Also known as cloud PBX or virtual PBX, a cloud system is a full enterprise phone system which does not require the installation of any on-premise hardware, as it is completely hosted in the cloud, that is, on the internet. All that users need to do to join the enterprise network, no matter where they are physically located, is to connect their computing device such as multimedia PC, tablet or smartphone to the internet. Of course, a USB phone or softphone, and maybe a headset will be a nice addition to a cloud phone system!
All major features of modern on-premise private branch systems are supported by cloud phone systems:
- voicemail can be configured on a per-user basis and accessed online;
- call forwarding to any department within the enterprise is supported;
- cell phones can be used to receive intra-network calls;
- presence etc.
Added benefits include:
- CRM integration with software such as Zendesk, Salesforce or others;
- unified messaging;
- internet fax;
- no hardware costs;
- instant setup;
- 0800 numbers or freephone numbers...
It is important to remember that cloud phone systems are charged on a per-user basis and on a usage basis, so pricing will depend on the size outbound calls and inbound calls package, with every call beyond the limit added to the bill.
Cloud phone system plans with 100 outbound minutes may be as cheap as £10 per user per month, while plans with 2,500 minutes per user per month can cost up to £25 per month. Bespoke enterprise plans with more minutes and international call bundles included are often subject to direct negotiation with cloud phone system providers.
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