Although the adoption of cloud phones is on the rise, many businesses still choose to keep their traditional desk phones. At first glance, this may seem surprising, but it makes more sense when you consider the diversity of office environments used in the business world today. For some organizations, a cloud-only approach best suits their needs. Others find a mixed environment is optimal.
No matter where they end up, companies must consider three factors when they evaluate deployment options: cost, culture and mobility.
For companies oriented around their sales teams, reliability will be a key priority. When phones are seen as revenue-producing, there’s a real cost to potential downtime. This points to hardware IP phones as a good option, according to the researcher Software Advice. On the other hand, if a significant number of your employees works in dispersed offices or remotely, desk phones may not only be impractical, but costly in terms of lost productivity.
Culture. In a report late last year, the Pew Research Center found that 35% of workers preferred to use a desk phone, compared with 24% who said cell phones were very important to their work. Tradition plays a large role in setting worker preferences. Desk phones have fewer bells and whistles, but they’re a familiar tool.
For some businesses, especially those in risk-averse industries, voice and video capabilities are often sufficient to meet their communications goals. But companies experiencing rapid growth and operating in highly competitive environments are likely to find their cultures embracing – and even demanding – a more robust unified communications platform.
Mobility. The workforce’s composition plays a significant role in determining the company’s best phone solution. If most employees work from the office, desk phones likely make the most sense. But mobile workforces have a pressing need for greater flexibility. According to the Pew report, of those who work away from their home base, half say cell phones are very important to for them to do their job remotely.
Another option – and one that is likely to fit the needs of many businesses in the near future – is a mix of both options, a hybrid. As more employees begin to work remotely and the need for mobility increases, almost all companies will find their workforces shifting to a mix of office-based and mobile systems.
At ShoreTel, we understand that one size doesn’t fit all. That’s why we offer three deployment options to accommodate each type of organization’s needs: onsite, cloud and hybrid. When it comes time to upgrade to a new phone system, making the best choice is easier when you clearly understand your needs based on cost, culture and mobility.