Archive for March, 2012


Small business telephone systems cost – colleges and schools

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Although colleges and schools may be interested in new small business telephone systems, cost may sometimes be a factor that causes concern up-front.

Education - the background economic reality

Few sectors are under such economic pressures as that of education.

This leads to an understandable focus on cost and sometimes the tendency to put off making a decision on a new business telephone system, as long as is possible.

This occasionally masks some unpleasant cost-related realities about the ongoing use of obsolete systems:

  • their cost of ownership (running costs) may be soaring away - particularly in situations where you are frequently needing to call out engineers;
  • the risk of a fundamental and perhaps irreversible total systems failure, may increase on a day by day basis and that may lead to a corresponding decline in the robustness of your own establishment’s disaster recovery or continuity plans;
  • your professional reputation may be suffering, both with third parties (parents, investors, education boards etc) and your own colleagues and possibly pupils.

The longer you put off the decision, the worse these effects may prove to be.

Small business telephone systems - cost and balance

Contrary to some expectations, a new small business telephony system does not have to be an expensive, flagship-type project. Theoretically, it might comprise as little as two connected handsets!

What is typically important with any new office telephones system is not, in itself, the sophistication of the technology that it offers but rather its suitability for your individual requirements

In the case of some schools and colleges, those requirements may be relatively complicated. They may, for example, include things such as providing what is called a backbone network, one that may carry various forms of data traffic, including telephony, around the establishment.

In other situations, the requirements may be far more basic, involving only effectively being able to make internal calls from extension to extension and providing the capability to make external calls also.

Of course, whatever your requirements are today, they may change tomorrow and it is imperative that any solution has the capability of being easily and cost-effectively expanded should the need arise.

A range of options

We would welcome the opportunity to work alongside you, so as to help you understand what the new generation of office telephones system may be able to do for you and even more importantly, what you need from technology in order to support the way you manage your own day-to-day operations.

The outcome of this requirement analysis may not be a single proposition but in fact a spectrum containing a number of options that may vary in several respects both in terms of the facilities they will provide and of course, cost.

In terms of small business telephone systems, cost is something that is critically important but so is the ongoing management and development of your own operations. It may pay to think of the two things together at all times.

What is the best business telephone system?

Monday, March 12th, 2012

If you are planning to spend money on a new office phone system, a number of questions may spring to mind including that of, what is the best business telephone system?

Here are some other questions we have come across during the process of advising our clients on how to take advantage of the latest advances in business telephony systems.

What is the best business telephone system?

Although this is an understandable question when contemplating a significant investment, it is also question that is impossible to answer in abstract.

The best office telephones system for one type of business, such as a small manufacturing company, may not be the same as the best system for a veterinary practice or a college etc.

It is typically necessary to look closely at the characteristics of your business and to perform an analysis of requirements, prior to reaching even a provisional conclusion.

Doesn't a higher price always buy you a better system?

Not necessarily, no – at least not in terms of optimum solutions for your situation.

Of course, there may be no dispute that purchasing solutions from quality providers, such as Siemens business telephones, may offer a range of advantages including resilience and high-quality systems etc.

Even so, the emphasis should be on finding and purchasing a suitable and cost-effective solution rather than one which is considered to be either cheap or expensive, as such labels may do nothing to indicate to you whether the solution is fit for purpose in your context.

For example, you may pay extra for a system that is capable of supporting video conferencing but if it is not something you have any need for at the moment, you may be paying for redundant functionality.

How do I know that a system purchased today will meet my needs of tomorrow?

A fully frank response to the question is, you don’t.

Few areas of technology are moving at the same pace as communications technology and it is impossible to say what the technology may be like in five, ten or fifteen years time.

Strangely, to answer the question, it is necessary to look to the past.

Technology has changed massively over the last decade or two and the lesson to be learnt from this is not that change must be predicted but that it is necessary to look for systems that are built on technology architectures that mean that they will be better positioned to adapt to change as it arrives.

Once again, this tends to highlight the importance of purchasing solutions from major established providers who have a track record in the past of adapting to change and accommodating it on existing technological platforms where possible.

That is why companies such as Siemens are often mentioned in the context of the best business telephone system - as providers of reassurance and continuity and not just here today systems.

Good Customers

Monday, March 5th, 2012

An enormous amount of time is given to focusing on our customers. We spend hours on polishing our service, we are constantly looking for ways to improve and we are grateful for their custom and rightly so, because without them we wouldn’t be in business.

However, whilst we are caught up in the busy life of serving our clients, I wonder how often we consider how we are performing as a customer? We are all someone’s customer. Mostly we happily receive the service our suppliers offer and don’t comment until there’s a hitch in normal proceedings.

Recently I referred to a customer as one of our ‘favourite’ customers. Why are they our favourite customer? Of course there is the obvious answer, they give us business, but then there is so much more to it than that.
A good customer has been open to forming a relationship with us, they provide us with precious feedback, they respect the need for our terms and procedures and they recognise the value of our offerings, they sometimes even refer us.

It got me wondering, how do we rate as customers, what would our suppliers say about us?

Do we give feedback to our suppliers?
Do we acknowledge their payment terms and pay on time?
Are we grateful for the service? Do we tell them?
Have we referred them?

Maybe if we take the time to consider our own behaviour as customers, it will help us understand and serve our clients in a more efficient manner. Certainly food for thought!

Cheap Siemens business telephone systems

Saturday, March 3rd, 2012

What advantages might cheap Siemens business telephone systems offer you?

The nightmare scenario

If you are responsible for purchasing a new office telephone system, you may suffer from the occasional nightmare along the following lines.

Perhaps you see yourself introducing your colleagues to a new office phone system, explaining to them as you do so that it is the one that will be replacing the other new office phone system that you purchased only a couple of years ago.

If that sounds too surreal to be true, you may be even more disturbed to know that such things happen.

Why is this and what can you do to make sure that it does not happen to you?

Reasons for failure

There may be any number of reasons why a company may end up being disappointed with the solution it has chosen for its new business telephony system.

Surprisingly, outright technical failure may be comparatively unusual. What is perhaps more commonplace is one of the following scenarios:

  • once installed, the system proved itself to be incapable of delivering the functional support required in order for you to realise your anticipated benefits - this is typically attributable to inadequate up-front requirements analysis;
  • relatively quickly after installation, your business changes or evolves but this results in your new system becoming incapable of supporting your business operations any longer;
  • you have found that it is proving to be prohibitively expensive to expand your new system in line with your own business growth.

In the case of the second and third points above, the problem may be related to the nature of the solution you adopted.

Space does not permit a discussion of the technical and architectural issues here, however, some systems may simply be more modular and therefore, easier to change, grow and expand, than others.

This is where cheap Siemens business telephone systems may score highly on your evaluation criteria.

Avoiding it happening to you

Sometimes, the drive for economy may lead to the danger of choosing solutions from manufacturers that have relatively limited scope for expansion and diversification. In some cases, even if such changes are possible, the utilisation of non-standard approaches and technologies within their solutions may lead to high cost should you need to expand them.

By contrast, Siemens telephone systems have a globally established reputation for architectural and technical excellence and they can typically be upgraded and expanded to meet the changing requirements on your business (plus the evolution of background technology) more easily than might be the case with some other manufacturers.

Of course, what is cheap to one person may not be seen as cheap by another. However, if you wish to ensure that your purchased solution is as future-proof as is realistically possible, it might be advisable to let us help you to find out more about cheap Siemens business telephone systems.