Hybrid is a term that is thrown around a lot these days. Hybrid cars are cutting gas bills for many and saving the world…one eerily quiet car at a time. Even Hybrid dogs are making headlines. The Labradoodle -half Labrador, half poodle- has completely taken over Hollywood and won the hearts of several A-list owners, from Jennifer Anniston to Tiger Woods. As it happens, “hybrid” has also made its way to business phone systems.
In the communications industry, hybrid phone system solutions are in their infancy. Unfortunately, many companies that could benefit from a hybrid solution don’t even know it exists or do not fully understand how it works. There are also very few phone system vendors that can deliver a unified hybrid experience for the users. Let’s take a look at what a hybrid phone solution is and why your business may be able to benefit from one.
What is a Hybrid Phone System?
A hybrid phone system is one that combines both an on-premises system and a Cloud-based system within the same overall solution. This combination allows a company to reap the benefits of both deployment methods, while still looking and behaving as one, unified phone system. Here are some of the benefits of each method of deployment from which companies can benefit:
|ON-PREMISES||CLOUD or HOSTED|
|Full control over the system||Ease of installation|
|Scalability||No or minimal hardware|
|Customization||Hands off management|
|Low Total Cost of Ownership||Low cost entry and setup|
A Use Case for Hybrid
So what kinds of companies need both on-premises and Cloud? The answer depends upon the physical make-up of the company. The best use case for hybrid is a company that has a large corporate office, along with several remote offices. The number can range anywhere from a couple of additional offices to many hundreds of small locations. The idea is that the company needs a “one-system” feel for headquarters and all the offices combined – meaning everyone is connected and visible to everyone else, regardless of physical location.
A perfect example is a franchise company. Consider a chain of gas stations, or fast-food restaurants. These types of businesses typically have a substantially sized corporate office that has an IT team in place and some need for advanced call routing, IVRs or integrations – the ideal on-premises environment. However, they also have many small, geographically dispersed locations that only need a small number of phones. Part of the challenge for the small, remote locations is that the implementation of the phone system needs to be simple and inexpensive due (since there are often a large number of the remote locations). The fewer pieces of hardware involved, and the less overall complexity, the better… and this is where a hosted or cloud-based system typically shines. In reality, any company that has a mix of large and small sites is a great fit for a hybrid system and it can save them a ton of money and aggravation.
What Do I Need to Look For?
The key to having a successful hybrid solution is finding a single vendor that can seamlessly deliver both an on-premises and a Cloud system, providing the same user and administrative experience, regardless of deployment option. Having this unified experience allows employees to instant message, video call, four-digit dial, and see the status of users throughout the organization. It will give the company that “one system” feel it needs. Finding a true hybrid phone system solution is tricky, as there are a very small number of vendors that do this in the industry today. It’s important to ask the right questions to ensure the two platforms can truly be peered together; otherwise the experience will be frustrating and will ultimately lead to a costly change in solutions, sooner rather than later.
Digium is one of the very few vendors that can offer this type of solution, and was actually one of the first to offer a hybrid option. Switchvox and Switchvox Cloud have the exact same feature set and user experience that you need to have a successful hybrid system.
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