Is a Cloud Phone System Right for Your Small Business?

Small Business Cloud Phone Service

As your business grows and evolves, you may find that your phone setup is proving inadequate and potentially very costly. A cloud-based phone solution could help to streamline your business and allow it to grow with ease. Recent research has shown that, staggeringly, more than one-third of all businesses are now using a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone system, with the vast majority of those being businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Among other things, cloud phone systems provided by industry leaders such as RingCentral, allow for online meetings, business SMS, and a virtual receptionist/auto attendant.

Cloud phone systems are being adopted by small businesses across every industry, and the trend will likely continue as VoIP costs continue to tumble. RingCentral estimates that 60% of a business’s monthly phone expenditure could be reduced by switching to a cloud phone service—a substantial saving for any growing business.

VOIP

Instead of purchasing, maintaining, and servicing the swathes of expensive (and potentially temperamental) pieces of hardware that make up an office-wide PBX system, you can avoid these problems altogether by using a virtual system. A cloud-based phone system runs on the high-speed internet connection that offices use, rather than landlines, and can be accessed from employees’ mobile devices anywhere with an internet connection; thus allowing for remote workers to contribute as if they were physically in the office.

The alternative is a premise-based PBX system, an expensive piece of hardware that isn’t easily modified or upgraded. With a cloud-hosted PBX system, scalability is a key feature, allowing business to respond quickly to changes in demand or rapid business growth. Not to mention it means you aren’t tied down to one office space—as one becomes too small for your expanding business, there is no need to worry about transferring your hardware to new premises.

Not only does a virtual PBX mean you won’t be paying for hardware that could well be out of date within two years, it can also help to free up valuable IT resources. A hosted cloud-based phone system is managed and serviced by the provider, so there is no need to employ in-house specialists.

However, a virtual system is not for everyone. While offloading the responsibility of managing and servicing a PBX can be attractive to some, it may be better for your business to keep control of your phone systems, especially if they are an integral part of your day-to-day services. Additionally, as your business grows, a virtual PBX may not scale in a cost-effective way—once your business reaches a certain size and revenue level, it may be more efficient and cost-effective to invest in the hardware itself, especially if you don’t want to outsource your tech needs.

Ultimately, for most small businesses, it would seem foolish to invest in hardware when a more robust and versatile virtual system exists at a cheaper price. What is important is that you consider the needs of your business before investing in any software or hardware, that way you will be sure to find the phone system that works best for you.

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By Josh Hamilton

Peter Tsai

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