It is pretty obvious these days that both in our professional and personal lives, telecommunications is playing a much bigger and more vital role than it has in the past. One doesn’t need to be an analyst to draw this conclusion, as the empirical evidence is pretty clear with all of the (mobile) devices (e.g. phone, tablet) everyone has one or more of. Add to this the continually growing reliability, security, and cost-efficiency of the hosted model (in the cloud), and you have enterprise and residential services that can’t be ignored.
One such service is the Hosted IP PBX for the enterprise, which is the topic of this blog and the first in my three-blog series I am calling Telecommunications in the Cloud.
The Enterprise: To buy or to lease? On-premise or in the cloud? These two questions are being asked more and more every day by enterprises of all sizes when it comes to their telecommunications needs. Both have their pros and cons, with two of the most obvious being control and cost. Large enterprises typically like to be in control of their telecommunications needs, which is why a lot, if not most, of them keep telecommunications in-house. On the other hand, cost is a top concern for small and medium-sized enterprises, which is where Hosted IP PBX finds its sweet spot.
The Network Operator: The growth and acceptance of cloud-based services combined with their existing infrastructure puts network operators in an ideal position to offer Communications-as-a-Service (CaaS) to their enterprise customers. One such CaaS is the Hosted IP PBX, which enables network operators to become “relevant” again in the lucrative enterprise market. NOTE: CaaS, such as Hosted IP PBX, can also be offered to enterprises by telecommunications service providers who are not network operators.
Knowing that Hosted IP PBX is a win-win for both network operators and enterprises, let’s look at what Hosted IP PBX has to offer. In short, Hosted IP PBX is a business-class phone service provided over the internet allowing small and medium-sized businesses to have a sophisticated telephone system without the CAPEX investment in telephone equipment. In fact, the entire telephone system is hosted (operated and maintained) at an off-site location by the network operator.
Hosted IP PBX also enhances the traditional telecom architecture by enabling a self-services component to the enterprise subscriber. Commonly through the secured web, user configuration and control is provided via a standard web-based portal that enhances basic phone functionality to make standard services like multi-device ringing, conference calling, call move, and call forwarding easier to manage and new services simpler to deploy. For example, with a simple click on a web page, the subscriber can choose to forward calls to their mobile phone or have it ring on all of their assigned numbers.
Which small and medium-sized business wouldn’t want to off-load the operation and maintenance of their telecommunications system that brings the following benefits and more?
- Personnel Savings – with employee salaries typically making up the largest portion of a business’s budget, eliminating the need for in-house telecommunications/IT staff to manage the system, address problems, perform upgrades, etc. is the first of many benefits of Hosted IP PBX.
- Total Cost of Ownership – not having to make an initial large upfront investment purchasing an office telephone system (shifting CAPEX to OPEX) allows that money to be used more strategically. Furthermore, on-going savings include low-cost inter-office/long-distance calling, and eliminating system maintenance and upgrades, with the added benefits of a predictable monthly cost and simplified vendor management for multiple services.
- Scalability – all businesses have spikes in their capacity demands, but not all have the luxury of meeting these demands, unless they have Hosted IP PBX, where they can quickly and easily expand and grow without having to add costly hardware and endure time-consuming installations.
- Flexibility – employees can work from just about anywhere that has an IP connection: home, hotel, airport, mobile phone, etc. while keeping features such as call transfer, auto attendant, music-on-hold, and conference calling, leading to enhanced productivity, all the while managing their own profiles through an on-line portal.
- Business Continuity – Hosted IP PBX service providers offer disaster recovery options as they have multiple carrier-grade hosting centers with fully redundant servers in case of emergencies, such as fire, flood, or power outage, quickly and easily routing calls to alternative locations or mobile phones, enabling for business as usual.
With most network operators looking for ways to increase revenue and not be diminished to the passive role of providing only dumb pipes, CaaS is a clear opportunity. Enterprises are always looking for ways to lower costs, while maintaining (or even increasing) their level of service and Hosted IP PBX is one such service that can accomplish both.
For some more information on Hosted IP PBX, take a look at this infographic from Dialogic.
In part 2 of 3 of my blog on Telecommunication in the Cloud, I will discuss Class 5/Residential Services as another service network operators could consider.