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Business Communications Buyers' Guide
Business Communications Buyers' Guide

Business Communications Buyer’s Guide

Home > Enterprise Communications > Resources > Buyers Guide

Choosing your next business communications system doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are a few good resources to help you as you get started.

It has never been easier to enhance how you sell, service, and collaborate.

The average business changes its communications system only about once every seven years. This means that there aren’t very many people who are experts at selecting, purchasing and implementing a new business communications system. So, if you are wondering where to start, you are not alone. We’ve implemented thousands of customers and know a bit about what our customers go through as they begin the journey.

To help, we’ve assembled content relevant to each of the stages that our customers typically move through from the very idea of a business communications system change to making choices about how to implement it.


Getting Started

Choosing your next business communications system may seem like a daunting task. After all, it’s an essential part of operations. The selection process is important, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are a few good resources to help as you get started.

People don’t change communications solutions without a solid reason. There’s probably an event or business need that’s driving your search. This page talks about the common reasons businesses change phone solutions and ways Ooma Enterprise can help with your specific event or challenge.

Many buyers have a set of specific feature requirements, like automated attendants, ring groups and voicemail. This detailed list will help you place a checkmark next to your required features. It’s also a great place to start if you haven’t yet thought about exactly what your system will need to do.

Sure, you’ll need business phones, but this page helps explain everything else that your phone system can be. Get more info about awesome business applications like web-based collaboration, video and mobility support – all of which can boost engagement and modernize your communication.


Cloud-based vs. On-Premise

Traditionally, businesses deployed systems and applications by installing software on hardware located in their offices. Cloud VoIP phone system or Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is the modern paradigm in which cloud applications and cloud VoIP systems are located in secure data centers, and vendors can take responsibility for owning, configuring and managing them. Businesses connect to these applications through the Internet or private connections. The benefits of the cloud phone systems are plentiful.

Devoting your IT team to business phone administration is a waste of resources, and it’s not helping your company compete in the marketplace. Cloud-based VoIP alternatives eliminates those IT headaches, reduces resource costs and frees up your team to work on projects that relate to your core business objectives.

If you ask anyone who has had to move or expand an on-premise phone system, they probably won’t remember it fondly. These systems have capacity limits, require frequent upgrades and are just plain difficult to move to new locations.

Adding users, regardless of time and place, is seamless and unlimited with UCaaS systems. There’s no need to guess now how many employees you will have and you never have to worry about outgrowing your phone system’s capacity. Plus, you only pay for what you need.

As businesses grow, change is inevitable. With an on-premise system, you are stuck with the features the system comes with – and adding features usually leads to a painful and often expensive upgrade.

The cloud approach for business VoIP is different. By accessing one centralized cloud-based software platform, customers can request and take advantage of new features and capabilities that can be added without any disruption, extra effort or new hardware requirements (read more about the basics of VoIP here).

Companies are looking for ways to keep their team tied together – and this includes mobile and remote workers. With traditional phone systems, the best choice for communication while out of the office was using home phones or personal mobile lines.

Cloud-based phone systems make remote work seamless. People working from home, hotels, or even the beach can make, take business calls just as if they were sitting at their desk. Four-digit dialing and call transfers between locations also improve efficiency and customer service. In addition, locations can back each other up during peak call times or emergencies, and resources in different time zones can be leveraged to better meet client needs.

Most businesses have a disaster recovery plan for their data, but many don’t have one for their voice and communications systems. Redundancy with on-premise systems is complicated and expensive, so many companies just don’t do it and learn to regret it after disaster strikes.

The Ooma Enterprise cloud VoIP model provides an embedded continuity plan that’s built into your implementation, not just a bolted on as an afterthought. Cloud VoIP solutions allow you to protect your business’s voice just like you protect the integrity of your networks.


Vendor Selection

When you choose a vendor for your business communication system, you establish an important partnership. It’s kind of a big deal, so you want to consider your options carefully.

Here are some questions that will help you find a great partner and keep you from finding any unpleasant surprises.

Question

Answer

How would you describe your solution’s network infrastructure?
Pay close attention to whether the vendor has a worldwide presence with intelligent routing to ensure calls are directed through the nearest location.
Do you use dedicated circuits?
A dedicated voice circuit is an internet connection that carries only traffic to and from the hosted VoIP network to your office. Your existing connection to public internet endures heavy use it gets during the workday. Add voice to that connection, and you’re asking for degraded quality, dropped calls, and jitter. A connection dedicated solely to voice gets rid of those problems.
Is call quality guaranteed?
Consider providers and options that guarantee uptime and reliability by offering a support level agreement. At Ooma Enterprise, our dedicated voice circuits give us the visibility we need to find and fix any problem.
Do you have redundant equipment configured?
You want a partner with multiple data centers and backup equipment that’s ready to take over in the event of an outage. Automatic failover is ideal.
What are the initial, monthly and ongoing maintenance and support costs?
Be sure that all costs are crystal-clear including subscription fees, equipment fees, installation fees, regulatory fees, and taxes.
Will I have to pay for upgrades to the system?
The best solutions include all future upgrades at no additional charge. What’s more, the updates should be automatic without any effort on your part.
What are the details of the implementation process? Will someone help me with the project?
Implementing a UCaaS solution is not difficult and should not require any special technical expertise, but the best vendors have people to help as you get started. At Ooma Enterprise we call them Success Heroes.

Use the following table to help you organize information and guide your vendor selection. It covers the main criteria used by most reviewers. Remember to consider the type of business you have and focus on the features you need.

Vendor 1 Vendor 2 Vendor 3
Guaranteed call quality
Worldwide footprint
Redundant data centers
Customer success managers
Dedicated circuits
Automated updates included
Advanced voice features
Contact center platform capabilities
CRM integration
Mobile and BYOD features
Audio and video conferencing
Call recording

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