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Work at home declarations from the CDC and other government agencies may become the new normal.
Not only could it become a temporary law, but it's also the best way to protect your employees from exposure to the corona virus.
So how can you as a business owner prepare to transition your workforce into a work-at-home team that still performs at a high level?
We've created a step-by-step process to help you prepare.
Six Steps to Enable Your Remote Workers:
1. HIGH SPEED INTERNET
2. MOVE YOUR PHONE-SYSTEM TO THE CLOUD
3. MOVE YOUR DESKTOP WORK-SPACE TO THE CLOUD
4. MOVE CONTACT CENTER TO THE CLOUD
5. IDENTIFY & PROVIDE NECESSARY DEVICES
6. REMOTE FILE SHARE
How Fast Can You Make the Pivot?
If you'd like assistance in putting a work-at-home technology plan in place, contact us and we'll get you in touch with our trusted providers. Blue Pride I.S. will help you chose & set up services. For more information about current offers click the FIND OUT NOW BUTTON -------->
Many of our suppliers are at the ready to help you move to a remote workforce. We have compiled the generous offers we have received.
Reach out to us to learn more about their offers.
Blue Pride I.S. is an experienced team, partnered with all the top hosted VoIP UCAAS providers. Blue Pride I.S. acts on behalf of our customers, as a vendor neutral ‘Sherpa’ to ensure all of our clients needs are met along their process. Typically at no charge, our team helps IT teams or organizations that are looking for a better phone or Internet solution make a qualified decision and stands with them during implementation.
Blue Pride I.S. was retained by Cedar Park IT Department at Cedar Park Church to help them migrate to VoIP. Our team began by scheduling a meeting with the head of IT at CPC, Sham Austin.The first step was discovery. It is essential to know the entirety of the current setup, what are the issues they are looking to mitigate, and what does the client truly desire for the outcome of this endeavor. Once Blue Pride I.S. gained a complete understanding of this information, we could then begin the vendor engagement process.
Our team has successfully implemented many phone system transitions knowledge of which was used to engage the top vendors that could truly accommodate the needs of Cedar Park Church. We prepared a list of questions to confirm with each vendor, scheduled meetings with each vendor and attended these meetings alongside CPC’s IT team. We researched each vendors capabilities of meeting the needs of Cedar Park and tracked responses via collaborative software shared with the client throughout the whole process. After the meetings, we met privately to discuss the findings. Meeting in private allowed us to advise Cedar Park, which providers truly fit their needs based on our experiences and their capabilities. Once we isolated the top contenders, we scheduled the next round of research, reached out to references and began negotiating pricing. Using the competitive landscape we helped to cultivate, we were able to to get the best possible pricing and solution for the customer.
Blue Pride I.S. is a ‘White Glove’ telecom broker. What that really means is that unlike the average telecom broker, we do not stop assisting the client once the agreement is engaged. Because Cedar Park selected a vendor our team engaged, our team continued to help prepare for the migration and provided onsite assistance for phone ordering and arrival. Blue Pride I.S. offered to present on the day of port to ensure it ran smoothly and remained available afterwards to assist and train customers. Sham’s team was unique and well organized and required little or no help with the migration, so instead, we assisted Cedar Park in the connectivity of their paging system to the new phone solution.
We continue to stand with Cedar Park and assist with issues as they may arise.
Contact Blue Pride I.S. today to find out how we can help your company get the technology that works for your specific needs.
We used Eric Larson's technical and industry expertise to help us shop and negotiate our condo association's internet and television contract over this past April and May.
He is knowledgeable of the dozens of choices and options in the market place and the pricing for each aspect of it. I highly recommend employing him for any business, organization or individual to get the best internet service, television or security systems at the best price.
- John Kotalik Juanita Shores Condominium Association .
2020 was the year for VOIP systems. No wait, 2020 was the year for cloud-hosted VOIP systems. Actually, let’s be clear, 2020 was the year that we started hearing everyone stop using the terms VOIP and cloud-hosted VOIP and really pick up the terms Unified Communications (UC) and Collaboration.
With organizations being forced to adopt a remote workforce in 2020 due to COVID-19, the Unified Communications & Collaboration market grew 25.1% from 2019 as of October 2020 (according to the IDC). However, 2021 doesn’t feel much different and most companies are realizing that remote work is here to stay.
Now, let’s define a few random terms that are thrown around.
Traditionally, for an on-premise PBX (or phone system), organizations had to purchase the physical phone equipment then host the equipment in a data center they operated or leased from a service provider. In addition, organizations typically paid expensive maintenance contracts on the hardware, monthly bills for PRI/POTS lines plus the long minute charges and, in many cases, paid a monthly management fee to maintain the system (patching, user changes, system changes, etc.). The setup of the phone system was cumbersome and complicated and to make a configuration change (such as changing a hunt group or call route) required advanced development which many organizations had to pay a third party for.
In addition, if your organization had multiple locations, this process had to be repeated at every location you wanted a phone call to be taken. This caused the systems to be costly to purchase, maintain and operate and laborious for an organization to deal with.
Cloud Based VOIP services use internet circuits to route calls out to the PSTN so you no longer need the physical PBX hardware and circuits to make a phone call, you just need internet access. This removes much of the cost, time and effort organizations previously spent.
As described above, the reality in 2021 is that every individual in an organization may be working at a separate location. In a traditional system, this would cause challenges because phone traffic would be totally unmonitored in a home office or would have to traverse back to the office or data center the PBX equipment is being hosted causing latency. Now, users can create fixed and non-fixed VOIP numbers that allow a user to connect to their home internet and dial directly from there with the location being fluidly updated based on the organizational preference.
You can continue listing the reasons, but it reduces the costs, time and effort of managing and maintaining a phone system and provides more features and flexibility than before.
There are hundreds of providers out there, but we will highlight a few of what we think are the best VOIP service providers and how they are different. We have broken them into groups based on the architecture and market targets. Additionally, we have included how they connect to Microsoft Teams because of the surging popularity of Microsoft 365 through 2020.
There four types of connections we list:
Direct Routing: Supplier-hosted/managed SBC connects PSTN service to Microsoft Cloud Phone System. Requires MSFT Cloud Phone System license + supplier calling SKU.
Bundled PBX: Supplier bundles proprietary PBX into offering. This augments Teams with features like PSTN call recording and analytics. Requires MSFT Cloud Phone System license + UCaaS seat
Embedded Dialer: Supplier soft phone functions as application/widget within Teams interface. Doesn't require MSFT Cloud Phone System license
3rd-Party SBC: uses middleware and outsourced SBCs to embed PSTN dialing capabilities into Teams clients. Supplier bundles proprietary PBX into offering. This augments Teams with features like PSTN call recording and analytics. Requires MSFT Cloud Phone System license + UCaaS seat + 3rd Party SBC license
Let’s get into the providers.
These providers have their own proprietary Cloud Hosted VOIP system and will partner with a top ranked CCaaS provider to deliver you an advanced all in one solution with contact center all under one system:
RingCentral / Avaya Cloud Office
These providers have both a proprietary Cloud Hosted VOIP service and contact center solution in house.
Cisco VOIP (sold through Nextiva, CBTS, EvolveIP, Masergy, Momentum, Intrado, Calltower, etc.)
Avaya (see RingCentral above)
Yes, we are creating our own category for this because Microsoft Teams now has over 115 Million users as of the time of this post. Organizations are continuously trying to use the Microsoft platform more and the next evolution is to build the phone functionality into Microsoft teams as much as possible.
As great as Microsoft Teams is, there are still many features and functionalities that it lacks to be a full phone solution and so typically a 3rd Party Provider is needed to help enable the use of Microsoft Teams as a phone system. It should be noted that all of the providers listed above in the previous two sections have built integrations for Microsoft Teams as well as closing the gap between the native experience and not. However, for the sake of this post, we will separate them out.
In this section, we will also remove the Gartner Ranking because Microsoft Teams is what we are discussing which both Gartner and Forrester have considered to be a Leader.
We are not going to list these out in detail like we have above, however, there are also two other groups of providers that are worth noting when considering Cloud Hosted VOIP options.
Internet Service Provider Systems
Most major carriers also sell a white labeled or ISP packaged solution that you can also consider for your business VOIP solution. This comes with the pros and cons of the system they are using along with the challenges some face when dealing with their ISPs. However, the following national ISPs are worth noting with their solutions as well:
Session Border Controllers (SBCs)
We are including this section because with the growth of Microsoft Teams, this topic can be confusing as it doesn’t specifically fall into the VOIP conversation so neatly. If you review how you can connect Microsoft Teams as a Phone System, this will explain more about the SBCs.
However, in short, if you have an existing phone system and you have SIP and you would like to connect Microsoft Teams to the PSTN on your own, you can do this with Session Border Controllers. These can be delivered in a managed or unmanaged solution to connect to the PSTN. We will warn ahead of time that an organization should ensure they have experienced telecom personnel supporting the setup and ongoing management of an SBC. Otherwise, there are numerous companies out there that can help deliver and manage these SBCs so that they are done correctly.
Here are a few of the SBC providers we’ve worked with:
No matter the provider above, we constantly see these cloud VOIP service providers compared against the traditional on premise PBX and VOIP systems. The traditional systems rarely win due to the ongoing ROI, increased functionality and ease of use when compared to more comprehensive UCaaS solutions.
Blue Pride IS is here to help with this analysis and provide pricing for these options or discuss (at no cost) how your organization can deploy a unified communications system. We do the research and leg work, so you don’t have to. If you engage one of our top vendors we will include the installtion for FREE.
Connect with us today - we’d love to help.