Buying a Voice over IP (VoIP) phone system can be challenging. One critical decision that must be made is to determine which is better for your business: a premises-based solution (in which the hardware appliance is kept on-site in your server closet), or a hosted solution (where your phones connect through your Internet connection to a provider that maintains the equipment at an off-site cloud data center). Educating yourself on the benefits and potential challenges that come with using hosted phone systems or on-premises phone systems can help you make a good decision to ensure your business needs are met and you get the greatest value for your investment.
The first and most important aspect to consider is to understand which features you need and which are offered. Unlike Toshiba, many hosted providers don’t offer the same features in their hosted phone systems as they do for their premises-based solution.
Hosted VoIP solutions have a low upfront cost and are typically charged as a monthly fee per user. Using VoIP with an on-site server has a higher cost upfront, but no recurring monthly fee. Above a certain threshold it may become more cost effective to purchase your own equipment than to pay a monthly fee. Hosted VoIP tends to be very attractive for businesses with 5 to 15 employees. However, many large businesses with 100 or more users often choose a hosted phone system due to other advantages. It is always best to speak with an experienced VoIP specialist who can help you weigh the unique aspects of your business to help you decide.
Total Cost of Ownership
A hosted solution can often have a very low total cost of ownership due to the savings in IT personnel and because the hosted provider takes care of configuration and maintenance. Depending on the size and structure of your business this can be a major advantage for hosted VoIP over premises-based VoIP.
Consider your current technology infrastructure. Are you using a telephone system? Old systems can get to be very expensive to maintain since they often use expensive lines from the phone company. You could see a cost savings in switching to a VoIP trunk, or by using a hosted VoIP provider. To help you determine what these savings might look like and if it’s worth the switch contact Speros and we will evaluate your phone bills for free.
Finally, consider how your business may grow in the coming year. If there is potential for rapid growth, you will need to consider how this will impact your decision. If going with a premises-based solution, you will likely want to purchase a larger appliance than is initially needed to accommodate growth. With hosted VoIP, new users can be added to the phone system as needed. A unique advantage of Toshiba’s hosted solution is the fact that the features are available on both the cloud version and the on-site, premises-based version.
Purchasing the right phone system is important for the success of your business. There are many factors that come into play when deciding between a hosted and premises-based VoIP solution. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. Call Speros and we can advise you on the best direction for your company.