In the next few years, most firms in the UK will have to reconsider how they handle their phone systems. This is because legacy ISDN networks are being switched off in 2025, which means firms will have to find new solutions like cloud telephony to replace PBX systems that currently rely on this technology.
For many, the best option is likely to be a cloud-based hosted telephony service. These solutions use VoIP technology to deliver communications, and this means there is a wide range of extra services and features that can be added to transform voice calls into a key part of a digital business.
However, when it comes to choosing a hosted telephony service, there is a range of options available, so you’ll need to make sure you’re selecting the best one for your needs.
Arrow, for example, has two key offerings when it comes to cloud services – Horizon and Scala. Both of these offer complete hosted systems, but there are a few important differences to be aware of. With Horizon more aimed at smaller businesses and Scala offering advanced services for larger enterprises, it’s important to pick the solution that fits your operations.
The key features of Cloud Telephony
Whichever cloud service you choose, there are several key benefits that you should be aware of. For instance, one key feature of any cloud telephony system is scalability. These services are typically available on a subscription basis, with businesses paying for a specified number of seats. This makes it easy to add extra users when you need them or scale back if you don’t.
Not only is this hugely advantageous for growing businesses, as it means they won’t have to completely retool their communications as they expand, but it can also be great for companies that are highly seasonal. This means they can add seats to cope with periods of high demand without being locked into long-term contracts for services they will not always use.
When it comes to call handling, it’s easy to configure how calls are managed, including redirecting at certain times, transferring between locations and from mobile to landline devices.
You can also not only keep any existing numbers you may have from your current PBX system, but maintain local numbers no matter where your firm is physically located, ensuring you can always offer a local presence for your customers.
More than just voice services
However, the benefits of cloud phone systems extend far beyond voice services and related call handling tasks. Scala, for example, offers over 200 enterprise features including collaboration services, video conferencing and dedicated contact centre services.
Cloud services should also offer integration into a firm’s customer relationship management systems and offer a full range of analytics features to offer full visibility into your communications. This can tell you everything from how effective your sales and marketing agents are to identifying better ways of routing your calls. The result of all this will be a phone system that is more efficient, costs less to run and can secure higher revenue.
Another benefit of cloud services is the flexibility and management service on offer. Because the services sit in the cloud rather than on-premises, you can offer support for multiple sites, hot desking and home working under the same system, or even extend it to mobile devices as needed.
This support for remote and flexible working again not only increases the productivity of your employees, but can also make them happier as they’re better able to work when and how they choose without worrying about being hard to contact.
The ISDN Switch-Off
Many firms will have no choice but to upgrade their phone services in the coming years due to the ISDN switch-off. But instead of worrying about the disruptive impact such a migration may have, they should be viewing it as an opportunity to explore what cloud telephony solutions have to offer and take their business communications to the next level.