If there’s one lesson we’ve all learned from the pandemic, it’s that flexibility is crucial. The right business phone systems can help organizations adapt to new challenges.

Businesses now rely less and less on brick-and-mortar solutions. It’s unrealistic to think that business operations will return to how they were pre-pandemic. Many businesses will continue to leverage mobility apps that allow their employees to use company phone numbers on personal devices.

Going forward, businesses may choose to allow employees to work fully remotely. Or, they may embrace a hybrid on-premise and remote environment. No matter the ultimate decision, businesses will need cloud-based collaboration tools to support their employees remotely.

Factor #1: Business Phone Systems Provide Essentials for Remote Work

The pandemic accelerated the recent trend of holding meetings via video conferencing technology. This increased the need for cloud services to support this technology. Now, collaboration tech is the key force driving communications. Technology that supports shared video or shared content is influencing how voice services are offered. Business phone systems now provide portals to collaboration tech that are useful for remote work.

There are several key benefits of remote work:

  • Savings from a smaller physical footprint. Remote work cuts costs like rent and insurance.
  • Increased flexibility. A work-from-home environment allows for team members based in different time zones. Customers can more easily access the contact center.
  • Productivity. Studies show that employees are more productive at home when they have the tools that allow them to seamlessly work on different devices.

Now, how to make remote work, work.

Two key components to this equation include unified communications and mobility. For on-premise phone systems, Unified communications provides a platform where all communication tools (phone, PC, voicemail, fax, chat, and video) are housed in one user profile. Your staff members can easily move between devices and applications utilizing the same phone number or extension.

Next is the employee who works “on the go” from a mobile device. They are looking to work by connecting to their tools via a 4G or 5G network or by wi-fi. Again, like unified communications, all communication tools need to be available as needed, without disruption or poor quality

Choosing tools with strong graphical user interfaces (GUIs) will increase employee productivity. As will the right combination of SaaS products. The transition to remote work has affected interpersonal communications. It’s increasingly normal to meet someone in the cloud for a conversation. This trend won’t disappear with the end of the pandemic. Many meetings will continue to happen over video. Customer satisfaction will also be higher if there’s the option to support over video.

Opening a portal to collaborate, most often through Microsoft Teams or Zoom, can be cost-effective with the right business phone system. Collaboration tech is the next generation of communications. Phone systems, when set up correctly, can seamlessly support collaboration tech.

Factor #2: Networking into Your Collaboration Technology

Businesses relied on meeting conferencing and the ability to share content throughout the pandemic. Your staff learned them, and now rely on them to stay productive and connected. Must-have features like chat, email voicemail, telephony voice, real-time collaboration and of course live video streaming are now considered standard in the workplace. However, we often need to point out to organizations that their party collaboration needs to have a seamless interconnection with your on-premise phone systems.

As you would expect, as a result of the pandemic, the “video” piece of your collaboration plan remains front and center. When it comes to offering these services, 2 giants dominate the field: Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Each platform has its own pros and cons.

Microsoft Teams

One of the essential benefits of Teams is that it comes with the Microsoft 365 subscription, which many businesses already have. Teams is easy to utilize, maintain and scale. Less personnel is required to operate it. Its design is another key benefit. Teams integrates easily with the Microsoft 365 suite of programs.

Many bigger organizations are moving to using Teams with Direct Routing. Affiliated Communications offers cheaper PSTN Trunking through Teams Direct Routing. We provide avenues that allow you to make external calls at a discount without the hassle of managing multiple accounts. You can dial between your traditional on-premise PBX phone system and your Teams accounts with Direct Routing.

Zoom

This collaboration tech provider became a giant because of the pandemic. Growing from 2 million to 200 million users, Zoom is a larger provider of collaboration tech than Teams. Even though Teams is most likely on more desktops, Zoom is probably used more actively.

By offering businesses 1 free year of service before signing on to a 4-year contract, Zoom has grown exponentially. Its main benefit is that so many people are comfortable with the platform and find it easy to use. For businesses, this means that Zoom is a great choice for employees who are hesitant to embrace video conferencing or are less tech-savvy.

The Choice Is Yours

Teams offers many benefits when it comes to features and cost savings. Zoom is a popular and easy-to-use platform with many of its own standout features. Affiliated Communications can help you choose the best business phone systems to meet your business needs.

Factor #3: Choosing On- Prem Business Phone Systems with Disaster Recovery in Mind

Earlier this year, many Texas’ businesses learned the hard way that they need back up plans for all digital technology solutions upon which they rely on to stay productive. This is especially true of your phone systems. You need to ensure that redundancies are in place, with proper failover switches from the network administration level all the way down to every desktop. Affiliated Communications deploys “Disaster Avoidance as a Service.” Our fail-safes include multiple data centers , advance SIP Trunk integrations and cloud-routing disaster recovery to keep your telephony systems active, your employees productive and your customer service channels open and ready to assist.

Affiliated Communications Can Help You Choose

For business leaders who are concerned about the additional cost of Teams or Zoom, dynamic pathing is a game changer. Businesses that currently use Zoom or Teams but are paying a high price could benefit from a new setup. Affiliated Communications can modify your on-premise phone system with new software apps easily and cost-effectively, leading to total cost of ownership savings. You don’t need the additional spend of buying the top tier package of Zoom or Teams. Contact us to learn more about how we can lower your business phone systems and collaboration tech costs!

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