November 1, 2011 Hosted Systems, The Cloud Having fun planning your budget? We didn’t think so. Everyone we talk to right now is looking for creative ways to “do more with less” but is having a difficult time making that happen. That’s why we’re revisiting three proven strategies that can help you make the most of the dollars in your 2012 technology budget. Don’t purchase technology. No need to re-read that statement, we meant it. The value of technology is in its use, not its ownership. The hardware itself is a poor capital investment because it loses nearly all of its value before you sell or dispose of it. By investing your working capital into depreciating assets, you eliminate the potential for that money to generate positive cash flow back into your business. Two options to consider that don’t require the purchase of much equipment are managed services and Hosted VoIP (Hosted PBX). Managed Systems – With a managed service model for phone systems and IT solutions, providers offer all the equipment, software, and technical expertise needed for a company to reap the benefits of the system’s functionality without the costs, risks, and headaches of owning the equipment. There are many flavors of managed programs, but the best ones include some level of maintenance, remote access services, fixed pricing for commonly added items (i.e. wireless headsets), end-user training, discounts on future relocations and more. This allows companies to select the technology they need when they need it, eliminate financial risk and cost uncertainties, and get technical expertise and support from a team of specialists with extensive expertise deploying and maintaining the technology to a wide range of businesses. Click here to learn more about managed services. Hosted VoIP (Hosted PBX)- With Hosted VoIP (Hosted PBX), the phone system server resides in the provider’s data center instead of your office, and voice and data traffic is routed over the public switched telephone network, or PSTN, to the hosted system. Since the infrastructure itself is offsite, Hosted systems offer Web-based access for configuration and routing, enabling you to define how you want calls to flow, view call detail records and billing information, listen to and delete voice mail, and more. It also allows you to seamlessly scale your phone system as your business grows and is a cost-effective way for smaller businesses to get rich VoIP functionality. Click here to learn more about Hosted VoIP (Hosted PBX). Determine which subscription-based communications services are costing you more than they’re worth. On the other hand, there are certain communications technologies that can cost you more to subscribe to than own. We often find that companies pay thousands of dollars per month for basic communications services they could affordably own and easily manage. For example, if the bulk of your conferencing needs are internal, having your own web and audio conferencing system instead of subscribing to a service could provide significant cost savings. Since most outsourced solutions charge hefty monthly per-user plus per-minute usage fees, in-house solutions can often pay for themselves in as little as 6-12 months. In fact, by financing the solution, companies can even generate positive cash flow while putting an end to long-term costs. In addition, in-house solutions can easily be tailored to your specifications, thereby providing a high degree of flexibility not available with outsourced providers. Contact ETA to help determine if you’re paying too much for “low maintenance” communications services. Proactively contact your carrier services providers at least 4 months before your contracts expire. In this case, what you don’t know can hurt you. If you don’t give the 60-90 days’ notice most providers require to renew, cancel, or change your service, you could: End up stuck in a month-to-month contract with prices up to double of what you pay now Get locked into another long-term agreement that doesn’t address your needs – with hefty early cancellation fees Miss out on new voice and data technology that could save your company money & enhance efficiency By leveraging decades of industry expertise and master agent status with over 50 leading carriers, ETA can help you understand the solutions that best fit your business and make the most of your budget. Simply contact us today.