Small and medium-sized businesses are turning to cloud-based VoIP solutions in favor of on-premise platforms that need constant maintenance and costs. A recent IT News Africa report by contributor George Golding offered SMBs insight for choosing the right service provider to meet their needs.
The writer explained that SMBs should choose a cloud service provider based on the vendor's connectivity capabilities, product value and financial relationship.
"Do they have a trusted track record with their current client list?" Golding asked. "Cross-check their references and ask for a demo. It is too easy to download an open source PBX from the internet and install it on a single server without backup in a location with frequent power cuts, so you should probably check up on their hosting situation too."
In terms of connectivity needs, SMBs should conduct speed and quality testing to ensure a vendor's solution is on par with their needs, according to the writer. Wireless providers may be suitable for companies if they offer a platform that connects directly to major voice networks.
"VoIP should be a step forward in your business communications, improving internal workflow, cost management and service to your customers," Golding explained. "At the very least, you should get an online management portal for near-real-time cost and usage reports and monitoring of the system’s health across all your branches."
SMBs considering cloud-based VoIP should also avoid vendors that require high upfront costs in favor of providers that offer monthly rates. Golding indicated that the latter companies tend to focus on offering improved experiences so their customers carry over each month.
Cloud computing's benefits found in VoIP
A report by the Guardian also highlighted the advantages of cloud computing and its VoIP solutions. The news source asserted that the technology offers SMBs greater flexibility and scalability for their operations compared to traditional phone systems. Also, since the platform is off-site, clients no longer have to perform their own maintenance.
The Guardian did, however, note that many businesses are wary of cloud computing due to perceived security risks, but efforts are being made to lessen these potential issues. Such initiatives include new investments in skill sets and solutions to rectify these worries. SMBs that look past these hiccups can leverage the cloud's multi-tenancy advantages, allowing them to compete directly with larger enterprises.