What is a Cloud Phone System?

Even in today’s digital era, every business still needs to make and receive telephone calls.  More than 60% of people still prefer to contact a business via telephone rather than any other method.  With BT planning the end of copper-based networks (see here for more information), old school telephone systems such as ISDN based systems and even analogue lines are being discontinued.  What this means is that businesses in Sheffield and around the country, need to plan their next move in relation to their telephone systems.   Most businesses are therefore moving to a Cloud-based telephone system, where the phone system is hosted somewhere on the internet for staff to connect to.  These are a type of VoIP (Voice Over IP) technology.

A cloud phone system doesn’t need any on-premises hardware or software necessarily and a third party looks after the remote equipment.

This article is intended to give you a platform to build your own ideas of what features a good Cloud Phone System includes and whether they are relevant to your business.

What are the business benefits of a Cloud Phone System?

  • Cost effective. Because there is no need to invest in upfront hardware for the system itself (although you might still want handsets), the capital costs are reduced.
  • Predictable costs. Cloud based phone systems are usually priced based on the number of users that you need to have an extension on your phone system, so you know when you hire a new staff member, they need a phone too.
  • Cloud based phone systems (VoIP systems) are usually able to scale whenever you need them to, adding a new department or office site, should be no problem.
  • Supports Remote Working. VoIP telephone systems will always support remote working, meaning your staff can work from wherever they need to, whenever you see fit.
  • Peace of mind. You don’t have to worry that your equipment might break down and your business won’t be able to make and receive calls.  Most service providers offer 99.99% uptime.



How does a hosted phone system (cloud phone system) work?

A cloud phone system relies on the internet to make and receive calls and provide the general functions that are needed to allow a business to provide telephone facilities.

Calls are sent via the internet to the provider’s server(s) where they are routed to the correct person or device based on the centrally applied configuration that your Telephone Support provider sets up for you.


Which Cloud Phone System is the best?

Unfortunately, that’s not a realistic question to ask.  The better question would be “which cloud phone system is the best for MY organisation”, because each business needs different features according to their business goals.  Some of the features you should think about are below, for each question, you should work out whether these are included in the system by default or are paid-for additional extras;

  • Does it have an Auto-Attendant? Or intelligent call routing?
  • Does it have call recording?
  • Does it have call logging and reporting?
  • Are voicemail boxes available?
  • Does it have a mobile app to take calls on the move?
  • What telephones are compatible with the system?
  • Can you connect intercoms at external gates and doors to it?
  • Is conference calling available?
  • Is call barring available?
  • Does it have call queues and hunt groups?
  • Will it allow music-on-hold?
  • What are the disaster recovery (backup) options?
  • What options are available for wallboards (display boards that show statistics in terms of number of calls and so-on)?

As well as the features, you also need to answer some other questions about the suitability of the Telephone System for your business, most notably;

  • What is the size of your team & is the platform suitable?
  • How much can you afford to pay, per seat (user)?
  • Can you afford to pay for support of the system by a professional company?
  • How easy is the system to use?
    • What would be the training costs associated?
  • Does it integrate with your existing computer systems, such as CRM systems?
    • For example, does it have click-to-dial?
    • Can it integrate with Microsoft Teams?
  • Is the system secure?

Engage with your team.

As part of your research into telephone systems that will work for your business, you should really consider getting the opinions of your entire team.  What features do they need available to them in order to do their job?  Don’t presume that the features you think cover everything, actually do.  There’s a high-chance that different departments within your organisation do still use functions that you didn’t think anyone cared about any more.


In conclusion, there are many, many things to think about when choosing a new Telephone System.  If you need help comparing systems, drop us a line via the contact page here or call us on 01142203000.  Digital Exchange have been installing and configuring telephone systems for businesses in Sheffield and across the UK for over 20 years.  Talk to our experts about how we might be able to help you.