Date published 03/07/2017    Written by DataKom

What to consider before choosing a business phone system

Purchasing a new telephone system for your organisation is a long-term investment. It’s important to receive professional advice from people who really understand your business requirements before making a decision.

Whether you’re making the step to your first telephone system or upgrading your existing hardware, it’s important to protect your investment and ensure you are future-proofed with a system that can adopt future technologies.

Buying a telephone system is a journey which begins with finding the right telecom partner, who will help you identify business needs and advise how the right telephone system can really compliment your business.

So, what do you need to consider when prospecting for a new business phone system? Avoid buyer’s remorse and read our handy guide.

Finding the right telecom partner

When purchasing a business telephone system there are many considerations to be made, and one that’s very important is selecting who to work with.

Find a telecom provider who really understands the market, one that can offer the right technology to future-proof your business. Select a company with dedicated account management and a dedicated in-house technical team, so you can rely on their support for when you need help.

Your business’ main objectives

The next step is to find out the current challenges your organisation is experiencing. What are the problems a new business phone system can solve? And what type of phone system can be potentially installed.

Sometimes it’s about cost - old on-premises systems are more expensive to maintain. Or maybe, it’s about keeping business continuity between different offices and remote staff. So, a traditional landline might not be the best option.

However, it might be exactly the opposite - you have one small office, with just a few people, and a traditional phone system could actually be the best option.

Perhaps a business objective is to invest in scalable technology that grows with the business and offers more features?

Modernising and integrating existing systems

If you already have a system in place, it might be a good idea to check how much you can make use of it. Sometimes, existing systems can be upgraded, for example a landline can be integrated with VoIP with minimal disruption to your business and clients. This can potentially save the cost of replacing all handsets.

A problem may appear when your old equipment isn’t compatible with newer systems, such as cloud-based phones, so you may have to replace your office phones.

The positive side of this is, cloud phones are future-proof and they’re likely to be used for many years without spending a lot of your company budget.

It’s a logical step, as eventually traditional phone lines will be phased out by 2025 as ISDN will be switched off.

Keeping up with your staff’s needs

Technological developments and emerging trends usually influence buying decisions. And this applies to businesses, which shouldn’t really be a surprise.

The rising popularity of flexible working has driven the need for easier communication between teams. Every business today has a responsibility to provide its people with the tools and devices they need to do their job.

Hot desking in a large company should be seamless, and remote workers need to have the means to communicate with colleagues. We all know how awkward conference calls can be when something doesn’t go your way, be it microphone not working, or sound quality is going bad. Listen to your company staff and implement suggested changes that will just make your workplace more efficient.

Business size and future plans

The requirements of a smaller, single-office, company defers to what a large enterprise would need. That goes without saying.

For a large company, the initial investment can be large, especially if they have multiple locations. That’s why when looking for a phone system it’s essential to choose one that isn’t going to slow down future potential growth. Many modern hybrid, or cloud-based systems offer easy scalability and are cost-effective in the long run.

Smaller businesses which expect exponential growth in the future, too can benefit from a VoIP system as they’re flexible and don’t require expensive ongoing maintenance.

Other factors to consider

Here’s a list of other factors that need to be taken under consideration when choosing a business phone system:

  • What telecom solution does your business currently have
  • Decide to upgrade, or completely switch to a new system
  • Budget for the new system and see how it compares to current costs
  • Make a note of the current problems and potential solutions needed from a new phone system
  • Consider how much time will be needed to train existing IT staff to maintain the new system

Once you have a good idea of your telecom needs, it’s worth keeping in mind the following questions for when you speak to a potential telecom provider:

  • Can they meet your budget?
  • How long would the installation take?
  • How accessible is the system and what platforms does it run on?
  • How scalable is the system of choice?
  • Is it possible to demo the system before buying?
  • What maintenance is offered and how much is the ongoing cost post-purchase?

Our verdict

The whole process may seem a bit daunting, but with the right partner you’ll find that it usually goes very smoothly. We at DataKom always consult our clients, helping them find the most suitable solution for their needs. Getting it right means you’ll have a more efficient business communication, smoother operations, happier staff and more satisfied customers.