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phone systems

By toni.bowers ·
Have you implemented a new phone system in your organization? If so, how did you narrow down the vendors and process did you follow to select phone?

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by mack_shane In reply to phone systems

When I had this task, to start with I seleceted 5 different vendors to come and demo their systems.

From here I narrowed it down basically in this order:
1. Requirements of our organisation
2. Cost
3. Future room for growth
4. Look of phone5. Upgrade options for more advanced features
6. Sales person

Due to phone systems being so important I wanted a company that I knew would look after us so the sales person and his attitude did have an impact on the overall decision.


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Telecom Trends

by john.dahlberg In reply to phone systems

In addition to the aforementioned considerations, some of industry trends that I advise folks to be aware of are the "next generations" phone services that are available today and will be increasingly used.

One of the problems with traditional phone systems is that they are proprietary and vendor driven, which means that the life cycle costs of the system can be quite high. There are many hidden costs in dealing with telecommunications and managing this effectively takes some sophistication. Many small to mid sized companies select (or have little choice but) to outsource management of their phones. Add in the complexity of managing trunks, DIDs, 800 numbers, voicemail and other feature sets and this is usually the best route.One of the alternatives today is to obtain an integrated IP based service from a Service Provider. With this alternative, not only can a company utilize IP based features, but in many cases eliminate the dependency on the PBX.

While I believe that Voice over IP is a difficult business case for a company to take on internally, having a service provider manage the network takes away much of the complexity and can help companies realize the benefit more quickly.
Minimally, I would suggest selecting a platform that integrates well into such an environment.

Here are some of the considerations when selecting a service provider:

- You should be able to combine transport with Internet Access or WAN connections, however this is not necessary.
- The router used should be configured for Quality of Service / Class of Service
- Make sure the phones are SIP based (this is the industry standard)
- LAN switching is a must for the phones
- Many service providers will provide free interoffice calling, toll free calling, etc., however be aware these costs are simply transferred to your transport fees (i.e. the T1)

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Telephone Selection

by Charley In reply to phone systems

I've had to do this before. I started by doing my own research rather than rely on a particular vendor or group of vendors to do it for me.

The first step is to determine what how large the system needs to be at the beginning. How many employees need extensions on their desks? How many lines do you need? I use a rule of thumb of 1 line for every 5 employees for small companies. You will then need to determine the expected lifetime of the equipment that you buy. Remember, this stuff isEXPENSIVE. You don't want to have to do this every couple of years, so plan some growth into the system from the beginning. Talk to your CFO and find out how long they will be depreciating the equipment you buy. You will then need to talk to the CEO about the company's growth over that same period of time. You don't need to buy all the equipment at once, but the equipment you buy must be able to grow with you without having to be physically replaced.

Once I had established what size system I would need, I then determined what features I would need. Copper or Fibre? ISDN/PRI or POTS? Do you need an Autoattendant? What about call direction? First determine what you MUST have and then what would be nice to have. This will be a reflection of your business model, so you'll have to work closely with a bunch of C*O-types.

Once you've done this, you'll be ready to start talking to vendors.

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Take a Strategic View

by Lao Peng In reply to phone systems

Your phone system implementation should be treated like any technology initiative - by starting with the strategic view of how the system will align with the company's existing and future operations.

From here you can work on the feasibility of different options, properly define your requirements, and then build or buy what you need.

Sound familiar?

After some frustrating vendor presentations ("You can have anything you like as long as it's model X"), we engaged a communications consultant who analyzed our needs and nice-to-haves. They considered everything from our carriers to integration with our email system and cell phones.

They presented a fully detailed report with recommendations which eventually became our requirementsdocument for the new system.

Although we could have taken this document to our nearest vendor, we engaged the consultant in a follow-up project to represent us in the acquisition and implementation of the final solution.

The result? A state ofthe art system that reflects our needs 100%, is fully supported, is technically flexible and has room for growth.

We couldn't be happier.

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