Moving? Switch to cloud telephony for seamless, painless cut-over
You don't buy a car to travel from the airport to the conferencing destination; you grab a ride on Uber or book a ticket on the Gautrain, says Sacha Matulovich, marketing and sales director at Connection Telecom.
Moving office needn't mean moving or paying the earth to relocate your on-site PBX - if you migrate to a cloud-based PBX provider at the same time, moving your telephony is a plug-and-play exercise.
A new campaign by Telviva, the managed service from cloud-based communications service provider, Connection Telecom, raises awareness of the pain-free relocation of cloud-based business telephone systems.
The first 20 customers signed up to its communications service in response to the campaign will receive 20 portable SIP (session initiation protocol) handsets free.
Cloud's silver lining
Connection Telecom's marketing and sales director, Sacha Matulovich, says thousands of businesses moving at this time of year encounter enormous frustration when they discover that moving their on-site PBX incurs significant obstacles, cost and business interruption.
"Fortunately, there is a silver lining," he says. "Moving presents a golden opportunity to move to the cloud at the same time. It solves all the problems of moving your telephony, now and in future moves."
Matulovich blows the whistle on the immense hassle factor of moving an on-site PBX and reintegrating it on the other side.
"Almost invariably, you'll have trouble convincing your provider to help you move it. You'll hear the technology is outdated, and that moving and getting it to work on the other side will be difficult. And don't think you can convince someone else to do it, because if an unlicensed provider touches the PBX your warranty is void."
Cloud-based communication, on the other hand, is easy to transplant to another office, and requires minimal reconfiguration. "There is no equipment to move, other than a router and your handsets, which can practically just be driven to the new office and plugged in," he says.
Matulovich explains there is no financial incentive for product-centric on-site PBX suppliers to undertake a difficult relocation and reintegration of old equipment into a new office. "They are more geared to try and sell you a new PBX lease contract."
This should be avoided at all costs. "Most often there will be time left on the old lease, making it impossible to walk away from the old contract, and meanwhile, you're being up-sold at the same time. It's like adding insult to injury!"
Frequently, suppliers will amortise the unpaid cost of the old contract into a new contract that will run for another extensive period (frequently five years) at a cost combining the old and the new payments.
Cloud-based providers, by contrast, have no product as such. They provide communication as a service/hosted functionality, and therefore have a vested interest in facilitating a continued service relationship. (Hosted communications contracts can be cancelled at a month's notice, as opposed to the 60 months over which the hefty capital outlay of on-site PBX hardware is typically spread out).
No downtime, no extra cost
The fact that a cloud-based service need not be moved means there is literally no interruption to the service. "We route calls to your smart devices while your handsets are in a box and being driven over to your new premises," says Matulovich. "We simply load a SIP [session initiation protocol] software client on your devices, allowing calls to be answered by the same extensions as before. If you move half your staff in the morning and the other half in the afternoon, your customers won't notice any interruption in productivity or service. Cloud provides the best platform from which to co-ordinate a relocation."
This is true whether an organisation is an existing cloud customer or migrates to the cloud as part of the move, or even just uses it for purposes of a smooth changeover, he adds.
Flexible, always optimal
And while the overall cost may be comparable to that of an optimally-utilised on-site PBX, a cloud PBX is by definition always optimally utilised, and charges can therefore never be inflated as per an on-site PBX, Matulovich continues.
"It is child's play to provision more or less extensions as your business expands or contracts, which is an everyday reality in the current climate. By contrast, if you're up-sold on a new on-site PBX, you have to make a prediction of your business's size over five years, a very risky thing which nobody can accurately do. So you're forced to over-provision in order not to run the risk of another forced and inflated upgrade, which effectively sees you over-paying from the start for capacity you may or may not need later, but certainly don't need right now."
So what next?
Providing communications as a service rather than as a product changes the complexion of the provider somewhat. "We're essentially really good at projects," says Matulovich. "We understand that communication is a series of projects, of provisioning a service, of providing or cancelling features, of scaling up and down, of moving. All of it needs to be as seamless as possible, and cloud provides the most efficient way of doing it."
The moving engagement with Connection Telecom therefore reads more like a project plan than a sales contract. First, it ports the customers' numbers, so they keep the same ones. Next, it sets up the Telviva cloud-based PBX to offer the same or better (richer) functionality than before. For the transition period, it sets up interim call routing, while in parallel, it plans for implementation and handover.
Out with the old
Cloud telephony is of our time, Matulovich continues. "If you've been locking yourself into inflexible five-year contracts, now is the time to stop doing it. Communication is not a product but an act. You don't buy a hunk of tin just to communicate if you don't have to, just as you don't buy a car to travel from the airport to the conferencing destination. You grab a ride on Uber or book a ticket on the Gautrain."
For more information on Telviva's latest campaign and special offer, visit: http://telviva.co.za/smart-move/.