Calculating the value of hosted telephony

Every SME in the UK is governed by strict budgets. When dealing with fine margins between success and failure, there’s no wiggle room for overspending or financial wastage. So it’s surprising that, today, countless small businesses aren’t prioritising a move away from more costly traditional telecoms technology for better alternatives, to help drive both cost and operational efficiencies.

In general, the costs of old, fixed-line estates that many SMEs use are rooted in their reliance on inflexible and aging physical infrastructure. These require regular upkeep, maintenance and repair. But there are also secondary expenses to consider, because these systems cannot adequately support remote working and take days to get diverts in place and the service back up online after an unexpected outage.

For SMEs looking for ways to improve efficiencies in order to remain competitive, it’s more important than ever before for them to consider ways to become more agile. A move to a more flexible phone system is one way to help drive this change.

No wires = no maintenance

It’s fair to say that very few SMEs have a large dedicated IT division. Indeed, in many cases there will be no tech specialist in the business at all. So what happens when there’s a problem with the phone lines? Inevitably, it’s a call to the supplier and a long wait for an engineer.

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Adoption of a hosted telephony system brings a swift end to that way of doing things. A hosted system moves the traditional hardware from your office, to the cloud, so there is far less physical infrastructure to worry about. Also, the system can be easily controlled via a web portal (so no tech specialists are needed to run it either), and its increased functionality making the service more flexible, it is inherently more reliable than its predecessor systems, too.

Business doesn’t stop

Every business is dependent on its phone system. As soon as a business loses the ability to talk to clients, it loses the ability to make money. This means even the smallest downtime can have a severe impact on the bottom line (and overall success) of an SME.

With a legacy ISDN (or similar) based telephone system in place, the time it takes to resume productive working after unplanned downtime is days. On a hosted system, there is actually no need to suffer downtime at all – calls can be easily rerouted to alternative locations quickly without reliance on the provider and flexible working solutions ensure teams aren’t reliant on being at their desks.

Just because the phones stop, doesn’t mean the business should.

Working wherever

More and more businesses are taking advantage of modern working and productivity trends. One of the most popular of is remote working, which ensures that employees can work in any location and at times that suit them.

Hosted phone systems are ideal to support remote working in ways that legacy communications estates cannot. With call twinning to mobile devices and softphones for desktops, employees can manage how their calls are directed via a simple web platform. It means that customers calling in to the business will only ever have to dial one number to get through to the person they need to speak to, regardless of where he or she is.

For today and tomorrow

There are few things more frustrating to the cost-conscious SME business owner than investing in tech upgrades only to have them obsolete within a few months. The big benefit to SMEs that hosted telephony brings is that, unlike alternative systems, it’s future-proofed.

Because its infrastructure is hosted in the cloud, upgrades can be implemented by the provider automatically, meaning SMEs have access to updates and upgrades as soon as they become available, keeping businesses up-to-date with feature-rich and functional technology.

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SMEs need to keep cost in mind with everything they do. Wastage or lost revenue can not only stall growth, but can cause a business to let its competitors get ahead. By migrating to a modern, hosted telephony solution SMEs can ensure better remote working and first class business communications long into the future.

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20 June 2016 | Jamie Ward

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The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.