Move Up To The Big Leagues

Cloud Computing

Compete With The Major Players Using Cloud Computing

One thing that has changed in the last few years is technology. Today’s technology-driven world expects the best and fastest internet, computers, networks and servers. In the past, it was impossible for a small business to afford most of it.

The cloud has changed all that. Nowadays, the smallest companies can afford cloud technology and once they have it, they can compete with much larger businesses.

You don’t need millions of dollars to build physical retail locations anymore. All those old barriers to market entry disappear when you have the cloud. But there are other breakthroughs for today’s small businesses as well.

In the old days, you’d have to spend thousands of dollars creating a top-notch IT infrastructure in order to compete with larger companies. You’d have to hire experienced IT people, purchase expensive software licenses. The cost of servers, computers, software and labor was just too much for a new start-up.

All those high costs made having an enterprise-grade IT infrastructure out of reach for most small firms. However, these days small firms can join in and benefit from the massive combined IT infrastructure available in the cloud.

There are so many ways that the cloud enables small firms to compete on a level playing field.

For one thing, no matter how little you think you’ll use technology, there are too many processes that rely on it to get business done each day. That means large capital expenses. If a system fails, you’ll quickly realize how much you use technology in day-to-day operations. If your systems are down for even one day, you can lose thousands of dollars. So what’s the answer? Mirrored servers and other redundant hardware.

The second thing is that small businesses experience cyclical sales peaks. During certain seasons, you’ll need all hands on deck. At other times, you may benefit by cutting back on your use of technology. Scaling up and down used to be expensive, but the cloud makes it easy.

Third, there’s the cost of labor. The average salary for an IT specialist is around $60,000 per year. You may need several IT people even in a smaller company. And they don’t work around the clock. What if you run second and third shifts and need IT support at midnight? That will be expensive. In short, the traditional IT model doesn’t work well for a small firm.

But all those obstacles are a thing of the past. Today, even a small start-up can compete by having a redundant IT infrastructure, 24/7 support, easy upgrades, the ability to scale up or down when necessary and so much more.

With cloud technology and managed IT support, you can forget about barriers and obstacles. The monthly costs are predictable and budget-friendly.

Isn’t it time to explore all the options that cloud technology offer? Are you ready to become a major player in your industry?

Move Up To The Big Leagues with Cloud Computing

CONTACT DETAILS

Jason Simons, Vice President | ICS- IT, Voice, Video Email: sales@ics-com.net or Phone: 1-866-427-4722

How Does Your Technology Impact Your Law Firm’s Productivity?

For any law firm, time is money – billable hours need to be maximized and used efficiently. You can’t afford to have your IT slowing you down.

For any law firm, time is money – billable hours need to be maximized and used efficiently. You can’t afford to have your IT slowing you down.

Technology Law Firms

Downtime caused by your technology not performing as it should isn’t just frustrating – it’s a liability. Whether it’s slowing you down or halting your productivity in its tracks, inefficient or problematic technology wreaks havoc on your team and damages your ability to serve your clients effectively. At the end of the day, you have a ton of wasted billable hours and an IT infrastructure that isn’t giving you what you need.

And when you’re counting on a single internal IT person to handle your technology? The problems are simply going to continue to pile up.

Modern networks are complex, needing to support and accommodate not just the devices and software used in your office, but the applications and devices that allow your team to work from anywhere their cases require them to be. It’s more than a lone IT person or hourly IT contractor can manage effectively.

Managed Legal IT Services Can Pick Up The Slack

The biggest challenge facing today’s law firms is the sheer number of moving parts that make up your IT infrastructure. In order for your technology to operate smoothly, all of those parts need to be kept moving, and kept moving in the same direction. This is where the proactive, hands-on approach of a managed IT provider can make a major difference. Having professionals that are familiar with your entire infrastructure taking care of your technology allows for technicians to correct repetitive issues and keep disruptions from happening in the first place.

Legal IT providers like ICS focus on maximizing your uptime and productivity by monitoring your technology around the clock rather than waiting for something to wrong. We know that the best way for you to make the most of your billable hours is to simply have the ability to work uninterrupted. Whether that requires a few minor changes or updates to your existing infrastructure, or something more extensive, depends on your firm.

How Can I Know If My IT Is Working Against Me?

The best way to figure out what works and what doesn’t is to have IT professionals with experience in legal IT come in and assess your network and infrastructure. This assessment will reveal problem areas, vulnerabilities, and inefficiencies in your technology that need to be addressed.

Why Can’t My Current Provider Do This For Me?

If you’re already partnered with an IT provider, having them review your technology to see where improvements can be made is always an option. But a second opinion never hurts – especially when it won’t cost your firm a dime.

Even if you’re not losing out on billable hours due to downtime and disruptions, you may be curious as to what changes could be made to your technology to get even more out of your workday. Regardless of the answers you’re looking for, a complimentary IT assessment from ICS can provide them to you.

Contact our legal IT professionals to schedule your assessment.

Confident In Your Firms’ Current IT Security Infrastructure?

There is no understating the important role IT security measures play in a modern law firm.

A lot rides on your security measures, which means a little due diligence goes a very long way.

Law Firm Computer Users

There is no understating the important role IT security measures play in a modern law firm. With so much of what you and your team do relying on your technology, keeping your network, data, and devices secure is crucial. The risk of data theft is high, and the consequences of a data breach are costly and far-reaching. It’s a scenario firms will do anything to avoid.

However, what many legal professionals don’t realize is that there is more to be concerned about than just external threats.

When was the last time someone took a thorough look at your IT security infrastructure? Simply checking in periodically to make sure that your security software is up to date and functioning isn’t enough. Effective IT security is made up of layers of protection, and with so much of your daily work being done on the go, that protection needs to extend outside of your office walls. Add to that the need to meet compliance regulations, and you’ve got a system that you cannot afford to have let you down.

Why Turn To Outside Help?

Think of it like this – no matter the case, you would never suggest that someone represent themselves in court. No matter how confident they are or how much they know about the charges they’re facing, allowing them to take the lead is a huge risk. They’re not a lawyer, and there are things that they simply don’t know about how the legal system works. The stakes are too high to not turn to a professional to make sure the case is handled correctly.

By that logic, of course it makes sense to have experienced and knowledgeable IT professionals take a look at your IT security infrastructure and take the lead on maintaining it. These pros know what you’re up against, and they know how to make sure that you have everything you need in place to avoid the infections and intrusions that lead to downtime, lost productivity, lost billable hours, and costly data loss.

Need A Second Opinion?

Many law firms have already made the decision to partner with an IT provider to have their technology needs taken care of. But not all of these providers have experience working within the legal field. A tax lawyer would be out of their depth in family court, despite both having similar education and certifications. He or she could still potentially win the case, but it would be nerve-wracking for everyone involved.

Nothing about your technology should ever be nerve-wracking.

ICS provides complimentary IT Security Assessments to area law firms in order to identify and potential vulnerabilities and confirm that your infrastructure is stable and secure. We’re happy to offer this service with no strings attached – all we want is to make sure that your firm is adequately protected against the growing number of cyber threats targeting law firms like yours. Simply contact us to schedule your free assessment.

Ready to Take All the Mystery Out of The Cloud?

The cloud is a term that you hear often and many are still not sure exactly what is meant by the term. To break it down, the cloud is just a word used to explain that you are utilizing someone else’s servers and infrastructure.

Cloud Computing

The cloud is a term that you hear often and many are still not sure exactly what is meant by the term. To break it down, the cloud is just a word used to explain that you are utilizing someone else’s servers and infrastructure. It is most often used though, to talk about storing Big Data or even our everyday emails.

Cloud-based Emails

Email hosting has always been done in the cloud. If you’ve used Gmail to store documents, images and files, then you’ve used the cloud. All social media sites “live” in the public cloud including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and even LinkedIn. Most of us use the cloud every day to store things like images, videos and documents. For instance, if you use Dropbox or YouTube you’re storing your stuff in the cloud.

The Cloud: A Simple Explanation

Forget about the technical lingo and just imagine a world where everyone has to build their own water treatment plant in order to get clean water for their home. Now, someone comes along and says, “Why don’t we build one big treatment plant and everyone will share the expenses?”

Now the whole community gets clean drinking water and each resident pays a small portion of the cost to run the facility. That makes a lot more sense, right? No one could afford to build their own power plant just to get electricity, but when the cost is distributed over a city, then it becomes affordable for everyone. We can all get reliable water and electricity for reasonable costs.

And that’s how the cloud works. Everyone shares the expense so that it’s cost-efficient. A small business can take advantage of the storage possibilities at a cost that fits the budget. That makes it easier for small business owners to compete with large enterprise organizations. The cloud levels the playing field. It’s more convenient and it’s even safer than storing documents on your local servers or hard drives.

The cloud offers unique business solutions to businesses large and small. It gives everyone a chance at the same technology resources that only big corporations could afford in the past. It’s very flexible as well. You can easily increase the amount of storage capacity and add users when necessary. Scaling up or down isn’t a big deal.

That’s what makes the cloud work so well. Everyone can take advantage of its power and usefulness and no one has to pay more than their fair share. The cloud greatly simplifies the back end of small business IT infrastructure.

Your company can store information at a remote data center rather than on premises. It gives small businesses the ability to do large scale business at lower costs.

What Are The Drawbacks To Using The Cloud?

There are pros and cons to just about everything but with the Cloud, there really aren’t that many drawbacks. One of the most essential is that you lose some control over your data. Another is that if you’re uploading and downloading large amounts of data, your internet speeds may be slower. It’s pretty easy to fix this one. Simply plan your large-scale projects in the evenings when your staff is home with their families.

What Are The Benefits To Using The Cloud?

Data redundancy and replication: Most cloud vendors maintain multiple copies of your files, apps and documents at data centers in different geographic locations. That means that if a data center in Milwaukee is wiped out, you’ll still have copies of your records in other locations. There’s very little likelihood that all data centers in every geographic location would be destroyed simultaneously.

Reduced costs: As mentioned above, you’ll get significant savings using the cloud’s mass scale computing capabilities.

Regulatory compliance: If you’re in an industry that has regulations like FINRA, PCI and HIPAA, the cloud can help with compliance. It has powerful tools built right in that ensure your data is protected whether at rest, in transit or archived.

Better collaboration: The cloud is available on-demand to computers and other devices from any location at any point in time. This means your workforce can collaborate no matter where they are. Documents can be shared or edited in real-time.

Improved security: In general, data stored in the cloud is safer than when stored on local servers. Although many firms cite security as a reason for their reluctance to move to the cloud, there are actually very few data breaches involving cloud providers. The majority of data breaches are due to lost, stolen, or discarded devices and paper records, rogue employees, or human error.

What’s the Bottom Line?

With today’s hybrid and private clouds, your business can have a system that’s protected and accessible from anywhere 24 x 7–one that’s totally encrypted and secure. And this is completely affordable for today’s business owners. Most professionals agree that the benefits of using the cloud far outweigh the drawbacks. It’s no mystery why thousands of businesses each year jump on the cloud.

Making A Case For Specialized Legal IT Support

Get in touch with ICS’s legal IT professionals at ICS to learn more about the solutions we offer, or the schedule a complimentary consultation to find out how we can help your firm get more out of your technology.

Having reliable technology means having technology that can grow with your firm.

Legal IT Support

There is very little you and your team do that doesn’t rely on technology in some way. This makes IT the foundation of your firm, and an aspect of your operations that calls for smart and savvy investments. Yet many law firms aren’t getting what they need out of their technology or their technology budget.

More often than not, these challenges arise from a single source – IT support. Whether you’ve got one or two in-house IT staff looking after your network and infrastructure and handling day-to-day issues or requests, or contract your IT services out to a local IT provider, problems still happen. When all your IT guys are doing is putting out fires and fielding minor requests from your team, it can feel like your technology is constantly failing you.

It’s frustrating. And it’s a main reason why firms are choosing to work with IT providers that specialize in legal IT.

Building From The Ground Up With Your Firm In Mind

Ideally, you’d like to have professionals working with you that not only understand what you need out of your technology, but know the software and applications you use better than you do. More than that, you’d like to work with people who know the ins and outs of your network and infrastructure, saving you the time and aggravation of trying to walk a technician through both your problem and your technology. When you deal with the same people each time you need to make a service call – people who also setup most or all of your technology – your problems get resolved faster.

If this sounds too good to be true, you’re likely not getting the support your firm needs to be successful. For today’s firms, success means being able to adapt to and adopt new technology in order to better serve your clients, and meet the compliance standards and regulations your profession is held to. Data security is a big part of that. By partnering with a legal IT provider like ICS, you can feel comfortable knowing that they understand what you need to do to stay compliant, and protect both your firm and your clients from cyber threats.

Do Legal IT Services Really Make That Much Of A Difference?

Partnering with a legal IT provider offers benefits that generic outsourced IT support can’t. This includes:

  • In-depth knowledge of popular legal software and applications
  • Familiarity with compliance regulations
  • An understanding of how your firm operates and what you need your technology to be able to provide
  • Experience setting up and maintaining secure networks that extend to remote users
  • Experience implementing cloud technology that offers easy and convenient access to data and applications without compromising security
  • 24/7/265 help desk support provided by technicians who are familiar with your unique firm to improve troubleshooting and repair time

Get in touch with ICS’s legal IT professionals at ICS to learn more about the solutions we offer, or the schedule a complimentary consultation to find out how we can help your firm get more out of your technology.

Can A Cloud Phone System Help IT Managers Save Time?

Cloud Phone System

One of the biggest headaches for most IT managers is the lack of time. They’re often working with a small team of people and yet they have a wide range of important tasks that must get done each day.

If you’re an IT manager, then you know how it goes. It’s Monday. The network is having problems, you’re short-staffed, you have requests for help from several workstations. How will you get all that done in just one day’s time? Your phone won’t stop ringing.

This is not an isolated incident either. It happens every week. Some of the computers begin having problems with their operating system, there’s a power fluctuation causing issues in the accounting department—the list goes on and on. And many IT departments are small and understaffed. There’s seemingly nothing you can do. You and your team go to work each morning and do as much as you can. Often, you’re there working past 5pm.

Ready for a Change?

If this sounds like you, then there’s good news. You can eliminate one of those annoying problems by replacing your phone system. Small and medium size businesses are moving their business communications system to the cloud. Cloud communications are highly dependable. In fact, they require almost no maintenance. Even if you have multiple departments throughout the company and dozens of phones, your cloud phone system will always be virtually maintenance free.

For businesses that rely heavily upon their telephones each day, this is really the only option to consider. You simply can’t afford to have your phones working sporadically. Poor reception is a thing of the past when you use cloud technology. And, you can standardize communications across the entire organization. Your cloud phones will integrate well with all the other components of your IT infrastructure.

Cloud phone systems offer clear, reliable connections. You won’t have to worry about missing calls or poor call quality due to outdated telephony equipment.

Adding New Locations or Workstations is Easy

Even if your company opens up several new locations, it’s easy to install a new cloud phone system at each location. You’ll have no conflict issues and all employees will already know how to use everything. With cloud communications, updates are automatic and free. That means you’ll always be using the latest telephony technology.

Consider the Benefits of Cloud Communications

Cloud phone systems are highly customizable so they can be set up to provide all the features that matter most to your business. And, when you deploy a cloud phone system, you can transfer most of the support and maintenance to the vendor. ICS has a highly experienced team of communications experts who can handle any and all maintenance issues for you. Your IT personnel will be freed up to focus on more important issues. And that’s good news for most IT departments.

Predictable Monthly Rates

Our cloud phone system can be set-up and installed as a service that you pay one predictable monthly fee for. In this scenario, the expense is considered an operating expense instead of a capital expenditure. That gives you a good tax break in many cases. You’ll have no large out-of-pocket expenses to worry about. Use your operating capital for something else.

Mitel Provides Top-Notch Cloud Communications

ICS works with one of the world’s leading cloud phone providers, Mitel. With a Mitel cloud phone system, you’ll enjoy the best features and functionalities available. Plus, the ICS team will be responsible for all maintenance and problem-solving. You’ll lower your total cost of operations while enjoying the very best communications system on the market today.

ICS is a valued partner with Mitel. We’ll be happy to speak with you to learn exactly what your company needs in terms of communications and then recommend the best cloud phone system for your business.

Mitel offers a full range of high-quality cost-effective business communication solutions for small single location businesses and large organizations with multiple nationwide offices.

For more information about Mitel products or services and how they can benefit your organization, please call us at (866)-427-4722 or Contact us! We serve Houston, San Antonio and Austin with best-in-class managed IT services including unified communications systems.

Outsourcing Isn’t A Dirty Word

Businesses today have so many mundane tasks that must be completed by their in-house IT staff. They stay busy trying to keep your technology running smoothly.

Why Not Let Managed Services Prevent Your Staff From Feeling Overwhelmed?

IT Outsourcing In San Antonio

Businesses today have so many mundane tasks that must be completed by their in-house IT staff. They stay busy trying to keep your technology running smoothly. If a special project comes up, they can easily get overwhelmed. Why not free up your in-house IT support so they can focus on bigger issues? It’s possible with managed services.

According to the research group Gartner, over 65% of IT budgets go towards tasks that do nothing more than keep the lights on. You’re investing money that isn’t improving operations and efficiency or enhancing security.

Regular system maintenance tasks can be performed by the MSP, while in-house IT can focus on processes that will drive down costs or increase revenue. Your IT department will benefit from many other managed services like:

  • Disaster recovery/business continuity solutions
  • Security audits/updates
  • Remote monitoring
  • End user help desk
  • Proactive management
  • 24/7 network operations center

With these services, your in-house staff can get to work on more meaningful jobs that will create value for your company. You can remove the burden of those daily routine chores that never seem to end. Plus, you’ll have access to a professional MSP ticketing and monitoring system, so when system issues come up, you can count on getting the help you need in a timely manner.

Your business will greatly benefit from having a 24/7 Network Operations Center that identifies and addresses system issues before they become business disrupting problems. When you have those daily problems like malfunctioning computers, this can be handled by the MSP’s help desk.

Focus On Your Priorities

When you work with a managed services company, your in-house team can count on getting help with projects that seem overwhelming. Your MSP partner can perform a network assessment or evaluate the overall performance of your current IT infrastructure. It’s so helpful to get an unbiased professional opinion on the health of your IT network.

Your managed service provider might recommend products and services that could greatly benefit your business operations. Evaluations like this help your internal IT people determine what system oversight and future planning they should be doing.

Fewer IT problems can greatly enhance your overall production. Your staff can get more done each day without the frustrations that come with irritating system failures at inopportune moments.

Reducing Human Error

A high percentage of expensive security breaches are the result of human error. This is often because IT employees are stretched too thin and overlook vital security measures, such as applying tested security patches or updating anti-virus software programs.

Working with a MSP will eliminate much of the work overload that often leads to system or security vulnerabilities. Systems can be backed up in the cloud for an immediate system restore if needed. Many of the issues that become costly business interruptions, such as downtime-inducing hardware, software, and application failures are completely preventable if they are detected early and addressed promptly.

Bottom Line

Smaller firms have a few hard-working IT employees who deal with way too many responsibilities. And the majority of their duties are mundane and routine. Why not free up these employees so they can find new ways to increase efficiency, drive business revenues and innovate? Your IT staff deserves a break and they can become a much more valuable resource when they don’t have to put out so many daily fires.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) are being used by businesses everywhere to cost-effectively manage, service, and support their IT processes. They’re a great alternative to hiring additional in-house staff.

Today’s smart business owners use this hybrid approach to IT that gives them the best of both worlds. Your in-house IT staff can work hand-in-hand with a managed services company to help your business achieve a greater return on your investment. And, your people won’t feel overwhelmed anymore about their daily responsibilities. They’ll have the support they need to do a better job.

Moving Your Phone System to the Cloud: Pros and Cons

Cloud Phone System

If you’ve been wondering whether cloud services might be a good fit for your business, then moving your phone system first could give you some insights into how the process works. This is a great idea for most businesses as well. Your employees can work from anywhere and still get all the amazing features your business phone system offers.

A number of experts like Gartner, believe that the cloud services market will greatly expand over the next few years. Markets like Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) are still in their infancy. Yet they’ve made quite an impact in the business world.

Can the Cloud Save You Time and Money?

Thousands of today’s businesses use Software-as-a-Service because it makes so much sense. Instead of buying an expensive program like Microsoft Office 365 and paying for all those licenses, then worrying about training employees etc., why not just buy the software as a service that is provided by your local managed IT service company?

When you follow this route, you never really own the software, but then you aren’t responsible for its updates, patches, glitches, licenses, training, etc. Your IT service provider is responsible for all that. This leaves you and your staff able to focus on projects and customers instead of technology problems.

Get the Most for Every Dollar

All cloud technology works that way to some extent, including a phone system. You’ll have the advantage of the latest hardware and software without having to install, monitor or maintain the system. However, despite this and the growing adoption rates, many companies still aren’t ready to make a full-scale move to cloud-based technologies.

And, it’s really not necessary to do so. By taking a measured approach to the cloud, you can gradually incorporate this technology into your business workflow. This will give you and your team a better idea of what to expect and how it works. You can get a handle on overall costs, reliability, flexibility and all those things that matter to your business.

Starting off by moving your communications system to the cloud is a pretty smart idea. Most businesses could get better services for their workforce and their customers with a cloud phone system. This is a fairly simple move that will get your staff ready in case you want to move more technology to the cloud later.

Need more reasons to make the move? Below are 4 great reasons to move your phone system to the cloud.

Small Steps: You can manage deployments in small groups

You might want to move only your customer service department to cloud communications right now. This would be much simpler than moving the entire company’s phone system. Plus, it would give you an idea of how easy it is and whether you’ll get much pushback from employees. This small move would be cost-efficient but give you lots of good information about the overall success of any future cloud deployments.

Set Your IT Staff Free: Make smarter use of internal resources

Most IT departments are overwhelmed. They simply don’t have the time to handle any extra projects. But with cloud-based services, they don’t have to. Part of the service is that the provider will handle all maintenance, security, updates, etc.

Flexibility: Subscribe to the features you prefer

With cloud services, you can mix and match, only subscribing to the specific features you want. Plus, cloud communications can evolve as your business grows. If you want to add features as your business grows, then it’s easy and inexpensive to do so. You’ll never be stuck in a long-term rigid contract.

Confidence: Get the security you need to move forward with other cloud-based technology

Once your staff gets immersed in cloud communications, you might consider moving other aspects of your IT infrastructure to the cloud. Cloud-based storage is a great idea. It provides good copies of your database that are stored at onsite and offsite locations. This is the ultimate protection for your data in case of disaster. There are lots more services that could be moved to the cloud. In most cases, you’ll find this to be a good solution that frees up your IT department and offers more reliable products and services.

CapEx Vs. OpEx

There are lots of other excellent reasons to take advantage of cloud services. Since they are a service, they can be expensed as an operating cost instead of a capital expenditure. This offers some tax advantages. Be sure to check with your accountant before moving forward.

Ready to Make the Switch?

Strong communications are important to your business success and Mitel is a well-known provider. Mitel delivers more than 2 billion connections every day and offers solutions that will support your business goals for today and tomorrow.

ICS is a valued partner with Mitel. Our team will work with you to help you find the perfect cloud communications products. We install and set everything up so that it best suits the way your employees work. If you need to add users along the way, it’s fast and easy.

Mitel offers a full range of high-quality cost-effective business communication solutions for small single location businesses to large organizations with multiple nationwide offices. The right phone system can increase mobility, utilizing unified communications within the organization.

ICS is proud to offer Mitel products and services to our clients. We believe they meet the highest standards. For more information about Mitel products or services and how they can benefit your organization, please call us at (866)-427-4722 or Contact us!

We serve Houston, San Antonio and Austin with best-in-class managed IT services including unified communications systems. We can help you understand how cloud technology can benefit your business.

Step by Step Guide to Moving Your Phone System to the Cloud

Have you been thinking about migrating your communications to the cloud?

Cloud Phones Systems

Have you been thinking about migrating your communications to the cloud? Many business owners are and it’s not as complex as it may seem. It takes some planning so that your core operations are not interrupted, but it can pay off big in the end. Switching can be relatively simple as long as you plan and prepare correctly.

This article provides a step-by-step guide that will help your business move all communications to the cloud.

Define Your Business Goals

Before you begin, it’s important to lay out your business goals, including short- and long-term goals. Understand your reasons for switching to the cloud. Are you trying to provide streamlined communications for your workforce? Do you need to offer better services to your customers?

You might be trying to free up IT resources for other projects. Or give your employees the freedom to work from anywhere. These are all good reasons to make the change. Cloud communications offer numerous benefits, but when you know what you want to accomplish, you can better select the right phone solution for your organization.

What’s Your Budget?

Cloud communications are great but there are many cloud phone systems out there with various price tags. It’s important to know what you are comfortable with spending. Don’t forget to include hardware, licensing fees, and infrastructure costs. You’ll also have ongoing maintenance with some plans.

CapEx Vs. OpEx

A capital expenditure (CAPEX) means you purchase the hardware and software upfront. Any expense related to your phone service from cabling to voicemail and dialing features are your team’s responsibility to maintain. With OpEx approach, the costs are considered monthly operating expenses just like your electric bill. There are certain tax advantages to both.

Step-By-Step Project Timeline

Once you nail down your objectives and budget, it’s time to plan your cloud migration project. It goes without saying that you should plan this during a slow time of the year. If you have seasons where business slows down some, that’s the perfect time to initiate changes to your technology. Be sure to prepare your staff for the change as well. Make sure key personnel will be available for the switch so they can oversee important tasks.

Take the Time You Need

Give your staff ample time to plan, analyze, test and communicate and this will greatly increase the overall success. You can begin a full year in advance to review your current communications plan. Be sure to have your staff check contract terms for contract expiration dates and penalties. Plan your migration to coincide with the end of an old contract. With good planning, you can avoid paying penalties for ending an old contract early.

Select a Migration Team

A full 9 months in advance of changing, you can create a special team that will handle the various aspects of switching. Of course, a few IT people will need to be involved. But you should also select a manager or executive to oversee the project. They can make sure that things are moving along well and everyone understands their role. If problems come up, they can get solutions in place so there are no obstacles that turn into costly mistakes.

It’s a good idea to set up a special chat room for your group where they can discuss day-to-day problems. Microsoft Teams is a good app for that. It’s easy to set up a Team and communicate with everyone regularly. Important documents and information can be shared. Your migration team should include a few people who can train everyone on the new phone system once it has been installed.

Research Cloud Communications Vendors

About 6 months before the switch, it’s time to begin checking out all the phone systems available. For this, it can be helpful to have your IT department weigh in on the types of systems available, the cost and the features. You might also consider consulting an IT specialist. If you work with a local managed IT service provider, they can give you a thorough rundown of all the best systems, the pros and cons of each and the price tags.

Get Demos From the Top 3

At about 3 months before switching, you should have your list of potential vendors narrowed to 3 or so. Contact local representatives of each one and ask them to come out and show you their phone system. Be sure to ask relevant questions and make notes about each.

  • How easy are they to use?
  • Will training be included in the price?
  • How frequently are new features released?
  • How easy is it to add new users?
  • What type of security does the system have?
  • Is support included in the cost?

For most business owners, ongoing support is important. A cloud phone service is exactly that—a service. Choose a vendor who will support you through the initial implementation and offers multiple channels for ongoing support.

Installation and Implementation

You’ve done a good job of preparing everyone and getting the research done. Now it’s time for the phone provider to come out and actually install the new cloud system. Be sure to let your employees know what’s going on. Your Cloud Communications team should know by now what their jobs are and be prepared for any obstacles.

When you have a documented rollout plan, it helps to overcome last-minute snags that could interrupt everything and cause delays.

Training
Now that the new system has been installed, it’s time to train your employees. Most Cloud phone systems are fairly easy to use. But there are lots of features that your employees should know about so they can take full advantage of the system. Expect a few weeks of questions as your team learns how to use the new system. After that, they should all be comfortable with it.

Why Wait?

If your current phone system is holding you back, it’s time to explore new options. Good strong communications are important to your business success. Mitel delivers more than 2 billion connections every day and offers solutions that will support your business both now and in the future.

ICS is a valued partner with Mitel. We can consult to learn exactly what your company needs in terms of communications and then recommend a system that will more than meet your needs. We set everything up so that it best suits the way your employees work. If you need to add users along the way, it’s fast and easy.

Mitel offers a full range of high-quality cost-effective business communication solutions for small single location businesses to large organizations with multiple nationwide offices. The right phone system can increase mobility, utilizing unified communications within the organization.

ICS is very careful in selecting the communication products and services we offer to our clients. All products and services must meet the highest of standards. ICS is proud to sell, install and support products and solutions manufactured by Mitel.

For more information about Mitel products or services and how they can benefit your organization, please call us at (866)-427-4722 or Contact us! We serve Houston, San Antonio and Austin with best-in-class managed IT services including unified communications systems.

Can Your Current Phone System Limit the Success of Your Business?

Most businesses take their phone system for granted. After all, it requires very little attention most of the time. You can usually just set it up and then forget about it. But more and more companies are realizing that this “set it and forget it” mindset can cost them in more ways than one.

Business Phone Systems

Most businesses take their phone system for granted. After all, it requires very little attention most of the time. You can usually just set it up and then forget about it. But more and more companies are realizing that this “set it and forget it” mindset can cost them in more ways than one.

Your phone system gives you the ability to interact with your customers. But has it kept pace with the times? Is it capable of helping you meet tomorrow’s challenges?

This eBook outlines five important considerations to think about when evaluating your current phone system or a new communications solution.

Mobility

Can your phone system support today’s “anywhere, anytime, from any device” manner of doing business? Today’s workforce is more mobile than ever. Employees are expected to work on the go. Tech-savvy workers expect their business communications to be just as sophisticated and easy to use as their personal apps.

Does your current phone system provide the same easy features and functionality to all staff members, no matter their location or device? Although many people use their own personal device on the job, they may be hesitant to share their personal number in a professional setting. In addition, use of personal devices further complicates tracking and reimbursement of call costs.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs allow employees to stay connected everywhere and collaborate on important projects. But they can also open you up to hackers and cybercrime. A great BYOD program delivers ultimate security so that your data is not at risk.

The Budget

Does the cost of your phone system fit well into your overall budget? Though it’s important to find a platform that suits how your business works, the budget is also important. Think about whether CapEx or OpEx is the right budgeting approach for your business.

  1. Capital Expenses: Pay one upfront price for all hardware, software and standard services.
  2. Operational Costs: Pay a smaller fee on a subscription basis, taking advantage of frequent updates.

Total Cost of Ownerships

Some phone systems are overly complex and require lots of time-consuming management, resulting in greater costs over time. A business phone provider that offers robust, productivity-boosting services delivered in a streamlined, easy-to-manage way will free up IT resources and save money. Many businesses are moving to the cloud due to all the benefits. It’s cheaper to add new lines and updates are free.

Productivity

Can your employees collaborate on-the-go? Does your phone system help or hamper employee productivity? A connected workforce can get more done each day. But some phone systems make it hard to connect and collaborate. Reduce employee frustration and increase productive work time with these features:

  • Application Integration: Boost the power of your CRM by seamlessly integrating calling features, call histories and customer data.
  • Presence: Enable employees to see when other co-workers are available, in a meeting, on a call or out of the office.
  • Find Me: Follow employees so they can get the call the first time around, regardless of the device they are using.
  • Collaboration Tools: Make it easier to exchange ideas and get work done with video, instant messaging and desktop sharing

Ability to Add Features and Functionality

Does your phone system support future and emerging technologies? Modern times call for modern solutions. Make sure your phone system can keep pace with technological change and has the ability to embrace cloud-based and customized solutions as required.

Plan for the Future

A phone system needs to have the flexibility to accommodate changes to your business over time. Look for these great features:

  • Flexible Service Plans: Change service plans and permissions in real time as business needs change
  • Easy & Intuitive: Users will be quicker to adopt communications tools that are simple to use and work as easily as the consumer apps they’ve come to love
  • Third-Party Integrations: Integrating with third-party software allows you to take advantage of cloud-based business process applications
  • Admin Portal: Make real-time changes to your users, preferences, permissions and groups

Scalability

Can your phone system scale to support changing business dynamics? To stay competitive in today’s fast-moving business environment, companies must be agile. An outdated phone system will slow you down if your communications technology cannot keep up with business demands. If you need to open new office locations, how hard will it be to install a new phone system? Nearly every organization could benefit from the agility that comes from aligning its phone system with its business needs.

The global consumer expects more. Look for these features:

  • Intuitive: Supports easy deployment by administrators and enables users to quickly be productive
  • Plug-and-Play: Provides phones that are easy to install without costly upgrades
  • Flexibility: Easily scales to support both the office and your mobile workforce
  • Flexible Licensing: Delivers simple, flexible licensing so businesses can scale up or down as their needs change
  • Reduced Complexity: Avoids complications that add costs and hinder your ability to scale

Why Wait?

If your current phone system is holding you back, it’s time to explore new options. Good strong communications are important to your business success. Mitel delivers more than 2 billion connections every day and offers solutions that will support your business both now and in the future.

ICS is a valued partner with Mitel. We can consult to learn exactly what your company needs in terms of communications and then recommend a system that will more than meet your needs. We set everything up so that it best suits the way your employees work. If you need to add users along the way, it’s fast and easy.

Mitel offers a full range of high-quality cost-effective business communication solutions for small single location businesses to large organizations with multiple nationwide offices. The right phone system can increase mobility, utilizing unified communications within the organization.

ICS is very careful in selecting the communication products and services we offer to our clients. All products and services must meet the highest of standards. ICS is proud to sell, install and support products and solutions manufactured by Mitel. For more information about Mitel products or service and how they can benefit your organization, please call us at (866)-427-4722 or Contact us! We serve Houston, San Antonio and Austin with best-in-class managed IT services including unified communications systems.