There has not been much innovation in telephony since the VoIP revolution, but every telephone service provider is still claiming to have the best quality at the cheapest rate. With all this competition in the market, what is the real differentiator in today’s highly competitive business telephony environment?

As legacy PBX systems continue to die off, companies are making a conscious effort to wade through the confusion around VoIP and figure out what can benefit them most in a cost effective manner.

Euphoria Telecom CEO George Golding says the VoIP market takes many shapes and sizes. “It means anything and everything to consumers and providers, depending on who you ask and what you are looking for.

“Business telephony is a commodity, they all offer standard features like call forwarding, call back, call waiting, caller ID, call hunting, least cost routing, interactive voice response and teleconferencing. The question is, what makes one better than another,” he asks.

A key consideration when choosing a telephony solution is proprietary software that is locally developed, it allows the vendor to have maximum control over development direction and features.

“We developed a number of solutions that wouldn’t necessarily be required in first world countries. These additions have made our product extremely successful in South Africa,” he adds.

More importantly, the costs of global products are unpredictable due to the rand exchange rate and often, these vendors are not aware of the limited infrastructure in South Africa.

Golding says innovation is the strongest differentiator. “All providers push PBX functionality but the truth is, PBX functionality is literally a commodity that has been available since the 1970s. It’s not new or innovative, true business telephony innovation lies in three areas – control; integration; and management and cost reporting.”

“Use technology to do the work and create beautiful easy-to-understand user interfaces that empower customers. Would you use a bank that does not offer Internet banking? Of course not. The reason is, it is disempowering and forces you to rely on outside assistance,” he explains.

Additionally, technology must enable businesses to control their telephone system – simply and easily. Management should have the ability to quickly and effectively see cost reporting across the organisation. It empowers businesses to take control of communication costs without a heavy administration burden.

Euphoria Telecom offers its customers full control and reporting over their telephone system, an easy-to-use web interface allows them to configure the system to their specific requirement. The automation functionality of the cloud-based system means lower costs and higher efficiencies, while giving business owners direct access and agility to respond to changing demands.

“Our user-extension reports allow managers to view activity and productivity of users on the phone. It enables accountability, workforce management and provides insight into customer and sales communications,” he says.

Euphoria’s built-in Telephone Management System (TMS) provides insight into one’s business. Companies can now assess their call costs and determine exactly which users and departments are costing them the most.

“With a built-in TMS, one is now able to manage PBX’s high level functions and also one’s day-to-day operations from anywhere and at no extra cost. Detailed reports, real-time monitoring, call tracking, and trend data are just a few to mention,” he adds.

By automating and also integrating one’s telephone system with a CRM system in the cloud, executives can now have activity tracking combined with call tracking and recording at their fingertips. Enterprise class business cloud services remove complexities, automate processes and simplify everything. This allows businesses to focus on their core service offering instead of their IT infrastructure.

He warns that companies should not make the common mistake of choosing a technology solution or service without doing thorough research. “Companies need to align their future PBX strategy on organisational need and not empty salesman promises.”

An innovative cloud PBX is the ideal solution for existing and emerging workforces who demand constant connectivity and productivity from anywhere – any time. No more unnecessary long-term contracts, high call costs and opaque billing.

Golding says telephone systems are business critical. “Euphoria offers a cloud-based telephone management system that will help company executives manage, control and analyse every element of their telephone system with precision. Euphoria’s cloud VoIP PBX provides all the communication features needed to keep businesses operationally efficient, no matter where or when.”

“There are a few basic questions that need to be answered, from business requirements through to infrastructure requirements, there is a lot of ground to cover before signing on the dotted line,” he adds.