Open Source Voip
Is your company using outdated technology? If so, it could be hurting your business more than you realize.
But what’s considered “outdated?” Computers and operating systems are technologies at the top of the list that may impact customer experience. Many IT professionals consider technology outdated if it’s using a five-to ten-year-old operating system. Just imagine trying to remain productive on a 10 year old PC, with no hardware upgrades.
To help gauge when equipment is on its last legs, it’s important to understand the life expectancies of various technologies. Fortunately, there are some general guidelines as to the recommended lifespans of tech.
Take PCs, for example. Three to five years is generally the max before PCs start wearing on a business. After five years, employees begin to lose productivity due to slowing processing speeds and inevitable repairs.
Even so, many businesses are using their PCs much longer, as much as 10 to 15 years or more, trading productivity and long-term returns on investment for short-term cost-savings.
The same rule can generally be applied to other technologies as well. For example, phone systems are very similar to other types of servers and typically have a life expectancy of around 5 to 7 years, depending on the setup.
Okay, so outdated technology can hurt a business’s chances of winning over customers. What if you run a business and the technology you’re using is on the edge of its life expectancy, but you’re just not sure whether it’s time to upgrade?
Well, here are 7 tell-tale signs that your technology is in fact outdated and is likely negatively impacting your business.
Do your computers take forever to boot up or load applications? Does your website take painstakingly long to load? Does using Internet-based software feel like it takes a lifetime? If so, it may be time to upgrade. Slow speeds can be an indication that you either need new hardware, new software (or applications), a faster internet connection, or all three.
When it comes to computers, software and hard drive corruption, lack of RAM and hard disk space, and just plain overloading with too much software can all contribute to slower speeds. Either way, when technology starts lugging around and running slowly, that’s a sign it might be time to upgrade.
Perhaps one of the most obvious signs of outdated technology is the amount it’s costing you to keep it running smoothly. Even if you’re not paying a ton in maintenance and repair bills, it could still be that your older technology is holding you back from cost savings of newer technology. After all, modern technology tends to be more efficient (especially cloud-based technology like cloud phone systems), so if you’re starting to notice that other businesses around you are paying less, it could be time to upgrade.
As technology ages, security vulnerabilities are exposed, which means the older a technology is (or the longer it goes without being updated), the more vulnerable it typically is from a security standpoint. Newer versions of software, for example, often include security patches that have been acknowledged, fixed, and pushed with the latest version. If you never upgrade to the latest version, those security holes don’t get fixed. Over time, security gaps can add up, making your outdated technology more and more vulnerable the longer you hold onto versions of the past.
So if your computer is getting more viruses or you find yourself paying IT resources to fix more security issues, it could be a sign it’s time to upgrade.
Does your phone system, computers, point of sale (POS), or other systems crash on a somewhat regular basis? Do you find yourself having to reboot because things “freeze” or “lock up?” Scientific American offers one explanation for why older computers crash: “Newer OSs are robust against application crashes, but in older systems application bugs can affect the OS and cause a system-wide crash.”
Another potential culprit for crashes and downtime could relate to security issues, which also can point back to outdated technology. Regardless of the exact cause, excess downtime due to consistent crashes or freezes are almost certainly a sign it’s time to start looking into updating your technology.
Inability to Upgrade or Access Support
As technology advances and new applications, software, and hardware becomes available, they are often less compatible with older technology, and it becomes more and more difficult to hang on to outdated equipment. Manufacturers eventually stop offering upgrades and providing support for outdated technology. This is often the case with legacy phone systems. So if your business is using technology that is no longer being supported or updated by the manufacturer, it may be a sign it’s time to move on to something a bit newer.
Another tell-tale sign it’s time for a technology upgrade is the lack or absence of technology in processes that could be optimized with the use of technology. For example, if you still have someone answering initial incoming phone calls just to route them to the appropriate location or extension, it might be time to upgrade your phone system.
Many modern VoIP phone systems come with an auto attendant (or “IVR”) that answers and routes calls quickly and effectively without the need for dedicated personnel. This allows businesses to streamline their communications process and provide a better, more professional experience for callers.
The list of helpful, productivity-enhancing, cost-cutting business technologies is rather long these days, so if you find yourself getting frustrated with antiquated business processes, it might be time to embrace new technology.
Falling Behind Competitors
Last but not least, if you’re starting to lose business to competitors as a result of your outdated technology, it’s definitely time to make the move to upgrade. Russ Madlener, senior director at Microsoft, commented, “More than 90% of people [we surveyed] would consider going elsewhere if they perceived the small business is using old and outdated tech.”
It’s really common sense when you think about it. Outdated technology signals to customers that a business either isn’t willing to invest in improvements or it doesn’t have the ability to do so. Either way, like it or not, outdated technology has the ability to send the wrong message to potential customers, so investing in up-to-date technology can go a long way for you business.
Want to upgrade your business to a professional phone system with all the bells and whistles and still save significant amounts of money in the process?
Take a look at our free guide How UC Improves Businesses to discover what a new, reliable, impressive UC phone system could do for your business.
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You think you might need a new phone system, but you are not sure. See if any of these 7 signs resonate with you… and if they do, it’s probably time for a new one…
- The most obvious one, of course, is can your phone system make all of the phone calls you need to make? What I mean by this: the requirements you had when you first bought the system years ago may not be the same requirements you have today. You likely have more requirements. So can the phone system handle these new requirements?
- Are you starting to ‘notice’ your phone system? For many small and medium businesses, the phone system is likely in some kind of computer or telco ‘closet’. If everything is working great, then you don’t even notice it. But if you ‘notice’ it, that means it’s having some issues.
- Does your vendor doesn’t even offer maintenance contract anymore? This could be an issue since your phone system could fail you.
- Very important these days: does your phone system support mobility? That is the ability of your office phone number to ring on your smartphone and on your computer and for you to make phone calls out from those devices with the office phone number. Especially these days that is important because this is key for enabling a remote office.
- Are you paying for functionality that you shouldn’t be? For instance, mobility that I mentioned above. Chat functionality. File sharing. You shouldn’t have to pay more for that.
- Are you finding that you need some basic contact center functionality now? Such as setting up call queues, and call backs to customers on hold.
- Are you paying too much for your monthly phone charges? PSTN connections to your business cost more than SIP (internet) connections to your business. If you want to save money on these monthly charges, moving to a modern IP-based phone system is the way to go.
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Since 2011, Sangoma has recognized our top performing partners with the annual Pinnacle Partner Awards.
These businesses and individuals are not only true leaders in the industry, but they are respected members of their local communities as well. They work hard before, during, and after the sale is completed to insure the customer’s buying journey surpasses all expectations.
Not only do they have wonderful relationships with their customers, but they also have grown and developed their partnership with Sangoma. They have outstanding product knowledge of Sangoma’s industry leading UC solutions including, Switchvox (both on-premise and hosted), SIPStation SIP trunking, FAXStation, open source solutions (Asterisk, PBXact, and FreePBX) IP phones, gateways, and SBCs.
Our Pinnacle Partners truly are the pillars on which we stand as a “channel first” company and we are proud of what they have accomplished and the examples they have set.
Join us in congratulating these partners:
Powernet Global Communications
Munger Technical Services
Consolidated Electrical Distributors
American Business Phones
CCi Voice – LeBlanc Communications Group, Inc.
Network Services and Support
Chromis Technology, LLC
Golden Integrated Solutions, Inc
BEMA Information Technologies, LLC
KME Systems, Inc
The Fulcrum Group
Digital Agent, LLC
Sangoma Cloud Services Partner of the Year
Partner of the Year US
Partner of the Year Canada
Distributor of the Year US
Distributor of the Year Canada
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Way back in March, I wrote a blog about the need for telecom coops, ILECs (Independent Local Exchange Carriers) or small CLECs (Competitive Local Exchange Carriers) to potentially update their network infrastructure. Within that blog, I also talked about how they could offer their own Unified Communications solution to their business customers.
Many of these types of service providers also provide internet, TV and other non-voice services and thus have their own datacenters. So instead of offering businesses on-prem voice service (in form of a PBX that would go into the “communications closet” in a business), these service providers could offer business a modern hosted UC system. How? Because they could take Sangoma Switchvox in the Virtual Machine incarnation and put it into their datacenter.
One telecom co-op who utilized Switchvox in this fashion was Farmers Telecom. They wanted to provide hosted UC to their business customers, but the softswitch provider’s solution was untenable for a cloud solution, and too costly. Farmers Telecom turned to Switchvox to provide a full UC solution to their business customers. And they were so impressed it turned out they adopted it as their own business communication system they use in their business, with over 120 seats.
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One crucial element to improving and expanding a business that many owners, managers, and IT administrators often overlook or do not recognize is the central role the business phone system plays in facilitating both internal and external communication. If your business’s phone system lacks functionality or modern feature sets, it’s highly likely that you are missing out either on new business (through missed or mishandled inbound calls) or on more efficient communication processes (such as lacking advanced call routing functionality provided by IVR, or Interactive Voice Control, and intelligent call rules).Here are 7 signs that it is time to upgrade your business phone system:
1. Is your existing phone system becoming technologically obsolete?
Can it support mobility, conference calls, and basic call center features? A business phone system that cannot support new communication features is a pretty obvious indicator that it’s time to consider an upgrade.
And it’s not just about advancing technology. The cost of maintaining legacy phone systems quickly adds up, making them not worth the effort. You’re not only losing out on features and operating money, but while you are relying on a legacy phone system, your competition has already made the switch. That can put your business at a significant competitive disadvantage. After upgrading, you might be surprised how much you end up saving.
2. Are you paying too much for your monthly phone charges?
PSTN lines to your business cost more than SIP (internet) connections. If you want to save money on these monthly charges, moving to a modern IP-based phone system is the way to go.
3. Does your phone system allow your mobile work force to stay connected and accessible?
Today, remote workers are a common feature of the business landscape. Business phone system must have the capability to support mobile executives and road warriors, as well as employees working from home. If your current phone system cannot redirect calls seamlessly from the employee’s business desk phone to a mobile phone, a laptop, a home landline, a softphone, or an IP phone of their choosing, then you need to look at upgrading your phone system.
4. Is your phone system helping you to grow?
Growing your business is a natural objective for most, and so your business phone system shouldn’t hold you back as you expand. Is your system unable to provide you with advanced functionality like auto attendant, call recording, music on hold, call queue, and conference etc? If so, your phone system is probably outdated and in dire need of a revamp.
One of the primary functions of a business phone system is the capability to handle incoming calls without missing or letting any calls go unanswered. Has your call volume outpaced the capacity of your current phone system? If your phone system is struggling with the volume of calls or is not flexible enough to be able to accommodate more callers during busy times and holding you back in terms of corporate expansion, then you should consider upgrading your phone system.
5. Does your phone system have a multi-office support feature?
One of the biggest reasons to upgrade your phone system is that many legacy solutions cannot accommodate multiple locations. Adding and managing phone line extensions to other locations should not be an overwhelming or costly task for you. For multi-site businesses, the goal is to find a phone system that can unify communications across all locations and employees, keeping all your phone numbers and services under the same IP service provider, administered from a single location. If your current phone system doesn’t allow easy multi-location support, then you should immediately consider upgrading.
6. Can your current phone system protect your data?
While hanging onto legacy systems is comfortable for your employees and might seem safe, it can open you up to significant security risks. Hackers today can easily target your old phone system and gain access to your valuable data and personal information. Meanwhile, a modern phone system integrates with your security plan and protects your network from these malicious attacks.
7. Does your phone system have a disaster management plan?
What happens if, due to an unavoidable situation, your phone system breaks down? You still need to be taking customer calls even if your system is facing downtime. It is crucial to have a thorough disaster recovery and contingency plan to keep the business going regardless of natural disasters and other unforeseen events. Modern phone systems make sure calls can be routed even if your phone system goes down so that your business does not suffer. If you want your business to run seamlessly then upgrading the phone system may the only option.
If your business phone system is showing any of these 7 signs, chances are good that your business could save money on your monthly communication expenses while expanding the features and functionality available to your employees. In other words, many businesses setting out to improve their communications technology also end up saving significantly over the lifetime of their new system.
Contact a Sangoma solution specialist today! Or check out our Unified Communications (UC) offerings. Sangoma not only offers industry-leading business phone systems, we offer an entire ecosystem of compatible IP phones, network connectivity solutions, and award-winning Cloud services. With Sangoma, everything connects. Connect with Sangoma!
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