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Is it time to “insource” your phone system?

Most companies have a choice when it comes to outsourcing aspects of their business operations, but the phone system is one function where historically companies have had little say. Rafael Cortes, head of marketing at Foehn, explains how the cloud has opened up the options now available to SMEs and with them new levels of control.
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Your phone system has never truly been yours

Growing companies have plenty of important decisions to make and sometimes they are about whether to outsource all or part of a necessary business operation. For example, do you hire an IT manager or commission the services of an external IT consultancy? Do you have your own dedicated HR resource or should you use a freelance professional until the company grows larger?

For a long time SMEs selecting a phone system have simply had no choice but to outsource most if not all of this vital function to an external telephony supplier. Although they may have drawn up a specification and wish list for how their phone system needed work, in reality it’s always been a largely outsourced service as connections, lines and equipment would be delivered and managed externally by the phone provider.

Because of this, companies have always relied heavily on phone system suppliers and this in itself has caused all sorts of issues and restrictions for quite literally decades. For example, if a new staff member or several employees needed to be given phones and extensions, this would often take time and incur additional cost. Similarly, if call routing or a ring strategy needed to change, the business would rely on the provider to make the necessary alterations each time and usually with a cost.

Taking control of communications

The cloud has changed all of this. With a modern cloud phone system, company owners can do what they want and in their own timescales, rather than continuously relying on another business and someone else with the requisite skills, plus the costs racking up.

Because a cloud phone system operates as a software-based service that companies can manage perfectly well by internally through a web interface, each has – if it wishes – complete control over how it is managed and administered. This means that aspects of it, such as the destination and route of incoming calls, pick-up, call recording, etc, can be quickly adapted to a company’s changing business schedules and campaign requirements.

This approach has opened up entirely new levels of autonomy, flexibility and agility for SMEs, providing companies with the freedom to do a lot more than was possible previously and at a far lower running cost.

Within minutes or even seconds, the business – not the phone provider – can change the way that inbound calls are routed and managed. For example, the business may route calls to certain employees or teams at specific times of the week or day. And it can divert calls quickly and easily to other extensions if a phone has not been answered after a specific number of rings. And if a particular sales drive is taking place on the back of some company promotion or publicity, or a business team is on an away day, all of this can be accommodated to cope with peaks, out-of-offices and a host of other scenarios.

And because the data can be recorded and collated, companies can look at and analyse how the phone system is being managed to improve areas such as customer service, staff productivity, office space utilisation and flexible working.

Cloud brings choice and support…if required

Of course a company may decide that it doesn’t want everyday complete control of its phone system and instead would prefer to outsource most or just certain aspects of it. The beauty of a cloud phone system is that it offers choice and one that this time isn’t Hobson’s.

For example, if a company is likely to make relatively few changes to the configuration of its system, it may instead prefer to rely on its cloud phone provider to make the changes as and when required. This scenario typically applies to an SME that has more of a static business model and approach.

For a more dynamic business, which has a frequent need to alter aspects of its inbound call routing and more complex communications needs, it may choose to have complete control over the management and administration of it phone system.

Either way, the business isn’t left to fend for itself because it should still be able to rely on the expertise and support of its cloud phone provider if and when help or assistance – technical or otherwise – is needed.

In summary, the cloud has fundamentally changed the business communications and most importantly now provides SMEs with the ability to “insource” the phone system instead of relying to a large degree on a telephony provider. Not only has this choice drastically reduced the cost of procuring and running a phone system, it has also delivered benefits such as greater flexibility, enhanced agility and smarter working practices.

Rafael Cortes is head of marketing at Foehn.

The Foehn Buyers Guides to cloud phone systems

To view Foehn’s free Buyers Guide – Reclaiming Control with Cloud Phone Systems, click here.

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