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9 Things to Consider Before Choosing a Cloud Phone Provider

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ShoreTel Cloud Communications

Selecting a cloud phone system can be a tricky, high-stakes process. Your decision, after all, will impact the entire organization. But you can reduce the risk by evaluating systems and vendors in the context of your business and where it’s heading.

Also, understand that there are two types of cloud phone systems. Basic hosted VoIP can save monthly subscription costs, but offers limited functionality. Premium managed VoIP provides full-service support and robust features, though it’s more expensive.

Each type of system has its benefits, but the right choice will align with the current state of your business and its vision for the future. Before you make your decision, consider these nine dynamics. 

1. The Company is Growing

Cost is often the top criteria in choosing a new system. But there’s a hidden price to pay when it needs constant upgrading to meet the needs of an expanding business. In highly competitive markets, companies need to be agile. Their IT teams should be focusing their expertise on projects that enable growth – not upgrading the phone system. Despite the lower purchase price of some systems, over time those hidden growth costs can add up.

2. The Business is Phone-Dependent

In industries like financial services and real estate, companies have real money riding on their phones. When a call is dropped or quality is low, the risk of losing a sale increases. Worse, functions such as sales and customer service don’t work at all if phones are down. That’s money out the door. Reliability, then, is an important factor in your decision.

3. There’s More Than One Office Location

With a single location, a business can keep its phone system simple. But growing companies are likely to add new offices or expand into new regions at a rapid clip. That means they need a phone system capable of scaling easily.

4. The Business is Becoming More Complex

As companies expand, their communications needs become more sophisticated. Basic call management features like voicemail and caller ID cease to be sufficient. As the number of customers and employees increases, so does the need for advanced capabilities like contact call center queuing, interactive voice response, and mobile phone management.

5. All Internal Resources are Focused on Building the Business.

Employees at growing organizations are often stretched, which means they have no time to handle routine phone maintenance. When time and IT resources are limited, outsourcing these responsibilities provides you with both expertise and extra hands.

6. The Phones are Money-Makers

When viewed as a strategic asset, the phone system can contribute to the bottom line in a tangible way. A managed VoIP service integrates with business applications such as CRM, ERP and ATS. This maximizes data sharing to better serve customers, optimize staff levels and more.

7. Employees Work from Airports and Coffee Shops

Today’s workforce is increasingly mobile. One-third of companies say that more than half of their employees will work remotely by 2020. Businesses with employees on the go need a phone system that can seamlessly transfer calls from home to airport, and from desk to computer.

8. The Business Thrives on the Latest Technology

Innovative companies use the latest technologies to be more competitive and drive growth. They expect as much from their phone systems. Managed VoIP providers enable businesses to upgrade to the latest hardware and software without any effort, enabling them to be more productive and stay competitive.

9. Support for the Way the Business Works

Every organization has its unique way of working and specific set of needs. Selecting a vendor is similar to evaluating a job candidate: Will it be a good fit? When benchmarking vendors, be sure to consider technology, customer support, and vision for the future – not just price.

Remember: The right vendor – and phone system - is the one that most closely aligns with your business needs and vision. 

To learn more, read the ShoreTel ebook: 9 Things To Consider Before Choosing A Cloud Phone Provider