A Business Phone System Comparison Guide for SMEs

A Business Phone System Comparison Guide for SMEs
Our view on business communications has significantly changed over the last two decades. Instead of a one-size fits all solution to communications, today’s entrepreneurs prefer services that are tailored for their needs and embrace their unique requirements. Through this business phone system comparison guide, we’ll take a closer look at small business phone systems, and help you identify which type fits your needs best.

Business Landlines

Pros

As the most common phone service in the world, majority of the workforce is likely to be familiar with the use of a landline. As a business-grade service delivered on a business network, voice quality and customer support is significantly superior over residential services.

Cons

If you go out for a lot of meetings and house calls, a business landline won’t give you a lot of flexibility since it is a fixed line tied down to your office. As your business grows, it can be costly to install and pay rental for multiple lines. Features that can be added to your service are also pretty limited. Business landlines are sufficient if you need a straightforward phone solution with one number per line. This is also required to support ADSL connections, fax & EFTPOS machines, and back-to-base alarm systems.

Business VoIP Service

Pros

These full-featured business phones offer flexibility and lower call rates by delivering basic telephony and advanced features over the internet. With plug and play phones, you can expect time and cost savings on installation. These business phones allow you to work anywhere, as long as there’s a stable internet connection.

Cons

These IP phones come with a set of preconfigured features, which may be limiting if you prefer a higher level of customisation for your service. A business VoIP service may not be enough if you plan to have multiple lines for a growing number of users. VoIP phone systems work best for solopreneurs, freelancers, and startups that need that need a flexible phone service; but want better features and rates compared to mobile phones.

Hosted PBX System

Pros

A hosted phone system functions like an enterprise PBX, but without the costly setup and maintenance expenses. With calls and features delivered over the internet; you can enjoy more flexibility, reliability, and lower call rates. Unlike business VoIP, a hosted PBX system is fully scalable and highly customisable with feature enhancements and advanced call queues.

Cons

Businesses with an existing phone system that does not support internet telephony may be adamant switching to a hosted service, and replacing all of their phones and equipment. Those with an IP-enabled PBX will benefit more from a SIP Trunking service. Hosted phone systems are ideal for businesses that want big business phone functionalities on a small business budget. These virtual phone systems are great for SMEs looking for a solution that will scale as they grow.

SIP Trunking Service

Pros

This service consolidates your lines into trunks, which means you’re not paying for an external line for every internal number. Aside from the cost-savings of using the internet to connect to the public network, a SIP solution makes businesses more resilient by allowing calls to be routed to alternate numbers in cases of extreme weather, emergencies, or outages.

Cons

Unlike a fully hosted phone system where phones are upgraded remotely, having an in-house PBX means you are responsible for maintaining and upgrading your on-premise equipment. SIP Trunking is recommended for businesses with an in-house IP-PBX who want to maximise their investment on their existing equipment, while minimising monthly phone expenses.

Unified Communications

Pros

Having a unified communications solution extends the functionality of your business phone system to devices such as mobiles and desktops. At the same time, this promotes accountability by minimising the use of personal numbers, and keeping all communications under your business numbers. More importantly, it connects staff in and outside the office, with features like instant messaging, real-time file transfers, and screen sharing.

Cons

While a UC system allows the integration of business applications, these only apply to programs that are compatible with your UC client. To be sure, choose a UC service that supports common business applications such as Outlook, Dynamics, and Salesforce. Unified Communications is the perfect system for businesses who want complete mobility through a cloud-based phone system. It is highly recommended for SMEs with remote or mobile workers, offices with multiple sites, and organisations that want to increase productivity by encouraging collaboration.

The bottomline

Smart and advanced technology does not have to mean hard and complicated. Along with this business phone system comparison guide, having a knowledgeable provider who understands and prioritises your needs makes a huge difference. You can rely on the communications expertise of Alltel’s B2B specialists to help you create a solution that will not just work, but will grow with you as well. For more information, give us a call at 1300 255 835 or visit us at www.alltel.com.au.

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