As landlines become a thing of the past, voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services are rapidly replacing traditional phones as the go-to communication method between businesses, their clients, and their customers. Globally, VoIP is expected to grow 28% between 2016 – 2020; by the end of 2017 alone, there will be one billion VoIP users around the globe. These computer telephony systems bring savings and increase productivity for businesses of all sizes. Generally, companies have been shown to save between 50-75 percent on their phone services after switching to VoIP. Moreover, unified communications have saved medium enterprises an average of 191 work-hours per day. Small businesses particularly see dramatic changes with the shift: a PC World survey found that a business with thirty phone users saved $1200 a month in associated phone costs. More broadly, small businesses have been found to save roughly 40% on phone services.

Cisco Systems is one of the top distributors of VoIP systems. Since 1987, Cisco has been networking computers for the public, and the company has continued to be a major name in unified communications for over three decades. Given its longevity and ubiquity in network communications systems, the brand is known as one of the most reliable, stable, and technologically sophisticated sellers of VoIP systems and unified communications systems more broadly. While Cisco’s systems work extensively with large enterprises, Cisco VoIP phone systems are uniquely positioned to help small businesses capitalize on emerging communications technology.

How can VoIP help small businesses?

Voice over internet protocol systems are integrated phone systems that allow users to make voice phone calls over an IP (internet protocol) data network. Primarily, businesses can save money by keeping a company’s phone system and computer network on the same system. But VoIP can offer many more elements, such as linked voice and text, and can be integrated with a business’s larger CRM software to allow users to connect data, track messages, and collaborate on- and offsite.

VoIP increases mobility by allowing agents to connect to a company’s phone system from offsite. Users can activate VoIP phones from home or on the road, reducing travel expenses. Additionally, VoIP systems can eradicate long distance charges, streamline voicemail, reduce initial infrastructure, and increase ease of scalability. Even more sophisticated systems can include video conferencing and shared-data collaboration, further minimizing travel and overhead.

VoIP systems can be hosted on the cloud or situated on the premise (through hardware-based locally in the business). If the VoIP is hosted on the cloud, a local business has less control over upgrades, and fewer startup, infrastructure and IT costs. It never has to bear responsibility for keeping its computer telephony infrastructure running, and it doesn’t have to worry about maxing out its services. On the other hand, an on-premises server lets companies control updates and maintenance, thereby giving a company much more control over its system and the ability to customize its solution or mix and match elements. Both hosted and situated VoIPs, however, are able to access the same basic features, including web-based management, analytics, mobility, and collaboration features.

How can Cisco VoIP Phone Systems help small businesses?

As a company, Cisco Systems works for businesses of all sizes; its flexibility and large-scale infrastructure give small businesses more advanced internet telephony while still allowing them to reduce their infrastructure costs. Cisco VoIP systems offer cloud-based, hybrid, and on-premises communications packages, thereby allowing small businesses to decide how much infrastructure they want to support and how much control they need over their systems. Moreover, a Cisco VoIP system is ready to change as companies grow. Cisco’s unified commutations offer phone, video, collaborative meeting rooms, and voice accessories. Companies can access the technology they need without paying for features they don’t.

Cisco VoIP works on a host of devices—and can be compatible with small businesses’ existing workstations and equipment. Cisco’s softphones (software that allows users to make calls from their desktop or laptop), can be used from a smartphone or tablet, or can provide internet or web conferencing. Cisco VoIP offers a choice of how users communicate and can give small businesses the exact mode of communication they need.

Because Cisco VoIP systems are used among so many distinct types of companies, they are compatible with many different CRMs, including Oracle, NetSuite, and SAP CRMs as well as ERPs. For example, with its access to many operational and analytic CRM systems, Cisco VoIP can be thoroughly integrated into any businesses’ call center software, which allows users to call up sales histories and client data while simultaneously communicating with clients and colleagues. Or, Cisco VoIP can be integrated with a CRMs data analytics program to help users learn how to communicate more productively with current and prospective customers. A thoroughly mobile and technologically integrated phone system such as Cisco VoIP can change the way companies function, allowing users to more easily communicate with buyers, suppliers, and partners, while drastically reducing overhead costs.

The Cisco VoIP phone system is more cost-effective, more powerful, and more streamlined than the traditional business telephone system. A leader in unified communications technology, Cisco offers flexibility and stability, reducing costs for emerging businesses and enhancing the scalability the small companies need for growth. Cisco VoIP is mobile, working on and off site, on a myriad of devices. Most importantly, Cisco offers systemic stability: its expansive infrastructure and long history of service mean that it can offer cloud-based computer telephony integration for small enterprises. By offering the specific features that small businesses need, and allowing those companies to expand their features to meet their growing needs, Cisco VoIP provides essential communication services and the best infrastructure for emerging growth.

Article by Matt Goldman

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