Cloud / Hosted Telephony – What is it & Why do I need it?

cloud telecoms

How hosted telephony can help with agile working

Hosted telephony allows you to work anytime, anywhere. Nowadays, employees increasingly want – and even expect – to be able to work from home or on the road. This is a positive way of building a culture of trust, and keeping employees motivated by enabling a work-life balance.

But it’s not just staff who can benefit. Any employer looking to improve employee productivity should be empowering their team to work when and where they want to.

Today’s workforces are increasingly dispersed, but they still need to communicate and collaborate effectively – wherever and whenever. If employees don’t have access to the communication and collaboration tools they need, this can dramatically impact their productivity.

93% of employees felt productivity had been improved by their organisation adopting unified communications and collaboration tools.

By 2020, over 70% of UK organisations will have adopted flexible working. Whether it’s a two-hour train journey back from a client meeting or working from home to deal with a broken boiler;  there’s a lot of potentially lost hours in modern life for companies who don’t give their staff the tools to work flexibly. Traditional platforms like fixed desk phones are still important – but to really maximise productivity, you and your team need access to mobile devices.

A hosted office phone system, such as Gamma Horizon, combines fixed and mobile telephony, making it an ideal platform for workers on the move.

 

What is cloud/hosted telephony?

A hosted telephone system resides in a data centre hosted in the cloud, rather than your office. Employees can access the phone system through a standard IP handset or a softphone (a screen-based virtual phone with a headset). Calls are made and received over a broadband connection and from there, they get routed to the right places.

Hosted telephony is becoming increasingly popular with UK businesses. Since the telephone system is in the cloud, this means there are no more costly PBX maintenance or upgrade costs.

ISDN is fast becoming outdated technology, as well as being the more expensive option for businesses to run.

 

Cloud telecoms for Small, Medium & Large businesses

Cloud is here to stay. In the Gamma Digital Transformation Survey 2017 of over 400 UK businesses, only 2% said they had no activity with Cloud services.

75% of UK SME businesses have adopted cloud services in one form or another (Cloud Information Forum (CIF) Survey 2015). Moving to the cloud means no up-front spend on hardware, software or maintenance and it’s great for businesses with multiple sites and remote/mobile workers.

 

Cloud telephony vs VoIP

Although many people think cloud telephony and VoIP are the same, they have significant differences in terms of functionality. A cloud telephone system is where the telephones are sat in a data centre in the cloud. Whereas, with a VoIP solution this purely means how the call is made. Whether the phone call is made over a data connection in the cloud or via an on-premise telephone system.

 

Hosted Telephony Benefits

As well as giving your organisation access to low-cost and free IP calling, a hosted system puts a huge range of smart call management features at your fingertips. Integration with mobiles and other devices are also possible.

More benefits include:

  • No capital outlay, predictable monthly costs
  • Disaster recovery/business continuity as standard
  • Lets your staff work flexibly from wherever they want
  • Free calls between locations, office phones and to company mobiles
  • Enable agile working & remote access securely for home and when mobile.
  • Huge savings for multi-location firms through a centralised operator.
  • Enhanced call queuing for rapid response to answer first time
  • More resilient and stable communications platform enabling business continuity
  • Centralised admin for moves, adds and changes for multi-location firms
  • Crystal clear voice quality
  • No more maintenance charges as no phone system in your premises
  • Always on the very latest levels of software release so more secure from hackers

Perhaps most important is the degree of control a hosted system gives you. Your organisation’s entire communications, across multiple sites, can be managed easily.

 

BT ISDN Switch Off

What is happening?

On 15th May 2018, BT announced that they are switching off the digital ISDN phone network to ‘force the migration’ of firms, who have not already done so, to start routing their phone calls over new ‘fibre’ data links. BT will not accept any new orders after September 2023. This is to aid with the official switch off following on from this. By 31st December 2025, all WLR ISDN services will be switched off. Moving to fibre will enable a faster, more reliable and more secure experience for you as a Law firm.

What should you do?

All organisations currently operating over ISDN should steer clear of performing any updates on their current system because by 2020, less than 12 months away, organisations will need to install fibre links to run phone calls over.

Next Steps…

As a BT wholesale partner, Matrix247 have devised a model to provide free and complimentary fibre upgrades. This will assist every step of the way to manage the switchover of your law firm’s phone lines onto fibre data links when you’re ready.

Matrix247 also have access to the new £2,500 government voucher scheme; allowing organisations to install GIGABIT fast-fibre links. https://gigabitvoucher.culture.gov.uk/

 

How does hosted telephony work?

Unlike traditional telephony which relies on physical copper telephone lines, hosted telephony uses the internet to send voice data through the local phone exchange. Providing you with a telephone system that’s in the cloud. Therefore, you can use IP handsets, mobiles, or even a desktop application to make and receive calls.

 

Hosted Telecoms vs On-Premise

Are you currently operating using an on-premise telephone system in your organisation? It could be time to consider joining the other 75% of businesses and move your telecoms to the cloud with a hosted telecoms solution.

 

Hosted Telecoms for a Law Firm

Today, lawyers are moving from formal meetings with geographic limitations towards real-time collaboration. And, using diverse communication methods and devices regardless of location. As a law firm you are unique in the services you provide to your clients. Enhance your telephone system to be the same with the suitable add-ons you require. For example, call recording, integration with your calendar and address book, voicemails, integration with case management systems, on-screen dialling, the ability to divert calls to external office locations so the phone never goes unanswered and more.

 

Gamma Horizon

Gamma Horizon is a hosted telephone system service providing businesses with an extensive range of fixed and mobile telephony capabilities. This is via an easy-to-use web portal and takes the burden away from your IT team. Employees can manage their calls easily and effectively, thereby maximising individual productivity.

 

Testimonials:

“IMD Solicitors LLP is a multi-lingual full-service law firm. IMD truly understands the need to communicate with our clients without legal jargon and in their own language.  With respect to the latter, Matrix247 has definitely overcome and delivered on many challenges for us to ensure that our clients speak with the right department from the very outset.  This was seamlessly done and dedicated lines for our English, Polish, Russian, Romanian, Latvian, Slovakian and Czech services were quickly put in place along with auto-attendant messages in each language.  Huge thank you to the knowledgeable and friendly team that looks after us. We look to forward to continuing our relationship with you.”

  • Amber Holt, IMD Solicitors LLP

“Hillyer McKeown Solicitors prides itself on delivering a highly responsive personalised service to its clients. To achieve this, every part of the communication process has to be excellent. At a time of increasing customer expectation, Matrix247LAW have given us a telecoms solution that enables seamless customer-focused call handling, giving the firm a real competitive advantage. And we’re saving money in the process!”

  • Steve Harvey, Hillyer McKeown Solicitors

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