ROI on Hosted Voice vs. Premise Based PBX

In a recent meeting, we were discussing the current state of the economy, the time value of money, our services, and the return on investment (ROI) between Hosted Voice and Premise Based PBX (click here for a brief description of both).

Our Sr. VP of Sales, Sean Burke offered us the following insights:

Let’s say the charges for our service is $3,000/month.  You may look at that and do the following calculation to determine the ROI on our solution:  $3,000 x 36 = $108,000.

That is merely tells you how much you are going to spend on our service over the next 3 years, but speaks nothing of your ROI.

The best way to determine the value of your investment is by looking at your investment taking the time value of money into consideration.  Let’s look at this from a strict money comparison (which does not include the value of added features, innovation, support, etc.):

Here are 2 examples:

  1. CONSERVATIVE – If your company received a small business loan today from the  Small Business Administration Loan (these are actually pretty hard to get too given the economy)- the rates range from NY Prime (3.25%) + 2.25% = 5.5% to NY Prime (3.25%) + 6.5% = 9.75%.  So let’s use 7% to show a middle ground calculation.  A $3,000 monthly payment over 3 years with a 7% rate is VALUED in today’s money at = $97,159 for a difference of about $10,000 (from what was calculated above based on total $’s spent). But even this calculation is extremely conservative and here is why…7% interest is a very conservative estimate of the value of a growing companies future value.
  2. A FAST GROWING COMPANY (REAL EXAMPLE) – The average growth rate of the Inc 500 companies is 46%.  If you use this number the value of $3,000 paid monthly over 3 years is = $58,057 for a difference of about $50,000. From a business perspective/cash flow perspective – leaders of high growth companies should understand that deferring your payments to monthly amounts so that you can free those dollars to invest in your high growth entity is ALWAYS a smart decision.  Think of it this way…the company is growing by 46%.  Which means each dollar you invest in growing your business is worth $1.46 in one year; in two years it is worth $2.13, in year 3 it is worth $3.11 – so there is a much larger value to them in investing their money INTO growing their business vs. buying PBX’s.

If you are interested in learning more, please contact us – we’d love to discuss this with you.

Also, for a calculator you can use to determine the time value of your money – click here.

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SIP Trunks and Their Cost Saving Benefits

What are managed SIP trunks and how will they save me money?

Before we get into that, we need to quickly touch on the different ways data is exchanged once it leaves your business:

PSTN – Public Switched Telephone Network

This is the world’s circuit-switched, analog network – telephone lines, fiber optic cables, microwave transmission, cellular networks, communications satellites, undersea telephone carriers – are all interconnected through circuit-switching centers.  When you make a phone call using a traditional carrier or use dial-up to connect to the Internet – you are using PSTN.

ISDN – Integrated Service Digital Network

The start of the digital age of communications.   With ISDN, you have a digital transmission of voice, video and data over the traditional PSTN.

There are 2 basic types:

  • Basic Rate Interface (BRI) – low bandwidth – 2 B-channels that can be used for voice, data and other services and 1 D-channel is used for control and signaling.  BRI is for home and small business use.
  • Primary Rate Interface (PRI) – higher bandwidth – 23 B-channels and 1 D-channel.  PRI is used for larger enterprises.

Now to get back to SIP trunks

SIP stands for session initiation protocol.  Protocol is the set of rules that govern the format of messages that are exchanged between servers.  Session initiation protocol simply means that you are initiating a session to exchange messaging over the Internet.  A managed SIP trunk is a direct connection between your business and your IP (Internet Protocol) telephony service provider.  It allows you the ability to make VoIP calls over the PSTN without the need to purchase an IP-PBX gateway.   An SIP trunk is a single line that can be used to transfer all multimedia:  voice, video and data all at the same time.

Here’s the good part.  Saving money:

  1. Hardware and Service Costs – A managed SIP trunk eliminates the costs associated with the purchase, support and maintenance of hardware gateways.  Also, SIP trunks are less expensive than analog circuits, and SIP’s long distance charges are cheaper than traditional rates.
  2. Scalability – PRI is sold in increments of 23.  If your organization has 24 employees, you will need to pay for 46 channels.  Managed SIP trunks, on the other hand, are sold in increments of 1.  You only pay for the lines you need and you can add additional channels at any time.
  3. Management – Your SIP trunk provider handles the management of, any updates to, and support of your trunks.  Instead of being bogged down managing your communications system, your IT department can focus on initiatives that will grow your business.
  4. Disaster Recovery – If the lines of communication are down to your business, your business loses its ability to make money.  An Internet-based phone system has a higher likelihood of maintaining functionality during a disaster, than a fixed-line, circuit-switched system.  Click here to learn more about the importance of having a disaster recovery plan in place for your business.

SIP trunks are becoming an increasingly popular solution for businesses of all sizes.  For more information please visit our website or contact us.  We’d love to hear from you.

Do you have a Disaster Plan in place for your phone system?

With hurricane season in full swing and Hurricane Isacc approaching, we wanted to provide you with a few suggestions for protecting your business communications.

One of the many benefits of your hosted communications service from Telovations is the ability to receive calls, even if your primary business location is unavailable or employees have to work from home.  Telovations’ geographically diverse, synchronous platforms ensure that callers will continue to reach your business.

Below are a few key features which you may find helpful in these circumstances. Now is a good time to become reacquainted with these features, spend a few minutes setting up your Disaster Redirect numbers and remind your employees how to use Remote Office, Simultaneous Ring, Sequential Ring or Telovations Anywhere.

  • Disaster Redirect – Stay accessible to customers, even if your offices are closed due to a natural disaster or other unforeseen circumstance.
  • Remote Office – Work wherever you like! Receive and place calls as if you are in the office.
  • Hosted Voice Messaging – Always have your voice mail available and accessible from anywhere.
  • Telovations Anywhere – Use any device (home phone, cell phone, etc.) as your work phone with all of your hosted phone features.

Depending on your service plan, these features can be configured from our online portal. The portal can be accessed by clicking here.

You can contact our customer care team to answer any question you might have by dialing 611 from your Telovations’ phone, calling 877-934-6668 or sending an e-mail to: support@telovations.com.

If your business loses power or connectivity your telephone equipment may not operate. However, if you utilize Telovations equipment as part of your service plan, your auto attendant and voice mail will continue operating if your business loses power. Even if you utilize your own equipment with the Telovations’ solution, you can temporarily setup an emergency message utilizing Disaster Redirect. If you have an analog fax line, you may remove the fax machine connection and plug in an analog phone (such as an inexpensive one you can purchase and that does not require a power outlet) to the wall connection.  This line can be used for outgoing and incoming calls, even during the loss of power. You can then use phone as an Anywhere device.

If your business requires a more robust Disaster Recovery plan, our staff of consultants is available to work with you to design and build a solution to meet your needs.

Below are a few links to additional hurricane preparation information you may find useful:

Above all, remain safe and be assured that Telovations will be available to assist you.

Working 9 to 5 (or 6 or 7…)

You may remember this blog post, where we discussed how the majority of US working adults answer work calls and emails, both before going into the office in the morning and when they are home from work in the evening.  It is estimated that you and your employees are putting in an average of 7 additional hours/week working from home.

Do you check your email first thing in the morning?  Do you take calls and check emails during your lunch break?  Have you ever counted how many times you log-in to your work email from home in the evening?

Have you ever heard someone conducting business while walking down the street?  Maybe you are even guilty of this yourself.

I know I am.

[x]cube labs compiled the findings of various research reports and put them together in a comprehensive infographic.  It not only provides a picture of what the mobile employee looks like today – it also shows the direction the mobile workforce is headed.

https://telovations.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/the_mobile_employee22.png

The line between home life and work life has been blurred.  The addition of mobile devices into our lives keeps us connected, and available, even when we step away from our desks.  Your customers know that, and want instant gratification – they don’t want to wait until you get back in the office to return their call.  Mobility solutions are easy to integrate into your business, and as a bonus, your employees will appreciate having more flexibility.  Click here to learn about Telovation’s Mobility Solutions.

Product Spotlight: Find Me/Follow Me

Blog Series:  Mobility

Product Spotlight:  Find Me/Follow Me

Remember when a 5 pm quitting time meant you were done working for the day?  If a client called in with an issue after hours and you had already gone home, you wouldn’t be expected to address that issue until 9 am the next morning?

Me neither.

But that was what business was like for my father back in the 1950s.  He sat at his desk, he did his job, and when he was done for the day…he went home.  I never once saw my father take a business call outside of his office.

This is not our reality.  A recent Good Technology Survey found that more than 80% of US working adults continue to answer calls and emails after they have left the office – for an average of 7 extra work hours per week!  Almost half of those surveyed felt it was necessary because their customers demand quick replies.

Business mobility is no longer just a valuable business tool; it’s a way of life.

So much so that according to the Accenture 2012 CIO Mobility Study, 78% of CIOs placed mobility as a top priority – 38% placing it in their top 1 or 2 spot.

How much time do you spend checking your work voice mail?

If you are out of the office and have a big deal in the works do you check your voice mail obsessively – until you start to feel like you are stalking yourself?   It’s hard not to worry that a missed call can translate into a missed opportunity and lost business.

Using a mobility solution that allows you to work more efficiently and that helps your clients and prospects find you more quickly can alleviate a lot of worry.

Find Me/Follow Me

Find me/Follow me allows you to set up your mobile, home office or any other phone to ring either sequentially from, or simultaneously to, your office phone.  If you don’t answer your office phone, the call can be routed to your cell.  If you don’t answer there, it can be routed to a home office and then finally to your assistant or your partner before going to voice mail.  Best of all, the link is invisible so your personal and mobile numbers remain confidential.

You can easily make changes through the TeloPortal:

Mobility has blurred the line between work life and home life.  Unavailability can mean lost opportunity and lost business.  How do you want to spend your time?  By using your mobility to try and keep up with your business, or by living your life and letting your mobility keep your business up with you?

Click here to learn more about Find Me/Follow Me.

Just for fun, I am going to leave you with a video clip of a song that pops into my head every time I think of Find Me/Follow Me:  U2’s I Will Follow (1980).

There’s an App for That (Part 3) – Remote Office

Product Spotlight:  Remote Office:  iPhone/Deskphone and Android/Deskphone

I recently ran into an old colleague who shared with me the following story:

She had taken a week off of work to attend her sister’s wedding.  She works in sales, and she had some big deals in her pipeline.  She went on vacation planning on doing a little work while she was at her parent’s home.  On Monday morning, when she checked her work voice mail, she had three new messages.  She returned the calls using her cell phone:  two calls to prospects and one call to a current client that was having problems and was very unhappy.

Welcome to your working vacation my friend:

Calling clients or prospects from your cell phone, when you are on vacation, sends the message that you are reachable and available.  In my friend’s case, her client had her number and they weren’t afraid to use it.

She went on to say how she had to walk out on brunch with her mom and her sister because the unhappy client called 3 times in just over a half hour.  “It was so distracting,” she explained.  “Each time my phone rang, I knew it was my client and each time I let it go to voice mail, I knew he was growing more frustrated.   I really regretted calling him with my cell phone.  In addition, I spent several days going back and forth with my two prospects.   I really wanted to keep my focus on my sister, but my cell was ringing off the hook.  I don’t mind doing business on vacation, but I wish there could have been a buffer between us.”

What if you could maintain your one number identity even when working remotely?

There’s an App for that.

Remote Office for Android or iPhone is a native Android/iPhone application that allows you to originate calls from your smart phone through your Telovations-powered desk phone.  It enables easy control of Remote Office, Do Not Disturb and Call Forwarding settings while on the move.

Remote Office comes with an intuitive look and feel. It offers convenient “click-to-dial” options from a keypad, from your deskphone’s Call History or from your Android or iPhone contact list.

Click here to learn more about the iPhone/Deskphone or click here to learn more about Android/Deskphone.

Cloud computing stats you didn’t know

As I learn more about our industry and how things we use everyday integrate seamlessly in the Cloud, I’m finding more and more interesting statistics relating to exactly what we do with data over here.  The old days have been replaced with data mining, data storage, data exchanging, data…everything.

Did you know?

Are you prepared? #BusinessContinuity #DisasterRecovery

And finally – didn’t you ever wonder what happens in the tech world every 60 seconds?