When it comes to determining whether a unified communication system is right for your company or organization, you need to know the cost and benefits associated with that system. You’’ need to conduct a united communications cost-benefit analysis. You’ll want to measure the pros and cons of your current system as well as the potential systems you want to change to.
Not sure what a Unified Communication System is? Check out our guide here.
While a cost-benefit analysis will be specific to each business and each industry, there are some key indicators to help you with a unified communications cost-benefit analysis. It is important though that you try to gather as much data about how much each service costs. Both in the short term and the long-term strategy. For the purposes of this article, we will be breaking down the cost-benefit analysis of switching from an analog system to a cloud-based unified communication system.
Here are some of the important factors to keep in mind when conducting a united communication cost-benefit analysis for your company.
Analog phone systems oftentimes contain just the phone lines themselves and the hardware. They are not connected to the Internet and contain few features such as call forwarding, speed dial, hold, menu options, or voicemail. While these are necessary features to have, they don’t encompass the wide range of features companies need in the present day.
One of the most important factors when it comes to determining cost and benefits is the features that will be associated with your unified communications platform. Unlike analog systems, a unified communication system can integrate multiple applications into one platform.
Features can be a make-or-break decision just as much as price. Features can also save workers time and improve productivity or increase company services.
Some unified communication phone systems will offer a la carte for their services, meaning you can mix and match services to choose your experience. This could result in you getting a better deal or paying less for fewer services (as opposed to paying for them in a bundle).
Here are some of the features:
- Video Conferencing
- File Sharing
- 3rd Party Integration
- Call Forwarding
- Call Recording
- International Calling
- Local Business Phone Number
- Employee Chat
- Caller ID
- Call Blocking
- Call Transfer
- Caller Queues
- SMS Text
- Call Center Addition
Both analog and unified communication systems charge a per line/per month rate. However, there are some additional costs and drawbacks to an analog system.
For the traditional analog system, both hardware and physical phone lines have to be installed when you want to expand. This means that the price “per line/per user” is going to be more expensive. Also, many companies will lock you into a contract for a certain amount of phone lines, and increasing or decreasing your lines per user may not be an option due to that contract. Not to mention, anytime that you want to add phone lines you’ll need to have a technician come and help you do that.
With a cloud-based phone system, such that you find in a unified communication system, are phone systems is based in the cloud. You don’t need physical hardware (unless you actually want it), and lines can be added remotely to your plan at a fraction of the cost. You don’t need to call a technician or have someone come and install a new phone line for you. it can be done within the cloud and added to your services within minutes. Not only is it cheaper to add lines, but many unified communication systems will also allow you to add a line instantly for a certain fee per user/per month. To put this into perspective:
We've already talked about installation a couple of times in this unified communication cost-benefit analysis. However, one thing that you should consider is just how quickly you can get started with a cloud-based phone system. You just need a computer with access to the Internet and your phone system is ready to go. You'll just need to download some software and create some login credentials and that's about it. If you're looking to scale your business or want to cut your communication needs, you can do that all from the cloud. You can save time, money, and productivity when you implement a unified communication system.
Analog systems not only cost more for installation but cause delays should you want to scale. You’ll also always need expert help to add new lines, unlike with cloud-based services.
Another factor that should determine your unified communications cost-benefit analysis is the ongoing maintenance and costs for a business phone system.
Analog Ongoing Costs:
- Lines per month
- New hardware when needed
Unified Communication System Ongoing Costs:
- Lines per month
- Add-on features
A unified communications platform will offer free updates to their service, so they are continually improving. Additionally, almost all problems can be solved remotely within the cloud. Most platforms will also have an online FAQ, live video chat, and text chat resources that will direct you to a customer service rep that can help you. This type of maintenance can simplify problems without having a direct technician come to your facilities. One thing to keep in mind though is your internet connection. Most unified communication systems need an internet connection for full operation. If your internet goes down, you may not be able to use your phones.
On the other hand, If you're running into a problem with your analog phone system or want to add more lines you’ll need a technician. Most analog phone problems require an expert. They may have some online resources to reach customer support, but many problems can’t be handled remotely.
Consider the cost for your business if your phone system does go down.
When it comes to conducting a unified communications cost-benefit analysis, you should heavily consider your business structure. Some business or government structures necessitate certain features. These features are important to save time, money, and better protect businesses.
For instance, it would be necessary for a software company to have the ability to share files among their communication platforms. To have a simplified workflow, housing everything in one console makes workers more productive. The collaborative communication benefits would far outweigh the costs of time wasted moving between platforms to send data.
On the other hand, a small bakery may just need a business phone system that can take a voicemail or enable call forwarding. The cost of additional features may not make that much of a difference to the baker’s bottom line.
It’s safe to say that if you are a larger organization, you will most likely need and expect a system that is feature-rich. Your industry may dictate specific communication needs and you should account for those features in your total cost.
As a guide when you are conducting your unified communication cost-benefit analysis make sure to include the following numbers and information:
- Cost per lines
Unified Communication Cost-Benefit Analysis
|Communication Systems||Benefits||Costs||Final Costs|
|Analog||- 4 phone line |
- 4 physical phones
- High-quality calls
- Call forwarding
- Call extensions
|- $59 per line + $20 per new line |
- $150 for physical phones
- $150-$300 for installation
|- Monthly Cost:$236 for 4 users |
- Hardware and Setup of $300 (lowest option)
|8x8 Express Plan||- Unlimited domestic calling |
- Unlimited video conferencing
- Unlimited chat
- Visual voicemail
- Advanced call management
- Meeting recording & transcription
- Audio & video conferencing up to 100 participants
- Content sharing
- File sharing
- Intelligent call routing
|- $15 (per user/per month.)||- Monthly Cost: $60 for 4 users |
- Hardware and Setup investment: $0 +30-Day free trial
|Net2phone n2p Virtual Plan||- Huddle Video Conferencing |
- 24/7 U.S. Customer Support
- Call Blocking
- n2p PortalWeb Calling
- Voicemail Options
- Welcome Menu
- Custom on Hold Messaging
- Ring Groups
- Reporting and Analytics
- Web & Mobile App
|- 1-9 users/$19.99 (per user/month)||- Monthly Costs: $79.96 for 4 users |
- Hardware and Setup investment:$0
|RingCentral Essentials Plan||- Up to 20 users |
- 100 toll-free minutes
- Free U.S. business number
- Unlimited domestic calls
- Unlimited SMS messaging
- Voicemail to text transcription
- Team messaging and Document sharing
|- $19.99 per user/month (if paying annually) |
- $29.99 per user/month (if paying monthly)
|- Monthly Costs: $79.96 for 4 users |
- Hardware and Setup Investment: $0
Find out more about plans, features, pricing for unified communication systems here:
While this is not a comprehensive unified communication cost-benefit analysis, this table points out the cost benefits of switching to a new business phone system. In your analysis, you can calculate the specific dollar amount for time saved. We also didn’t account for other factors in this analysis, because it will be dependent upon your industry and business.
One of the most important benefits of a unified communication system is the software updates that happen over time. When doing a cost-benefit analysis, you could assign this value at $0, because these services update automatically. Unlike an analog system, it is not necessary for someone to come out to your facilities. This means that even while you are paying the same price your services are improving.
Another factor that you may want to consider is the amount of training you will need to complete with employees. Is this software or self-explanatory? How much time should you spend on training? 30 minutes? 45 minutes? One hour? This will highly depend on the amount of change a unified communication system will bring to your operations. In the long run, these platforms can help you save money. Still, employees will need training to navigate the new software, especially when integrating with third-party apps.
This process may be streamlined if you used applications within the software that employees are already familiar with.
Some industries need custom solutions. This could mean that they require an extra level of security or special features that are specific to their niche. Importantly, not every unified communications system offers these services. If you believe that you need this type of support, you'll want to include that in your cost-benefit analysis.
Absolutely! A unified communications cost-benefit analysis is the right thing to do before jumping to a platform. You'll not only want to list out the costs and benefits of your present service but compare that to multiple other platforms. That way, you're doing most of the work upfront and can compare between services.
If you'd like to find out more about how a unified communication system can help your business, or do you want more in-depth pricing, 360Connect can help. We help customers find high-quality suppliers in their area to service their needs. We only work with high-quality suppliers to ensure that you get the best deals on the market.
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