Ramblings on Small Business Technology

Cloud Phone Systems

In the past, I’ve been an advocate for both traditional POTS on-premise phone systems (PBX) as well as internal/hybrid/external VoIP phone systems.  Each type has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, and my recommendations to customers really depend on their needs and level of sophistication.  Some can embrace VoIP while some need to stay with the tried-and-true POTS.

Recently, I had a customer move from one office to another temporary office.  Knowing that the move was going to be somewhat temporary, until a new permanent office build-out could be completed, and having dealt with the existing provider (cBeyond and an on-premise Nortel CICS), I recommended that the customer move to a complete cloud-based VoIP service.  I made this recommendation based on the following:
– I knew the broadband at the temp office and the new permanent location was excellent.
– The people in the office needed advanced features and could embrace the change in phones.
– I had “dogfooded” the system for a few months and knew it would work.

After evaluating several cloud-based phone providers, I chose RingCentral for the customer based on my good experience with them and the feature set.  Deployment was straightforward as was provisioning new Cisco VoIP phones (RC supports many Cisco and other models out of the box).  The biggest hassle was the porting of the existing numbers from cBeyond, due to cBeyond requiring that all numbers be dispensed with prior to account closure (you must kill any not-wanted numbers prior to the port or it will be denied).  After that little hiccup, in a week, all the numbers were moved to RingCentral!

The customer sure seems to love the new RingCentral solution.  The office people adapted to the new phones easily with simple training, and they really like the companion PC-based RC desktop app that shows the call log and allows easy blocking of telemarketing calls.  The bonus features of Fax-to-email and multiple outbound voicemail greetings have been a business benefit as well.

Did I mention that the business owner is happy because of the cost savings?