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Don't Forget Hosted VoIP with Your Cloud Investments

Posted by Mark Greim on Nov 21, 2016 11:32:55 AM

As we approach year end, many businesses are making their IT infrastructure plans for the next year.  As you may expect, investing in cloud infrastructure is high on the list. One of the most common cloud initiatives for businesses focused on cloud investments is moving the phone system to a Hosted VoIP platform, or Cloud Telephony.

Information Week recently conducted a poll of readers, as they were interested in where the information technology spending will be focused on this next year. Although not intended to be scientific, it did present an informal take on the areas of focus.  "More than a third of respondents (36%) cited cloud as the technology that will receive the greatest investment at their companies in 2017."

There are many forms of cloud investment, and cloud telephony is often overlooked as a great source of securing significant benefits to the organization. This includes reduced costs in both the short and long term, increased flexibility, and an upgrade in applications supporting the business.

Reduced Costs

Dont Forget Cloud Telephony.jpgAs businesses invest in Hosted VoIP, they are able to replace their outdated phone system with a state-of-the-art system at a fraction of the costs.  The investment for Hosted VoIP is low, as you only need to purchase the VoIP phones.  The physical system itself is hosted by the provider and it is not a cost incurred by the business.  Thus, the business will no longer need to worry about a phone system replacement in the future.  Additionally, many IT managers are challenged to support and maintain old systems.  They are either bearing a high maintenance contract or paying a high price for parts that are difficult to secure.  All those concerns go away with Hosted VoIP. The only future costs will be handset replacement or addition.  Again, if current models are outdated, the business can replace with newer models and not necessarily have to replace all of the phones.

The monthly cost for phone service may also be reduced by moving to Hosted VoIP. Along with standard all-inclusive packages for local and long-distance calling, the cost of hosted user fees are typically lower than the all-in phone line costs for analog systems.  Additionally, many Hosted VoIP providers serve as your phone administrator, making changes to user names, call flows, auto attendant recordings, and such.  Some provide user interfaces for self-servicing, but look for the provider that will make these changes for you at no additional cost.  This will provide the business with internal labor savings dedicated to keeping the phone system up to date.

Increased Flexibility

Cloud Telephony provides much of the same degree of flexibility as Cloud Computing. Specific to your phone deployment, businesses no longer are confined to the walls of the office for the reach of their phone system. Associates can be deployed across multiple locations, whether an office environment, a work from home assignment, or a strictly mobile device.  Calls can be directed to or made by these associates with all appearances that they are working in the physical office.

For increased associate availability for calls, a soft phone application can be downloaded to a smart phone, tablet, or computer. If a person has a desk phone, this application can be designed to ring at the same time, assuming it is turned on. Thus, no matter where or what time a call needs to be made or received, the associate can utilize the soft phone to increase their availability.

Upgrade in Applications

Moving to a Hosted VoIP phone system from a traditional analog phone system, the business will likely benefit from an upgrade in the feature set.  They can customize the call flow and add ring groups. The auto attendant can also be customized to match the needs of the business and their customers. They can also have different attendant messages and options based upon the time of day and/or day of the week. The service also comes with standard features like direct inward dial numbers for each phone, voicemail delivery to email, call transferring and conferencing, and call recording. All features and call flow programming are designed to enhance the communication experience for customers and associates.

It's budget season, so make sure your IT plan for next year includes adding cloud telephony to your other cloud initiatives. It is an easy way to drive further budget savings while enhancing your communication capabilities!

 

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of VoIP phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.

Tags: Cloud Telephony, Hosted VoIP

Why IT Professionals Recommend Hosted VoIP to their Customers

Posted by Mark Greim on Jan 11, 2016 2:15:57 PM

Many small and medium-sized businesses outsource their information technology activities to IT professionals or firms.  IT for the SMB market has become much more than the management of the network.  It includes moving various applications to the cloud for great efficiency and monetary advantages.  To that end, contracted IT professionals and firms have become a key influencer of technology decisions in business.  It is for these reasons that we are seeing many referrals for Hosted VoIP services originating from recommendations from a business's IT professional.

IT_Professionals_Choose_Hosted_VoIP.jpgDigging deeper into the reasons why IT professionals are moving their business clients to Hosted VoIP services, we find that most are tied with keeping their clients moving forward with the general advancement of technology.  Improving their business and processes through technology is a necessary requirement for business longevity.  IT professionals understand this, as do many business owners.  However, IT professionals are well positioned with examples of activities that can be improved with technology, and cloud telephony is a great example.

It is a clear trend in business to move to a Hosted VoIP solution.  As existing telephone systems begin to fail and when replacement parts are becoming difficult or cost prohibitive to secure, businesses have moved to hosted VoIP.  Because the core system is a cloud-based application, businesses only need to purchase the VoIP handsets.  In many cases, these handsets cost less than the replacement handsets for their analog systems. This drives down the costs of acquisition.  Additionally, lower service costs and other indirect and direct benefits can provide a monthly savings to the business and generate a return on investment.  As more and more telephone system support requests are made to the IT manager or professional, they are seeing that it is time to move the organization to cloud telephony solutions.

Moreover, the VoIP application runs on the network they manage.  Old phone systems were under the domain of the system manufacturer, so troubleshooting and administration were depended upon others to work.  With Hosted VoIP, there is an element that remains under the IT manager's domain given that the phones run over the Ethernet network in the office.  The IT manager will have some firewall adjustments to make and maintain and be responsible to troubleshoot any issues with the Local or Wide Area Networks.  Because they are required to remain engaged with the solution, they are more apt to make recommendations to move to Hosted VoIP.

IT providers also tend to recommend solutions and providers they trust.  With their other clients they experienced a positive and seamless installation, a solution that could be molded to and advance the businesses communication practices, and a customer service approach that has exceeded expectations.  Once they find such a provider, a mutually beneficial relationship is forged between the IT professional and the Hosted VoIP provider.  In many cases, the Hosted VoIP provider also finds opportunities where their customers or potential customers could use some outsourced IT support, so cross referral opportunities are plentiful.

Finally, many IT support firms use Hosted VoIP services for their own business.  Many of the applications fit well for organizations like this who deploy resources in the field.  The utilization soft phones allow for these resources to make or take calls while being away from the office.  To the external caller, they have no idea where the call is made or received.  Also, receiving voicemail to email and other features have resonated well for a mobile work force such as deployed by an  IT provider.

If your business has not yet looked into the advantages of moving to a Hosted VoIP system, research a variety of options and ask your IT manager or professional for a recommendation.  You'll be glad you did!

 

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of VoIP phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 

This article is dedicated to all of the IT professionals who recommend sipVine to their client base.  We love you!  You keep our sales team hopping and we very much appreciate your continued referrals.

Tags: Hosted VoIP, Cloud Telephony, Phone Service for Computer and Network Services Co

Join the Movement: Hosted Telephony Market Exploding!

Posted by Mark Greim on Aug 11, 2015 3:12:51 PM

Small to medium-sized businesses are fueling the rapid growth of the Hosted Telephony market.  According to a recent study by Frost & Sullivan, there are 8 million users on a Hosted VoIP platform in 2014 and they expect that number to grow to 42 million by the end of 2021.  Such a rapid rise of users points to the fact that most new phone system installs for the SMB market are with a hosted VoIP provider.Join_the_Movement_to_VoIP

These businesses are attracted to the Hosted VoIP Model for many reasons.  Citing Frost and Sullivan, "small and medium businesses (SMBs) will account for the majority of installed users and a considerable portion of new users for these flexible, economical outsourced communications solutions".  So, how do these solutions provide flexibility and economies for business?

Flexible Phone System with Hosted VoIP

  • Because the actual phone system is hosted by your provider, you never have to worry about over or under building the infrastructure.  The system grows and contracts with your business.  You simply add phones and users as you grow or remove user accounts as you contract.
  • Another advantage to your cloud-based phone system is that you can deploy resources wherever you have high speed internet.  Associates can participate in your phone system communication strategy wherever they are deployed, be it the home office, satellite office, or even at home or on the road.

Economical Phone System with Hosted VoIP

  • Such flexibility provides economies.  Your only capital investment is in the VoIP phones themselves, not the phone system.  Thus, the cost per employee is both low and sized exactly to your organization.
  • Businesses also experience monthly economies regarding the phone service, which can be lower than traditional telecom providers.  The ability to consolidate service across locations lends to a lower price per employee than dealing with multiple providers.
  • Businesses can reassign resources previously committed to maintaining the existing phone system.  Your hosted VoIP provider serves as your administrator and can handle your requirements for adjustments and changes.
  • Expenses are also saved in replacement parts or external service work on the phone system.  Going forward, the business does not have to worry about obsolescence, as the hosted provider bears the responsibility to keep the system and features up-to-date and reliable.  As phones are needing replacement down the road, newer models will be introduced to the platform and work with older phones as well.

“Budget and resource constraints, as well as the appeal of faster access to advanced features, and the ability to supplement limited in-house IT staff, are lending momentum to hosted services among SMBs,” said Frost & Sullivan Unified Communications & Collaboration Program Director Elka Popova.  This is one of the keys to moving to a Hosted VoIP system.  At a very low cost, the SMB market can gain access to enterprise-level communication features that can actually advance their business and improve their own communication practices, both internally and externally.

Many small and medium-sized businesses have been delaying infrastructure investment, especially relating to the phone system replacement.  Difficulty finding replacement parts or continuing to spend money maintaining the old technology is starting to press these companies into replacing the phone system.  These businesses have not been early adopters of new technology and are conservative in their spending.  This is why such a bubble for growth exists, as anticipated by Frost & Sullivan.  Whether their system is on its last leg, or they are now convinced that the new technology is both affordable and beneficial to their business, decisions are being made every day to move to Hosted VoIP.  If your business has been waiting for the right time, find a Hosted VoIP provider who will educate you and take the time to learn about your communication strategies and customize a solution that will serve you for many years to come!

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of VoIP phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 

Tags: Hosted VoIP, Cloud Telephony

Is Your Phone Company Supporting Your Business?

Posted by Mark Greim on Jan 23, 2014 8:38:00 AM


Phone Company SupportWhatever your business is, chances are you know it pretty well. But any savvy entrepreneur knows that a lot more goes into running a business than just knowing the ins and outs of what you do. Businesses need staffing, computer services, shipping, and many other systems, and the best business owners know that they'll get the most bang for their buck by hiring experts in those systems to help their business run as efficiently as it can. You wouldn't hire a computer technician to run your HR department, and you wouldn't hire an HR manager to handle shipping. Unfortunately, many businesses do hire phone companies that aren't acting as subject matter experts on things like call flow and system features. While traditional phone companies may know a lot about phone lines and services, they may be completely unfamiliar with the phone systems that their clients are using.

That's part of why many businesses are moving to cloud-based telephone services. VoIP phone services hosted in the cloud create a unique opportunity for providers to act as subject matter experts not just in phone service, but also in phone systems. Because hosted VoIP phone service providers like sipVine provide both the phone service and the phone system at the same time, they can contribute expert advice on everything from call flow to auto attendants.

Modern VoIP phone services are budget friendly, and don't require a lot of upfront capital to set up. There's no need to buy an expensive private branch exchange (PBX) for your phone system, or to maintain any such bulky technology in the long haul. With hosted VoIP, your cloud phone service provider can take over the administration of your entire phone system. What's more, VoIP phone technology can bring a lot of benefits to the table, including features like direct dial, voicemail, unified messaging, on-phone corporate directories, and many others, while VoIP-enabled phones boast all the features that you've come to expect, including call waiting, caller ID, ad-hoc conferencing, intercom, and more.

But one of the best features of cloud-based VoIP telephone systems is that they allow your phone service provider to also be your phone system provider, meaning that they can support your business as subject matter experts in both fields, and can help ensure that your phone service and phone system are working in tandem to meet your company's ever-changing communication needs. Hosted VoIP phone service means constant IT and telecom support, from experts who don't just understand your service plan, but also every aspect of your phone system, from the inside out. Whether you need help setting up an out-of-office message, or whether your entire phone system needs an overhaul, the VoIP experts at sipVine are there to help.

When was the last time your phone company supported you as a subject matter expert on your call flow, auto attendant, or other system features? If the answer is anything but "right now," then maybe you should look into VoIP phone service from sipVine, and see the difference it can make in your business.

About the author: Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of hosted VoIP phone systems and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.

Tags: Benefits of VoIP, Hosted VoIP, Cloud Telephony

Ride the Wave (or Cloud) with VoIP Technology

Posted by Mark Greim on Sep 13, 2013 11:40:00 AM

It was just a few short years ago when businesses needed to be educated on the merits of hosted VoIP.  At sipVine, we receive calls every day from businesses who have already decided upon going with a hosted service for their voice telephony.  This is a drastic change from years past, as callers were inquiring about a phone system or service, and had to overcome fears of running their service over the internet to an off-premise system.

In particular, small to mid-sized businesses are investing less and less in on-site systems and moving to the cloud for their telephony and other applications. There are several driving factors in this change:VoIP Telephony

  • General Business Climate Improvement – Through the recession, businesses deferred spending on infrastructure, keeping their older systems in play and, in many cases, on life support.  As economic conditions have improved, businesses are in a position to take advantage of the technological improvements that surfaced in the previous decade.  The good news with deferring the investment on VoIP is that stronger providers have emerged and are now thriving.  Businesses have a choice, and the top providers have different areas of strength to match with the needs of the business.
  • Low Up-Front Investment – Upgrading technology is not overwhelming with a Hosted VoIP system.  Instead of investing in the on-site system and server, businesses are simply purchasing the VoIP phone handsets or softphones.  Additional minor equipment may be necessary for analog device conversion, such as a fax machine.  This level of investment is a fraction of what it will be when compared to an on-site service.
  • Flexible Deployment – With a hosted system, it doesn’t matter where the phones are located.  Thus, businesses may outfit their office as well as deploy a work at home model as the situation warrants.  If businesses have multiple branch offices, they can all be on the same system and take advantage of centralization of functions, peer to peer extension dialing, and general cost savings through scale pricing offered by the hosted providers.
  • Technology Improvement – It is amazing to hear what some companies have been suffering through the past several years.  Simple things like caller ID receipt and direct dial numbers are table stakes with VoIP technology, but many analog systems didn’t allow for such features.  Personal voicemail boxes with voicemail to email are welcomed additions for businesses suffering through old technology.  But, there are many advanced communication features and opportunities for custom programming so that the new system is built to meet or advance your voice communication practices.

Has your business hopped on the wave?  It is worth an exploration.  Give us a call and we’ll help you it!

 

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVine, a provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and has a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 

Tags: Technology in Business, Cloud Telephony, Phone System Replacement

Outlook Positive for Cloud Telephony – Business VoIP

Posted by Mark Greim on Sep 29, 2011 11:17:00 AM

Driven by growth in the small business sector, cloud telephony service providers can expect a substantial increase in revenues over the next 12 to 18 months.  This business segment is gravitating toward hosted voice services and other cloud computing applications as a means to access advanced technology for their business without a large capital outlay.cloud telephony outlook is positive

A recent report by the Heavy Reading IP Services Insider, Cloud Telephony:  The Battle over SMBs, indicates that “real estate and legal firms are the hottest vertical for cloud telephony” and “increased workforce mobility is driving more interest in applications such as unified communications”. 

At sipVine, a North Kansas City, MO based business VoIP provider, we’ve seen a surge in sales opportunities, both locally and nationally, in recent months.  Our growth has been brisk to this point, but the accelerated interest from the SMB market space has not gone unnoticed.  “The core of our business has always been the small to mid-sized companies, and more and more are looking to enhance their technology by looking to cloud services such as ours”, says Robert Conner, founder of sipVine.  “We have seen a great surge in clients who have multiple locations, whether locally or across the country.  A hosted VoIP solution really creates synergistic opportunities and drives efficiency for these types of companies.”

The landscape is certainly changing in the telecom marketplace.  As the large, traditional providers of landline services have their focus on the wireless offerings and large enterprise solutions, a niche has been carved out by an increasing number of VoIP providers who focus on delivering both the phone equipment and service to the business community.  Hosted providers are able to differentiate themselves from the large providers by getting close to their customers and program the system to meet their needs and delivering dial tone.

This emerging niche of providers coupled with an increasing adoption level of the SMB market of cloud telephony services has created a business market primed for accelerated growth.  If you’re a business looking to enhance your communication functionality at a low entry price, check out a hosted VoIP provider specializing in business applications today!

About the author:  Mark Greim is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at sipVinea provider of a variety of digital phone solutions and services. Mark has extensive experience working for start-up or entrepreneurial organizations and a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments.  

Tags: Technology in Business, VoIP Trends in Business, Cloud Telephony

VoIP Phone Solutions | sipVine Blog | Cloud Telephony Embraced

Posted by Mark Greim on Jun 27, 2011 10:22:00 AM

Businesses in the Computer and Networking Services Industry are choosing cloud telephony for a variety of reasons.  The types of businesses in this sector include Cabling and Wiring companies, Network Managers and Consultants, and Software developers.  These businesses are highly mobile and promote new technology themselves, so moving to a digital phone service makes great sense for them.Phone Service for Computer and Network Services Companies

These businesses are routinely on the go, and their personnel need to be reached by customers and other employees wherever they may be.  By choosing a Hosted VoIP provider, there are a variety of options are that are available to them.  Examples include maintaining a phone at a remote office or home, delivering simultaneous ring of their extension to their desk phone and cell phone, deploying a soft phone on their laptop, and/or having a virtual extension to their cell phone.  Additionally, receiving voicemails and faxes to their email also allows them to be better in touch with their callers.

Computer and Network Service companies are in the business of promoting technology and cloud computing to their client base.  By actually deploying a cloud telephony solution for their company, they are able to demonstrate to their clients an example of one of the advancements they promote.  By choosing the right VoIP service provider, they may also partner and sell telephony services as an agent for the provider, enhancing their solution portfolio.

One of the big advantages for all businesses that adopt the digital phone solutions is the flexibility these solutions have to be tailored to how they do business.  Look for providers who consult with their clients and program the options to specifically address the business needs and communication practices.  Again, this capability falls nicely into the skill set for this industry, as they are developing similar solutions for their client base.

As your business evaluates cloud services, see if your network consultant deploys a cloud telephony solution themselves.  

Tags: Cloud Telephony, Phone Service for Computer and Network Services Co

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