Should I Have IP Or Digital Handsets?
This is a great question and one few companies really explain. The inference is that because you are going to VoIP you must have IP handsets. This is simply not the case and in fact, you can operate any combination of digital or IP handsets on most modern IP PBX solutions. Digital handsets are cheaper than IP but they do require a separate connection (which most companies have anyway).
Here are situations where you should choose an IP handset:
- Remote workers
- Multiple office locations where you are networking handsets (not PBX systems) back to the main site
- Where you only have one Ethernet connection at a desk>
- If you have a need for hot desking (multiple staff using the one phone)
- Check out the price of digital vs. IP handsets and make your own mind up. After all, the phone system functionality remains the same.
Which new technology is the biggest game changer?
The elements customers are most surprised about are convergence. Phone systems are now working with PC's, tablets and mobile phones in a way that is truly amazing. For example, you can now load SIP applications on your mobile devices that allow you to use your handset like a desk phone. It rings on the same extension number and allows you to perform phone system features like conference, hold, mute, system speed dialling and so much more - all through the phone system. All this happens whether your staff are in or out of the office (as long as they have at least 3G coverage). This same application can work on your PC or Tablet too. You can even centralise all your emails, voicemails and faxes on the same device.
It's a mobile office in your pocket.
Other notables include HD-quality video for softphones and mobile devices, geo-presence to track staff/service people right from your mobile, advanced multi-site networking, call recording, call centre applications, advanced CTI integration with platforms like Microsoft Lync, sales force and others just to name a few standouts.
What about future expansion of the phone system?
Some phone system brands have remained firmly entrenched in the old school logic that dictates a different model depending on the amount of users. This can be fine as long as you don't plan for exponential growth. More savvy manufacturers and hosted providers allow users to scale on the same platform from 2-1000's of users. So the smart technology employed by a multinational is now available to even a medium sized company. The great news is you only pay for the features and size of solution you need. Systems vary on a case by case basis so make sure you know the system limits and what extra costs are involved in upsizing beyond just extra handsets (licences, cards, POE switches, extra cabinets etc).
Should I Rent, Lease or Buy the phone system?
The most popular option these days seems to be renting but it depends on your individual circumstances. Renting offers 100% tax deductible monthly payments. It's great for freeing up cash flow as well as other benefits. If cash isn't an issue then buying a system outright is always the cheapest option as there is no interest charged. Speak to you financial controller for the best payment method for your business and how you treat your Capital expenditure.
These are effectively the major overriding considerations when buying a phone system. To find out how a new office phone system can change the way you work then check out the "Top Must have Features" tab.