Three reasons to dump your PBX

Three reasons to dump your PBX

A final thing to consider is how you will support the extended IT infrastructure as you roll out WFH activities. Traditionally, your IT infrastructure would be supported by in-house IT staff, a managed service provider, or some combination of both.  The PBX generally exists as a standalone entity, unrelated to the rest of your technology. Not only is it standalone as it functions in your work environment, very frequently it was sold, maintained and supported by a vendor that did nothing but provide telephony solutions. They would also be responsible for ordering and configuring the telco lines that went into the PBX. The PBX could be a very significant part of your operational structure, but it was segregated from the rest of your technology. This was true even in the call center business.

So what’s the problem here? The problem is that you have two very integral parts of your organization’s communication capabilities that really don’t have anything to do with one another.  Tools such as video conferencing, email, chat, SMS are being used but they exist in parallel with your primary voice communication tool.  Inherently, that creates a pretty clunky communications model. VoIP eliminates this wall and this helps you increase productivity and performance in three vital ways.  In other words, this integrates voice communication with the entirety of your IT infrastructure. VoIP is internet-based, so it suddenly is “just” another facet of the technology infrastructure. There are three advantages to this holistic approach to communications.

  1. Increased user productivity and satisfaction – Once you adopt VoIP and move towards a unified communications model, you increase user productivity. The movement from a voice call to an audio call or a chat can be “seamless”–not requiring moving from one platform to another. Also, it improves customer satisfaction. Your customers want to communicate with you on the channel that is most convenient at any one time. VoIP and unified communications can allow that to occur. Organizational success hinges heavily today on communication and collaboration. The more your employees and clients can interact on whichever communication tool is most convenient at any specific time, the more productive they can become.
  2. Eliminating technology silos – Once you adopt VoIP and abandon the PBX, you eliminate the wall between your voice technology and all of your other internet-based technology.  The two can be more fully integrated and that means greater communication capacity. More importantly, it means that your IT team has a 360 degree view of all of your communication technology as it becomes just one more part of your IT infrastructure. This improves transparency and helps integrate technology more completely into your business model.
  3. Change in the role of IT – Technology is important to your organization. You cannot do without it. And with the constant changes and advances in technology, you need to be constantly looking forward to how technology can be used in new ways to improve productivity and revenues, and meet new, perhaps undiscovered, customer needs. With the adoption of VoIP, all your technologies are under one roof and your IT support can become more strategic. For that to happen, you need to look at your  managed service provider, who also offers VoIP services, as a part of your team. Now that all of your technology is handled by one entity, they can bring strategic value to your business and allow technology to not be an afterthought, but an integral part of the organization’s present success and its planning for the future.

Why we still worry about Work from Home policies

Why we still worry about Work from Home policies

If you have been in the workplace for a few decades, you may remember that the idea of telecommuting began to appear in the late 90’s as Internet access from home began to become more common. Telecommuting was often poorly received, as it carried the onus of being a “trick” to avoid working a full 8 hours. Then, with the arrival of residential broadband access in the 2000s, successfully conducting a large majority of your work tasks in real-time, from home, began to become very realistic for a large swath of office workers. Managers finally had to face their own biases against WFH.

So what are the concerns that some in management have about WFH?

  1. Decrease in productivity – A common concern is that when at home, where there may be many domestic or entertainment distractions, workers will be unable to settle in and focus on their work. Kids, pets, laundry, Netflix, etc. may represent a strong magnetic pull from the work at hand.
  2. Oversight – Many managers fear that without onsite management ensuring that work is getting done, employees will slack off. Accepting or not accepting WFH for this reason represents the basic conflicting managerial attitudes in the Theory Y vs. Theory X developed by Douglas McGregor in the 1950s and 60s. Without going into detail, it hinges on whether a manager feels employees can be sufficiently self-motivated to succeed or must rely on external rewards and penalties to successfully perform their jobs.
  3. Loss of collaboration – There is also a concern that when people work alone, they miss the creative spark that comes from the unplanned and spontaneous discussion that comes about informally from mingling in the same space. Yahoo is an example of this concern. In 2013, the new CEO Marissa Mayer ended most work from home policies because she believed Yahoo needed the collaborative approach that she felt came only from sharing a common physical space.
  4. Planning – Operating an organization partially with off-site employees takes careful planning. For one thing, your IT infrastructure has to be able to accommodate the added requirements of an entirely digital office space. It also means your IT department is responsible for developing protocols to maintain off-site devices as well and support a uniform set of collaboration tools to ensure productivity is not lost because of technical problems or cumbersome work tools.

In short, some of these concerns are valid, but they can generally be overcome, at least partially, when management is committed to developing a thoughtfully-designed set of policies that will dovetail with the company’s strategic goals.

The Positives of WFH

You are probably caught up in overseeing a Work-From-Home policy that you may have never intended to initiate. It can be concerning, and there are many policy issues that an employer has to consider when they begin to implement WFH.  That said, it is worth stepping back and looking at the upsides of working from home both for employees and organizations.  In this blog, we’ll do a quick rundown of the commonly accepted benefits of WFH and why organizations adopt it. Continue reading The Positives of WFH

How Safe is Your Data When Your Staff Works from Home?

The Coronavirus crisis has changed the world as we know it. With social distancing, lockdowns, and work from home becoming the new normal, cybercriminals are exploiting the situation to their gains. This blog discusses how the cybercrime landscape is likely to shape up in the current and post-pandemic world, and how businesses can safeguard themselves against it with better cybersecurity when staff works from home.
Continue reading How Safe is Your Data When Your Staff Works from Home?

VoIP Facilitates Working From Home: So What is VoIP?

What is VoIP? Voice over Internet Protocol takes us away from the traditional office PBX, the on-location physical equipment that provides voice telephony using physical wires or fiber to transmit analog signals. PBX technology allows for some audio conferencing (though it can be a bit clumsy to set up) as well as voicemail, call forwarding, and some other call sorting features. However, a PBX has some severe limitations on available collaboration features and requires a trained technician to configure any changes. Even moving someone to a new office requires expensive and technical labor to move the extension to a different physical location. Continue reading VoIP Facilitates Working From Home: So What is VoIP?

7 Ways a Work From Home Policy Can Help Your Business

In the last several years, the concept of Work From Home policies (WFH) has become increasingly more popular. Though some still remain skeptical, it has been gaining in popularity and become more widely accepted among management circles. That said, the pandemic event in 2020 essentially set the debate entirely aside – at least for the time being – because WFH became the only choice between working and shutting down for many businesses. Continue reading 7 Ways a Work From Home Policy Can Help Your Business

VoIP: Three Productivity Advantages

So, what do you get with VoIP (Voice over IP) technology that you can’t get from a PBX (Private Branch Exchange)? Quite a bit, but we will just focus on the productivity aspect of VoIP – ways to turn your office phones into better and more flexible tools to make the lives of your employees and clients easier and more efficient. Basically, these VoIP productivity advantages fall into 3 categories.

1. Mobility – Losing the Hardwired Location

Wherever the worker is, that is where their “phone” is. The idea of a handset physically wired into the wall goes away. This is the most straightforward of the advantages of VoIP. This means workers are no longer tied to the physical location of their office phone and can take their phone/number across the office to another room – or to their home office.

The Elephant in the Room: Mobile Devices

You might ask: well, can’t they just use their cell phone and forward their office line to that device? Of course, but that kind of sidesteps the issue. A cell phone is a bit of a standalone device, whereas the PBX and VoIP are platforms that provide more than bi-directional voice communications.

The PBX has voicemail, audio conferencing, and other call sorting features that are lost when the employees shift to a mobile device. Also relying on employees’ own mobile devices raises a lot of BYOD policy issues. With an employee-owned device, there are data security issues, updates to be made, and a variety of other policies that need to be addressed.

2. More Tools, Simpler Than Traditional PBX

VoIP allows you to do a lot more with call forwarding and transfers, and it can be done from a simple application on your laptop or smartphone. It doesn’t have to be done from the handset at your desk: anyone can do it. What are some of the simpler things that can be done?

  • A user can forward their calls to a mobile phone. And they can also set rules for forwarding. For instance, calls can be forwarded to voicemail after a certain time. Specific numbers can be forwarded to a mobile phone or to voicemail.
  • More intriguingly, telephone messages can be transcribed to email or text message. The user can check voice messages via email. Voice communication is no longer restricted to a physical desk or phone location.

3. Transition to Complete Unified Communications

Once you’ve adopted the basic VoIP communications model, then you have access to a wide range of tools that permit users to transition from one mode of communication to another while remaining on one platform.  As mentioned, voicemails can be translated into text or emails into voice messages.  More importantly, audio and video conferencing and visual sharing can be incorporated into the communications model, so you no longer use separate platforms for the different communications media. What can VoIP offer under the heading of unified communications? Here is a list of the main possible features.

  • Video conferencing
  • Screen sharing
  • Call control
  • SMS
  • Email
  • Voicemail
  • Internet telephony (VoIP)
  • Instant messaging
  • Screen sharing
  • Speech recognition

As a final observation, it needs to be noted that VoIP and Unified Communications are generic terms. Different vendors may offer different combinations of available services. But the point is, the rapidly evolving WFH and hoteling model is going to require adopting an entirely new communication model.

VoIP isn’t only about proving more and better options over PBX, it’s also about making your IT infrastructure more resilient and flexible. From starting a Work From Home Initiative to being ready if disaster strikes, VoIP can save the day. If you would like to learn more about VoIP, especially Managed VoIP, contact Triton Technologies today.