Hosted PBX: Letting the 'Real' Work Get Done
Like many small companies, one recent client turned to a hosted PBX so it could better focus on running its business, not its phone service.
Like many small businesses, a construction company I recently worked with is too busy doing the work at hand, in this case building and renovating houses, to spend much time worrying about the best IT solutions for its needs. However, this company was concerned enough about its costs and prior telephone company experiences that it was willing to listen to our advice, and then act on making necessary changes.
The company's Verizon bill of $222 monthly isn't going to gain the attention of many readers, but the approach it took in getting to a better solution should be of interest. First it improved its IT infrastructure, and then focused on reducing costs.
The company had its electrician run the necessary cables to each office location, and then installed a rack enclosure with transient voltage surge suppression from ITW Linx and a Minuteman dual-conversion uninterruptible power supply. A Dell SonicWall firewall, sized for the simultaneous connections, devices, and growth potential, handles all routing and premises security. A small, 12-port managed Power-over-Ethernet Adtran switch provides LAN connectivity for the company's new Panasonic SIP telephones connected to a PBX hosted by Jive Communications.
In the case of an Internet outage, the company isn't concerned about failover. It insists that the automated attendant is more than adequate since it will continue to take calls and route customers to voice mailboxes that relay messages to employee smartphones.
Many small companies such as this don't really require any significant moves/adds/changes over time, but if so, they are easily accomplished remotely or by unplugging a phone and moving it to a new location. This company really likes the idea of being able to take a phone home and plug it into the network there.
The company likes its hosted arrangement, and didn't blink when buying equipment and installing new cabling. Instead, it commented that it wanted improvements and was tired of the old methods and problems associated with the phone company.
As part of the upgrade, we also ported the company's fax number to Jive using a virtual fax service that sends inbound fax messages via email and is never offline -- a far more efficient and effective process than the legacy fax machine. For outgoing faxes, the company can simply use email to fax with an authentication code entered into the subject line of the email. This means less paper handling and printing, and provides a way for any staff member to send faxes from his or her desk or laptop -- in the field, at a home office, or even while on vacation. I can say I appreciate these benefits as well; after having used virtual fax for a lot of years, I know it to be an invaluable tool.
This company's new, hosted Jive service costs $131 monthly -- and that's not a bad cost reduction. But the real benefit is in the ease of getting dial tone, using voicemail to email, and faxing on the fly. The deeper message is simple -- this company's business is construction, not phones, not IT, and not gimmicks to imitate IT or phone services. It stepped up, listened to the consultants, and acted on improving infrastructure and reducing costs.