Having done more than my fair share of business travel to branch offices around the world, I’ve grown fond of the variances in customs and conventions of different places. It’s refreshing to drink tea instead of coffee in London, and it’s interesting to receive a business card in the customary two-handed fashion in Tokyo. These differences are part of the charm and personal enrichment of travel.
However, one difference that’s neither charming nor enriching is the inconsistency in the phone systems in offices from country to country—and even from city to city. These variations not only represent a management nightmare for IT and accounting departments, they also degrade productivity, customer service, and company profitability.
Lost in translation
It’s hard enough to manage a single public branch exchange (PBX) and one telco carrier. However, the difficulty is compounded when serving multiple offices that employ PBX systems and communications services from a variety of different sources.
IT departments I’ve worked with have described how the PBX proliferation results in undue complexity in maintenance, support, and training. Accounting operations complain the telco tangle entails juggling relationships and billing systems among a multitude of carriers. On the employee side, I’ve seen for myself how the inconsistency of communications systems makes it impossible to extension-dial or transfer calls to coworkers at other locations.
And for customers, it means calls are handled differently in different locations, causing confusion and potentially resulting in poor service and lost sales.
All these issues result in increased cost and lost revenue.
On the road to improved communications
Fortunately, there’s a much better way for enterprises to manage voice communications in multiple locations, by eliminating the PBX hardware and telecommunications connections at each office and adopting a cloud phone system. This approach is perfectly suited for today’s geographically diverse enterprises and their increasingly remote workforces.
IT professionals have told me depressing stories of making business trips to great cities of the world, such as Rome and Paris, only to spend all of their time digging through the complex wiring of an unfamiliar PBX. With all their attention focused on fixing the hardware, they often have no time to do other tasks, such as train workers, manage other pressing IT issues, or take a little time to enjoy the local sights.
Cloud phone systems make such trips a thing of the past by centralizing the entire business phone system and allowing administrators to manage and troubleshoot issues remotely from any computer or mobile device. This results in dramatic reductions in cost and effort to manage offices in far-flung locations.
The cloud approach also eliminates the expenses of purchasing, upgrading, and maintaining PBX hardware and software at each office.
Beyond that, cloud phones dramatically simplify office moves, the setup of new locations, and user changes.
It’s no fun to play phone tag with personal conversations—having to redial numbers and navigate different phone systems to reach the right person in the right office makes for poor customer service and bad business. Cloud phone systems deliver a consistent communications experience among various offices, enabling easy transfers, direct extension dialing between locations, and a centralized corporate telephone number to reach any employee.
These are just a few reasons why adopting a cloud phone system is the best communications solution for geographically dispersed enterprises. To learn more, read RingCentral’s white paper entitled: “How a Cloud Phone System Benefits Multi-Site Businesses.”
Originally published May 12, 2016, updated Aug 12, 2020