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7 Essential Features of a Great Business Phone System

December 19, 2015 / Evolve IP

The other day, I was flipping through TV channels and stumbled upon one of my all-time favorite movies: Blade Runner. The film is set in “the future”, which is now only a few years away (2019), and as I watched a scene where the main character places a video call, I realized how accurate that film (and the book it was based on) was at predicting where communications would be in our modern time.

As your legacy, premise-based phone system reaches end-of-life and you have to explore your options for a new system, it’s important to identify the most important features you need for your business to be competitive. Cloud-based systems especially offer many exciting features that improve productivity and collaboration. Here’s some of the top features to be sure your new phone system includes:

1. Mobility Features. Today’s workforce is more mobile than ever before, so it has become business-critical to enable on-the-go associates to communicate as effectively from the road as they can from their desk. There are several different “find me / follow me” features, such as the Anywhere feature – also known as twinning – that enables users to receive calls on mobile device and transfer calls seamlessly with desk phone and place outgoing calls from their mobile devices. These features, as well as click-to-dial call control, on-phone corporate directory, and others, enable knowledge workers to be more efficient, regardless of their location.

2. Integration with CRM and other business applications. Businesses need to identify and take advantage of every efficiency possible to be competitive. When your phone system is integrated with your CRM, it provides such features as a screen-pop when looking up caller ID information, click-to-call, access to call settings, enterprise phone presence, and more – providing efficiencies that can’t be beat.

3. Unified Messaging. Unified messaging delivers multiple types of messaging (voice mail, email and fax) to a single email inbox. It enables users to receive voicemail on the handset, a .WAV file of the message delivered to email, and receive an SMS notification alert. This means that users can share and manage their communications in the most convenient, effective way. This could also be considered a mobility feature (see #1) as it is especially helpful to road warriors. While on the road, they can quickly and easily hear their voicemails without having to dial in and enter access codes and navigate through a voicemail system to hear their messages from the road.

Additionally, some systems also offer voicemail transcription, where you receive a transcription as an email along with the audio recording file attachment, so you don’t even need to listen to the audio file.

4. Integrated Instant Messaging (IM&P). This unified communications feature is extremely powerful when it is integrated with both your calendar and your phone system. With a business-class IM & P feature, your integrated phone state enables users to see their colleagues’ availability in real time, whether they are in a meeting, available or on an active phone call. Advanced communications tools like these are imperative to today’s collaboration- reliant businesses.

5. Administrator Portal. With a web-based Administrator Portal, your staff has administrative control to manage their communications system in their own time without racking up costly move, add & change fees. The admin can log into their portal from any location to change call routing, reset passwords and more, on the fly – rather than relying on submitting a ticket to their provider and waiting for them to make the changes.

6. Video Calling. Your more advanced phone service providers should offer integrated video calling for easy, face-to-face interactions between colleagues from any location via video-enabled HD Voice desk phone, Windows or MAC soft clients, or mobile on both the iOS and Android device.

A recent Evolve IP survey found that 76 percent of organizations are using some type of video communication solution.

7. Group Directory. This feature enables users to search your corporate directory from the handset, making it quick and easy to find an internal contact and dial their extension. Although this is a fairly common feature in phone systems these days, it is still a valuable tool in increasing efficiency. Additionally, many unified communications systems include a group directory integrated into their IM & P feature, allowing them to escalate an IM chat to a phone call with the click of their mouse.

For fear of overwhelming, I’ll stop at seven, but there are many other productivity-enhancing features available in today’s cloud-based phone system. Just don’t forget to also look beyond the features and ensure you are working with an experienced service provider with a system on a solid platform. To learn more about what communications features are in demand from North American businesses, click here to check out our 2015 Business Communications and Collaboration Survey paper.

For more information on selecting a cloud-based phone system, click here to download Evolve IP’s Business VoIP Buyer’s Guide.

Categories: Unified Communications
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Compliance is a way to do business … not an afterthought when clients need it.

At Evolve IP we have a dedicated compliance and security practice and work with two of the world’s top 3rd-party compliance auditors, Grant Thornton and Ernst & Young, to enable customers to extend their compliance to our fully audited cloud. This focus allows us to deliver the documentation and assurances that other’s simply cannot including HIPAA / HITRUST, PCI-DSS (all 12 sections), SOC 2/3 and more. The Compliance CloudTM includes true client isolation, encryption in transit and at rest, private VLANs, firewalls and dozens of other security measures.

 
 
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  • “High-level technology, better compliance, cybersecurity, and communication capabilities are expected of all providers of financial services, regardless of size. With the rate of change and costs involved, it is difficult for any size credit union to keep pace. So when we were looking for a cloud technology partner, we emphasized the need to provide to our members with technology solutions that help them compete with larger banks and financial institutions, at a cost they can afford. Evolve IP offers all that, plus broad financial services industry experience and a pedigree of providing first-rate service to support growth and continually enhance the entire member experience.”

    David Frankil, Chairman of the NJCUL Services Corporation and President/CEO of the New Jersey Credit Union League

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What the Experts Think

Our analyst-acclaimed solutions are built on a world-class, compliant architecture that leverages the blue-chip technologies organizations already know and trust.

Gartner

We deploy best-of-breed solutions including: Disaster Recovery, Contact Center, Unified Communications, DaaS, IaaS. Our services are analyst-acclaimed, vendor-validated, client recommended and award-winning.

HITRUST

Evolve IP is proud to have achieved the honor of being HITRUST CSF certified! Certification to the HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) affirms that all of Evolve IP’s cloud computing and cloud communications services adhere to the strictest security standards for electronic protected health information (PHI). The HITRUST security standard was developed by and for the healthcare industry as a means of going above and beyond the compliance requirements of HIPAA.

The HITRUST Common Security Framework (CSF) was developed to address the multitude of security, privacy and regulatory challenges facing healthcare organizations. The HITRUST CSF was developed by healthcare and IT professionals to provide an efficient and prescriptive framework for managing the security requirements inherent in HIPAA. HITRUST CSF rationalizes healthcare-relevant regulations and standards into a single overarching security framework. An important part of the “What is HITRUST” answer is understanding that the CSF is risk-based and compliance-based so that organizations can tailor the security control baselines and vendor management programs that they follow based on their specific organization type, size, systems, and regulatory requirements.

HIPPA

The Privacy regulations of the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) require health care providers, organizations, and their business associates, develop and follow procedures that ensure the confidentiality and security of protected health information (PHI) when it is transferred, received, handled, or shared. This applies to all forms of PHI — paper, oral, and electronic, etc. Those who fail to adhere to HIPAA can suffer from huge fines climbing into the millions of dollars for major violations.

The Compliance Cloud™ fully enables covered entities and their business associates subject to HIPAA regulations to leverage a secure environment to process, maintain, and store protected health Information (PHI) featuring among other controls.

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Evolve IP has received an SSAE 16 SOC 2 Type II report on our internal controls relating to how we assess and address the potential risks associated with the security, availability, and confidentiality of not only the cloud-based services that we provide, but also our physical and logical infrastructure. Evolve IP utilizes the Certified Public Accounting firm of Grant Thornton to perform its annual audit and attestation in accordance with the Statements on Standards for Attestation Engagements No. 16 and the associated Trust Services Principles, as published by the AICPA, to evaluate the effectiveness of Evolve IP’s service organizations controls.

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While Forbes regularly features coverage and recognition about Evolve IP, they've most recently recognized Evolve IP as being the "Best Cloud Computing Companies And CEOs To Work For In 2017".  They've ranked Evolve IP in the Top 3 just behind Google and Microsoft in the Cloud Infrastructure classification.  (Feb 2017). Forbes  also recently recognizes Evolve IP for bringing Singer Equipment Corporation, a mainstream business based in PA, into the cloud by means of unified communication. (Sept  2017). Last year, Forbes recognized Evolve IP's survey of 1,080 executives citing that the number one reason to go to the cloud is the same reason that it is avoided. (Mar 2016).

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Inc.

Inc. magazine has recognized Evolve IP in the 34th annual Inc. 500|5000, an exclusive listing of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. The list will be unveiled in the September issue of Inc.

The story of this year's Inc. 5000 is the story of great leadership. In an incredibly competitive business landscape, it takes something extraordinary to take your company to the top," says Inc. President and Editor-In-Chief Eric Schurenberg. "You have to remember that the average company on the Inc. 5000 grew nearly six-fold since 2012. Business owners don't achieve that kind of success by accident.

Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS)

Evolve IP has achieved Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standard (DSS) compliance covering all 12 sections of the PCI DSS. The PCI data security standard is a comprehensive set of standards that require merchants and service providers that store, process, or transmit customer payment card data to adhere to strict information security controls and processes. It was created by the founding brands of the PCI Security Standards Council, which includes American Express, Discover Financial, JCB International, MasterCard Worldwide, and Visa Inc.

CSA STAR

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Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500TM

Evolve IP has been ranked for the second consecutive year on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences and energy tech companies in North America – both public and private. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth from 2012 to 2015. The list is a veritable Who’s Who of technology that has included tech companies like Google, VMware and Facebook.

Technology Fast 500 provides a ranking of the fastest growing technology, life sciences, and energy the companies – both public and private – in North America. Technology Fast 500 award winners are selected based on percentage fiscal year revenue growth during the period from 2012 – 2016.

Red Herring

Red Herring has named Evolve IP as one of the Top 100 Companies in North America.  Red Herring’s Top 100 recognizes the leading and most promising private companies from around the world. Among the over 20 criteria used to analyze companies for the award, Evolve IP was noted for its financial performance, technological innovation, customer footprint, the DNA of its founders and addressable market.

Red Herring selects the award winners for North America from approximately 1,200 privately financed companies each year in the US and Canada. Since 1996, Red Herring has kept tabs on these organizations and its editors were among the first to recognize that companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo, Skype, Salesforce.com, YouTube, Palo Alto Networks and eBay would change the way we live and work.

Entrepreneur

Evolve IP has been recognized as one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” in Entrepreneur magazine’s Entrepreneur360™ Performance Index, a study involving a comprehensive analysis of private companies in America. Based on this study forged by Entrepreneur, Evolve IP is recognized as a company that exemplifies growth, not just in top and bottom line, but in sustainability and the ability to achieve lasting success.

According to Entrepreneur, after evaluating approximately 10,000 U.S. based firms, the team of editors and researchers behind the E360 Performance Index collected more than 250 pieces of data from the finalists, focusing on growth drivers and challenges, goal setting, resource allocations, and reward systems. The analysis uncovered a class of leading companies, including Evolve IP, whose continued success is largely based on superior value creation for their customers, building an adaptive learning culture, and aggressive geographic expansion—placing them amongst the most dynamic firms in America today.

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