Onsite as a strategic choice
Your company has more options then ever when it comes to a new business phone system. When considering an on-premises communications platform, you should first review your current telephony situation. For example, are you connecting your phones to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) with a legacy, analog system like TDM? If you are, you’ll find immediate cost savings by making a change to voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service delivery. From a delivery standpoint, you could consider a hosted cloud PBX solution if your IT resources are limited; or you can choose an on-premises solution and retain full operational management and control of your service.
How Businesses Benefit From An Onsite Phone System
Do you have IT resources at hand? If they are accustomed to managing and maintaining an onsite communications system (whether TDM or IP), they may want to consider managing the service in-house. Some companies are required to control their own data for security or privacy reasons, so an onsite phone system is right for them. Other companies simply feel more comfortable knowing that they are in control of all maintenance, management, and upgrades.
However, even the most highly skilled IT team can be burdened with an IP on-premises platform that is characterized by duplicative, redundant and complicated tasks. Nothing is more frustrating, time-consuming and budget-busting than a bloated, hard-to-administer onsite phone system. And beware of systems that offer lots of bells and whistles, but make users jump through hoops to use them. Nothing is more discouraging than launching “the big phone project” and having it fall flat due to complicated, hard-to-master user interfaces (not to mention the cost of increased calls to your helpdesk).
Capitalize your expenses
Some companies prefer to make long-range planning and investment part of their financial strategy. Institutions that prefer to capitalize major expenses, rather than incur recurring monthly operational expenses, are good candidates for an onsite business phone system. On-premises business phone systems can be an excellent investment—if you choose the right vendor.
Just because you prefer to invest does not mean you prefer to overspend. Choose your onsite vendor wisely, and consider every expense you will incur, from the upfront capital investment through the costs of deployment, maintenance and on-going system management. All onsite solutions are not the same. Many do not offer true scalability; instead major expansions require major forklift upgrades. Many do not offer streamlined, single-screen administration, with moves/adds/changes (MACs) made in seconds with button clicks; instead they require duplicative entry of account names, on each screen that enables a key function.
Time is money, and it can be very surprising to calculate the true cost of maintaining a number of the on-premises solutions available today. This total cost of ownership (TCO) is an important metric when researching onsite business communications options.
Leverage current investments
Your company is a good candidate for an onsite business phone solution if you are already running your own data center. With the growth of virtualization, more and more businesses have eliminated redundant and expensive servers and instead rely on VMware and Hyper-V technologies to share hardware resources across an array of applications.
Deploying a virtualized communications platform on your industry-standard x86 servers makes good sense and increases your data center ROI. With ShoreTel, companies that have multiple locations across wide distances can even “mix and match” their onsite deployments, putting the virtual phone system at their headquarters while utilizing fail-safe, solid state ShoreTel voice switch appliances in field offices.
Companies with international locations will often rely on onsite phone systems in remote spots, even if they prefer that the majority of their employees be served by a cloud phone system provider. Global organizations want to trust their call handling, but in some locations, international public Internet may be less reliable. In these situations, an on-premises phone system makes sense, especially when the IP phone vendor offers a hybrid solution that allows the onsite and cloud deployments to work as a unified system with full 4-digit extension dialing, call transfer and employee directories.