No matter what the sector, the one constant within the world of business is communication. Successful and effective collaboration with customers, colleagues and clients is often key to keeping operations at a high and productive level.
While newfangled technologies such as video conferencing have taken more of a front-line seat than ever before, such systems often require more effort in order to get up and running.
It is for that reason that the telephone continues to rule the roost in offices across the world, yet ensuring that your business really makes the most of its telephony infrastructure can be a tricky proposition, particularly if you happen to be starting from scratch. Here are a few tips to ensure you end up with a system that is right for your organisation.
To KSU or not to KSU
A traditionally popular method is the Key Service Unit (KSU), which uses a multi-line system that can accommodate phones, wires jacks and other pieces of relevant hardware.
One of the key benefits is that the wall-mounted control unit needed is usually around the size of a small cabinet.
The power generated by the unit is then distributed to all of the phones within the company network, sending dial tones from the phone's incoming lines, while generating energy for basic features such as phone rings, touch tones and more.
A KSU system generally requires quite a bit wiring as it needs to be linked to each phone jack, although "loop-through" or "daisy chain" wiring allows the circuit to start at the source of dial tone, before going to the first jack and then the next and the next.
KSUs are an ideal fit for small or medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with under 75 workers, with many such infrastructures backed up by major telecom vendors, which in turn have the flexibility needed for expansion, making it attractive for firms looking to grow later down the line.
However, there are still higher costs for installation and maintenance in comparison to KSU-less phone systems.
Companies will often opt for a KSU-free infrastructure if they have fewer than ten employees, although that's not to say they are any less sophisticated.
A number of advanced features are contained within a KSU-free system, including call transfers, conference calls, as well as multiple extensions, all without the additional costs that come with the setting up of a central control box.
However, while the systems themselves may be less expensive, they can still sometimes require a greater level of investment as they are not backed by large telephony companies, meaning that it can be tricky to find the support you need. It is therefore essential to ensure that your organisation has the expertise needed to address any problems.
Larger businesses, or those that employ more than 75 people, will often use private branch exchanges (PBX) in order to take advantage of the subsequent heavy-duty features.
For instance, PBX helps systems become more cost-effective by allowing employees to share phone lines, while the low-profile nature of the physical hub means that companies can also save physical space.
Flexibility is also a key part of PBX as it allows for easy expansion, meaning that it can easily cater for the future infrastructural needs of any large business.
However, despite these benefits, PBX systems often command a higher price for set up and installation, meaning that although it could help to lower running costs later down the line, businesses will need a higher initial outlay.
Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) is the proverbial new kid on the block when it comes to corporate telephony.
Essentially, it works by distributing domestic and international calls over an internet connection, which in turn allows companies to streamline their systems more effectively, without having a negative impact on productivity or performance.
One of the key advantages that comes with hosted VoIP systems is that they are backed by dedicated services that offer the appropriate level of support if and when any problems arise, although such a service normally comes with a nominal fee.
Flexibility is further enhanced by the fact that you can use a conventional phone with a VoIP converter or VoIP telephone adapter, while the online nature of such technology means users can pick up calls wherever they are (so long as they have access to an internet connection).
Even video conferencing can be integrated within a VoIP system, which means workers can collaborate on deals, affairs, meetings, files, documents, agendas in a way that has never been more personal.
Such seamless integration makes VoIP a great option for both SMBs and larger firms alike.
Even when you have found the system that is right for you, it all counts for nothing if you are not equipped with the right hardware. Comtec has an impressive array of products that will help you get the most out of your telephony system.