Cloud services have seen tremendous popularity growth in recent years, and with good reason. This technology can improve a company's operations in numerous capacities, with benefits ranging from cost savings to greater flexibility to more reliable security. These advantages are applicable to a wide range of business operations.
Key among these is telephony. As industry expert Matthew Guise recently highlighted for Small Business UK, hosted phone systems present major flexibility benefits for small businesses.
As Guise explained, a hosted phone system differs from a legacy phone system because the phone numbers reside in the cloud and are not tied to any specific locations. This makes hosted solutions inherently more flexible.
"With a hosted number you can divert calls to any other landline, mobile or international number. You can instantly change this destination number as often as you want through an online control panel," Guise noted.
Furthermore, hosted phone systems enable businesses to quickly and easily add or remove numbers, extensions and particular phone services, depending on the organization's evolving needs and goals.
With a traditional phone system, on the other hand, PBX hardware is necessary to manage extensions and redirects, the writer pointed out. This makes it more time-consuming and difficult to modify the phone system.
Hosted phone systems also improve business flexibility thanks to the cloud's innate scalability. As with all cloud-based solutions, a business can increase or decrease its use of hosted phone services at will. There is no need to invest in more hardware, and therefore no risk of overcommitting to excessive computing power. For example, Guise noted that a seasonal business can use a cloud-based system to gain extra extensions during the relatively short period when it is extremely busy, then phase out these additions once the busy season passes.
With a traditional, on-premises phone system, however, a seasonal firm must invest in a solution that is capable of handling greater demand during the busiest time of the year. As a result, the company will have an unnecessarily powerful, extensive phone system in place that it cannot utilize for most of the year - a significant waste of resources.
Pulling up roots
Finally, hosted phone systems provide greater flexibility thanks to their location independence. Guise pointed out that a successful small business will almost certainly need to move to new premises. Transitioning with a legacy phone system in tow can be a laborious process, and the business will likely need a new phone number, which can undermine existing relationships and marketing efforts. However, this is not the case with a hosted phone solution.
"With a hosted system this is easy to handle – the phone number stays the same, all that's required is that you update your new destination number when you move," Guise wrote. "If you have any problems during the move, you can always temporarily divert calls to another landline or mobile number to make sure you don't miss any calls."
Since they are based in the cloud, hosted phone systems are also ideal for enabling a remote workforce. Remote work is becoming increasingly popular among both businesses and employees, particularly younger workers. Yet for a remote work situation to prove viable, these off-site personnel need to have the ability to easily communicate with their colleagues, managers and, in many cases, clients. For those businesses that don't want such workers to rely on their personal smartphones and land lines, a hosted business phone system is key. With this system in place, remote workers can make and receive phone calls while using a business number, and can take advantage of the company's voicemail, extensions, rerouting and other features.