Business growth depends on the ability to scale—personnel, processes, and technology. Too often, companies neglect the final component; upgrading phone systems takes a backseat to finding more employees to complete a ballooning client workload. But what good is an expanded team if members can’t collaborate efficiently? How can employees execute processes that in-office technology limits?
Cisco IP phone systems address these challenges. Traditional PBX (Private Branch Exchange) systems abound in fixed costs. Every office space has a limited number of lines running in and out of the building. Expanding these lines means months—and perhaps millions—to rewire, only to face the same problem again the following year.
Shared resources for internal and external communications create bottlenecks in stable work environments. Business growth can turn minor traffic jams into an absolute gridlock.
IP phone systems are different. They break the reliance on hardware and vendors that can make the transition, maintenance, and expansion of communication systems prohibitively expensive. By converting voice messages into the same packets of data exchanged via email and other Web traffic, IP phone systems are bound only by the capacity of an Internet Service Provider—an almost infinitely flexible and powerful partner.
Gauging business communication needs
In a perfect world, business growth is predictable. Workplace pain points arise slowly, and management has ample time to accrue resources, vet vendors, and schedule timely implementation. This is not a world known to growing businesses, especially those enjoying exponential business growth.
In business communications, pain points arise rapidly. Few needs are more urgent than phone service. Insufficient lines can strand employees, forcing them to conduct company business on personal phones. It can also leave a dozen employees crowded around an outdated conferencing system, straining to understand clients on the other side.
These challenges undermine professionalism, employee productivity, and employee satisfaction. They’re a daily drain on company morale and a risk to employee retention.
IP phones offer robust, unified communication systems that solve these challenges, then solve them again as a business continues to grow. IP phone systems meet near-term communications goals without demanding a predictable long-term vision for growth. They are an investment in flexibility.
Is there still a role for PBX phones?
The either-or decision point—PBX or IP—is a false dichotomy. A unified IP phone system can incorporate PBX services into an IP data network, as well as provide seamless integration between the two systems. This reduces network management while preserving functionality. For small businesses, it can also mean cost savings.
No communications company has pioneered that integration more effectively than Cisco. Joining Cisco PBX systems with their IP phone solutions bridges the technological gap and provides a communications foundation that can grow as rapidly as the business.
Why choose Cisco IP telephone service?
Even for organizations committed to an IP telephone transition, there are choices. Few compete with what Cisco offers. While many businesses are just beginning conversations about switching to IP phone systems, development of the Cisco IP telephone began in 1997—before any other vendor. This has given Cisco two decades of industry-leading experience, dispersed among more than 100,000 clients worldwide. Even today, Cisco serves more than two-and-a-half times as many IP phone clients as its nearest competitor.
For businesses working to become industry giants, here’s another note: More than 95 percent of the Fortune 500 relies on Cisco Collaboration Solutions, the broader suite of Cisco products that includes Cisco Unified IP phone systems. For rapidly growing small businesses without the time or resources to conduct exhaustive vendor research, it’s safe to assume the Fortune 500 did their homework.
What are the options for Cisco IP phone systems?
Core Cisco IP phone systems scale across four main series: 3900, 6900, 7800, and 8800. (Additional series are available, including the SPA300 and SPA500 for small businesses.)
Each series offers added features and benefits to solve business communications needs. While the 3900 and 6900 series focus on simplicity and efficiency, the 7800 and 8800 layer in rich interfaces that, in the case of the 8800 series, include video conferencing directly through the phone.
Throughout the series, Cisco provides constant improvements to audio quality. Larger systems intended for conference rooms have enhanced acoustics to ensure clear, professional collaboration within organizations and with clients.
The flexibility of Cisco IP phone systems even allows migration of corporate phone systems to personal phones. What could better exemplify the portability of cutting-edge IP telephony? This transfer of technology is vital for sales staff in the field. Further, it demonstrates the capacity to adapt to the fractured modern workplace, where the term “office” refers less to a physical space and more to a mindset.
How to implement an IP phone system successfully
It’s the vendor’s responsibility to handle the technology. It’s a manager’s responsibility to orchestrate the training and get employee buy-in for a new system. Neither is simple; both are essential.
For IP phone systems, managers already benefit from employee anticipation—staff may be painfully aware of an antiquated system’s limitations. Still, ensuring quick adoption requires understanding how employees use technology regularly. How does phone usage fit into their day-to-day processes? Which features are “nice” versus “needed”? Understanding the procedures employees already use for internal collaboration or external meetings can help align training and system selection with current practices.
On the other side—for employees advocating for an improved system to management—experts caution against venturing from “promotion” to “hype,” which can lead to disappointing results.
That said, Cisco IP phone systems are far from controversial. Representing the long-needed transition from fixed PBX offerings to flexible communication solutions, IP phone services are essential to scaling business growth. Whether liberation from PBX constraints is sufficient, or more comprehensive IP phone features solve the needs of a growing business, Cisco offers both—with unparalleled experience in each communications arena.
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