Business

Columbus joins business telephone race

Sunday, July 20, 2014    

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Columbus Business Solutions (CBS) is set to challenge the dominance of LIME in the business telephone market with its hosted PBX solution.

Using internet-based cloud technology, CBS will now offer small, medium and large businesses solutions that will eliminate the heavy capital expenditure associated with traditional PBX systems.

Instead, CBS is offering its clients a suite of services on monthly subscriptions basis which allows businesses the flexibility needed to adjust to the dynamic Jamaican business environment.

To highlight this innovation, renowned IT analyst, Michael O'Neil, who hails from Bloomberg, led a workshop recently to help customers understand the impact of technology in reducing their costs.

According to O'Neil, "customers now understand and expect more flexible pricing options. For example, if you run a five-person company today, but you plan on having 20 people in five years, you need to buy a 20-person PBX system...which means that you're paying for 20 people worth of capacity, even though you only have five users today. And if you're really successful, and you get to 20 people in four years, and suddenly need to hire five more to take on a temporary project, you need to upgrade your unit, which is expensive and time-consuming, and then you're stuck with the extra, expensive capacity, even after the project is over."

O'Neil commended CBS' Managed Solutions for providing customers with flexible pricing options, in addition to improving operational efficiencies in a challenging economy.

He explained that, "once businesses understand that there is an alternative to forecasting future demand, and then ponying up a large amount of cash to buy capacity beyond their current needs, they naturally want to take advantage of the alternative. Hosted PBX meets an inherent desire for businesses, especially small businesses, to match current payments to current needs."

"A hosted PBX system allows small and medium-sized businesses to have a sophisticated telephone system without the investment in telephone equipment. In fact, the entire telephone system is operated and maintained by Voice-over-IP (VoIP) service provider like CBS" said Grant Hume, vice president of CBS.

"A Hosted PBX lets employees work from their home, a hotel or on their cell phone while still being connected to their office telephone system. Just like a large corporate telephone system, you can transfer callers, put them on hold with music, set up conference calls or have the phone answered by an automated attendant who can direct callers to different departments" Grant continued.

The flexibility described by Grant is supported by O'Neil who also pointed to the benefits to businesses bottom line. "You pay a monthly fee for each of your five users. You don't need any special wiring, because you use the computer connections. As you add users, you add licences, so you aren't pre-paying for users before you hire them. This is likely to end up being much less expensive -- one model that I just ran quickly suggested somewhere on the order of 30%-40%. Plus, you don't have to pay most of the money up front; your costs scale with your needs, and if your needs are scaling with your business volumes, you're paying more when you can afford to pay more," O'Neil said.

Columbus intends to showcase how existing internet business clients can use the Hosted PBX system to integrate their operations in Jamaica as is done worldwide.

"With traditional telephony, voice sits on its own box, and travels over its own wires, which makes it hard to integrate," O'Neil explained.

"Users who want to increase efficiency; productivity and profitability by deploying integrated systems represent another important hosted PBX market. A hosted PBX is basically a software system, where voice travels over the data network -- so with hosted PBX, voice is just a data type, and it can be connected with other IT systems. This means you can integrate your CRM systems, order entry systems, marketing systems, or customer service systems," O'Neil went on.

Vulnerability during disasters such as hurricanes is another factor that the internet cloud platform can address.

"Physical systems have physical wires and boxes. If you have a hurricane, fire or other disaster, those assets are gone, and you need to rebuild from scratch. A virtual PBX allows you to maintain communications in the event of an emergency -- and there are some businesses, like travel agents, airports, utilities, and governments -- where call volumes go up in emergencies. This group is an important hosted PBX segment," O'Neil added.

O'Neil was the keynote speaker at Columbus Business Solutions (CBS) Workshop entitled "Enabling tomorrow's workforce today with Hosted PBX" at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.

SMEs and enterprise clients will have an opportunity to ask questions and benefit from live demonstrations as CBS and its partners Polycom and Metaswitch.

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