Breaking the Silence on Skyswitch

skyswitchThough we have discussed our competitors a number of times on this blog, it is never something that I like to do. I am a firm believer in “rising above,” especially in a professional setting. But the “marketing” efforts coming out of a company called SkySwitch have pushed even me to the point of breaking my silence.

SkySwitch is again using the search phrase “Bicom Systems” in an attempt drive traffic to their website. (A piece of advice – if your own brand name is not bringing in enough traffic, there are thousands of industry-relevant keywords to focus on before resorting to other companies’ brand names.)

This time they are proclaiming that “it’s time to cheat on Bicom Systems.” At the risk of stooping to their level of using immature, inflammatory language in what should be a professional setting – dare we throw out the phrase “if they will cheat with you, they will cheat on you.” Of course business partnerships are not really like marriages, but trust is an important part of both. Our advice to you: choose a partner that values integrity and trust.

As far as I can tell, SkySwitch is claiming that subscribers of all major communications providers (the document I was given is clearly not specific to Bicom Systems) should switch to them on the basis of nine reasons. I will respond to each of these as concisely as possible and include evidence so you can come to your own conclusions. (Yes, we are confident enough in our own solutions and partners to transparently discuss potential issues.)

1. “You know there are problems before you (SIC) provider does”

Their first claim is that your business may be in trouble and no one will notice. Bicom Systems developed SIP Monitoring and SIP Security modules for this exact purpose. Issues will not only be identified, but even fixed automatically.

2. “No escalation procedure in place”

You can see our escalation procedure here: www.bicomsystems.com/support (I guess SkySwitch didn’t do their research before putting pen to paper.)

We whole-heartedly agree with their claim that “problems happen”. No provider is perfect and bugs will arise with Bicom Systems or SkySwitch or any other provider. However, after 15 years of experience, our team of technical support engineers and telecommunications experts responds to support tickets quickly and efficiently. But don’t take our word for it – check out our customer reviews here: blog.bicomsystems.com/customer-reviews.

Going one step further, SkySwitch claims that your platform is “connected to many carriers and third-party providers.  While most problems within your service provider’s own platform should be easily solved, those that originate outside their platform may require cooperation among a number of companies.” On the contrary, Bicom Systems partners typically do not require other carriers or third-party providers as we have all of the pieces in-house, thus avoiding many compatibility issues in the first place.

3. “Poor Processes = Poor Performance”

“There are reasons to have solid procedures in place when customers report issues or open trouble tickets.” Again, see our support procedures here: www.bicomsystems.com/support

Our support team put together efficient support and escalation procedures years ago. This is not something that occurs naturally in a company, but rather something that needs dedication, organization, and experience to perfect.

4. “Poor SLA Delivery”

We sign an SLA (Service Level Agreement) with all of our partners. You can see it here: www.bicomsystems.com/files/public/corporate/SLA.pdf.

May we also point out that we have more staff in our Support Department than SkySwitch has total staff. Our support team is spread across three continents for maximum reach and availability.

5. “Data Leakage Among Clients”

SkySwitch expresses a concern that data may be leaked between partners in the absence of a true multi-tenant platform. Fortunately for us and our partners, Bicom Systems actually developed one of the first multi-tenant platforms with unlimited extensions and tenants. We guarantee 100% scalability and elasticity to our partners and resellers, so of course we have the same capacity internally by default. Learn about our Multi-Tenant platform here: www.bicomsystems.com/products/multi-tenant-pbx

See our Privacy Policy here: www.bicomsystems.com/legal/policies/privacy_policy

6. “Tax Compliance Failure”

Our partners typically use our in-house billing software and integrate it with the Tax Provider of their choice. Again, we are more than happy to work on an individual basis and develop custom solutions when necessary. Read more in our TELCOware manual.

7. “More Iron to Support Growth”

SkySwitch points out an interesting difference between hosted and cloud solutions. “In a hosted solution, there is often hardware and servers specifically dedicated to servicing a particular client. Servers may need to be added to address the growth of that client or support premium features such as on demand call recording.” Not to worry, Bicom Systems offers true, high-availability cloud solutions that support scalability – both up and down – with just the click of a button. Read our definition of “cloud” here: blog.bicomsystems.com/what-is-cloud-communications

And we’ll add here that we are not limited to the cloud, but also have hosted, premise, and even Key Systems. Growth can happen however is best for your company.

8. “Insisting on Long-Term Contracts”

We offer our hosted and rented solutions with 30-day contracts. It never occurred to us to make them longer – to date no one has stopped paying.

9. “Provider Diversity is Met With Dismay”

On the contrary, many of our customers come to us from legacy situations. We always value the knowledge gained by working with other providers. With partners around the globe, diversity is no stranger to Bicom Systems and we have developed custom solutions to ensure compatibility with third parties many times.

In conclusion, if you are interested in Bicom Systems or already a partner and experiencing any issues or discontentment – just give us a call. To date, we have not lost any of our partners to SkySwitch. We are happy to chat about what’s going on and work together to a solution. It is not unusual for us to develop custom solutions for individual partners to ensure they are getting exactly what they need. Check out some examples here: blog.bicomsystems.com/category/custom-work 

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3 Steps to Telecom Success: Part 1 Sustainable Growth

telecom growth15 years of conversations with partners and clients have taught us a thing or two about succeeding in the world of telecommunications. Three things, really.

In our experience, no telecom will succeed without pursuing these three goals:

  1. Sustainable growth
  2. Increased profit
  3. Loyal customers

These may sound mundane enough, but how many of us actually know how to increase our profit? We can talk about earning customer loyalty all day, but can we actually attain it?

In our next few posts we’ll tackle these issues one by one and offer realistic suggestions on how to actively pursue these goals.

Jumping right in: Sustainable Growth. Key word being sustainable. Short-term growth can be great and exciting, but if it doesn’t extend into the long-term, what was the point of it?

The first step to sustainable growth is a simple one: you need a platform that will support growth. There are too many providers out there that will give you a functional, cheap – maybe even great – platform, but once you start to grow it fails you. Before even thinking about growth, find a platform that supports scalability with unlimited extensions and tenants, great customer support, and an upgrade plan already in place (see also: How To Grow Your Telecom with a Multi-Tenant PBX).

Once your growth-friendly platform is in place, it is time to create a plan to future-proof your business. You are about to start growing, let’s make sure you know what to do next. Ideally your provider should have a working roadmap in place and offer customized support for your company specifically.

A large part of this future-proofing is following the trends: both current and future. Failure to jump aboard the latest trends will not only decelerate growth, it can throw you off the tracks entirely. Now is the time to adopt popular technologies like UCaaS, integration, or mobility (see also: One More Card for Your Hand). The benefits of add-ons like these are twofold: one, to start growing now; and two, to sustain that growth into the future.

It goes without saying that adding more technology to your offering will enable you to widen your customer base, expand to new markets, and make more sales. But the real value is that these add-ons will enable your solution to compete with newer, more modern options into the future. Partnering with a provider that researches and stays ahead of the trends (so that you don’t have to!) is simply invaluable.

A final way to extend growth beyond the temporary is to take matters into your own hands. Stop the monotonous routine of selling someone else’s solution day after day and year after year; start building and investing in your own brand. Yes, by all means partner with a great provider, but choose one that invests in your success as a company. By shifting the focus from earning sales for someone else to your own paycheck, you will be much more aware of – and in control of – your growth.

If these methods of generating sustainable growth sound like something you want for your own company, please reach out to us today. Our experienced account managers would love to chat and learn all about your unique situation. Contact us here: www.bicomsystems.com/contact

Stay tuned for the next post in this series: How to increase profit.

 

Don’t Play Jenga with Your Customers and Profits

multi-tenantDo you remember the game Jenga? Popular in the 80s and 90s, kids everywhere tried to keep their hands steady as they gently slid blocks out of a teetering tower and continued building upwards until it all fell down. Hmm, sounds familiar in more way than one.

It is starting to come up with more frequency: customers dedicating a VM for each of their FreePBX instances per customer, trying desperately to attain some form of multi-tenant or multi-office PBX. Sure, it works at first and seems a simple and easy solution. But as you add more and more customers, it begins chewing up more and more IPs. Eventually you have a mile long list list of logins and IPs for each system and customer. One wrong move and your Jenga tower will crumble.

With the inevitable collapse comes the nightmare of migrating all of your customers and settings to a new platform. Just what you were trying to avoid, right?

The good news is that bona fide multi-tenant solutions do exist. With the right solution, you can build from the ground up on a firm foundation instead of playing Jenga with your customers and profits. For example, Bicom Systems offers both rented and hosted multi-tenant PBX solutions that support rapid and sustainable growth.

To learn more, contact us or visit our website today!

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Is VoIP driving business away from you?

voipOver the years I have noticed that more and more of our new customers are no longer VoIP Entrepreneurs wanting to join the telephony provider venture. Seems like the more VoIP becomes the present and defines the future of communications, the more industries it touches.

These days, any business that provides IT industry related services is somehow related to, or forced to be related to, the communications infrastructure of their customers. Even better if the customer has some knowledge or is at least aware of the unified communications experience.  

Industries like Internet service provides, cable services, and/or fiber providers have already joined, are planning to join, or at least know the future is to integrate in order to gain and retain customers. To mention a few of the most common that will ring my desk, I should start with hosted service providers. Either hardware, software, or a mix of the two, is something that, sooner or later, VoIP has to become an integrated part of. Either a multi-tenant platform like ours in order to centralize all hosted PBXs, or separate Call Center/Custom environments, this is something that, along with other value-added features, a hosted service provider will get asked for pretty often.  

Other industries, less related to network services or hosted services like IT Managed Services, will encounter themselves one way or another supporting an IP Phone, a local PBX, or a PBX hosted by someone else. They will notice the additional revenue and increased customer retention will come as soon as they can also take care of the telephony needs. 

Many of my customers will often express how VoIP service may be just one service out of many, and maybe not the one that bring the most revenue in from customers. But VoIP is an essential piece of the relationship since it is the part that allows their customers to unify their communications, in addition to the suite of services it provides.

This article is a ‘heads up’ to all those out there that think VoIP services ‘could be’. Soon VoIP will be a ‘major’ part of any one proposal because it will become part of the request. The end-user likes to feel a level of unification that provides them the security that a single provider can serve, understand, and support all their technology components.

VoIP is so flexible that anyone that has a customer base and provides any type of service, even non-technology, could find a way to integrate it into their suite of services with a huge value and even bigger retaining element. Make it drive business towards you, not away from you. At this very moment deals are been turned down because the competitor shows a unified set of services with telephony, or impressed the customer with an additional service made possible by VoIP. 

Just because everyone related is getting involved does not mean that it is easy. We still hear horror stories. Even that the voice quality is not working out, loss of RTP, but less. More and more it’s ‘how do I?’ Whether CRM integration or producing better reporting and so control of daily lives.

If you would like to explore your options, whether you are related to technology services or not, Bicom Systems would be happy to assist with whatever ideas you may have. We have not seen it all yet, but with the many we have worked with already, I’m sure you are at the right place for finding a solution. Our IPPBX PBXware comes in a Single Tenant Business Edition, Multi-Tenant Edition, and Call Center Edition, and the mix of all of them is as customizable and flexible as it comes.

Benefits of Multi-Tenant Architecture

multi-tenant architectureThere is no doubt that many, maybe even most, businesses are moving to the cloud. But the decision to move to the cloud is not the final choice to be made; companies must choose a type of architecture – multi-tenant or dedicated.

To understand the difference between the two, we can compare them to housing. A dedicated solution is like a home that you own – the whole thing is yours and yours alone. But a multi-tenant solution is like an apartment building that you rent a part of while the rest of the structure is shared.

Of course either scenario has its benefits and drawbacks. But multi-tenant architecture has many benefits that can be marketed to your customers.

First, the cost of multi-tenant is less than dedicated. From the up-front investment to the upkeep to the IT expertise needed, multi-tenant is a better option for companies with a small budget or interest in cost-effectiveness.

Second, multi-tenant is a more flexible solution. It is easily scalable and the owner can quickly and easily add features, do updates, or enhance service for all tenants.

Multi-tenant solutions are particularly appealing to start-ups that will appreciate the price and the built-in support system.

PBXware comes in a Multi-Tenant PBX edition that will offer all of this and more to your customers. Learn more on our Multi-Tenant page or contact us today.

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