Well, we’ve been officially set up as a Vocalocity Certified Reseller. After Karl Palachuk’s recommendation on Cloud Computing Part Three – Moving to The Cloud we decided to take a long look at Vocalocity as an alternative to our current telecom (AT&T) solution.
Here are a couple situations where we think a hosted PBX might be a good solution for our clients:
- They want capabilities not available on their legacy system
- They don’t have capital to invest in a new installed system
- They have multiple offices
- Remote teleworkers need to interact with the office as if they were onsite.
Our telecom costs look like this:
Grasshopper (another “hosted” PBX service) $25
AT&T local phone, long distance $75
eFax service $17
(Note that we’re a telecommuting company… there’s only one phone line to the office and everyone uses Sprint $99 Simply Everything plans on their cell phones for work. We don’t need anything else with a hosted helpdesk and answering service.)
When I plug my requirements in to the nifty Excel spreadsheet provided by Vocalocity I find that I can have: 1 full extension (metered), 2 virtual extensions for cell phones, the default local company number and auto attendant, a virtual mailbox, 3 call groups (sales, tech support, emergency support), and unlimited US faxing for about the same cost. It will cost me $10 more per month to go to the AT&T internet plan without local phone service.
So, for about $10 more per month I get a full fledged IP PBX (hosted) that integrates with my Outlook (something I don’t get now), that can grow with my company and that I can now demo for the clients that I think would benefit from the service. Of course, that’s the real reason I’m looking at Vocalocity. I get a portion of the monthly recurring billings for all the clients I sign up.
For a company that really hasn’t even tested the VoIP phone waters yet, we’re doing our best to identify solutions that will allow us to serve our client’s needs and keep as much of their revenue within our control as we can. I’m not sure how hosted IP PBX’s compare to in-house systems in larger customers, so we may need to look for additional vendors in the medium and enterprise markets… not that we’re looking for VoIP phone work in that space anyway.
After much additional thought, we’ve decided to try the Datto Viridian backup solution. We’ll be giving it a try out at a client we just installed a new server at. Datto offers a 30-day money back guarantee, so we’re going to install and play with it and if we don’t like it we’ll just send it back and go back to Zenith’s BDR.
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Datto but know the Zenith BDR, here are some comparison points:
There’s an article about Datto and Zenith at ByteandSwitch.com if you’re interested. After reviewing the above, the questions I have are:
- Is the service at Datto comparable or better than Zenith? How about responsiveness upon ordering?
- Is there any reason why I should prefer a Windows BDR OS over OpenSolaris?
- How is the set up process for the Datto? I like that they provide and do the shipping for the initial offsite image. Much better than the draconian requirements Zenith has.
- How is the performance on the Datto for virtualization compared with Zenith?
- What’s the ongoing support experience like with Datto. Do they just fix stuff that needs fixing or do they continuously involve the service provider in thinks that should just work?
Anyway, I like what I see at Datto. Zenith may have been the thought leader here, but Datto may have built a better widget.
Let me know if you have experience with the Datto or if you would like to recommend a feature of the Zenith that I might be overlooking.
* Updated 7/27/09: According to Zenith, they use 2 US-based sites for hosting off site data as well. The table was updated to reflect the correction.