Phones are complicated
I’ve been focused recently on telephone solutions.
We’ve been migrating our data systems to hosted, cloud based solutions because it no longer made sense for a small organization to maintain servers, failover servers, backup systems, etc. just to provide standard business functions like storage, messaging, directories, CRM, and so on. So wouldn’t the same make sense for phones?
To maintain our current phone system we’re managing a VMWare server, two server instances in the VMWare (PBX and voice mail), and complicated router and firewall settings. The integration with mobile phones, CRM, personal directories, calendar, etc. is pretty poor. It needs vendor-specific wizards on contract to manage it. And it really no longer serves the needs of a workforce that’s rarely in the office.
As on the data side there are many providers who assure us they can provide a hosted solution to address all these issues. And for the most part they can. But here the devil is most certainly in the details:
- How do the desk phone, mobile phone and soft phone interact for call handoff, voice mail, directory integration?
- How does the mobile client interact with the native phone features?
- What PBX features are lost? What new features are gained?
- Is conferencing included? Voice, screen share, video?
- How is the whole thing priced and supported?
I think that just scratches the surface but you get the idea. Then add on the issues of swapping out a system that every key employee touches every day, and that can cause the company to grind to a halt if the switchover fails in any way.
I’ll be busy for a while yet I think.
Photo is from a previous long-ago phone migration that actually went fairly well.