What Phone is Best for Your Business?

Kansas City Hosting the World Series

Bruce Gibbs, President of ServiceMark Telecom, a major NEC telephone system provider in the Kansas City region, recently spoke with us about today’s phone options for small and medium-sized businesses. Unified communications features and applications, once the exclusive domain of large enterprise, are now available to everyone. Bruce explains the key for today’s smart business is choosing the best option for their individual company.

ServiceMark Telecom logoPhones and SMBs

  • What is an on-premises phone system?
  • What is a “hosted” or “cloud-based” phone system?
  • Why consider a hosted, cloud-based telephone system?
  • Why stay with a traditional on-premises telephone system?

What Do Cloud and On-Premises Mean?

Simply stated, an on-premises phone system involves hardware and software that is located in a customer’s building. These on-premises components of a telephone system are commonly referred to as common equipment units, phone system cabinets, servers, and central processing units.

A cloud, or hosted, phone system solution involves hardware and software that is not located in a customer’s building. Hardware and software are provided by a service provider “off-premises.”

Several phrases are used for off-premises phone systems such as:

  • Hosted Voice Over IP (VoIP) Phone System
  • Virtual VoIP Phone System
  • Cloud-Based VoIP Phone System
  • Hosted PBX
  • Cloud PBX
  • Unified Communications as a Service

In this presentation, we’ll commonly refer to a telephone system provided by an off-premises service provider as a cloud-based phone system.

Decision Points: Cloud or On-Premises

Why should a business consider a hosted, cloud-based telephone system? Cloud-based phone systems can be cost effective for small companies if they are willing to connect to the cloud-based phone system via the public internet. It’s cost effective because it eliminates the cost of telephone lines. However, there are several possible drawbacks:

  • Telephone service using the public internet is described as “best effort” with no guarantees
  • Vendors can’t control the number of “hops” (or number of routers) that a call has to go through via the public internet, which can result in latency, jitter, hearing bits and pieces of words, and dropped phone calls

Cloud Phone System using the public internet.

While ServiceMark (like any vendor) can’t control the quality of the public internet, ServiceMark can measure the quality of a customer’s internet service. ServiceMark can install a diagnostic tool to measure a customer’s internet quality as a means of connectivity to NEC’s cloud-based telephone system.

Call quality can be guaranteed to NEC’s cloud-based telephone system by installing a private, managed MPLS connection, which is considered a best practice. Obviously, there is an additional monthly cost to install a guaranteed MPLS connection as opposed to simply using the public internet to connect to a cloud phone system.

Cloud phones connect via ethernet

Cloud-based telephone systems provide the opportunity to install a solution with a minimal initial investment. However, it’s also important to remember that a cloud-based telephone system requires an ongoing monthly fee that never goes away.

The UNIVERGE BLUE Opportunity

UNIVERGE BLUE Business Cloud Services by NEC provides the opportunity for small and medium-sized businesses to deploy technology and feature functionality that historically was only available to large enterprises. UNIVERGE BLUE Business Cloud Services by NEC provides high-end Unified Communications, Mobility, and Contact Center functionality for businesses of all sizes.

In summary, cloud telephone systems can be cost effective by eliminating the cost of telephone lines by utilizing the public internet. And UNIVERGE BLUE Business Cloud Services by NEC provides the opportunity to deliver big enterprise technology to businesses of all sizes.

While cloud telephone systems are worth exploring for many customers, it’s also worthwhile to explore an on-premises telephone system.

ServiceMark: Cloud and On-Premises Professionals

At ServiceMark, we are strong proponents of hosted, cloud-based telephone system solutions. We are also proponents of on-premises telephone systems. We are not advocates of technology for technology sake. I can assure you that at ServiceMark we’ll provide an honest, common sense approach to help you discover the technology that is the best fit.

By Bruce Gibbs, President ServiceMark Telecom

Bruce and his team have created a video comparing Cloud-based phone systems vs On-Premises that provides a clear overview of the subject.

Learn more about business phone options with our free white paper, On-Premises Vs. Cloud Telephony.