As the costs associated with Voice-over-IP technologies continue to drop, and adoption continues to rise across businesses of all sizes, it opens up an important question for businesses looking to migrate:
Is it better to use a hosted VoIP provider, or to host your own phone system in house?
There are plenty of options on the market for either choice of phone system solutions, but it's one that needs to be made early on. There are benefits to both approaches, but choosing poorly when starting out leads to more costs down the line, as we've seen with recent customers we've assisted with re-implementations.
So, let's talk a bit about the benefits of the two phone systems, and how their differences matter down the road.
Hosted Or On-Site? Which VoIP or Phone System Solution Is Right For Your Business
There are two primary benefits to hiring a company to host your VoIP system, especially if your business is still small: Convenience, and lower upfront costs.
A hosted VoIP provider works basically like a conventional telephone service - they provide the connection and switching equipment, as well as handling technical issues that crop up. Often, they also assist with the initial hardware installation as part of the package.
If you have any problems, you call your host and they take care of them. For companies without any staff with IT knowledge, this can be a substantial savings over hiring experts.
Also, the upfront costs are considerably cheaper with a hosted solution, since there's less hardware required on your end.
The big downside to hosted services is that their prices tend to scale upwards rapidly, as your businesses grows. The cheap introductory prices give way to higher costs for every added line, on a per-user basis. Still, if your office has fewer than five or ten people, the cost savings can continue for some time.
However, one way or another, as a business continues to grow, it's eventually going to outgrow hosted services, as their cost-effectiveness diminishes and eventually vanishes over time.
II. On-Site VoIP
For growing small businesses, and those that already have more than a few people on staff, simply starting out with an on-site VoIP phone system makes more sense.
With on-site phone hosting, you get consolidation and power leaving you with no bills to pay except for your bandwidth depending on your carrier. It also means you get total control over your own phone systems - rather than waiting for your VoIP provider to add users, your systems administrator can do it within minutes.
So, while the up-front costs are higher, the ongoing costs are considerably cheaper from Day one onwards, especially in an office with plenty of lines and high bandwidth usage.
Also, if you choose VoIP hosting systems that integrate into your network, your combined communications system can be managed by a single individual, from a single console, anywhere in the world. The interfaces are windowed with a GUI interface and easy to manage, unlike the UNIX command-line systems that were previously used.
Basically, if your business is large enough to have on-site tech support for your computers and network, you likely already have people qualified to manage a modern VoIP system.
Finding The Right Telephone Solutions For Your Firm
At the end of the day, on-site VoIP hosting offers more benefits, both in terms of your own control and the long-term cost savings. Even smaller businesses should be looking towards on-site hosting, if they can purchase the hardware -which is becoming more affordable every day- and have someone around to run it.
However, for firms that are just starting or lack on-site technical support, a hosted solution is a great way to transition into VoIP before making more substantial infrastructure investments.
For more advice on picking the right telephone system upgrade path, don't hesitate to let us know what you need to take your business forward!