Whether you’re in a small office, have multiple locations around the globe, or are taking work remote (which is more important now than ever), communication is key.
Your office phone system should facilitate the communication you need – effectively and cost-efficiently. But it can be difficult to identify what will work in your context.
There are plenty of phone brands, which can add a bit of complexity when you’re trying to pick the right phone system for your office. Some of these brands have a singular focus (for instance, Grasshopper is simply software) while some provide solutions for more phone needs (for instance, Avaya offers software tools, physical phones, and more.
Let’s take a look at a few of the major brands to help you identify the best office phone system for your needs.
Avaya offers a wide breadth of phone solutions, including cloud services, unified communication platforms, and hardware (phones and more). They’re one of the giants in the phone industry, serving the majority of Fortune 500 firms, but they also have a comprehensive selection of great offerings for smaller businesses.
As an Avaya partner in Maryland, we’re proud to serve offices with these systems.
Featured product: Avaya IP Office. This system is a unified-communications-as-a-service (UCaaS) offering. It offers a single app for voice, video, messaging, conferencing, and calendaring, allowing employees to seamlessly communicate from any device or location.
Best use case: We recommend Avaya IP Office for mid-sized businesses or specialty sectors (like healthcare) that are able to take advantage of its robust feature set. This is an office phone system worth considering for many mid-to-large businesses.
Phones are only one part of what Cisco offers; their diverse product offerings include services across industries and technologies. In the phone space, though, they offer Cisco Meraki products. This line has a reputation for quality and ranges from WAN network hardware to physical desk phones.
Featured product: MC74 Cloud Managed Phone. This product is a desk phone with a beautiful touch-screen display. It uses the cloud for calling (as opposed to PBX).
Best use case: Cisco Meraki may be best utilized for network hardware purposes in your offices. However, if you choose to implement phone hardware from this brand, you’ll need to select models that align with your system’s needs (PBX, VoIP, etc.).
Genesys is more focused on calling software than on physical solutions. The company is known for a leading call center software offering, and its cloud products are trusted by major companies like PayPal and G2. They also offer a unified communications platform. In general, though, this is more of an enterprise option than a great mid-sized business solution.
Featured product: Genesys Cloud Platform. Like Avaya IP Office, this is also a UCaaS offering. It’s an API-first solution designed for scalability, flexibility, and security.
Best use case: Genesys is likely best for high-transaction call centers; it’s geared more toward customer and payment management rather than typical office communication functionality.
Grasshopper is positioned on the other side of the business-size-spectrum: this option is aimed at very small businesses. It’s a virtual VoIP software that, essentially, lets its users separate business calls and personal calls on their personal devices. It’s meant for entrepreneurs that want to get started with a very simple phone system that lacks functionality for a multi-office or multi-location team.
Featured product: Grasshopper Connect. This is kind of a UCaaS-lite. It allows users to combine texts, emails, and calls into a single conversation thread.
Best use case: Grasshopper is most suitable for solopreneurs or very small offices. If you have more than one or two users, it’s likely better to consider other solutions.
Like Avaya, Mitel offers a variety of phone system solutions, including cloud-based and onsite software systems and phone hardware. They’re used by big organizations – like Major League Baseball and Make-A-Wish America – and by smaller businesses, and they have a 45-year reputation for quality.
Featured product: MiCloud Connect. This product is another UCaaS offering, with video conferencing capabilities, built-in mobile apps, SIP trunking, and more.
Best use case: Mitel is best for mid-to-large organizations.
Speaking of long-standing reputations – NEC has been around for over 120 years. Founded in 1899 in Tokyo, Japan, the company offers a wide variety of IT products. In the phone world, they’re probably best known for their classic desktop phone lines, including analog, IP, and SIP phones.
Featured product: DT900 IP Desktop phones. These units can be implemented into office phone system solutions and come at entry-level or feature-rich levels (i.e. touch screens and more).
Best use case: As with Cisco Meraki hardware, these can be applicable in many office contexts, but if you choose to implement phone hardware from NEC, you’ll need to select models that align with your system’s needs (PBX, VoIP, etc.).
Ooma’s a newer company. Founded in 2004 in Palo Alto, California, they offer both home phone and business phone solutions. On the small business side, they trumpet their VoIP phone service, which includes a virtual receptionist, a mobile app, and even call recording options. They also offer a highly rated line of IP phones.
Featured product: Ooma for small businesses. This is more of a system than a product, but it’s the company’s flagship offering: a VoIP system including hardware and software.
Best use case: Ooma provides basic levels of functionality for small-to-mid-sized businesses. While they have an enterprise option, their focus is on the smaller end of the scale.
RingCentral is “an easy, affordable, all-in-one phone system.” Like Grasshopper, it’s built to make using personal phones workable in business contexts, turning employee phones into business numbers. Unlike Grasshopper, RingCentral is focused on larger businesses, too, offering more robust plans. They’ve even partnered with Avaya to provide integrated solutions.
Featured product: RingCentral Office. This system facilitates a cloud phone system, online meetings, team messaging, and online fax.
Best use case: RingCentral is best geared toward small businesses – likely those with ten or fewer employees. However, their enterprise solutions use help from partners like Avaya to offer more functionality and may be worth considering as a cost-efficient option.
Polycom is a top-tier product maker. From desktop phones to video conferencing tech to Wi-Fi adapters and wireless mics, they offer a full suite of physical phone solutions that are fit for a variety of business environments.
Featured product: VVX 450 Business Desk Phone. This is a 12-line, color IP phone that offers some of the industry’s best audio.
Best use case: Polycom hardware can be incorporated into many office phone systems by an expert telecom provider.
This company is an international VoIP software provider. For most of the past decade, their open-standard solutions were only functional on Windows, but in 2015 they became available on Linux and cloud platforms as well. They produce physical phones with their software solutions, too.
Featured product: IP Telephony. This product is purposed to “transform your telecom network into a unified communication system.”
Best use case: We recommend 3CX for small-to-mid-sized businesses that are looking for an office phone system that has needed features and doesn’t break the bank.
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Hopefully, the information above has been helpful as you evaluate office phone systems for your needs. To ensure that you get the solution best tailored to your business, though, it helps to work with an expert local provider.
At Teltek, we’re a Maryland-based business serving healthcare, education, manufacturing, office buildings, senior housing & long-term care facilities, and nonprofits by providing better phone services.
We always come onsite to perform an assessment before you’re a client. We don’t sell solutions before we know the context we’re dealing with. Many non-local options do. We’ll always ensure your solution is working before we make a switch.
And, importantly, we’ll never push you toward a single brand or solution – we offer a range of products, and we’ll make sure you get the system that’s the best fit.
If you’re in Maryland or the DC area and you’re looking for an office phone system provider that will have your best interests in mind, give us a call to take the first step today.