Five ways to tell if your business communications solution is cost-effective

Is your communications system making you money, saving you money—or is it causing you to lose money in the form of lost productivity and higher operating costs? Unfortunately, the chances are high that it’s the latter. This is true even if you have recently upgraded to a new communications solution for your business. In fact, some solutions that say they offer the latest, cutting-edge communications may end up being the most expensive to own and operate.

Here are five things to look for in a solution that’s truly going to save you money:

Hybrid, not IP only: The Internet Protocol (IP) is the basis for most new communications systems.  It offers lots of advantages, but you shouldn’t be forced to use it right away unless it’s the right choice for you now.  A smart way to save money is to get a hybrid system: one that supports IP as well as older communications protocols. If you have older analog lines, the hybrid system works just fine and you are ready when the time comes to put in T1 and/or SIP trunks. You can convert to IP when it works for you—on your schedule and your budget.

Single, Stackable, Scalable: What if your business suddenly experiences a growth spurt that requires you to increase the capacity of your communications? Should you be forced into a forklift upgrade: swapping out hardware, adding new (and potentially expensive software) and re negotiating your maintenance?  No—that’s a money sinkhole. A smart choice is a solution that lets you grow without having to change the basic system box—a single solution that is stackable and scalable.

Works with existing wiring:  Does your office or building have a room with what looks like miles of spaghetti? Are there old wires snaking between floors and behind walls? Instead of pulling out all of this wire and replacing it with new cable (an expensive and potentially very disruptive proposition) you should still be able to upgrade, get the latest communications AND keep using your existing wiring. That can save thousands.

Works with existing phones: It used to be when you got a new office phone system, you automatically replaced all your phones. Some manufacturers still require that—and you may want to anyway—but it shouldn’t be necessary. Phones can account for as much as 60% of the cost of a new system and many of the ones you have now may be just fine. You should be able to keep using them and bank the savings.

Hidden Costs: What options come with your communications system?  What system resources are required for each device you connect?  What are your maintenance options?  What options do you have for upgrading software: if you do not have the most recent version and want to upgrade, will you be forced to pay an extra premium? These are nitty gritty details, but the costs can quickly add up if you don’t look at them.

I have seen so many examples of people paying for costly operating expenses because they don’t want to modernize their systems. For example, we still find clients using costly – outdated circuits and obsolete technology like dedicated direct inward dial trunks instead of SIP trunks or a PRI. One client was using a system 20 years old- under maintenance, working, but unable to accept newer cost saving technologies that would have decreased the total cost of ownership.

Once you compare your total cost of ownership of an existing solution to a new solution- you can make an easy business decision to upgrade, replace or maintain. You need to consider all of the costs- the costs for replacing/enhancing infrastructure, equipment, service and the costs for maintaining the status quo.


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About Vic Levinson
Telecommunications and IT professional with over 20 years experience in Business Telecommunications. Specializing in voice over IP (VoIP) for business: hosted VoIP, business VoIP phone systems, SIP providers, carriers, T1's - the works. Founded Prime Telecommunications in 1993 and providing business communications solutions. Cloud Applications- everything from hosted network security, hosted Disaster Recovery, hosted printer management, data centers and colocation solutions for businesses.

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