Office Phone System - Is it Time for an Upgrade?

Posted by Mark Greim on Mar 23, 2022 9:30:00 AM

Today, businesses are evaluating everything to do with the definition of the “office” and the office phone system is a key component to establishing a flexible environment. There are several other triggers that also lead to the evaluation of the office phones. So, when is the right time to replace the office phone system?

Read More

Tags: voip business phone system, Phone System Replacement

My Phone System is Failing! What do I do?

Posted by Mark Greim on Jun 10, 2019 10:20:00 AM

Every business with an analog phone system faces this question at some point.  The first sign that something is wrong typically is that you are having difficulty securing replacement handsets or other components.  The manufacturer has long since put that system on "end-of-life" and is looking for you to upgrade to their newer model.  You're able to hold on for a while by finding parts on Ebay until your actual service vendor indicates that they will no longer be able to support your system, which really disturbs you because you've been spending a small fortune with them to keep the phone system alive!

Read More

Tags: Hosted VoIP, Phone System Replacement

5 Events Signaling it is Time to Change Phone Providers

Posted by Mark Greim on Dec 4, 2018 9:50:00 AM

Changing phone providers isn't (and shouldn't be) top of mind for most businesses.  Investing in and managing the core business is always the priority, with infrastructure investments left to wait for the right time.  So, when is the right time?  There are some advantages from a strategic and efficiency standpoint that could make sense to implement at any time, but there are also some clear events that signal that it is time to change phone service providers and move to a VoIP phone system.

Read More

Tags: Hosted VoIP, Phone System Replacement, Moving Phone Service, Telecom Term Agreements

Perform a VoIP Comparison for Your Company Phones

Posted by Mark Greim on Mar 14, 2017 10:15:00 AM

When evaluating your company phone system and service, a VoIP comparison is necessary to evaluate the opportunity before you. This VoIP comparison will take you down two separate evaluations: one, to compare your existing system and service with a VoIP alternative and, two, evaluating the differences in VoIP providers.

Read More

Tags: Phone System Replacement, Changing Phone Service Providers

Choose Hosted VoIP and Never Buy a Phone System Again!

Posted by Mark Greim on Dec 17, 2014 9:31:00 AM

Is your business still using old analog phone technology?  Many businesses are getting every last bit of value out of their phone switch in their equipment room.  They paid thousands for it many years ago, and even though it lacks the features to elevate their business, they still remember the pain of writing that large check years ago, and will keep it alive as long as possible for that sole reason.

We run into this situation all of the time.  These businesses continue to sink money into the old technology even while facing difficulty securing parts or getting service.  When they realize that they can receive the most current phone features and there's no need to ever purchase another phone switch on the wall, hosted VoIP becomes a real solution. 

For businesses in this situation, the following items are worth consideration when deciding on whether or not to choose Hosted VoIP technology. Aside from spending on maintenance and the lost opportunity of an old analog phone system, there’s also this to consider:

  • Low Up-front Investment - With Hosted VoIP, all you need to purchase are the VoIP handsets for your business.  There are a variety of options of VoIP phones, most at a very reasonable cost.  Typically, businesses capture a return on investment in a very short time frame as they will see lower administrative and maintenance costs and, many times, lower phone service costs as well through the hosted provider. This makes the solution a fit for any cost-conscious business, including the non-profit community.
  • No Obsolescence - Because you are now connecting to your phone system over the internet, your hosted provider bears the financial and managerial responsibility of keeping the phone system current and state-of-the-art.  Thus, you will always have access to new features and technologies through your provider without reinvesting in a new phone switch.  Wouldn't you have loved to know this ten years ago?  From the handset perspective, depending upon the manufacturer and general wear and tear, they should last a long time.  Down the road, you may choose to upgrade a few handsets to newer models, but that is a choice you would make.  It wouldn't be forced upon you. 
  • Easy Scaling and Sizing - One of the challenges when purchasing a phone system is sizing it to meet your future needs.  You run the risk of overspending and may still miss the mark, or under spending and need a full replacement in the future.  Hosted VoIP removes all of those risks, as you only need to purchase the number of handsets you need today.  As you grow, you simply add a handset.  If you downsize, your provider can take those phones out of service.  Thus, your phone system will always be sized to your business.  VoIP is a natural fit for any small business for this very reason. Additionally, as time goes on, your hosted provider should be introducing new handsets and features to the platform, keeping your system on the cutting edge of technology.
  • A Phone System that Goes Where You Go - As your business grows, you may see the need to move to a larger location.  Because your system is with your hosted provider, all you need to do is move your handsets to the new location and you're good to go.  Of course the new location would have the internet and internal network set up, but that's it!  It also will allow for tremendous flexibility in these situations, as you can defer the expense of moving right away by deploying a virtual workforce or a smaller, secondary location.  Associates could have phones at the other location or at their homes, and they will be connected to the "system" just as if they were at the headquarters! 
  • Features Than Can Aid Your Business - If you haven't upgraded your phone system in a while, there are numerous advancements that can improve your internal and external communications.  Most Hosted VoIP systems offer the latest features, and most providers include them as a part of the standard package.  From customized call flows to find-me/follow-me features for sales and service associates, a good provider can cover the various features and discuss which ones can elevate your business communications!

There's never been a better time to see just how affordable and advantageous choosing hosted VoIP service can be for your business.  Contact sipVine today to begin a consultation.


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. 

Read More

Tags: voip business phone system, Phone System Replacement

Is your Business VoIP Ready? Here’s Your Checklist!

Posted by Mark Greim on Oct 10, 2013 10:19:00 AM

Most businesses looking to upgrade their phone communications are taking advantage of the benefits a VoIP system and service has to offer.  Productivity, internal communications, and customer satisfaction all can achieve measureable improvement through VoIP technology.  Below are a few items to review to ensure your business is ready for a conversion to VoIP.

  • Hosted vs. On-site – The first question to be addressed is if your business should invest in an on-site VoIP system versus a Hosted system.  The advantage of a Hosted VoIP Service is that the up-front investment is much lower, as you are only purchasing the VoIP handsets and some minor equipment.  Typically, the hosted provider will handle your administration as well.  Your monthly service is a function of the number of users/phones you have on the system.  On-site systems are much more expensive up-front and you have responsibility for administration.  However, if you provision sip trunks to the system, you only need to provision the number of trunks to match your maximum concurrent call volume.
  • Existing Telecom Contract – Check with your current phone service provider to determine whether you are under contract.  Many have automatic renewals that kick in without notice.  If you are planning on switching in the near future, understanding the nature of automatic renewals and cancellation notice requirements is important.
  • Bandwidth RequirementsVoIP does not require much bandwidth, only 80kb per call, both upload and download.  Gain an understanding of your maximum concurrent calls as well as your current bandwidth utilization.  A wired internet connection to the building is highly recommended.  If you are already experiencing the effects of bandwidth saturation, you should consider expanding your bandwidth prior to deploying VoIP.
  • Ethernet – VoIP phones require an Ethernet connection to the phone.  Most VoIP phones have two ports, so it can share an Ethernet connection with a computer.  Most of the VoIP phones have 100mb ports.  If you have built your internal network to gigabit speeds, there are some VoIP phone models with 1gb ports.  One “gotcha” we run into a lot when converting companies from analog phones to VoIP are wall mounted locations.  Ethernet cabling will need to be run to those locations and power delivery is also a consideration.
  • Power Requirements – VoIP phones require power, and there are a couple of options.  Traditional power cords from the phone (provided with the phone) to an outlet are the least expensive alternative.  You can also deliver power to the phone over the Ethernet cabling if you deploy Power over Ethernet (POE) switches on your network.  This is a very nice luxury, as it removes the power cord from the desk area, but POE switches come in at a premium over standard switch pricing.  If you are deploying a wall mounted phone or phones, or even a conference room phone where you don’t want to be inhibited by a power cord, POE becomes more than a necessity.  If you don’t want to spring for a full switch that is POE enabled, there are some single port POE injectors that will deliver power to the single phone.
  • Paging – Many VoIP phones and hosted service provides offer paging to phones, direct paging, and paging groups.  Additional considerations come into play if you have any overhead paging systems tied into the phone system.  There are some adapters on the market that will allow for this, but be sure to have a conversation with your potential providers to see how they will accommodate your needs in this area.
  • Provider Selection – The good news is that you have a large pool of potential providers to choose from.  For hosted services, your phone equipment and service will come from the same provider.  Every company has their own priorities and goals that will influence provider selection, but there are a few characteristics that should be table stakes for your potential provider:
    1. Do they promote best in class VoIP phone manufacturers?  Cisco and Polycom are great examples.
    2. Does their service footprint cover your potential for growth and expansion?
    3. How do they address Quality of Service?  Most suggest more bandwidth.  sipVine contends that QoS is best handled by a local device to prioritize voice packets.  Read more in our VoIP Voice Quality whitepaper.
    4. Does the provider require a term contract and do they build the phones in a locked manner?  Hosted VoIP providers confident in their delivery of service do not build in such restrictions.
    5. Do they provide a consultative service to effectively build your system to match how you do business?  Good providers help you take advantage of the power and flexibility of these solutions through custom programming.  If the providers provide a web portal for you to do it yourself, be wary.  It is cool, but it also speaks to their service philosophy.
    6. What is the provider’s customer service philosophy?  Do they essentially become an extension of your company and function as your phone department?  Wouldn’t that be refreshing?  It is what your business deserves!

I hope this checklist of items has been a good resource for you as you evaluate the potential of moving to a VoIP system.  Your comments are welcome!


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. 

Read More

Tags: voip service provider selection, voip business phone system, Phone System Replacement

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:

  • 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. 

Read More

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

Deploy VoIP for Your Business and Find Hidden Savings

Posted by Mark Greim on May 6, 2013 1:21:00 PM

By now, most businesses are fully aware that a Hosted VoIP alternative can deliver direct monthly savings and an improvement in technology.  However, there are plenty of opportunities to draw out indirect savings from your decision to deploy hosted VoIP.  Certainly, every business will have their own unique circumstances, but the ideas below may generate some thoughts as to how you can create savings or efficiencies.  The key point is that there is tremendous flexibility in how you can deploy the VoIP programming, thus it can be molded to the uniqueness of each business.

Remote Employees – One of the great things with a hosted VoIP system is that you can include remote or work from home employees on your phone system.  Internally and externally, it would be as if they are all under the same roof!  This opens the door for savings of additional phone plans (cell phone minutes or land line) for those employees.  You can also use such a system to facilitate the set up of a department in a location where it may be advantageous for recruiting efforts.  An example would be to deploy customer service personnel in a town where recruiting may be easier and wages lower.  These employees could have direct dial numbers that tie to the headquarters’ location and also be included in the ring group for customer service!

Local Number for Remote Locations – If you have some customers that are aggregated in a particular metropolitan area, you can set up a local number in that MSA.  This would lessen the volume on your toll free number and save money to that end.  Getting a telebranch number set up with a traditional telecom would be similar in costs to a toll free process.  The approach taken by hosted VoIP companies differ, but the potential for this to come in quite a bit less than a toll free rate exists.

Centralization of Functions – One of the biggest paybacks for hosted VoIP systems comes when you can make staffing adjustments because of the technology.  With remote locations, it is easy to envision opportunities for such savings, as you can centralize various functions to the extent that they support your activity over the phone.  For example, if customer service is handled with phone support, not every branch would need to have a dedicated rep, as the function can be centralized.  Calls to the branch for customer service can be directed to the central group.  If you do not have multiple offices, you can look to an automated attendant to route calls to the particular employee or department and eliminate the need for a central reception function.

Phone Administration and Maintenance – A great benefit to hosted VoIP systems is that you no longer have to maintain an on-site PBX.  Additionally, many hosted VoIP providers act as your administrator to your phone system programming.  Therefore, dollars spent toward maintenance, service calls, or on-site administrators can be redirected!  The only exposure for you would be out of warranty handset replacement, but typically the costs of these handsets are much lower than the on-site PBX counterparts.

Accessibility of High Customer Contact Employees – Utilizing find me/follow me features and/or creating a simultaneous ring to cell phone will ensure that your high customer touch employees (sales and service personnel as an example) will always be reachable by your employees.  Where this may not produce savings, it certainly improves efficiency and customer service metrics, which also carry indirect benefit to your bottom line.

There are many more examples.  Again, the key is to envision the capabilities of hosted VoIP features into your business and project out a potential design that will lead to possible indirect benefits.  Couple these with the potential direct savings you receive, and the return on investment becomes obvious.  No wonder many businesses are gravitating to these type of systems!


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. 


Read More

Tags: Hosted VoIP, Phone System Replacement

Why Hosted VoIP Service is Right for Business

Posted by Mark Greim on Apr 11, 2013 3:32:00 PM

VoIP implementations in the small to medium business markets are becoming the norm, as more trends are pointing to IP systems becoming the technology of choice.  Why are businesses investing in this technology?  Why is the hosted or cloud based model a good option for this market?  These are just a couple of questions answered in this post.

Replacing Old Phones / Old Technology – Analog lines and phone systems are simply becoming relics.  If you are a business with an analog phone system greater than ten years old, you already know how difficult it is to get new or replacement handsets for your system.  You also know how much in service and maintenance fees you are paying to keep that system alive.  Finally, if your business has evolved at all, you know that your phone system may be holding you back on certain functions or capabilities necessary to meet the customer expectations of this generation’s marketplace.  Simply stated, many companies are evolving to the new technology because their business has evolved with the times.

Low Investment / Stable Monthly Service Rates – Businesses making the change from their old system are faced with an investment decision.  Few businesses enjoy investing in infrastructure.  Similar to cloud-based software, hosting, or other applications, similar advantages are found with hosted VoIP, or hosted telephony applications.  The investment is low when compared to site-based systems, as the only investment is in the handsets and some minor premise equipment.  In return, hosted VoIP providers typically charge for monthly phone service by the user count or handset.  Many bundle local and long distance charges into this rate along with any administrative updates they handle on your behalf.  Thus, by going with a hosted model, businesses upgrade their technology for a low entry rate and a stable monthly service fee.

Administration / Diminished Obsolescence Concerns – Administering a VoIP system is much different than your analog systems, as most hosted providers handle changes with a simple keystroke!  There’s no more paying service personnel to moving phones around so people can their extensions as they move offices.  For the most part, businesses are out of the phone administration game once they make the shift to VoIP.  Additionally, they do not have to worry about their PBX becoming obsolete.  The responsibility to keep up with technology enhancements is up to the hosted phone service provider.  The handsets are relatively inexpensive, thus, over time, can be easily upgraded to newer models if required by wear and tear. 

Continued Improvement of the Internet Landscape – A decade ago, the availability of stable and robust internet circuits was a valid deterrent to VoIP deployments.  Today, more alternative providers are in the market providing internet service with significant bandwidth.  These connections have proven to be more and more stable as the networks mature.   Google’s recent entry into this market by offering fiber gigabyte connections to businesses and residences in Kansas City, MO and KS, and the just announced market of Austin, TX will only push the marketplace further and further. 

New Technology / Flexibility – It’s not all about just replacing the old technology; it’s what you are able to do with the new technology that really has businesses flocking to hosted VoIP service.  Small and medium sized businesses are able to take advantage of system features that previously may have been only available in very expensive on-site systems. I recently posted a series of articles focusing on the many features and capabilities of hosted VoIP systems that will provide you with additional detail to this point.

Join the party and investigate a hosted voip system and service for your business today!


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. 

Read More

Tags: Phone System Replacement, small business phone service

Consider Hosted VoIP for Your Business Phone System Change

Posted by Mark Greim on Sep 11, 2012 11:42:00 AM

If you have been holding off replacing your existing business phone system due to the cost, consider a Hosted VoIP solution.  Many companies are keeping the band-aids handy as they continue to defer the costs of making a phone system investment and haven’t yet considered the many benefits of evolving to an affordable alternative with a hosted VoIP provider.  Such decisions are also costly, as spending money on the repair and servicing on an old system can also add up. 

Consider these benefits of a Hosted VoIP solution relative to system replacement:

  • Low Initial Investment – With a Hosted VoIP system, you are effectively securing space on the phone system of your hosted service provider.  Therefore, your up-front investment will only be for the number of VoIP phones you will need and some other minor network equipment. 
  • Elimination or Reduction in Administrative and Maintenance Charges – Good hosted VoIP service providers include the cost of administering your phone system in the monthly phone service fees. 
  • All-Inclusive Monthly Service Rates – Most providers deliver an unlimited local and long distance package to help bring down the cost of the monthly phone service.  Keep in mind that when you go to a hosted model, you are paying by the number of phones you have in service and not by the number of “lines”.  With VoIP, the line concept goes away and you will no longer have restrictions in calls based upon the number of lines deployed.
  • Improvement in Communication – A hosted system typically is very robust, giving your business access to a feature set that would be substantially more expensive to purchase under a stand-alone on-site phone system.  Companies taking full advantage of the feature set enhance their internal and external communication processes.
  • Enabling Mobile or Remote Workforce – Many companies deploy workers from their homes or alternative locations.  With a hosted service, you can provide these employees with phones and to callers internal or external to your business, it will be as if these employees are operating within the walls of your business.

I’ve written about a number of advantages to these types of systems over the years.  By far, companies who are considering replacing their old phone systems find these benefits to be at the top of their list when deciding to go with a hosted phone service platform.


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 a passion for affordable, reliable, and purposeful technology solutions in those environments. 


Read More

Tags: Phone System Replacement

Get More Information

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all