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Choosing Hosted Voice: Pairing Voice and Network Service Gives You a Business Edge

May 10, 2018

Leveraging the power of the cloud, hosted voice can make costs far more manageable and predictable, and bundle hosted voice with the network.

Read the Choosing Hosted Voice: Pairing Voice and Network Service Gives You a Business Edge Guide.

There are a lot of ways to describe the growth of cloud-based services:
rapid, burgeoning, and even, perhaps, dramatic. But one thing it isn’t is surprising – that growth makes a lot of sense. When applications are hosted on a provider’s infrastructure – operated, maintained and upgraded by that vendor – businesses reap a host of important benefits. They can access hosted voice service at any time, from any location. They can also get cutting-edge technology without making hefty capital investments and have affordable monthly fees.

The real beauty of cloud-based services, however, is that these advantages are just a starting point. Hosted applications can change – and dramatically improve – the way businesses work. Nowhere, perhaps, is that more apparent than when it comes to hosted voice.

Given the advantages of cloud-based voice, its growing popularity among businesses is easy to understand. So, too, is the increasing number of vendors entering the market, each offering its own hosted voice service. How to choose among them? It’s an important question and, for many companies, bound to be a challenging one.

In this article we will cover:

  • The benefits of bundling: Why providers that combine hosted voice service with a dedicated network have an edge over vendors that only sell hosted voice service.

  • How to choose a provider that isn’t just a vendor, but like a business partner.

Bundle Up: Providers Pairing Voice and Network Service Have the Edge and Give You One, Too

Given the advantages of cloud-based voice, its growing popularity among businesses is easy to understand. So, too, is the increasing number of vendors entering the market, each offering its own hosted voice service. How to choose among them? It’s an important question and, for many companies, bound to be a challenging one. But coming up with the right answer doesn’t have to be difficult.

To start, consider that hosted voice really involves two components: the voice service itself, and the network it runs over. Many vendors offering cloud-based voice sell it as a standalone product as an over the top service. But it really doesn’t stand alone, for once you buy the voice service, you have to integrate it with a network. That means two services, from two vendors, with two infrastructures and two support organizations. It also means the integration may not be as seamless, easy, or efficient as you’d like. And if problems arise, you’ll first have to determine whose domain it falls under – which only delays the solution.

A provider that can bundle hosted voice with the network can offer a compelling value proposition. When the two key components of cloud-based voice are operated by the same vendor, the integration is built in before you make your first call. Bundled voice and network also means that you have a single point of contact for support – no small thing for businesses that need their questions answered quickly and their troubleshooting done immediately.

Even more importantly, when there is a dedicated network for voice traffic, your calls aren’t fighting for bandwidth with everything traveling over your data network.

A dedicated voice network is included in the price, which means not only performance advantages over a la carte solutions, but often financial ones, too. And by monitoring and managing the network itself, Comcast Business can ensure that voice traffic moves efficiently. That lets it offer service-level agreements guaranteeing that the performance you need is the performance you get. Comcast Business VoiceEdge™ was developed from the ground up to provide the benefits of hosted voice and cloud technology.

Today’s businesses want to grow their footprint and their opportunities – not their headaches. A provider that can offer voice services with cloud capabilities helps companies to focus less on their technology – and more on their future.

Partners for Voice – and for the Future: Usability, Expandability Key to Choosing a Provider

The best hosted voice providers aren’t just vendors for your business – they’re like business partners. Offering cutting-edge communications tools, after all, is just a starting point. Features have to be accessible to users and easily managed and expanded. That means interfaces that are sophisticated yet simple to learn. It means readily available support and training. And it means a robust infrastructure that covers a wide footprint.

No matter how compelling a hosted voice provider’s solution appears, you’ll want to do your due diligence before signing up for service. Cover the following points to help cover your bases:

  • How intuitive is the user interface? Advanced features can be a big plus for a hosted voice system, but their value can quickly decrease – dramatically – if they are too hard to use. By taking a close look at the user interface – and, ideally, even testing it with a representative group of employees – you can avoid products that really are too good to be true.

  • What type of training is available? Even with an easy to use interface, the system may involve complicated training. Some providers will help your employees get up to speed on a range of topics, from the basics to advanced uses. But it’s not just the breadth of training that’s important. Users get the most out of these sessions when they are convenient and readily accessible. Comcast Business, for example, offers multiple options for Business VoiceEdge users, including Web-based sessions.

  • What management tools are provided? One of the great advantages of cloud-based voice is that maintenance and upgrades can be managed by the vendor – not your business. Yet that doesn’t mean you have to be completely hands-off. At times you may want to manage features, reset passwords, and check usage and billing, among other tasks. Here, too, ease of use is key. Many providers will offer convenient tools such as online management portals.

  • What support is offered? Even with best-of-breed voice systems, you may have questions. And when you do, you’ll want answers, not waits. You’ll also want to rest assured that any problems that may crop up are quickly identified and corrected. Customers want support that is both proactive and reactive. That’s why Comcast Business offers 24x7x365 monitoring of its network, backed by support teams for business customers.

  • What does the provider’s track record, footprint, and future plans look like? Your voice system is a crucial business asset. As such, it needs to be available and operating efficiently. It also must be able to support any growth you may have down the road, whether you are adding new users or new locations. A provider with a geographically extensive footprint, and – who can deliver robust service will be in the best position to meet your needs, and your plans. Ask, too, about the vendor’s roadmap for the future. Cloud-based voice is just getting started, and you’ll want to be sure your provider can support all the latest features. With the right partner, the potential of hosted voice – and your company’s potential – can be unlimited.

Conclusion

For today’s businesses, success demands that a business’s most important resources, like capital and time, are focused where they can have the greatest impact on growth – not on troubleshooting technical systems and infrastructures.

Leveraging the power of the cloud, hosted voice can make costs far more manageable and predictable, and a provider that can bundle hosted voice with the network can offer the best value proposition. The most compelling hosted voice systems provide advanced capabilities – like Comcast Business App, Business VoiceEdge Companion App, and “Be Anywhere” feature - that turbocharged your employees’ mobility and collaboration to bolster your customer relationships.

Cloud-based voice isn’t simply a new model for communications. It’s a model designed expressly for the way businesses work – or should be working – today. It lets vendors focus on running and maintaining the technology, while companies focus on the innovations and service that bring them growth – and competitive advantage.

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