Your company needs a PBX upgrade… and you’re in charge of the project.
Where do you start? There are over 100 vendors to choose from!
Mike Smith gives you the magic eight things you need to determine, PRIOR to picking which hosted PBX solutions to quote. Deciding on these eight items, up-front, will help you make a great decision for your company, in the least amount of time.
Want to skip all this work and just get Mike’s recommendations on the best vendors to quote? Click the button below, today.
Mike Smith is the Founder and President of AeroCom and has been helping companies with telecom and cloud services since 1999. He has been the recipient of numerous business telecommunications industry awards and in 2011, he was honored as one of the top 40 business people in Orange County, CA., under 40 years old. You can also hear him as the host of the popular Information Technology podcast, ITsmiths with Mike Smith. Follow Mike on LinkedIn, Twitter or SpiceWorks.
So your company is searching for a new phone system, and maybe you’re looking exclusively at a hosted VoIP service, but you’re wondering how do you make sense out of all these different service providers out there?
Well, I’ll tell you that there’s eight things that you can look at ahead of time before you go get quotes that will really help you narrow the field and help you find the best service provider for your company and waste the least amount of time when it comes to getting quotes and approaching service providers.
So, the eight things are as follows. Make sure you write these down and do these before you get a single quote.
Number one is administration.
You want to really examine, how does your IT team or your company want to administer the phone system? So for instance, what type of training are you going to provide the employees? How do you want to implement it? Do you want a hands-on installation or do you want them to just ship you phones? Do you want them to provide live training once or do they want to train the trainer? They want to have ongoing training? Do you want to be able to make adds, moves and changes yourself on the fly? Or do you not mind having to call the service provider to make a quick change? Or anything like that. So how does your company, what are the biggest things when it comes to administering and installing the phone system that are important to your company and that are must haves?
The second category is the one most people are familiar with, it’s features.
What features are really important to your company when it comes to the phone system? What features are you using today? And what features are must haves moving forward? And make a list of them.
The third thing you need to think about ahead of time is application integration.
What software is your company using today? What apps are you using today that you’d like to integrate with the phone system? For instance, do you want to integrate Outlook calendars with the presence of the phone system app? So for instance, if somebody has an appointment, do you want it to automatically reflect on the person’s present status on their phone system, showing that in an appointment, or something like that? Do you want contacts from Outlook to be integrated with your phone system, so then when somebody calls in and if the person’s name is in that employee’s contacts, it’ll pop their name?
Do you use Salesforce and you want to have Salesforce integrated?
Do you use G Suite and you want a G Suite to be integrated? Know that upfront. And again, make sure you’re notating the must haves. The nice to haves, don’t even bother writing those down because it’s just a waste of time. Just the must haves, focus in on those.
The next thing you want to think about ahead of time, before you get quotes, is hardware.
What type of handsets do does your company have today? And is it a must that you keep your same handsets moving forward? For instance, do you have a hosted VoIP service installed right now that you’re trying to get rid of and maybe switch providers, but you don’t want to change your handsets because you just bought new handsets like two, three years ago and they’re nice polycom handsets? Well, make sure you write down the make and model and know that ahead of time. Also, what type of equipment do you have for video conferencing that you want to keep? Things like that. So all the hardware, makes sure you know ahead of time, what are the must keep hardware items ahead of time because some service providers allow you to keep that hardware, some providers do not.
In addition to that, another category you want to think of is network.
What I mean by that is where are your company’s locations? Do you have more than one location? Do you have remote users? Where are they sitting? If you have multiple locations, are they all in the United States? If not, what countries are they in? And just know, okay, well, some service providers have local points of presence in different countries, so this is something you want to know upfront. Are you going to integrate all of your companies’ locations all throughout the globe? If so, make sure that you go with a service provider, you start quoting service providers who can do it. Don’t waste your time quoting providers who can’t accommodate when you can be quoting providers that can.
Another thing you want to research upfront is platform.
What I mean by that is some service providers run their hosted VoIP services off of a BroadSoft platform, which is owned by Cisco actually. Some run it off Cisco Call Manager, some run it off Microsoft, some have their own homegrown custom platform that they’re running. So know in advance, does your company have any particular preferences? Maybe you want to use Microsoft Teams for your phone system, so you only want to quote vendors who can offer a hosted VoIP service through Microsoft Teams. Know the platform upfront that you prefer if there’s any must haves within that platform.
Another thing you want to think of is pricing structure.
This is a big one. So based on your company’s needs, you might want a different pricing structure. Some providers offer different types of pricing. So for instance, if you have a lot of employees and maybe you have thousands of employees, but not everybody’s on the phone all the time. So maybe you want to find provider that prices user licenses separate than call paths so that you can drop that user license fee quite a bit, so you’re not paying a ton of money for all these user licenses who aren’t on the phone. Or maybe you want to use a metered calling plan where you want to pay per minute. Different providers offer different types of pricing. So if there are certain pricing structures that fits your company the best, and that are must haves, know that upfront.
And last but not least is security and compliance.
Does your company require that your hosted VoIP service provider meet certain compliance standards or have certain types of security in place? Obviously that’s a huge one. You don’t want to start quoting companies who don’t have that. So have that written down up front and make sure you talk to service providers right away about that.
So those are the different eight things that you need to know upfront, the different eight categories. Obviously those are pretty broad categories. There’s a lot of detail within each one. So if you still have a lot of questions, that’s normal. I can’t put everything on this video, but no need to worry. Don’t start searching the internet, just email me or call me (714-593-0011). I’m happy to ask you more questions and give you specific recommendations on the hosted VoIP service providers that I’d recommend your company quote, that are a great fit based on what your company needs.
And the great news is our company never charges our customers a dime for our recommendation, so there’s absolutely no reason not to reach out. Don’t spend hours of time trying to figure this stuff out on your own. You’ll never do it. I’ve been doing it for 20 years. Just reach out, send me an email, give me a call. I’m happy to give you some great vendor recommendations and get you started on the right foot. I can also introduce you to the right people at the vendors that are the best fit so that you are introduced a good, honest people who will give you the lowest pricing possible, who will not be flaky and give you great customer service. So I hope that helps. Again, reach out. I’m happy to give you some recommendations and have a great day.