Blogs Archives | Access4

Integrated Public Number Database (IPND)

Who’s got your number?

Just recently one of the industry publishers covered the subject of the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) after the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found that some of the Carriage Service Providers (CSPs) failed to provide accurate data. We decided it’s a good time to address the topic and help with building the awareness around it. In this blog, we’ll provide more insights around the topic, obligations and specifics related to VoIP telephony.

Benefits for the customer

The IPND is used by the emergency call service, alert system, law enforcement and national security agencies. The primary purpose is to have accurate data about the caller in case of a life-threatening emergency calls or security situation that could be of public interest.

SASBOSS delivery to the IPND and nomadic tagging

We’ve created ‘direct communication’ between SASBOSS, our provisioning portal, and the IPND. When our partners set up customers in SASBOSS, they must ask them for the address and related information and fill out all required fields. The standard information a CSP will collect is the public number, the name of the customer, the name of the carrier, the service address of the customer, customer’s listing preferences, service purpose (business, private and similar), and an additional field that flags the service as nomadic to ensure the operator clarifies the correct address. Access4 sends updates to IPND weekly, so we can have the flexibility to adjust DID numbers. When it comes to the ‘bulk uploads’ and address updates, if the group address is updated, all DID numbers that belong to that group will be re-sent to IPND with the new address information.

A task we take seriously is to ensure our partners are educated on how they should address this matter when provisioning services through SASBOSS.

Data privacy and customer choices

In an era of oversharing and data security concerns, some of your customers may decide to provide incorrect data, thinking they are protecting their privacy. As far as the IPND is concerned this could cause a number of adverse outcomes. It’s worth mentioning that Access4 DID numbers are uploaded as unlisted.

Types of errors

Access4 fixes hard and soft errors within 1 business day. ‘Soft errors’ would be missing fields or inaccurate data, with two days window to correct, while ‘hard errors’ are where your data wouldn’t be uploaded at all, and the timeframe to correct would be within 24 hours.

IPND Manager

An IPND Manager is a company’s (carrier’s) representative and the first point of contact when it comes to the data accuracy. If you have any IPND related questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch directly with your provider (our partner) or email us at

Data accuracy and auditing

The authorities are urging the continuous process of data improvement. There are regular auditing processes in place, so we encourage our partners to ensure you consider your ongoing improvements for data accuracy and work closely with your customers to build awareness.

If you are already our partner, here is the list of few things you should consider:

  • Capturing all data during onboarding. Include this subject in your customer onboarding process and inform your customers about the importance of having the correct data from day one.
  • Educate your customers. Write up a quick blog or a guide about the importance of the IPND and why it’s necessary to keep their data correct allowing them to participate proactively.
  • Updating customer data. You will know your customer database best, so think about how often you could organise a follow-up to get updates or to remind your customers to check their data.
  • Regular reminders: Suggestion; set-up a permanent banner in your monthly newsletter that will remind your customers to communicate changes with you.

Proactive approach if you are an end-customer

It’s always easier and faster when all involved parties work together, so why not put your provider on your ‘must update’ list, to be sure you have provided updated information?

IPND checklist for CSPs for download:

Industry Guideline G619:2017 IPND DATA

The Hero of Your Mobile Integration

What is the future workstyle for the small to medium enterprise-size businesses in the era of mobility, millennials and generation Z? Do you know which applications your employees use for everyday communication within the company and with your clients? As a small company owner, you may be concerned about the communication tools your employees use, how they use them, and the impact they are having on your customers or clients.

Maybe you are considering establishing some communication standards for your business or just thinking about change, looking at the hidden costs of the premise-based small business phone system. Perhaps you feel it’s just too much trouble to worry about tools that seem to be only available to bigger businesses or corporate teams? But it’s not – and what’s more, change can positively impact your employees and your business.

The first step of your cloud transformation

Teams usually start their transformation by moving their documentation to the Cloud. They will look for a ‘freemium’ feature and functionality and consider the pricing and security aspects of the service. Accessibility across devices could be the next step, but then things get slightly complicated – should your employees be able to use their private mobile phone? Do you expect them to be available while on the go?

A new era of mobile productivity

The world is mobile and on the go and BroadSoft’s infographic about mobile productivity is showing following;

  • 50% of employees use their smartphone as their primary device
  • we spend 60% of the time away from our desks
  • 50% of companies require employees to supply their own device for work
  • 55% of emails opened on mobile devices
  • 50% workforce will be millennials by 2020.

Your future workforce, the loyalty challenge and team efficiency

BroadSoft’s survey ‘The Future of Work’ finds that information overload, disconnected workflows, fragmented communications, inefficient meetings and projects, cost and complexity are the typical consequences of disconnected content management technologies.

Deloitte’s Millennial Survey for 2018 confirms what the recruiting industry is already dealing with; Australian millennials believe company culture is more important than money. 67% of them will choose a new employer based on a positive work environment, and that’s 15% higher than findings on a global level.

Apparently, millennials are not so loyal either, and they tend to stick around less than two years. Simon Sinek, author and organisational consultant, suggests that loyalty is not a generational thing, but human; everyone wants the same thing from their work environment. But millennials and Gen Z grew up with technology and might be less patient with non-efficient work environments.

Your phone system – the hero of mobile integration and your journey to the cloud?

Looking at all these findings, communicating seamlessly across platforms might be the next thing you will consider. Imagine your small team with a corporate – looking communication platform: text messaging, quick file sharing, switching from a desk phone and office computer to mobile, or just scheduling a video call for participants within or outside your organisation.

There is no difference from the perspective of your clients or customers, as well as your employees; they will have the same expectations and you have the unique opportunity to make your business more collaborative. It might not resolve ‘the loyalty issue’ but just might be the opportunity you wouldn’t want to miss.

Learn more about the opportunities you can get through Managed Voice and why is it easy to add Unified Communications as a Service, or just get in touch with us if you would like to learn more about your options!



  5. BroadSoft, The Future of Work: BroadSoft, A New Era of Mobile Productivity
  6. Access4 Whitepaper – Cloud ISDN

Not just partner training – it’s a career opportunity

You will hear us talking about the ‘Once in a generation shift to the cloud’ often. In the world of learning, a once in a generation shift happened a long time ago causing younger generations to choose lower-cost education over a traditional degree. In this Q/A we’ll brainstorm about this trend and the opportunity it presents with Ian Tennant, our newly appointed Partner Training Manager, who will provide insights of our training program. Our friendly and supportive team is creating an opportunity for our partners to join us and go through our new training program, which will give them the keys for entering the world of Unified Communications, and leverage the advances of this technology in a way they might not get anywhere else at the moment.

“When teams are appropriately trained, companies save an average of $70,000 annually and receive a 10% increase in productivity. As Generation Z enters the workplace, they face an even greater skills gap, where 65% of the jobs they will need to fill don’t even exist yet”.

Ian, I was doing some ‘social network’ research (some call it an excuse for stalking your colleagues!), and I noticed a switch in your career which happened somewhere around 2004. Can you tell me more about it?

It was probably fate intervening. I am a physical education teacher and had always been interested in training or teaching. Back in the day, I was working as a Sales Representative for a Pharmaceutical company. This particular company put a huge emphasis on training as a competitive advantage. The opportunity arose to take a role in their training department and I never looked back. I had found my calling. I really loved working with people to help them develop the knowledge and skills to be successful.

Deloitte is considering education/training as one of the ‘fantastic five’ to work in over the next 20 years, and reskilling and retraining current workers is a big part of what we can see in the market; what do you find challenging when it comes to our industry?

For me, the main challenge being new is initially to understand the real needs of our partners from a training point of view. Truly understanding this will be critical for how we shape our training curriculum.

One of the other challenges is the speed of business. The process of signing up a new partner and onboarding can be rapid. Partners then need to be trained yesterday! Finding the time and space to train is an ongoing challenge.

What do you think about the trend of ‘Leaders encouraging more human interaction?

In an age when we are immersed more in more in a digital world staying connected and engaging with our colleagues and customers is critical. I think its hard to beat face to face communication, but I know that it’s not always possible. A lot of human interaction can still be achieved using various digital tools we have.

What type of learners does industry recognise and how do you address these profiles in the training process?

In the corporate environment, all our learners are adults who have particular learning needs. It’s important to recognise these when designing training. Our learners come to training with life experience, even if it’s in a different field or unrelated industry it still matters to them and needs to be recognised. They are typically focused on learning relevance and how the content can help them do their job better. If it’s not relevant then they may not see the value.

The corporate learner is also time poor, so learning needs to be efficient and to the point. Learning by doing is also an important consideration.

Tell us more about the learning model you will apply to Access4 training programme?

There is a learning model called 70:20:10 which is very influential in the corporate training world. This model says that most of our learning (the 70) happens on the job and when we have to perform a task. This means that we need to look at how we can build a training curriculum, and resources to support this model. As a result, resources to support just in time training become critical. This includes videos, mobile content, knowledge bases and even coaching.

What type of learning curve will you build for our partners and us?

It’s really important that we get our partners up to speed as quickly as possible. End to end we aim to have partners trained and certified through approximately three days of training. This will be chunked down to smaller modules with our calendar allowing a partner to complete all 10 modules within two weeks. As we digitise more of our content I expect this to reduce further and the speed to certification increasing. In trying to make the training efficient it will be important not to lose sight of the need to ensure we have partners attaining a high standard.

Learning in the digital era changed how we learn, what do you find most innovative and what ‘old school’ techniques do you believe still hold value?

Before joining Access4 I worked on a project that used Virtual Reality (VR) to train paramedics to deal with mass casualty incidents. I love using tech to do things better. I’m not big on tech for tech sake. In the case of VR, it’s an emerging technology that will be a game changer because it will solve some really big training challenges.

The other exciting thing to see is the re-emergence of video as a training tool. YouTube has driven a who back to the future way of learning.

I cut my teeth as a face to face trainer and coach. I have worked on a number of projects that have successfully combined both. Together they are still one of the absolute best ways to drive performance.

Can you briefly summarise the training program you are building at the moment and when you expect the start?

It’s been exciting to work on rolling out the Access4 Partner Certification Program. The program will go live from 4 September 2018 with a curriculum that offers core modules to onboard partners. The initial training content consists of 10 core modules that cover content across Sales, Marketing, Pre Sales, Technical Support and Billing staff.

Initially, the training will be delivered in half day face to face training blocks as well as 90-minute online options.

The second phase of content development will see us blend digital content with face to face allowing for more self-service just in time learning.

What do you think is the most crucial aspect of the training process for our partners?

What will be critical is for our partners to commit to the training as part of not only the onboarding process but on an ongoing basis. We need partners to see and appreciate the value of the training to their business and to ensure they make the investment to send their staff.

Every industry has its no-no’s what’s the biggest NO in the world of training development?

Boring training content… The trainer talking too much and not engaging the learners.

What do you do when you don’t think about training?

One of my passions is Football ( the real one that some people call soccer!) I still take a keen interest as a coach at a local club. I’m really interested in what helps drive performance and develop high performers. I guess it I’m a training junkie!

I know you have other hobbies, tell us what they are?

As mentioned, I love football and I’m also a keen cyclist. The other love is music. I have way too many CD’s and Vinyl (which is cool now) and always have music playing at home.

How do we help flexible working?

Hours, work patterns or locations are common elements of discussion when employees and employers negotiate flexibility. Depending on the industry, role or role requirements, there will often be a need to consider at least one aspect where flexible working arrangements are required.

The term ‘work-life balance’ has been a very trendy topic in the last few years, but digital ‘motivational addicts’ have challenged it by saying it’s not possible to achieve since working hours make the majority of people’s day and week. Would you agree? Does it mean the work/life balance cannot be achieved?
Flexible Working Day recently found the following ;

  • 48% of companies do not have flexible work policies
  • 75% of part-time roles are held by women
  • 79% new dads and 85% woman want to work flexibly
  • 27% of men and 49% of woman experience discrimination when returning from parental leave
  • 45% of millennials or Gen Y choose flexibility over pay.

So, what now?

It’s about building a secure, comfortable and flexible working environment. Blogs, articles, TED talks and training research studies sessions are showing that even the ‘big bucks’ can’t poach a good employee if he or she is happy with their current position.

There is another ongoing debate about the time spent at work and employee satisfaction. Yes, you can work overtime, and your family might miss you, but there is a difference between a satisfied employee who arrives home a bit later but content, and one who comes home at 5.00 depressed, stressed and worried.

Unified Communications – you don’t have to be present, just ‘dial-in’.

It’s a simple rule, and we apply it daily, more precisely every morning at 8.30 and 8.46. If we can’t attend a specific meeting, we just dial-in. If that’s not possible (on rare occasions), we pass our daily agendas or ‘roadblocks’ to the person in charge. If you are late and you don’t dial in on time, ‘the punishment’ is $5, which goes towards our ‘savings’ for Friday drinks.

Need to discuss it but can’t arrange the meeting and it’s not ‘e-mail material’?

A typical situation. We use our Communicator to form quick group chats if we need to discuss something. Again, we don’t have to be in the same physical location. You might think that group chat is a common thing these days, but companies rarely use it as they don’t find messaging apps ‘professional’ or ‘business facing’. Unified Communications gives it a ‘corporate feel’ while keeping the style of communication relaxed and flexible.

Your mobile phone and your computer are synced, what about your desk phone?

Unified Communications finally allows your desk phone to join the ‘cool group’. So, go ahead and pull that call to your computer or the other way around.

Video conferencing or training

Every 14 days, we invite our partners to join us for a 30-40-minute training session of the latest SASBOSS features or ‘how-to’s’. On a daily basis, we use our screen sharing capability to help train them and navigate around different features.

Flexism and the Flexible Working Day

The International calendar of important days communicates identified causes/days across the globe, and flexible working joined the calendar on 6th of June. #FWDay, #FlexWorkFullLife, #GenderFlexGap and #TackleFlexism are some of the hashtags used for promoting this cause. The term ‘flexism’ is used for those who still have a lack of trust when it comes to implementing this change in our working environments.

In our Cloud ISDN whitepaper, we mentioned how flexibility has been a part of the Fair Work Act for a long time now. Flexible Working Day points out that technology, families and work organisation has changed, but our 9 – 5, Monday – Friday lifestyle has stayed the same. So clearly, we still have a long way to go.

Juggle Strategies, our work-flexibility partners, defined four critical success factors for implementing flexible working – Trust, Mindset, Communication and Outcome performance management.

Trust and Mindset can be most challenging; the challenge is not only about convincing managers that work flexibility is good for the organisation (not just the employees), but that a positive mindset will be driven through that trust. And we all know how mindset can fuel or block change.

We are happy to say that at Access4 we have that trust and mindset and that we actively work to build on this foundation. We also advocate flexible working among our partners, and we hope that our product will be one of the primary tools for business environments to make this change more manageable.

Customer first through passion and processes Innovate, Empower, Partner

According to the Customer Service Institute of Australia, passion and processes are crucial drivers of service excellence represented differently depending on the business type. To manage these two modules successfully, CSIA says companies will need to have them aligned. Access4 is a partner-focused organisation, so our value ‘customers first’ is the key one around which we organise everything we do, how we choose our priorities and even defined our other values to reflect the main one.

While customer focus can be cliché and easy to ‘talk about’, Access4 aligns processes to make customer’s experience a key metric not only for the business but all our staff and our partners. Net Promoter score is our measurement of customer experience as it is our ‘moment of truth’. We manage this through a bi-annual survey to our partners, and to the end customers.

Access4 partners and customer experience

To deliver this customer focus to the end users, our partners also need to demonstrate the same trait in their business. The successful implementation of our products with the end user means not only a good business outcome for our partner but success for us as well. When selecting partners to provide Access4 products to the market, customer experience is a key factor and a material element in all Access4 partner agreements. This is our guarantee that will make Access4 services synonymous with a great customer experience consistently regardless of the partner the end user chooses.

Access4 end users and customer experience

Our solutions are at the forefront of business collaboration delivered by cloud technology, and we know we must work on educating the market.

As a partner-driven business, we invest in market development and lead generation to help our partners succeed. Each partner has their individual goals, set of matching services and products and they will communicate them differently towards the market. We’ll tailor our support accordingly.

The end user is never out of our focus and probably the essence of our passion without us even noticing sometimes – we want to know what they need, how they communicate, we are curious about their industries and their specifics. The more we know and learn the better our partner support will be.

We want to contribute to this wave of improving how people work and live. If we participate in this motion of educating the leaders towards the flexible working mindset, by communicating our product to the market, we believe that the positive energy will spread through organisations. Speaking about that, we just revealed our next favourite value.



The business case for the flexible working practice

Melbourne, Australia, 8 March 2018 – As advocates of flexible working, we are always on a hunt for good case studies, so we want to share this one in particular because of its extraordinary figures! JuggleStrategies published this whitepaper almost 17 months ago, but we think results presented would be just as relevant today.

No matter which industry we got in touch with, we can confirm the same pattern; employees are looking for work-life balance, even if they are young and only starting their careers. Trends towards the minimalism in all aspects of life are pushing people to seek productive surroundings (not only in their work-related environments). All that, of course, corresponds with changes and benefits Unified Communications generate for forward-looking businesses.

  • Proven increase in employee engagement
  • Significant reduction in costs
  • Greater gender diversity & inclusion
  • Easier to attract top talent
  • Stress reduced and time regained
  • More efficient communication
  • Increased innovation

Recruiters or companies employing directly, advertise this benefit if they can, with listing various ‘perks’ they offer. But, it seems that workplace flexibility wins over free lunches or tickets to events.

We will provide the direct download link, but here are the most exciting findings (if you’re already not motivated enough by the reminder on the legislation introduced in ‘The Fair Work Act 2009’, so you might have already “got this” or you have a strategy how to “get there”).

Benefits of flexible working for businesses

1. Proven increase in employee engagement;
In Australia, Mirvac was able to increase engagement levels by 20%, simply by implementing a flexible working program for all employees.

2. Significant reduction in costs;
– Microsoft saw sick leave reduce by 40%,
– The American Management Association reported a 63% reduction in unscheduled absences, across some organisations implementing a range of flexible practices.

3. Greater gender diversity & inclusion;
-Bain18 reports that in flexible organisations, there is a 6% increase in women’s confidence to become a senior leader, and a 10% increase in aspiration to become a senior leader.

4. Easier to attract top talent;
– Businesses that don’t adapt will soon be left with the bottom of the talent pool and will suffer the consequences.

5. Stress reduced and time regained; flexibility decreases travel time, giving people more time to work and more control over their lives.

6. More efficient communication;
– Greater familiarity with video conferencing technologies also reduces the need for interstate and overseas travel, and global expansion is eased, as people can more comfortably build relationships and collaborate over long distances.

7. Increased innovation;
When women leave the workforce to have children, and can’t return because of a lack of flexibility, these ‘entrepreneurial mums’ are establishing and building their successful businesses instead.

Most common fears

1. ‘It’ll cost too much to implement’.
‘Roy Morgan was recently fined $72,000 for making a worker redundant when she returned from maternity leave and asked for flexible working arrangements’.

2. ‘Employees will take advantage and productivity will drop’.
The opposite – Flexibility grows Engagement which grows Performance.

3. ‘How can I manage staff when they’re not in front of me’?
For example, if management leans towards McGregor’s Theory X way of thinking, where it’s assumed that people are naturally lazy, and will avoid responsibility whenever possible, then more training and support will be in order. However, if McGregor’s Theory Y is more dominant, where it’s assumed that employees are happy to work, self-motivated and goal driven, then coaching may be all that’s needed.

‘When implemented correctly flexibility has the potential to increase productivity, engagement, retention, level of employee discretionary effort, diversity and the ability to decrease absenteeism, sick leave, cost (real estate, IT Infrastructure and energy) and carbon footprint’.


Access4 first to deliver BroadSoft Contact Centre One certification for partners in the Asia Pacific

We can proudly announce that Aptel, CircleNet, Prosum and Devoli hold the first, globally recognised, CC-One Administration Professional Certification in the Asia Pacific. Acess4 organised first Broadsoft CC-One (Contact Centre One) training for its partners, last week in Melbourne, from 13 – 15 February. This commitment to education ensures that our partners are equipped with the latest knowledge of the product.

As part of Access4 commitment to bring the latest products to the market, in 2017 we brought BroadSoft’s new contact centre CC-One to Australia and New Zealand. This product was a step change from the traditional call centre or queuing functionality that is available in Access4′ UCaaS offering.
CC-One brings a real predictive analytics-based contact centre with support for Omni-Channel interactions; its advanced analyser engine is unique in the market. While most contact centres will allow you to report and manage on what is in the ACD (Automated Call Distribution), CC-One will bring together this data with external data to form an end to end view of the customer interactions. With a step change in capability, Access4 needed to ensure that its partners can continue to deliver world-class customer experience.

Customers expect that a product delivers on its promise and works, which means that our partners needed to become experts in the product; how to deliver it and manage it. They need to be able to take a customer’s requirements and translate them into outcomes for contacts centres. This means not just being able to assist a customer in deploying a Cloud Contact Centre but to drive value for end customers through the knowledge.

‘As a partner-only organisation, this ability to have partners provide direct input and value to the end customer is critical. Customers have indicated their preference for their local systems integration partner to provide unified Communications; this now can extend to the Contact Centre’.

Our commitment to education ensures that Access4 partners are delivering CC-One solutions for customers and that they are equipped with the latest knowledge in the product. As a partner-only organisation, this ability to have partners provide direct input and value to the end customer is critical. Customers have indicated their preference for their local systems integration partner to provide unified Communications; this now can extend to the Contact Centre.

The individual certification achieved by the people that attended is part of our accreditation program for the partner organisation itself. With such a unique capability that requires specialist skills to manage, only Access4 partners that have completed accreditation will provide CC-One services to customers in the market.


Brendan Grech (Prosum), Amit Verma (Broadsoft),Michael Maniatakos (Broadsoft), David Colleta (Prosum), Luke Vickers (Access4), Darren Wong (CircleIT), Glenn Caldwell (Access4), Nicola Fidanzia (Broadsoft), Josh Fallon (Broadsoft), Zafar Shaikh (Broadsoft), Stan Chizhevskiy (Access4), Brian Evans (Vibe), Brendan Ireland (Aptel).


Flexible Workplace and Unified Communications

When we talk about IT and Unified Communications, often we get very hyped up about the technology and its features. Marketers and salespeople should always try to link features to situations that will add value to a business. As a Cloud Unified Communications provider, we are big on using our own technology internally to understand its true value and to be able to show its value to partners. We also internally promote a flexible workplace where results are the measure of our team, not where they are – something that UCaaS allows us to do.

As a parent of a now 1.2-year-old often the real value of Unified Communications becomes less about a value proposition and is a real asset when its flexibility allows me to manage my needs at work, and ideals of being the best parent possible. On a Monday afternoon at 1:35 pm, had just started a conference call with two external people to Access4 using the BroadSoft MyRoom collaboration functionality. I had dialled in from my desk phone when my wife called on the mobile. My wife will generally only call during business hours in an emergency. This has more to do with her demands at work than my views of self-importance. She had called to advise that her mother who was minding our daughter for the day had locked herself out of the house and effectively was wandering the streets with a sleeping 1.2-year-old in the pram. My wife’s demands at work meant she couldn’t leave work at that point.

Being easily mobile is one of the true tests of Unified Communications and with the click of a button, I was seamlessly able to move the call from my desk phone to my mobile whilst still having control over the conference call. I was able to then get into the car without disrupting my call, without having to dial people back, without having to put people on hold. Our BroadSoft solution seamlessly moved the call to my mobile as a data call over the mobile carriers 4G, then was able to negotiate the handover to my car’s Bluetooth system.

I was able to drive home quickly, open the house or more accurately point and click the garage door remote and drive back to work all without having to cancel a business call or disrupting the meeting. The technology had truly enabled my competing needs for those 30 minutes. This is what cloud unified communications should be able to do. It took the technology and turned it into a real asset that allowed my work to be something I was doing, not a location I was fixed to.

Now off to talk to my wife’s business to implement Unified Communications for them.

Ruy Franco, Director of Sales and Marketing

Is your business leveraging its chat assets?

Instant Messaging or Unified Messaging (IM) has always been thought of as something that is generational and linked to “digital natives”. Increasingly in a more collaborative society, people are using messaging applications to connect informally with friends and colleagues with great benefits.

WhatsApp now has over 1 billion subscribers and even the PM Malcolm Turnbull is a user. If you look beyond WhatsApp you have other messaging applications and the tried and true SMS. The question for most businesses should be, how secure are these applications for business, and how effective are they as standalone applications?

In recent research from Access4 (Access UC Appreciation Index 2016), 59% of senior decision makers said that they did not use instant messaging in their organisation. Given the widespread nature of Instant Messaging, it would be fair to challenge this statistic. Should the statistic state that 59% of senior decision makers are unaware of messaging being used in their business and therefore do not have a strategy as to how they support integrated messaging as part of their communications plan.

Instant Messaging needs to be a business application that is integrated into your communications platform, is device independent and not linked to other personal devices. iMessage can be a security issue when used for business as it appears on all other registered devices under that user, whether they are used for business or not.

In a world which is ever more connected using Instant Messaging becomes an enabler of open, quick and efficient communications. The questions to answer when implementing a unified messaging strategy are:

  • Is this a strategic and sanctioned application?
  • Do we have the right security measures in place?
  • Can access be managed centrally by the organisation?
  • Is this integrated into our Unified Communications plan or it is just something someone downloaded?
  • Can you track and store the messages if the worst was to happen?

Instant messaging becomes a huge asset to a business when part of an overarching unified communications plan, not something a small group of users downloaded onto their mobiles.

Many manufacturers of Business Phone Systems (PBX) claim that buying a solution is more cost-effective over 5 years. What are the hidden costs they are not telling you about?


With premise-based Business Phone Systems (PBX) you are typically buying a fixed asset. This is either constrained by the appliance hardware, the servers you need to buy to run it on or the licensing model from the vendor. This means that you need to estimate your peak demand 5 years in advance to buy for what you might need. The risks here are that you buy a business phone system for what you need today. This decision can also be influenced by getting the best commercial outcome for today’s needs and not paying for future needs that don’t eventuate. You could end up with a PBX that won’t meet the demand of your future business. Questions to ask are:

  • Can your premise based PBX scale to meet the needs of peak demands?
  • What are the physical limits of the system?
  • How do you scale rapidly if needed?
  • Redundancy

Adding redundancy to on-premise business phone systems generally means duplicating it to another site. This is an expensive form of insurance in the event something happens. Have you factored in this cost of building redundancy?

Capacity planning

On-premise PBXs often rely on servers for functions like call recording. These servers will have a fixed storage capability and when full, no more calls can be recorded without purging old files. Questions to answer are:

  • What is the total capacity?
  • What is my capacity planning threshold (IE when do I need to buy more)?
  • Who is going to manage these servers and at what cost?
  • How is my data backed up?

The cost of obsolescence

The average lifespan of an on-premise phone system is 7 years and longer if companies are looking to maximise the return on big investments that they haven’t fully used.

Industries, companies, and the way people work change much quicker than this. You may find yourself without features that your competitors have, costing your business revenue. Alternatively, you may find your business cobbling together other technologies that don’t integrate well into your business phone system or even having to give your employees multiple applications for communication. Questions to answer are:

  • How old is the product [not the one you are buying but the platform/technology]?
  • When is the next big release and do I get the new features automatically?
  • What is the cost to upgrade?
  • Mobility

Businesses are more mobile than ever, and employees are starting to use their mobiles more than their desk phone. Integrating mobility into on premise-based PBXs can be difficult and expensive with calls having to be delivered to your site before being sent out to the mobile. This incurs additional costs and with employees manually forwarding phones the potential for toll fraud is heightened. Questions to answer:

  • How many more voice lines do I need to cater for mobility?
  • What are the call costs?
  • Can my mobile users call from the office line while on the road?
  • Maintaining the hardware

With on-premise PBX you need to factor in additional costs to maintain the hardware. If the PBX is an application you may also need to factor in licensing costs for the servers. You need to house the equipment in a suitable environment which means a computer room with appropriate cooling, or you need to buy colocation services from a data centre provider. Questions to answer:

  • Who is maintaining the PBX and at what cost?
  • What additional licensing costs do I need to factor in?
  • What is the cost to house the equipment in my office and what is the opportunity cost if I was to use that space for staff, not computers?
  • Ability to integrate

Most businesses these days are looking to integrate their business phone system into their CRM. With an on-premise system, this normally is left to the business to manage which means additional costs for someone to integrate the two systems. Questions to answer:

  • Which third party systems does the system integrate out of the box?
  • What is the cost to install 3rd party integration, and to maintain it?
  • Performance

Due to most of the premise-based systems being confined to physical equipment on site the more features you turn on the more resources that equipment needs. Often features needed now are unknown when you buy the on-premise PBX. Businesses can find that the new features use up too much capacity of the system creating performance issues. Questions to answer:

  • What resource does this new feature need?
  • Who is running my configuration successfully and are they willing to help?
  • Management

For most businesses the business phone system provides a means to contact customers. Managing complex IT and telephony environments is not a core capability and therefore either needs to be managed internally at considerable cost or outsourced on a one to one basis. This can add additional costs. Questions to answer:

  • If you need to make a change, what is the cost of this and who does the work?
  • How do you prevent errors?

Whilst on occasion it can seem commercially attractive to simply own the PBX, the costs to do this don’t show the full picture. Using a cloud business phone system removes ancillary costs and simplifies management allowing you to focus on your core business, not the management of a phone system.


Design + code by Jalapeno Creative.

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