Posts Tagged ‘scalability’

Is Brand Name Significant When It Comes to Buying VoIP?

May 21, 2009

When computers became the mainstays of the business world there was a common expression created that seemed to be a self-fulfilling prophesy: “Nobody ever got fired for buying X”. Depending upon your situation, “X” stood for IBM, Intel, AT&T and several other giants of their industries. The rationale was that if you bought the mainstream brand name that ‘everyone’ used, then you couldn’t be blamed for problems on that project and would never get fired. 

While there was certainly some safety in going mainstream like that, there were also some factors that were very questionable from a “What’s best for your company long term?” point of view. Imagine a Geek Angel on one shoulder and a Geek Devil on the other guiding you through the decision on what technology to buy for a huge project. Would you minimize the safety of buying the X product brand name if you asked yourself these introspective questions? 

  • Is this solution the most cost effective solution short term and long term?
  • Is the technology it brings to my company the right technology for this project?
  • Does it solve the entire set of problems or is it only a partial solution?
  • Is it scalable for company growth in the next year? In five years?
  • How well does this technology meld with the rest of our company technology?
  • Does this technology require extra investments in hardware, software or training? 

When you have objectively answered these questions and compared the X name brand technology to that of other companies, you may find that with due diligence the lesser known brand name is the better choice for your company. Let’s consider VoIP phone systems. A name brand that companies tend to consider first is Cisco. While Cisco products are high quality, they are also relatively high cost to buy and high cost to maintain with yearly service contracts and licenses. When you are weighing which brand name of VoIP to purchase, do you consider TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) over the expected lifetime of the technology? 

An Asterisk / trixbox VoIP phone system is capable of performing every important function that a Cisco-based system can do. Both provide essentially the same VoIP fundamentals and advanced features. However, Cisco requires yearly licensing and service contracts for both the hardware and software in most cases whereas an Asterisk / trixbox system does not. Thus the cost difference at the start is significantly lower for Asterisk / trixbox and there is no mandatory maintenance fee just to keep the system running every year. You may have a service contract with your phone vendor to make changes, adds, deletions, etc. for you but that is your choice. 

When you consider ROI (Return On Investment) for your VoIP phone system, an Asterisk / trixbox choice will be half to two-thirds of the startup cost relative to a Cisco-based system. Compare the Cisco cost to all of the other phone vendors and you will also find that a large number of companies that use Avaya, Nortel, Iwatsu, Panasonic and other products have pricing not too much lower. The phone systems are good quality but they just cost more than you should have to pay for a VoIP system. Their TCO and ROI are much higher than that of an Asterisk / trixbox system while gaining no technological advantage. Check your Geek Angel and Geek Devil and see whose shoulder your company should rely upon for this choice. 

Ask for your free phone system audit from Select Phone Solutions by calling 281-501-6464.

“Productivity Through Technology”

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Planning Company Growth and Telecommunications

May 17, 2009

Successful businesses start out with a business plan. It keeps them on track, on budget, and on a road towards growing the business. Of course the key to a great business plan is the thought and planning that goes into it. Do you talk with your lawyer, CPA and other trusted advisors when creating that business plan? Does that group include your technical vendors? 

To build a worthwhile business plan you need accurate information from all of your trusted advisors. Not including your technical help is a recipe for wasted money, questionable growth and lost time. Technical vendors should include IT, phone systems, telecom, cabling infrastructure and security. You may have vendors who perform more than one of these but make sure that they are all covered. 

You must find out what your requirements will be for the present time and then project what your needs will be six months, a year, perhaps even three to five years in the future. You will want your technical capabilities to be proper for today and then capable of scaling up into what is necessary as you grow. Saving a few dollars each month at the start may cost you much larger dollars in the future if you are forced to totally scrap some technology and start over to grow. 

For example, spending $1000 for a few four-line phones from the local experts at the office supplies store may work for you right now. Your basic functions work but you have no metrics on how your phone system is used. You must mold your business to the features of the four-line system. You will miss benefits that your competitors may be using to get, keep and impress clients and prospects. You have no remote capability to connect into your phone system from the field for sales or technical staff. You are spending telecom (dial tone and long distance) money each month to support your phones and you are adding Internet service on top of that. You are likely in the $250 to $350 per month range when you total up everything. 

Push forward to needing 6 phone lines for more people and more handsets. You will have more computers to feed with increased bandwidth. Now you have to throw away your four-line phone system and buy a larger system. Your telecom costs are over $500 per month. It is time for a T-1 line that includes both the phone lines and the Internet bandwidth for $500 per month. It is time for a review of what you have and where you will be. 

But wait, didn’t you plan for this growth in your business plan? This growth should not be a surprise. Weren’t you aware that you would reach this point and plan for it from the start? Your technical advisors should have told you to get the T-1 and the larger phone system from day one if you are properly capitalized and you have faith in your business plan. You should have purchased a VOIP phone system that is scalable to 50 phones at little additional cost. The VOIP features for remote access, report metrics, and larger company benefits would have made your growth more likely without wasting the $1000 spent on the four-line phone system that hindered your growth. You might have spent $2000 to $4000 for the initial VOIP phone system but the benefits would already have made themselves worthwhile and linked you to future growth. 

What if you don’t have a business plan? Start one now!. Gather your technical advisors and ask them what they recommend for your company. You can only improve your company’s future.

Ask for your free phone system audit from Select Phone Solutions by calling 281-501-6464.

“Productivity Through Technology”