To understand the benefits of a hosted phone system, we need to start with ‘the cloud’.
The cloud can be a mysterious entity that many people struggle to understand. So here’s our (very) simple definition…
The cloud basically refers to a solution or service that’s delivered over the internet. And it’s the same story with services like hosted phone systems (i.e. hosted PBX). Instead of having the physical hardware or service on-site (like with traditional computing or PBX telephony), it’s all in a secured central data centre. That’s the simple bit!
Cloud technology has revolutionised the way in which our IT infrastructure works, especially for businesses. Accessing software couldn’t be easier than it is with the cloud, but that’s not all it’s good for. Businesses now have access to a fully-functional IT infrastructure without being charged an arm and a leg upfront. It’s now much easier for smaller companies to access the same technologies that were previously only accessible to larger organisations; hosted phone solutions being one of them!
Scalability and flexibility are the two main advantages of hosted solutions for businesses of any size. Hosted and cloud solutions are usually charged on a per-user-per-month basis, meaning that companies only pay for what they actually need. Businesses can use the cloud as little or as much as they want in order to grow, and what’s even better is the cloud will grow along with your business.
The benefits of cloud (hosted) telephony…
Business telephony and the way we communicate has experienced lots of changes recently, with hosted phone systems now becoming the obvious choice. Installation is quick, easy and inexpensive, and although technologies like VoIP (voice calls transmitted over the internet) are nothing new, they’ve seen huge improvements in recent years.
This has all culminated into hosted unified telephony systems like MyHosted. Hosted voice solutions are now being compared to full-blown traditional PBX systems, with both telephony services providing businesses with similar cutting-edge features.
1. The cost
Many businesses find it difficult to handle the initial installation fees and ongoing maintenance costs associated to a new on-site telephone system. That’s where a hosted telephone solution comes in.
There’s often no ongoing maintenance charges like with traditional PBX systems, and there’s minimal installation fees. And because you don’t need multiple phone lines for hosted telephony, monthly rental costs are cheaper too.
This is because the infrastructure for your hosted phones is stored in a centralised data centre which is automatically updated and maintained without any extra cost to you. And because there’s little equipment on your site, hosted phones can be installed at the click of a few buttons, without the need for specialist engineers.
It’s often cited as one of the disadvantages of hosted phone systems, but when it comes to security there’s really no need to be scared of the cloud.
With hosted telephony your supplier is responsible for your system’s security, which is often much safer than maintaining it yourself. Disaster recovery plans and physical security in your provider’s data centre will ensure that your hosted PBX is totally protected. And in the worst case scenario, if something was to fail, then data will be rerouted to another part of the system, so you shouldn’t notice any downtime.
3. Extra features and increased productivity
Now that you know the maintenance of your system is in good hands, the reduced downtime and system management allows you to focus on what matters.
Depending on the model you choose, hosted systems enable you to connect staff across different sites, at home, or even on the move. What’s more, all internal calls made on your hosted system are often free (depending on your chosen supplier).
Improving productivity in your business doesn’t stop there; your staff now have the freedom to work from wherever they are – this is remote working in the digital age! With certain hosted phone systems like our MyHosted solution, staff can answer incoming calls using the same extension as they would in the office, so you have the flexibility to employ staff without the need to accommodate them in a physical workspace.
We’re not saying the biggest advantage of a hosted phone solution is that you can give staff the option to work from home, but having the option to answer calls when you are away from the desk will help improve the service your business provides and the way you communicate internally too.
Although there are many benefits of hosted systems, there are many hosted PBX options out there with their own portfolio of unique benefits. With systems such as MyHosted (based on the BroadSoft platform), there are extra features that allow your communications to operate more flexibly.
Take mobile twinning for example…
If you’re just about to leave the office and you get a last minute call, there’s no need to stay at work late and hit the traffic. Thanks to mobile twinning you can transfer a current call from your desk phone to your mobile. And if you were to head back to the office again, you can transfer the call back from your mobile to your desk phone.
Never miss a call…
Like traditional PBX systems, there’s a whole host of setups available with hosted telephony to make sure you never miss a single call. That could be allocating a single phone number to be used across multiple handsets (including mobiles), setting up call groups, diversions or redirects for example. Whatever you need, your hosted phones can probably do it. And your business will look far more professional when you pick the phone up every single time it rings.
Thanks to tools such as our MyHosted Management Portal, you can stay in control 24/7. All you need is an internet connection, and you can control your hosted system from wherever you are, whenever you need to. Flexibility is a major advantage that hosted systems have over traditional business telephony.
Addressing the ‘disadvantages’ of a hosted phone system
The two most common concerns when choosing a hosted phone system is the call-quality and system reliability. When internet calling solutions like VoIP first emerged they were rife with problems caused by latency and poor bandwidth, with calls breaking up and disconnecting regularly.
But modern hosted solutions are a world apart from these legacy systems, yet they’re still struggling with the bad reputation caused by VoIP and untrustworthy suppliers. Today thanks to multi-million pound data centre investments, hosted telephony is as reliable as on-premise systems; if not more!
The world of business internet connectivity has also come a long way from the days of dial-up, with options like QoS designed specifically to prioritise voice traffic for exceptional call quality.
So what’s our top tip?
Cloud-based communications and PBX solutions require a fast and stable internet connection. So if your bandwidth is poor and you want to harness the benefits of hosted, you should consider upgrading your connectivity.
In addition to this, it’s important to find a supplier who recommends a connection on which QoS is enabled. That’s quality of service, and it guarantees all your voice calls are crystal clear.
Hosted PBX is great for new business
Hosted telephone systems give any business a fully-functional communications solution from the get-go. There’s no need to wait for the system to be installed, your business can get to work on day 1. New companies, or even new offices, can benefit from hosted telephone systems as employees can get to work before they’re even allocated a desk.
Saving on expenses is hugely important for new businesses, and hosted systems are great for cutting down on costs. Like we said before, pay monthly instead of upfront lump-sums and only pay for what you need – you can rest knowing exactly how much your system will cost and that there will be no unexpected maintenance charges.