In a few other blogs I have referred to IP Centrex as a new service for businesses, so I thought I ought to explain the service. Hosted IP Centrex service uses data-centric phone sets to replaces key system, PBX system or existing Centrex service. The IP Centrex phones can be controlled by a softswitch or by connecting an IP PBX to a legacy switch.
A number of CCG’s clients are having success selling IP Centrex to business customers. The product includes the best features of a large PBX plus many additional “value added” services that are only available through IP based phone service. The product can be integrated with a subscriber’s computer systems to provide such features as dialing from Outlook, common databases for all employees, etc.
There is a wide range of phone sets available that include a screen that allows a caller to manage their calling. The product requires a customer to buy new IP handsets and many of my clients lease sets as part of the price.
This product has a large potential market since it can be tailored for the very small or very large business. It is easy for the carrier or the subscriber to customize features for each phone or for the whole system.
There are a number of benefits of this product to both the carrier and to subscribers. Some of the biggest advantages:
Benefits to the Carrier
- Can be sold to any business subscriber regardless of what service they had before. It’s a good replacement for B1’s, trunks or traditional Centrex.
- Subscribers become stickier to the extent you can get them hooked on custom features not available elsewhere.
- Allows a carrier to sell service outside your traditional footprint. You just need to find businesses that have a decent high-speed data connection. This also means you can sell voice services to all branches of a customer’s business and not just to those in your footprint.
- It promotes the Company’s data products and is easily bundled with data.
- The product has a lot of pricing flexibility and can be sold to compete with multiple B1’s or traditional Centrex. You should be able to profitably beat the price of any traditional phone product.
Benefits to Business Subscribers
- The Subscribers get a telephone system that equals the features of a high-end PBX.
- The Subscriber no longer needs to buy or maintain a PBX. The customer can buy the IP phones or lease them from you.
- Subscribers can portray a unified professional image to the public. Employees at remote locations can be integrated into the telephone system. And small companies can act like bigger companies by the use of the various features. Remote employees can be made to feel like a part of the Company.
- Subscribers can tailor the phone system and each phone to meet their needs. There are hundreds of features available including many that were not available on analog systems.
- Subscribers can easily manage the features available on each set using the Subscriber portal that allows for easy and immediate changes to the features on any or all phones.
- Phones are portable and an employee can quickly move their phone from desk to desk or office to office and keep the same extension, voice mail and features.
- Phones can be programmed to be nomadic (portable, but not mobile). This means that an employee can take the phone out of the office and work at home or in a hotel as if they were in the office. All features and functions of the phone remain unchanged.