Co-nexus

Business Phone Systems

6 Steps in Choosing Your Next Phone System

Business Phone SystemsAlan Robbins
6 Steps in Choosing Your Next Phone System

Buying a new phone system can be such an overwhelming task. There are many vendors, types of systems, and decisions to make. Your communication system is the lifeline of your business so you want to make sure it works, it fits your budget and meets your needs. Here are six steps to determining the right phone system for your business:

  • Complete a Needs Assessment 

    Start by deciding why you need a new phone system. Does the current one in place have problems? Do your employees need more functionality? What about your remote or mobile users? Understanding why you need something new makes a big difference in which vendors and functionality you will later choose. A good way to begin is to talk to your end users. They can give you honest feedback about what doesn’t work with your current system and what they would want in a new system. Finally, you will also want to determine the size of your new system and how you would like to purchase the system. It’s common these days to look at both leasing or buying. Determining a budget upfront allows your business to better negotiate as you talk to vendors.

  • Consider Voice Infrastructure 

    The next step is to determine what type of voice services you would want to deploy your system on. Traditional land lines use analog and digital devices to transmit phone calls. There are plenty of advantages to use, like still being able to use traditional phone line services like being able to connect during a power outage and if you have this solution in place – you may not want to make a major change. VoIP on the other hand uses a data connection to transmit voice packets. It’s extremely flexible and allow you to manage through an online portal for all locations. VoIP systems also provide the ability to install without a lot of fuss. They can be preconfigured and then hooked up with a quick plug and play option. Finally, there is an option for both types of systems called Hybrid. Hybrid systems allow your users to connect to traditional lines and to VoIP for long distance.
  • Choose a Deployment Model 

    There are three types of phone systems including Premise-Based, Cloud and Hybrid. You can read more about three advantages of premise-based systems in this previous post but they give you the most control over your system. Cloud systems are not all created equal. If you choose to go cloud you’ll want to read more about private versus public. They require little capital expenditure and use a monthly services fee. You will lose control that on-premise solution allows, but they require little hardware. Finally, a hybrid phone system will allow you to utilize an on-premise system over a cloud network.
  • Examine Features and Functionality 

    Telephone systems can do a lot more these days than just make a simple call. You’ll want to look at whether or not your company is interested in collaboration applications like presence or instant messaging. Are you interested in automated services like an automated attendant, automated directory services or automatic call distribution? What about video or audio conferencing? Features and functionality help you choose what the best method of delivery is for your organization. Don’t forget to talk to you end-users since they will help you assess your needs around what functions they might utilize the most.
  • Select a Vendor and Device 

    Now that you know what type of voice infrastructure, deployment model and what features you are interested in it’s time to decide on a vendor. Consider first who will be installing the system. Do you want to outsource or will your internal staff do most of the work? Since phone systems are a hefty investment, you’ll also want to look at the total cost of ownership from installation to monthly fees and maintenance. Finally, consider aesthetics and ergonomics. You’ll want your system to visually match your environment. There are full color screen phones or more basic phones. Think about how easy the system is to use for your end-users for a better adoption rate.
  • Time for Implementation

    Rolling out a new system can be smooth or a headache. Anytime a change is made in your environment you’ll want to give your employees advanced notice a change is coming. No one likes their cheese to be moved without warning. You’ll then want to take an inventory to ensure you have proper cabling and drops in place. It’s also important to set up a test environment to make sure you work out any loose ends before involving your end-users. Next, you’ll want to train your users so they can ask questions and get familiarized. By completing the above actions, your system installation will have a better chance of being streamlined and working properly.

Now that we’ve shared the basics, you can formulate a strategy for your environment and team. You can opt for a free technology assessment here. If you’d like to learn more, we’d love to provide additional information. You can reach out to us directly or if you’d like to download a more in-depth guide click here.

Government Entities and Digital Transformation

Business Phone Systems, Contact Center Solutions, Network Solutions, Call Recording, Unified CommunicationsAlan Robbins
Digital Transformation for Government Entities

Government entities are oftentimes behind the curve when it comes to technology due to having a limited budget.

Many states are beginning to make changes to the way their customers can communicate by developing an app similar to Alexa and Siri. The goal is to make it voice interactive so the public can access services throughout the community. According to Strategic Partnership Inc in this article there will be an array of types of services from digital drivers licenses to municipal services.

The idea is that most people carry their cell phone all day, everyday. The app will be deployed for citizens to access services on any device at any time. Apps are changing the way people communicate by giving them access to businesses and organization at their fingertips. No longer is it necessary to have long voice calls when there are so many services that can be accomplished with online tools. Although many states are evalutating apps to automate services there are several municipalities who have already implemented it. 

So what exactly is digital transformation? Digital transformation applies technology to streamline business or organizational processes to create a more efficient and effective environment. You can read more about how to develop a strategy to make a better customer experience, how to create a better workspace using digital transformation. Co-nexus works with many municipalities and government entities to provide better communications. Learn more about how we specifically help the government industry in this article.

What Is Omni-channel?

Contact Center Solutions, Business Phone SystemsAlan Robbins

Are you interested in learning more about Omni-channel contact centers? Are you not sure where to begin? Check out our new downloadable to give you a plan on how to make your quality monitoring system better.

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You can also check out our recent webinar on 5 Ways Your Customers Can Contact You Without Picking Up the Phone for a session on multimedia in the contact center.

 

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Five Things to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Phone System

Network Solutions, Business Phone SystemsAlan Robbins

Buying a phone system is a major investment for any business. It involves changing the business communicates. Communication is key to retaining customers, maintaining vendor relationships and employees collaborating. Your calls are the lifeline of your business. As you evaluate a purchase of this size and scale, it’s important to consider how you plan to make the purchase, what functionality will work best for you and which vendor will you help provide the hardware, software and installation. Here are five questions to ask yourself before making a purchase:

  1. Does my business operate on a CapEx or OpEx budget? If your company is looking to make a capital expenditure, then bring it up at the beginning of evaluating vendors so they can recommend the right pricing. This can also help during negotiation and upfront costs. On the other hand, if you are looking to pay monthly and over a period of time, it may make sense to evaluate hosted or leasing options. Knowing how you would like to pay will help your vendors help you better.
  2. What do I need my phone system to accomplish? For some, being mobile and having the ability to switch effortlessly between a desk, cell phone and tablet will enable them to never miss an interaction. For others, having collaboration tools for their internal team is necessary to increase efficiency and produce more work in less time. Start with the end in mind by making a wish list of things you would like to see within your business.
  3. Who will support and troubleshoot when a problem occurs? Does your business have internal staff to support when a change needs to be implemented or do you have limited technical resources? Who will be responsible for acting as a liaison with your vendor? This is a critical factor in choosing the right vendor with the right support. If an administrative staff member is the person who handles anytime a voicemail or extension number needs changing, then your business may need a vendor with high availability when it comes to answering questions.
  4. How will we be able to implement with the least impact to daily operations? Implementations are time consuming and impactful. Will you need to hire an additional resource? How will you check
  5. How do I give my employees a competitive advantage? The world is changing and people expect immediate response. Do my people have the tools to be competitive in a quick paced world. Never miss a call and you’ll never miss a client.

Are you looking to make a purchase due to a move or renovation? We have a checklist that will help aid you in being prepared for carriers, communications and setting up the infrastructure. You can read more about it by clicking the button below.

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Three Reasons to Consider Buying an On-Premise Phone System

Business Phone Systems, Unified CommunicationsAlan Robbins

With all of the talk about cloud and hosted phone systems these days, there are fewer conversations about on premise solutions. However, there are still some cases where moving to a hosted environment is not in a business’ best interest. We’ve compile a brief list of a few benefits on premise communication systems offer. Remember, every business operates a little differently and it’s best to sit down and evaluate your needs to ensure you are making the right decision.

  1. Local Survivability – If the internet fails, you can still operate locally with an on premise phone system because it is not reliant upon the data network for your voice communications. This allows mission critical calls to still be placed.
  2. Security Concerns via Banking or HIPAA Regulations – Many organizations who have regulatory compliance concerns look to on premise solutions with a dedicated connection to prevent hackers from accessing their voice and network.
  3. Phased Migration and Tying in an Old System – If you are looking to change from an old system to a new system with a phased approach, then you would likely need to stay on premise. That way you can utilize your existing analog circuits or other equipment that needs to connect to a physical box.

Want to learn more about phone systems and benefits for your business? Check out a few of our other blog posts here and here for information on cloud phone systems. You can also reach out to us using the button below for more information.

What Exactly is Digital Transformation?

Contact Center Solutions, Business Phone Systems, Unified Communications, Network Solutions, Call RecordingAlan Robbins

Digital transformation is a new phrase being blasted around the technology world these days. Being that we were once digital in voice, then moved to VoIP and now we are talking all about digital again... the question is, what exactly is digital transformation? Digital transformation is the accelerated growth of automating business processes, competencies and models to leverage growth within an organization. We've decided to compile a list of things that are currently influencing digital transformation and how these things could impact your current initiatives:

  • CRM Fusion - With software defined networks growing at a rapid pace and SalesForce being used by millions of organizations, communications must be infused with the capabilities to integrate fully with a CRM platform. An automated record is created when a call is placed or answered, or an email is tracked and added to the record within an account in a CRM program. All of these actions created a centralized spot for customer interactions to be deposited. 
  • Mergers and Acquisitions - With companies buying, selling and merging major decisions must be made. How will we marry the two companies? How will we streamline the processes to create a unified company? What technology will stay and what will go? How will networks integrate? How will we train our staff? All of these questions are relevant when companies merge and need careful consideration.
  • Artificial Intelligence - As machines are taking over more and more physical actions, data is growing. As data grows, it's important to have places to store and be able to locate it at a later point. Artificial intelligence is changing the way companies function. Instead of their staff being comprised of worker bees, now they have to consider someone who can analyze and monitor quality.
  • Internet of Things - From homes being rewired with electricity to credit card transactions being processed now over tablets, the world is changing dramatically. The internet is connecting and then gathering information for our everyday habits. That data allows companies to produce products and services that give us more value. Just look at what Amazon did with Alexa - this product will allow you to talk to it and then turn lights on or off or change the thermostat. 
  • Microservices - Modular and application based programs that allow us to process information in smaller increments. Microservices are growing rapidly right now. From cell phone applications to video streaming, microservices are on the rise and affecting the way we purchase items. 

All of these movements in technology are shaping the transformation from physical to digital. Communication is being impacted by all five areas and we'd like to discuss more with you about how digital transformation affects your current processes. Want to learn more? Download our whitepaper on the Journey to Digital Transformation.

Why Cloud?

Business Phone SystemsAlan Robbins

Cloud is a broad term these days. The cloud refers to a variety of software applications, network configurations, and communication systems. So what exactly does "cloud" mean? And why is the "cloud" important for business? Is the "cloud" safe? As more and more businesses are spreading across multiple locations and allowing employees to work remotely, the cloud is becoming more of a staple than an option.

  1. Not all cloud providers are equal - Resiliency and redundancy within a provider's network has an impact on the quality of communications.
  2. Centralized management - Being able to login to a central console to view all users, make changes and access your voice whenever and wherever is one of the biggest benefits to moving to the cloud.
  3. Get out of the hardware business - Cloud applications allow you to move away from traditional server models to just managing features and functions. You can easily streamline things in your environment and make it simple for your end users and administration teams.

Want to learn more about how cloud can impact your bottom line? Reach out to us today and we'll put someone in touch with you immediately

How Co-nexus Helps Car Dealerships

Call Recording, Contact Center Solutions, Business Phone SystemsAlan Robbins
How Co-nexus Helps Car Dealerships

Technology for car dealerships can be a little overwhelming. There are multiple departments throughout the organization who need to communicate in different ways. More importantly, it’s a customer facing sales business with demand for someone to be able to respond to customer inquiries at all times. If you miss a call, you lose a customer. Some clients are looking to make a large purchase for a new vehicle while others may be looking to have their current automobile serviced. Being able to handle call volume, provide key metrics, control inventory and maintain the happiness of customers allows a business to thrive.

  • Sales - Mobility insures sales people never miss a customer call. Because the consumer now has information available online, when they finally call a sales person – they expect someone to help them instantly. People are impatient and expect immediate answers. If your salesperson does not answer the call then guess what – the next dealership is called. We let customer calls be extended to the proper personnel – no matter where they are and what device they have. They can answer the business call from their desk phone, their cell phone, or even their tablet or laptop. A great customer experience is achieved by enabling your sales team with the proper tools.
  • Parts – The parts department is a real money maker in a call dealership. Calls can not be missed, they have too many options on places to buy the parts. Technology insures that calls get presented to the right personnel in a timely manner and provides metrics on how the company and each individual employee is doing on the customer service front.  
  • Service – Service writers handle most of their traffic in two brief windows of time. Dealerships need to insure that customers can get to their service writers in a timely manner – they want answers and they want them now. We can have different routing protocols for different periods of the day and/or handling extreme call traffic peaks. Technology helps smooth out the peaks and makes for calmer customers and service writers. 

If you are anticipating changes within your business environment in the next twelve months, it’s a great time to reach out to us for a discussion. We can help you review your current services, provide network design for merging companies and start building a long term relationship to help your dynamic business. Reach out to us today and we’ll put one of our experts in touch with you!

 

How Co-nexus Helps Banks

Business Phone Systems, Call RecordingAlan Robbins
How Co-nexus Helps Banks

The customers for a financial institution are getting more and more demanding. When they need help they may contact you in many different ways. They may call you on the telephone, send an email, do a web chat, or even leave a voice mail message. So how do you take on the plethora of options while at the same time maximizing your employees and being sure your technology is secure. Banks have a need for both advanced communications. They are a highly-regulated industry requiring a way to connect internally and externally. They usually have multiple locations and need resiliency to communicate with their clients. Also, a bank needs to be able to control how their employees follow regulations and policies. All the while, they need to be able to minimize administration costs for changes in moving, leasing or adding new locations. Here are three ways Co-nexus helps banks:

  • Eliminates inter-branch long distance charges – Being able to utilize IP trunking allows your calls to be placed over a data connection while maintaining security and protecting the call. Eliminating long distance charges is easy to do with IP trunking and allows the client to lower monthly carrier costs.
  • Ensure policy and procedure adherence for employees – Call recording and quality monitoring are important factors in the banking industry. Combining the ability to record voice and eliminating the need for phone hardware allows a bank to operate more efficiently and reduces overall costs.
  • Help your customers connect through any medium – Whether your customer is a texter or a talker, give them the ability to connect by voice, text, chat, or web.  Give your clients an easy way to connect to get their questions answered and retaining them as long term clients.

If you are anticipating changes within your business environment in the next twelve months, it’s a great time to reach out to us for a discussion. We can help you review your current services, provide network design for merging companies and start building a long term relationship to help your dynamic business. Reach out to us today and we’ll put one of our experts in touch with you!

SD-WAN and the Impact on Voice Technology

Business Phone Systems, Unified Communications, Network SolutionsAlan Robbins

Integrated networks are on the rise for this year. SD-WAN solutions allow technology to deploy and manage easily over multiple locations. SD-WAN (stands for software-defined wide area networks) allow branch locations to seamlessly connect via multiple connections to ensure optimal application performance. In short, it gives a company the opportunity to simplify their network and run applications through multiple carriers. Voice Technology is changing as more and more companies have hybrid and cloud environments along with an assortment of different types of users.

Some of these users are sitting at headquarters on the network while other users work in a remote location or a branch office. Providing a way to run voice on a software application opposed to legacy hardware based equipment offers more control from a management perspective. Here are three reasons to consider moving your voice communications to an application-based system:

  1. Resiliency – Voice virtualization provides multiple egress paths in the event a network or carrier connections fail.
  2. Application Focus – Moving voice to software provides a single pane of glass for centrally managing and configuring. This positively impacts how a company spends their time and resources.
  3. Flexibility – Regardless of location or network, all users can have the same features and benefits available to them through unified communications.

If you are anticipating changes within your business environment in the next twelve months, it’s a great time to reach out to us for a discussion. We can help you review your current services, provide network design for merging companies and start building a long term relationship to help your dynamic business. Reach out to us today and we’ll put one of our experts in touch with you!

How Co-nexus Helps Manufacturing Companies

Network Solutions, Business Phone SystemsAlan Robbins

With hundreds if not thousands of locations, manufacturing organizations spread geographically across an expansive region and oftentimes internationally. Anytime there are multiple locations, a variety of carrier services and communication systems are usually in play. In result, the IT team is left to implement and troubleshoot with limited resources. Being able to manage from a central location is a key for organizations to decrease operational costs. Here are a few ways Co-nexus helps our manufacturing clients:

  • Manage administration from a single pane of glass: Co-nexus can help make administration easy by giving you features with visibility to connect all sites and users from a single administration panel.
  • Carrier agnostic: Co-nexus can assist providing you service quotes for internet, dial  tone and SIP-trunking or network configurations and help review your existing services to help you get more out of what you are spending.
  • Single point of contact for troubleshooting: We can give you support when you need it most with our telecom experts on staff.

If you are anticipating changes within your business environment in the next twelve months, it’s a great time to reach out to us for a discussion. We can help you review your current services, provide network design for merging companies and start building a long term relationship to help your dynamic business. Reach out to us today and we’ll put one of our experts in touch with you!

How Co-nexus Helps Distribution Companies

Business Phone Systems, Network SolutionsAlan Robbins

With hundreds if not thousands of locations, being able to manage from a central location is a key for organizations to decrease operational costs Communications are key to provide customers, vendors and internal employees. Here are a few ways Co-nexus helps our distribution clients:

  • Design that provide centralized control and policies for multi-site location globally.
  • Designs are network agnostic which allows for a mix environment at each site.
  • Designs allow for a single pane of glass for administration which minimizes staff effort to manage.

If you are anticipating changes within your business environment in the next twelve months, it’s a great time to reach out to us for a discussion. We can help you review your current services, provide network design for merging companies and start building a long term relationship to help your dynamic business. Reach out to us today and we’ll put one of our experts in touch with you!

Important Factors in Developing a Mobile Strategy

Business Phone Systems, Unified CommunicationsAlan Robbins
Important Factors in Developing a Mobile Strategy

If you didn't have a mobility strategy for your business in 2016, then 2017 is the year to make a plan and put it in action. As industry experts in mobility, Co-nexus and Mitel are here to help. To get you started, here are important factors to consider when creating (or refining) your mobility strategy:

  • The strategy must be mobile-centric, not just mobile enabled. Think of devices first.
  • Analyze the security, risk, and compliance factors involved. Some businesses must be more stringent than others.
  • When possible, enable remote workers to increase productivity and cut financial losses.
  • Team and project collaboration can and should be mobile-enabled.

Don't wait: developing a holistic, mobile-centric strategy will enable your company's existing business mission to be far more effective and make entirely new business strategies possible. Looking for more tips on making your workforce mobile? Check this webinar out!

Cloud Corner: Difference Between Private & Public Cloud Voice

Business Phone Systems, Unified CommunicationsAlan Robbins
Cloud Corner: Difference Between Private & Public Cloud Voice

Cloud offers so many different options these days! How do you even go about making a change?

What's the difference between public and private? What will be impacted when you choose a hosted solution? Co-nexus makes it easy for our customers to streamline their voice while providing customization to best fit their needs. We've created an handy downloadable explaining a few of the key differences between public and private cloud voice options.

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How Co-nexus Helps Universities

Unified Communications, Business Phone Systems, Contact Center SolutionsAlan Robbins
How Co-nexus Helps Universities

From large widespread campuses supporting a hundred thousand students to smaller private colleges, universities have specific needs that are unique in the communication world. They have users connecting on campus and off, professors and students who need to collaborate, and the rise of technology with younger students create a demand for cutting edge communication features. Being able to keep the personnel and students secure, while giving them features to help them better work together – is the goal of a communications systems. Here are 5 ways Co-nexus helps universities:

  1. Tablets, on campus computers, PCs and cell phones can all connect anywhere anyway.
  2. Collaborative solutions create a more efficient environment for faculty, research and students to work together whether they are on campus or online.
  3. Having features like being able to chat or text keeps the millennial generation on task and in constant communication with their professors and other students.
  4. Mass Media Notifications in the event of natural disaster, emergency or campus wide communication.
  5. Providing a unified communication system that is mobile friendly – why wait to get back to your desk or phone to answer a question or reach out to someone.

If you are anticipating changes within your business environment in the next twelve months, it’s a great time to reach out to us for a discussion. We can help you review your current services, provide network design for merging companies and start building a long term relationship to help your dynamic business. Reach out to us today and we’ll put one of our experts in touch with you!

How Co-nexus Helps the Medical Industry

Business Phone Systems, Call Recording, Network SolutionsAlan Robbins
How Co-nexus Helps the Medical Industry

The healthcare industry is on the rise and with so many departments, compliance regulations and moving parts - voice infrastructure and call recording can be cumbersome. From nurse triage, access centers, ambulance services and pharmacies to back end administrative needs - the list just goes on and on. Co-nexus has been helping customers streamline and integrate their telephony needs. Marrying the need to record for regulatory purposes and unifying all communications through a single platform creates a better way of doing business. Here are three ways Co-nexus helps out the medical industry:

  • Departments - Varying services a hospital system provides creates a variety of needs communication wise. A nurse triage is going to have different needs from an ambulatory service. A communication system that can meta-morph and adapt to all types of business needs creates a more efficient and profitable environment.
  • Administrative - Billing and collection services have specific requirements in regards to quality monitoring. Furthermore, hospital organizations have procedures around patient discharge records. It's important to ensure all procedures are being properly followed. That's where Co-nexus can assist! We can help your organization record all calls and give you monitoring tools that help coach your employees properly.
  • Compliance and Security - Maintaining HIPAA and PCI compliance is a need for all healthcare information for a medical organization to sustain. Being able to capture information, store it properly and find it in times of need is a must for the medical industry. Call recording and quality monitoring software can assist in our clients being able to protect information, while maintaining the records required for regulatory compliance. Our system is easy to use, adopt and helps you find the information when you need it the most.

If you are anticipating changes within your business environment in the next twelve months, it’s a great time to reach out to us for a discussion. We can help you review your current services, provide network design for merging companies and start building a long term relationship to help your dynamic business. Reach out to us today and we’ll put one of our experts in touch with you!

How Co-nexus Helps Municipalities

Business Phone Systems, Call Recording, Contact Center Solutions, Network Solutions, Unified CommunicationsAlan Robbins

Local governments and municipalities share unique purchasing requirements. Oftentimes, there are many decision makers and departments involved in making choices for the communication system. They also have limited budget and funding available. It's important to be able to work with a company with great experience and the ability to manage the project over an extended timeline. Co-nexus helps our government customers in a couple ways:

  • Experience - In the Dallas area, we have installed and maintain the following:  City of Rowlett, City of University Park, Town of Flower Mound, City of Terrell Police Department.  We have over 20 years of experience working with municipalities so we canshare how other cities are providing communications within their city.
  • Mitel is registered with the State of Texas with DIR and NJPA numbers - this provides a significant discount and also allows municipalities and school districts the ability to not have to bid projects because they have relationships already established with the State of Texas and NJPA.

If you are anticipating changes within your business environment in the next twelve months, it’s a great time to reach out to us for a discussion. We can help you review your current services, provide network design for merging companies and start building a long term relationship to help your dynamic business. Reach out to us today and we’ll put one of our experts in touch with you!

How Co-nexus Helps IT

Business Phone Systems, Unified Communications, Network SolutionsAlan Robbins

The IT Director wears so many different hats these days. From being inventory control to managing multiple platforms and vendors. Multiple site locations with multiple phone systems can increase the amount of headaches an IT department handles. The more problems, the less time is spent on strategic moves within your business that can increase profitability. Co-nexus helps improve the bottom line in three ways:

  1. Single software based platform – One platform with easy to use features on any device.
  2. Get out of the hardware business – Because Mitel is a software based platform, the IT department doesn’t have to handle break fixes like traditional legacy phone systems. Updates are pushed remotely to the devices.
  3. Design and Support – Co-nexus has been in the phone business for over 25 years. We design all systems before shipping to ensure they work properly. Let us do the work so you don’t have the headache!

If you are anticipating changes within your business environment in the next twelve months, it’s a great time to reach out to us for a discussion. We can help you review your current services, provide network design for merging companies and start building a long term relationship to help your dynamic business. Reach out to us today and we’ll put one of our experts in touch with you!