Investing in a telephone system for your business is not a small decision, and not one that should be rushed into. It is also something that can have a potentially devastating impact on your business if done incorrectly, so you should take time and care when choosing which business telephone system to purchase, or whether to use a hosted or on-site VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) server.
You should expect to make an initial investment when purchasing any telephone system for your business, but the upfront cost is usually relatively low if you elect to use a hosted VoIP server. Then there will be monthly charges that vary depending on the provider and your desired features. The upfront cost of equipment for setting up an on-site VoIP server is larger, but the upside is that there are usually no ongoing monthly payments as with a hosted server.
Whether you want to invest more in the beginning but save money in the long-term with an on-site VoIP server, or have a lower cost upfront but recurring payments over time with a hosted server, may depend on your business’ budget. Another decisive factor is the size of your business, as if you have over 15 employees that will be using the telephone system, an on-site solution may be more suitable. On the other hand, if the usage requirements are lower (a medium sized business of 5-15 employees) then a hosted VoIP server is more fitting.
Though this isn’t the be-all and end-all; some large businesses use cloud-hosted VoIP phone systems. Something to consider is how your business may develop over the next year or so. If you expect rapid growth, the telephone system must be able to handle this. Typically, adding users to a cloud-hosted system is a straightforward process, but it can vary from server to server. As for on-premises systems, you would want to buy larger equipment than required from the start to allow capacity for company growth.
You should also carefully examine the features offered by each hosting provider, and see if the benefits differ between their on-site and cloud based packages. The premises based VoIP package may offer better features for your business’ operations, or vice versa. In general, hosted servers are likely to have a full range of easily accessible Unified Communications features. On-premise telephone systems may have increased room for personalisation of features, however.
Hosted VoIP servers do not usually take long to set up, and are relatively simple to implement into your business’ communications. On-site VoIP systems take longer to establish and implement, and your employees may need training on how to use the new systems.
Considering your budget, the size of your business, anticipated growth, and desired features is important when you are thinking of buying a new business phone system. There is a lot resting on the success of the phone system, and it is a fundamental part of business communications. Lots of factors play a part in this.