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June 24, 2008

Finding the Right Business Phone System

By Anuradha Shukla, TMCnet Contributor

Today’s information-driven economy requires effective and reliable communication through various technologies such as VoIP and integrated legacy/next generation systems. These technologies have changed the way people do business and Telecom equipment and service providers such as Nortel, Inter-Tel (News - Alert), and Vocalocity work with businesses to address their unique communications needs.

Before deciding on a communications solution businesses should evaluate all the available options. In a Whitepaper, “Finding a Business Communications Solution that Fits,” Clare Kaufman speaks about three options for building a communications solution: Hosted Business Communications Plans; On-Premises Business Communications Equipment; and Integrated Business Communications Packages.
1. Hosted Business Communications Plans
A hosted service plan helps businesses avoid a huge upfront investment in business communications equipment. Offering unlimited, instant scalability, hosted VoIP comes with a monthly subscription fee and ‘pay as you grow’ pricing. With this, the vendor is responsible for the maintenance and system upgrades because system hardware resides off-premises.
2. On-Premises Business Communications Equipment
When companies invest in this equipment rather than leasing it from a service provider, they are able to create a comprehensive communications platform perfectly aligned with their business needs. On-premises telecommunications equipment offers several benefits such as a fully customized system that ensure seamless, integrated voice-data communications. As companies have absolute control over the system, they can freely mix and match ‘best of breed’ technology. Moreover, the upfront investment in equipment offers the potential of long-range savings.
3. Integrated Business Communications Packages
According to Kaufman, integrated packages can extend the lifetime of a company’s legacy system by the application of new IP-based technology. Integrated solutions allow
businesses to ease into the new technology without overhauling their entire communications infrastructure. Integrated business communications packages offer a number of benefits to their customers. As the customized solutions leverage existing equipment such as PBX, they can protect the original investment. These packages enable a gradual migration to new technology and seamless platform integrates analog and IP-based technology. Finally, legacy-integrated communications systems allow companies to protect their investment in analog hardware such as PBX (News - Alert) equipment without falling behind in the telephony arms race.
The Whitepaper also includes three case studies on business communications solutions.
The first case study on a hosted PBX by Vocalocity (News - Alert) shows how the solution helped CLP Resources, a construction staffing company with 66 branches in 23 states by offering low entry costs and robust functionality and delivering features such as call transfer, conferencing, individual extensions, and a Web interface for managing the system. This has increased productivity and made business easier. Also, thanks to Vocalocity, CLP reported 87 percent savings in monthly phone bills.
The second case study on equipment by Nortel (News - Alert) elaborates its benefits for MaRS Discovery District, a 700,000-square foot research facility dedicated to supporting collaboration between academic, business, and scientific research communities. Nortel’s on-premise infrastructure helped MarS community achieve a state-of-the-art voice, data, and video-sharing solution. By leveraging Nortel’s data network and collaboration tools, MaRS has been able to connect the communities of science, capital, and industry.
The third case study is on integrated communications platform by Inter-Tel that was deployed by Group & Pension Administrators, (GPA), one of the largest managers of health insurance and benefits programs in the Southwest. By utilizing Inter-Tel’s integrated solution, GPA was able to knit its array of legacy equipment into a streamlined, IP-enabled platform.
For more on how to find the right business communications solution, read the complete Whitepaper HERE.
Anuradha Shukla is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anuradha’s articles, please visit her columnist page

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