Open source software the key to cost-effective business phone systems, says Gavin Henry, saving tens of thousands of pounds at the outset
Aberdeen-based Suretec Systems, the successful open source IT systems specialist, has launched a telecom business to meet the needs of small and medium-sized businesses looking for cost-effective and highly featured telephone systems. Oil and gas sector companies, along with professional services, travel and public sector organisations, are all taking an interest in the huge cost savings that can be achieved with open source products – and now for their telecoms systems, too.
Gavin Henry, managing director of Suretec Systems and of newly-launched Suretec Telecom, knows how important it is for small businesses – and the public sector - to be cost-conscious, and makes sure that Suretec customers get high tech solutions to telecom questions, at a very competitive price.
‘Now that open source software is widely recognised and well received in the business market place, we are finding that the demand for open source telecom systems is also growing rapidly,’ says Gavin Henry. ‘Companies are realising that vendor independence – being free from annual licence fees to phone and software companies – is a real saving for their bottom line. And in a recession most companies are looking for these kinds of substantial savings and efficiencies.
’Asterisk and related open source telecom technologies have revolutionised the telecoms industry in recent years and provide highly cost-effective telephone systems around the world. Many also include free calls through Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). VoIP also offers the advantage of running both voice and data communications over a single network, which can represent a significant saving in a company’s infrastructure costs.’
As a result, Suretec’s open source telecom solutions give organisations powerful, feature-laden telephone systems at a fraction of the cost of traditional phone systems.
‘Our customers are surprised and impressed that we provide features in their system, such as voicemail, call recording and conference calling that they have paid for in the past,’ says Gavin Henry.
‘And a Suretec Telecom system will readily and easily integrate with a customer’s existing phone system, so it doesn’t have to be abandoned.’
For growing companies taking on new employees, each new employee would usually require an additional telephone and line, with an additional licence fee to be paid to the phone company. With open source telecom systems, every additional employee can be added on for just the price of their telephone handset.
Niche holiday provider, Dreamticket, was one of Suretec Telecom’s first clients, with a call centre manned by up to 80 operators, and all calls recorded to comply with FSA regulations. Habib Datoo, director of e-commerce at Dreamticket says, ‘The call recording service at Dreamticket has greatly enhanced our efficiency, and saved us more than £15,000 on the cost of the new phone system. And the VoIP system is saving us thousands of pounds per year on local and international calls – many of the oil sector businesses in the northeast of Scotland also recognise that they stand to gain financially from open source telecoms, because they make large numbers of international telephone calls.’
Suretec Telecom has worked with Dreamticket to develop a customised telephone system that allows the number of users in their call centre to fluctuate, while planning for future growth – a truly flexible system.
VoIP can be a real benefit for reducing communication and infrastructure costs, as it can enhance customer service capability, by utilising more effective web-based software applications VoIP systems require far less cabling.
Open source software also allows remote or home workers to work as if they are in the office, routing phone calls over existing data networks avoids the need for separate voice and data networks. A major benefit is that conference calling, call forwarding, automatic redial, and caller ID features that traditional telecommunication companies normally charge extra for are available for free from open source VoIP implementations such as Asterisk.
‘Many businesses are also finding that ‘on–hold marketing’ is a really effective marketing tool, and it comes free with open source telecom products like ours,’ says Gavin Henry. ‘It allows a company to speak directly to its audience in a style to suit the business. It is rapidly being adopted by professional firms across the UK, such as legal firms and accountants, where clients who are kept on hold briefly will learn more about the firm’s business while they wait.’
Typical telephone systems are also limited by their licence in the number of users that are permitted, but open source takes away that restriction, plus the users can have access to unlimited voicemail, voicemail to email, and VoIP - phone calls via their PC system.
‘In a very competitive and cost-conscious market place like we have today,’ says Gavin Henry, ‘businesses need to see a good return on their investment in a telephone system, with the maximum number of features and benefits, plus the ability of their system to grow as their business grows. Suretec Telecom has a growing client list and we are in discussions with universities and oil sector companies who are becoming aware of the benefits that open source provides.’
Suretec Telecom is a subsidiary of Suretec Systems, open source specialists based in Aberdeen, Scotland and established in 2003.
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