Whether your business is just starting, growing, or ready for a change, moving to a right-fit phone system can save your business dollars and headaches.
There’s beauty and challenges with today’s voice options — there’s a vast selection to choose from, yet keeping track of features, pricing, and hardware is daunting for the best of us.
If you’re scoping new voice solutions, here’s our quick guide to help: on-site phones versus hosted phones versus Microsoft Teams phones. Of course, as a managed services provider (MSP), it’s our job to give our clients custom recommendations based on their needs, budgets and goals. We’re really good at it, promise. But if you’d like to get a head start with an introduction, here are our two cents with summaries, pros and cons of each.
On-Site vs. Hosted vs. Microsoft Teams Phones
An on-site phone system is just like it sounds — it’s physically installed in your building with wires that run through the walls, and there is a phone system controller that resides in your workspace. And when it comes to setup and storage, that part can account for quite a chunk of change. However, on-site phones are what many of us are used to, and your team should find a system like this fairly simple to use and familiar.
Pros of on-site phones
If you’re a large company, you might find a better ROI with an on-site system. The initial hardware purchase will be substantial, but if you buy quality equipment that lasts a long time, it can be a worthwhile investment.
Cons of on-site phones
Unlike hosted phones, it can become expensive and complex if you want to share phone resources with multiple locations or offices. On-site phone systems are also susceptible to natural disasters that affect your power and phone service like flooding or fires.
Also known as “internet phones,” hosted phone systems function much like on-site phones, but the phone system controller is not in the office. This usually means it’s quicker to get up and running (presuming you already have internet established), and your team can make and receive calls from home or on the road.
Pros of hosted phones
They’re usually less expensive up-front than on-site phone systems. Hosted phones are a great option for scalability, multiple locations, or for companies that plan on working remotely now or in the future.
Cons of hosted phones
You’re relying on the internet, so if it goes down, your ability to make and receive calls goes down too. This isn’t to say your auto attendant or voicemail forwarding will stop working — they can still run in the background. The strength of your internet connection can also impact call quality. Unlike an on-site phone system, hosted phones come with a monthly fee for the hosting service.
Microsoft Teams Phones
Teams Phones gives Microsoft users a way to connect from a Teams chat, the Calls app, or public switched telephone network (PSTN). According to Microsoft, it’s designed for “small and medium-sized businesses and enterprise customers using Microsoft 365,” so if you already have the suite, the learning curve is minimal.
Pros of Microsoft Teams Phones
It integrates seamlessly with Microsoft 365, meaning everything is designed to work together. Support can all be accessed in one place (phones, Office, email, etc.) since it’s all Microsoft-based, and pricing is competitive with other hosted phone solutions. Plus, remote access from anywhere.
Cons of Microsoft Teams Phones
You must be a Microsoft 365 customer to use it, since there’s no stand-alone version of the service. And just like hosted phone systems, you’ll have to rely on an internet connection for it to work. Lastly, you may need to spend some time training older staff who are used to traditional phone systems (but younger generations might actually prefer the cloud-based infrastructure).
We’ll Help You Make the Call
Our Tekmanagement team has been helping businesses in Southern Oregon and around the world choose best-fit voice solutions since the ‘80s (there some different choices back then). We can help you ask and answer the necessary questions for picking one that works for you:
How many phones do I need?
What features do I need?
Where will my phone system need to be in 3-5 years?
What is my budget for the initial setup and monthly fees?
Before making the final decision, we encourage you to reach out so we can assess your network and needs and provide a recommendation. Some features might look appealing at first, but walking through use-case scenarios can shed light on the voice solution that’s going to help your business grow in the long run.
Give us a call (on whatever device you’re using), and we’ll take a look at your options together.