via , without requiring any fax server software Voic s are converted to sound files and forwarded via You can communicate via text chat without the need for third party messaging systems 1

3 Boost collaboration with colleagues and customers With a software-based UC solution you can launch a video conference in a few simple steps with video and voice communications taking place through an internet browser thanks to Google s WebRTC (Real Time Communications) technology. Participants are able to seamlessly join meetings without the need to download additional software or plug-ins. What's more, WebRTC goes beyond VoIP and web conferencing, providing click-to-call capabilities. With just one click website visitors can make a free voice or video call directly to a business through their browser. And as it's a VoIP call, it's immediately answered by the right person within your business. The benefits of unified communications are easy to see. Staff no longer have the nightmare of missing calls and ploughing through voic s. Switchboards are easy to manage: calls get through to your employees, wherever they are. Conference calls and video calls are easy too it just takes a few buttons instead of a hefty download. What's more, as UC is internet-based, the chances are your bills will drop too. Of course, we're biased, but a software-based PBX solution saves a lot of business headaches in an instant. But don't just take my word for it. Following is a typical case study. Perhaps you recognise some of the problems? How traditional PBX/PABX issues strangle businesses and how simple it is to solve Case study: Tecon Australia is a firm of building surveyors and certifiers. The company operates from three locations Adelaide (head office), Alice Springs, and Darwin. Another interstate branch is planned for the future. The situation The Adelaide office had a conventional PBX which included a 100 number range delivered across two ISDN services. This allowed a total of 4 simultaneous calls which was nowhere near enough. The hardware was becoming increasingly unreliable because it was at end of life, and lacked features such as caller ID display, conference calls, and hands-free calls. The Alice Springs and Darwin offices just had phone lines with conventional analogue handsets. As each of these offices only had 2 3 staff and was often unattended, there were real issues: Not enough lines in either branch office Calls between offices were all at STD rates (not local calls) In-coming calls were often unanswered when staff were out because there was no automatic call diversion Inter-office calls frequently tied up branch lines and prevented clients from getting through Staff reverted to using Skype because communication wasn t quick and easy 2

4 What they needed and fast 1 To have one receptionist answering calls for all branches. 2 To make it easier for staff in different locations to keep in touch. 3 To make it easier for clients to get through to staff in branch offices. 4 To reduce telephony operating costs. To have an integrated phone system without additional interconnection costs. What we did 1 Pact IT Solutions installed a 3CX on a dedicated computer in the Adelaide office to allow 8 simultaneous calls across the company. Double their existing system. 2 Installed a total of 14 Yealink IP Desk Phones and 1 Siemens Cordless IP Handset across the three offices. 3 Connected the system via the existing internet connection to each office. 4 Decommissioned 2 ISDN channels in Adelaide, 2 PSTN lines in Alice Springs, and 1 PSTN line in Darwin. And the results Making use of their existing internet connections: 1 Tecon Australia saved $235 / month immediately by decommissioning the ISDN and PSTN lines. 2 They expect total savings of up to 50% per month when STD call costs are taken into account. 3 The system is highly scalable. For example, extending the phone system to a new branch office is trivial handsets are the only hardware needed apart from an internet router. And moving to a 16-call system simply requires a 3CX software licence upgrade. 4 Branch office calls automatically switch over to Adelaide where the receptionist can see which office is being called and answer appropriately. And, if the receptionist isn t available, the system automatically forwards voice mail messages via to the appropriate recipients. 5 Inter-office communication is easy and convenient and conference calls are now possible. 6 Rich presence information enables users to see if another staff member is already on a call, in any office. 7 Easy to play music or pre-recorded company messages while a caller is on-hold. 8 They can use the Microsoft Outlook contact list on any computer to dial numbers without keying. And, when the need arises, 3CX can provide further integration with Customer Relationship Management packages such as Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and others. 9 Easy to divert branch office calls to any mobile phone during holiday breaks when offices are unattended. Now can we help you? If what you've just read has struck a chord with you, please get in touch you have nothing to lose from a quick chat, and I think you'll be surprised at how quickly we can help. Other benefits that unified communications bring Imagine never having to deal with the phone company ever again One of the beauties of a VoIP system is that you can run it on your existing network system with Microsoft Windows. And, since it runs on software, your Windows network administrator can take care of immediate problems as they would with any other network issue. 3

5 There s no proprietary hardware for you to buy, other than the phone on your desk. And even there you have a choice. As long as they re Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) compliant, you can use any handset you choose; corded or cordless. And, you can even use the same Bluetooth headset for your desktop phone and your mobile phone. Now compare that with a traditional PBX system: a technician needs to come on-site whenever there's a problem. If the hardware fails completely, the technician will diagnose the issue, order the parts required and wait. In the meantime, there s very little that can be done. But with software PBX you can support the system remotely. Only if the hardware fails completely would you need a technician to install the phone software on another computer, recover the last backup, and have the system fully functional. Usually within a few hours (depending on travel time). Meaning you almost never have to call in an engineer to fix your system if it goes down. No need to buy additional PBX hardware when you install more handsets If your PBX control panel has run out of ports you need additional hardware. And, depending on the age of your equipment, it may not be available. With software PBX you can log-in to the VoIP provider s web page at any time and select the number of channels (equivalent of lines) you want. You can toggle the channels up or down depending on your current needs. And although you pay more for the extra channels, you can have a rolling one month contract with traditional PBX systems you re locked in for a year or more. Also, because VoIP uses your existing network, you usually don t need to install additional cabling. Almost limitless flexibility A software PBX uses the latest development technologies, so new features and version upgrades are implemented quickly and remotely no site visit required. Additional functionality can happen quickly and without headaches for example, totally separate modules for specific situations such as call centres, hotels & motels, and multitenant offices. What's more, as more and more business systems are pushed through the cloud a software PBX gives you the flexibility for seamless integration. This is the power of software-based PBX and it will drive many new features and productivity enhancements for businesses into the future. Save money on your calls Traditional PBX: A multitude of payment plans are available from telephone companies, covering local calls (untimed), calls to different states/provinces (STD), calls to mobiles, and international calls to fixed lines. : Any landline call in Australia is an untimed local call. There is no such thing as STD. For example, we have a staff member who lives in Brisbane and we allow her to use her office-provided phone for interstate personal calls. She now saves a significant amount, compared to what she paid previously, but for us the cost is negligible. 4

6 Caveat emptor! A VoIP deployment is a significant IT project. If you have IT managers, they will know what that means. Rolling out a new data networking application and the dedicated or even existing hardware and infrastructure to support it takes work. The IT people need to be involved from the beginning to the end of the project. However, Pact IT Solutions can do it all for you so you can sit back and relax. Conclusion With a software PBX system you get more than a traditional PBX for a lot less money. So why put up with paying more for another moment? Remember, paying more for a traditional PBX system is just the tip of the iceberg, as you ll discover when you answer this next question Are your phone bills unnecessarily high? Telephone bills are not easy to interpret. We inspect our own bills very closely to make sure the telephone company is charging us correctly. It s harder for non-technical people because they may not know what to look for. If a bill looks OK people tend to pay it. As time goes by and staff change the situation gets worse because no one manages the telephone account or understands exactly what is being paid for. We ve seen several situations where clients have been paying for landlines they haven t used for over ten years! That means thousands of dollars wasted. At last, a solution To help with this, we provide a free phone audit service to determine: What services you have for voice, fax, data, mobile, and internet What services you actually need for day-to-day operations What you are actually paying for by analysing your telephone and internet bills Potential savings such as unused landlines, bundling phone and internet correctly, and more Free fax audit We can also include your existing fax line as part of the free phone audit. Converting from a traditional fax line to a fax service typically saves $35/month/line. You also get the added benefit of receiving faxes as attachments rather than a printout which means a small saving on paper costs as well. Free handset trial We offer a free trial of the VoIP service (subject to a few technical conditions) including a trial handset at your premises to test the capabilities of our solution. If you re not absolutely convinced of the benefits we ll turn off the service, remove the handset and you owe us nothing. 5

7 Next step A software PBX system will create tremendously positive benefits for you. If you find your current phone system frustrating and expensive it will help to increase efficiency and productivity and reduce telephony costs. Why not pick up the phone right now or ping me an ? Sincerely, John Zeppel 6

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