1 VOXOX 5BENEFITS OF A HOSTED VoIP SOLUTION FOR MULTI-OFFICE BUSINESSES a VOXOX ebook 0Taking 2013 VOXOX, Inc. Communications to the Cloud:
2 CONTENTS 2 INTRODUCTION 3 TOP CHALLENGES 7 FINDING A SOLUTION 12 THE FIVE BENEFITS 18 MAKING THE SWITCH 24 ABOUT VOXOX
3 INTRODUCTION Small to Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) are looking for more creative ways to not only reduce expenses, but also to increase employee productivity and efficiency. These needs are amplified for businesses with multiple office locations and telecommuters. A dispersed workforce comes with some communication challenges. This strategy guide will explore two areas: 1 How the voice and Internet needs of businesses with multiple locations present a unique challenge 2 What can be done to unify the communication needs of these businesses while achieving a better return on investment.... This ebook is brought to you by VOXOX the most comprehensive Unified Communications provider in the industry. We provide complete phone and Internet solutions that help businesses save money, simplify their communications and are easier to manage compared to traditional phone systems. The foundation of the company's offerings is its award-winning unified communications service delivery platform that enables the company and its customers to build powerful, scalable applications and services. Our promise at VOXOX? You ll love your phone! VOXOX We empower communication from engaging consumer applications to robust business ecosystems Voxox, Inc. TF (866) 514-VOIP (8647) P (866) F (858) Scranton Road Suite 300 San Diego, CA E Learn more at voxox.com
4 IS THERE A PROBLEM? TOP CHALLENGES OF MULTI-OFFICES The communication challenges of businesses are particularly complex when multiplied by more than one office location, whether that involves branch offices or telecommuters. The pain is often easily identified from the billing perspective, but stretches into many operational and customer-facing touch points as well. The following pages identify five key challenges facing multi-office businesses.
5 TOP CHALLENGES of Multi-Office Businesses 1 TALK IS NOT CHEAP First and foremost is the pain of having to manage a separate phone system and service provider, often the local phone carrier, for each office location. This also means separate billing and operational costs for each office. Then take into account the idea that employees in different locations may actually want to speak with each other. If they are in different locales, states or even countries, the call usage charges can really add up. A large percentage of a company s calls are outbound to customers and outside contacts, so $ keeping a close eye on those call usage rates is also very important. This is of particular interest to businesses with a global reach, as international calls can quickly run up a company s phone bill.
6 TOP CHALLENGES of Multi-Office Businesses 2 HEADACHES CONNECTION As if costs associated with phone usage are not enough to give business owners a headache, next consider the operational challenges. Often businesses with multiple locations, employees that work from the road, or telecommute from home, have issues connecting calls between offices or even just knowing what number to dial for a particular employee. This dispersion is most apparent to the customers of multi-location businesses, as they often have to spend time looking up phone numbers or hang up and dial different local phone numbers if they reach the wrong location.
7 TOP CHALLENGES of Multi-Office Businesses 3EQUIPMENT & MANAGEMENT COSTS Another issue that often comes into play with traditional phone systems is the cost of the phone systems themselves. Traditional premise-based phone systems are essentially those that must be housed and managed onsite or on premises hence the name premise-based. This may be a good fit for a business looking to manage their system in-house, but it also involves a huge capital investment in equipment. Your equipment, like most technology, will be outdated in the not-so-distant future. Bundle that challenge with the need for staff to install and manage that equipment, and the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) begins to rise to a level that is simply out of reach for many SMBs. While managing this equipment in-house may have its benefits for some businesses looking for more control, it also means that when they lose power or disaster strikes in one location, their phone calls cannot be transferred elsewhere their customers will simply hear a busy signal.
8 FINDING A SOLUTION to the Challenges CRAFTING A STRATEGY Solving the many communication challenges of SMBs is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Every business has unique needs, especially multi-location businesses. However, there are common threads among them that allow for a solution with customizable options. There is hope for business owners struggling to make sense of the many options out there to save money on phone systems. Let us explore
9 FINDING A SOLUTION to the Challenges ADOPT NEW TECHNOLOGIES For businesses looking to reduce phone costs and take advantage of new technology that enables them to be more flexible, productive and competitive, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the fast-growing alternative to traditional phone systems using phone lines from local carriers. VoIP is just what its name implies: the voice calls are delivered over the Internet. This means that the voice signal from a telephone is converted to digital packets and delivered over the Internet instead of over traditional phone lines. When they reach their destination, the packets are converted back into a voice signal, so the phone call between two parties takes place just like it did between two land line phones. This is also referred to as digital or broadband phone service. VoIP has been around for several years, but the technology today has evolved to a much higher quality, giving it more attention as of late. The trend of switching to VoIP is catching on with even the smallest businesses. According to a recent survey the research firm ISP Star, 41 percent of businesses with 100 employees or fewer have already adopted a VoIP solution. In addition, the study reveals how 20 percent of respondents are looking at deploying VoIP systems within the next year. Reducing financial pressure was cited as the leading reason for making the switch. (Source: Techworld, May 2010, SMBs look to VoIP deployment) 41 %
10 FINDING A SOLUTION to the Challenges KEEP IT SIMPLE AND SECURE One way to streamline a phone solution is to implement a hosted or managed phone solution with a trusted communication partner. In a hosted environment, the phone service provider manages the service for their clients. This is especially beneficial for new businesses, office relocations, or companies looking to augment or replace their current phone equipment. Often in these scenarios the company takes this opportunity to make a fresh start with new systems and equipment. However, the purchase decision goes beyond simply obtaining new assets, help managing these systems is often needed. By leveraging the expertise and hands-on monitoring of a hosted phone service provider, businesses can rest easy. A major obstacle SMBs face when adopting a new technology is not having enough in-house talent to implement and manage the new solution. By leveraging the expertise and hands-on monitoring of a hosted phone service provider, businesses can rest easy knowing that they have a trusted partner functioning like part of the team. This allows businesses to focus on their core competencies, not their phone and Internet technology. It can also allow internal technical staff to focus on other projects. However, not all providers offer this level of hands-on support, so businesses must choose providers carefully.
11 FINDING A SOLUTION to the Challenges GET INTO THE CLOUD Businesses can also eliminate the capital outlay for expensive equipment. With a hosted VoIP phone system, only the actual phones are located in the office. The phone software platform is located in the cloud. This essentially means that the phone services are delivered over the Internet as a service. The infrastructure is located at the provider s location. Clients only pay for the services that they use, and may even lease the actual phones as well. This model eliminates the need for large capital expenditures. Clients only pay for the services that they use, and may even lease the actual phones as well. The costs and responsibility of powering, maintaining, and supporting the phone system are covered by the provider. For example, upgrades occur automatically in the cloud and not onsite. Incidentally the name cloud was derived from the use of a cloud like drawing used in drawn diagrams to represent the Internet. A strong hosted cloud-based solution should involve a complete phone system package, including phone equipment, installation and setup, web-based software, and ongoing support and monitoring of the network.
12 FINDING A SOLUTION to the Challenges EXISTING EQUIPMENT OPTION Not ready to give up on your existing equipment? For businesses that already own their phone system equipment, but still want to take advantage of the many benefits of VoIP, there are some providers that allow their clients to utilize some or all of their existing hardware. Essentially this option will still deliver many of the benefits of VoIP and create one plan for voice and internet needs while letting them use their own phone equipment a little longer. Most Private Branch Exchange (PBX) or key phone systems are Internet enabled or can be easily adapted to be Internet ready. Hosted VoIP Configurations create centralized communications for reduced cost and increased productivity. Location B: PBX On Site Internet Free on network calls Centralized billing and web-based management Location A: PBX On Site Hosted VoIP Platform Lower off network calls Tele-Worker PTSN Any Phone One system for ring groups to mult-locations, including teleworkers Find me / Follow me even to cell phones
13 FIVE BENEFITS of a Hosted VoIP Phone Solution THE CLOUD FOR MULTIPLE OFFICES So why would a business choose a cloud-based solution versus an in-house phone system? There are many benefits of starting with a complete solution, from choosing a setup to installation and support. Following are five major benefits worth highlighting.
14 FIVE BENEFITS of a Hosted VoIP Phone Solution DRAMATIC SAVINGS 1(and FREE office-to-office calling!) With most hosted VoIP VoIP has many advantages for multi-office businesses. One of the most exciting benefits is that it immediately reduces phone bills by slashing office-to-office calling costs to practically nothing. With most hosted VoIP plans, businesses can communicate within their own network for free no more paying for calls between different office locations. This is because on-network calls traveling over the Internet never actually hit the public telephone network. The benefits of VoIP do not end there, however; the calling rates to outside lines ( off-network ) are lower too. The cost of VoIP is much less than a traditional phone line in general, sometimes as much as 50 percent lower. Taking the savings a step farther, with a hosted VoIP plan there are no additional costs to maintain the phone system. Businesses have a more predictable monthly operational expenditure. plans, businesses can communicate within their own network for free. 50 % Lower
15 FIVE BENEFITS of a Hosted VoIP Phone Solution 2 ONE ONE BILL. VENDOR. With a hosted solution, businesses can centralize billing through one provider instead of using a different local phone carrier in each state or city. Combining the phone needs into one plan also opens up the possibility of pooled minutes for extra savings. But the savings do not end there. In the not-too-distant past, businesses only had to pay for one means of communication: phone service. Then along came the Internet. Now businesses do not just make and receive phone calls, they also send and receive s and conduct various aspects of their business online. As a result, most businesses today now pay for two means of communication instead of one: phone service and Internet service. Today both phone service and Internet service can be carried over one connection. That means only paying for one method of communication, resulting in added cost savings and convenience. Combining the phone needs into one plan also opens up the possibility of pooled minutes for extra savings.
16 FIVE BENEFITS of a Hosted VoIP Phone Solution 3CREATE A UNIFIED VIRTUAL OFFICE Instead of dialing a completely different 10-digit number for each location, a hosted solution enables businesses to use the same main number for all its locations, with convenient three or four digit extensions. This enables a workforce to function as if they are all in the same office. In addition, an auto-attendant service can centrally answer calls and route them to the right department or employee, wherever they might be located that day. This can even include forwarding calls to a cell phone number. With a hosted cloud-based phone system, telecommuters are just like every other extension on the system. All they need is a high speed Internet connection and a phone. So, even though Jim from sales is working from his home office in Albuquerque, he is on the same system as Sally in accounting at the main office. Jim can be reached at home, by cell phone or anywhere just by dialing his extension. With a hosted cloud-based phone system, telecommuters are just like every other extension on the system.
17 FIVE BENEFITS of a Hosted VoIP Phone Solution 4 PRODUCTIVITY A hosted solution provides numerous benefits that help employees streamline their communications and boost productivity, whether in the office or on the road. Some of these features include: setting up call routing to office, home and cell phone numbers; conference calling; voic -to- alert services; toll-free numbers; and a soft phone that enables them to leverage office phone features on the road. A hosted cloud-based system can also deliver high definition (HD) voice quality through phone hardware from leading technology vendors, such as Polycom. Further adding to the feature set, some providers will even offer convenient web based portals for live and easy administration of the phone system and its desired settings. BOOST EMPLOYEE
18 FIVE BENEFITS of a Hosted VoIP Phone Solution 5 TERM SHORT & LONG SCALABILITY A hosted system is a perfect fit for a growing, multi-office business because it enables them to scale up or down as needed for short and long term needs. Adding or removing lines as staffing requirements fluctuate is no longer the major configuration and system constraint headache it once was with traditional phone systems. For example, if a seasonal business needs to gear up phone support for a holiday marketing campaign, they can easily add as many extensions and phones as they need with simplicity. Furthermore, when an outage occurs or natural disaster strikes, calls can be automatically rerouted to another office. Since the managed solution involves storage of activity, all of the call data can be backed up. Adding or removing lines as staffing requirements fluctuate is no longer the major configuration and system constraint headache it once was with traditional phone systems.
19 NOW WHAT? MAKING THE SWITCH TO VOiP So where does a business begin to navigate the waters of choosing a hosted VoIP provider? We ve put together some of the key data you ll need to compile.
20 NOW WHAT? Making the switch to VoIP THE FIRST STEPS The first step is to take a look inwards at your business today and estimate a few key metrics to share with the new provider: How many office locations, including home offices, are you managing? What are your bandwidth and call usage needs currently? Are you looking to make a change from existing equipment? Or keep current equipment? Do you have any existing hardware or software integration needs? What business drivers will shape your decision? What is your budget? Businesses with no technical staff will probably be more attracted to a hosted solution with a communications partner. This is because the choice to partner with a trusted provider will enable them to focus on their core business and eliminate additional hiring of staff. For businesses that do have a technical team on staff, the decision to switch to a hosted platform might involve a desire to free up those resources to focus on other core business functions, in addition to the cost savings of not owning the equipment.
21 NOW WHAT? Making the switch to VoIP THE RIGHT PARTNER For businesses that choose to go the hosted phone system route and bring on a communications partner, they will find themselves trying to make sense of many options. Most VoIP providers will offer the same suite of features, but the difference lies in the quality of service and additional professional services that they can provide, making them a true partner and not simply a supplier of products and services. Some of these services to evaluate are: Does the provider offer setup and installation of the newly purchased equipment? Does the provider offer basic training for your staff on the new phones? Can the provider offer testimonials and examples of other happy customers? What technology are they using to deliver the voice and data services? Will the provider offer migration support from old systems as an added service? What kind of customer service and ongoing support will the provider offer? Will you have access to a web portal for ease of administration and use?
22 NOW WHAT? Making the switch to VoIP NOT ALL OFFERINGS ARE EQUAL A word of caution, and perhaps confusion for some businesses; not all VoIP offerings are equal. Depending on how the Internet connection is delivered, service may be offered at different quality levels. For example, an offering for Internet, or broadband, service provided by a cable company not offering a Service Level Agreement (SLA) translates to little or no assistance when outages occur. Furthermore, depending on how the broadband lines are delivered and whether or not a SLA is in place, there may not be a guarantee of Quality of Service (QOS). The bottom line: Look for VoIP providers who can explain and offer QOS; as well as professional services for setup and monitoring to provide a complete solution. CAUTION
23 NOW WHAT? Making the switch to VoIP THE ROI FACTOR Making the decision to adopt a new phone system is not always a quick process, but with the right partner it can be an easy one. Businesses should think carefully about their needs and how they hope to benefit from the new system in order to better define their return on that investment. For example, a business simply looking to cut monthly expenditures to have an immediate impact on cash flow will realize a return by achieving lower phone bills with a VoIP solution. A company looking to increase employee productivity will need to evaluate employee performance before and after a switch in phone system technologies in order to better measure a return. Whatever the motivator for making a switch to new communication technologies such as VoIP, the benefits are here to stay, and in fact even grow as the technology continues to improve. Businesses with more than one location, or simply a scattered workforce, will immediately noticethe benefits of a cloud-based phone system s features and cost savings. Together with the right partner, multi-office businesses can hugely benefit from the simplicity and security of a hosted cloud-based phone solution which enables them to realize financial savings and better unify their voice and data communications.
24 LOVE YOUR PHONE with VOXOX VOXOX HOW VOXOX WORKS With a hosted VoIP phone system, only the phones are located in your office. The costs and responsibility of powering, maintaining, and supporting the phone system are covered by us and managed remotely. You only pay for the services that you need on a per user basis, and you can even lease the phones as well. By leveraging the expertise and hands-on monitoring of a hosted phone service provider, your business can rest easy knowing that you have a trusted partner functioning like part of the team. A hosted solution can also allow your internal technical staff to focus on other revenue-driving projects. PTSN Any Phone (Worldwide) VOXOX Delivery Platform Easily add or remove users and phone lines. Connect multiple offices together worldwide. Extension dial throughout your company even multiple locations. VOXOX manages the switches and routers VOXOX IP Phones
25 ABOUT VOXOX VOXOX LOVE YOUR PHONE VOXOX is a leader in cloud-based unified communications and VoIP solutions for business and consumer markets. The foundation of the company's offerings is its award-winning unified communications service delivery platform that enables the company and its customers to build powerful, scalable applications and services. VOXOX is the most comprehensive Unified Communications provider in the industry. We provide complete phone and Internet solutions that help businesses save money, simplify their communications and are easier to manage compared to traditional phone systems. VOXOX We empower communication from engaging consumer applications to robust business ecosystems Voxox, Inc. TF (866) 514-VOIP (8647) P (866) F (858) Scranton Road Suite 300 San Diego, CA E Learn more at voxox.com