In recent weeks many businesses have adopted new practices to assist with home working, moving quickly to action an existing continuity plan to help their team work effectively from outside of the office. Many of these plans will have included provisions for device usage, file access and collaboration, but one often overlooked area is the business’ telephony response.
A commonly held view is that transferring a phone system will be easy, and should it ever be needed a simple switchboard divert will suffice. However, the challenges faced by many as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak has revealed the limitations of traditional telephony systems.
We’re big advocates of cloud-based telephony and hosted communications and have worked with Gamma, one of our leading partners, to help customers implement a variety of different solutions. We’re also big believers in making sure that you’re prepared for any eventuality, which is why we emphasise the importance of implementing a phone system that gives you the freedom to work remotely without major upheaval.
There’s a host of different options available to businesses at different stages in their cloud journey, both initial short-term measures and more comprehensive cloud-based telephony solutions. Here’s a quick rundown.
Available for existing Gamma SIP customers, Call Manager allows you to easily divert inbound calls to an alternative destination. Orchestrated via an intuitive web portal, the solution offers a simple yet sophisticated approach to enabling telephony to follow the user.
A major benefit of using Call Manager, as opposed to a switchboard divert, is the ability to transfer calls in a more intelligent fashion. With a switchboard re-direct, you may not be able to transfer calls to multiple recipients or change the direction of calls based on the time of day. Any calls you do receive may also show as being sent from your office, meaning you lose visibility of the calling party’s details.
With SIP Call Manager, calls can be diverted to individuals or small groups through the cloud, with caller information available to the recipient. You can even set time profiles to direct calls to specific destinations at certain times. And as all calls are queued in the cloud there’s no limit for the number of calls you can receive at any one time which may not be the case with a traditional divert.
Crucially, this service is readily available for almost all Gamma SIP Customers and can be activated remotely within minutes to provide an immediate short-term response.
Built on the same basic architecture, Cloud IVR is similar to SIP Call Manager, with the key difference being that it is available for those using a variety of providers, as well as both SIP and ISDN phone systems.
Using a web-based management portal, calls to your existing phone system can be easily re-directed to both individuals and groups through the cloud with the option to set specific time profiles. This solution also queues in the cloud removing any restrictions on line numbers often experienced with traditional systems.
Again, Cloud IVR can be implemented remotely almost immediately, presenting an effective short-term solution.
Unlike the other solutions, Gamma Horizon is a complete cloud-based voice platform which in time would replace your existing on-premises phone system.
All calls are queued and managed in the cloud via a comprehensive web-based administration tool with the platform including a host of additional collaboration features such as instant messaging, video calls and desktop or application sharing.
Horizon is deployed as what is known as a soft phone system, accessible via a mobile application or desktop client compatible with iOS, Windows, Android and MacOS. This solution can also be adapted to direct calls to traditional desktop handsets when used in an office environment.
Whereas SIP Call Manager and Cloud IVR assist with inbound calls only, Horizon caters for both inbound and outbound communications. With the app or desktop client enabled, you can make an outbound call from any device with this appearing as having been made from your designated office number.
Moving to a completely cloud-based solution offers greater flexibility and ease of scale, ensuring the freedom to use your phone system effectively from anywhere in the world, and on any compatible device.
In recent times we’ve helped several customers make the switch to these solutions, whether that’s implementing SIP Call Manager and Cloud IVR or a complete migration to a cloud-based solution with Gamma Horizon.
Due to the nature of recent circumstances, in many cases we’ve needed to implement these solutions at short notice to help meet immediate demand for a more flexible solution. However, we see the change to cloud telephony as not simply a short-term fix, but a valuable long-term investment to help your business achieve the flexibility to work in different ways.
To help with the switch to Horizon, Gamma is offering an initial 3-months service free of charge for new customers to help ease some of the challenges they face as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
To learn more about the offer, or to discuss any of the solutions outlined above in greater detail, please get in touch with a member of the team.