Phone Systems in Santa Barbara

We wrote this article as introduction to phone system business requirements for SMB business’s in Santa Barbara looking at new telephones.

The first question an organization needs to ask when reviewing telephony(that’s the fancy way of saying phone systems) solutions is, “what are the viable vendors and technologies choices that will meet the business requirements”? In terms of vendor choices there are too many to list here and not all of them are created equal. Rather than play the vendor bashing game we try to focus our time communicating the business value our customers can derive from our solutions, plus there are plenty of other resources that will focus on negative side of sales. For an independent vantage point we can direct you to Nemertes research(, they are independent research firm that compiles data about the major vendors. An important note about our company culture, is that although our most popular phone system in Ventura and Santa Barbara is ShoreTel, we take a system independent approach when assesing customers’ telephone needs.

There are really only three choices when it comes to the technology powering the phone system. TDM aka traditional telephone system, hybrid VOIP systems and pure VOIP systems. Investing money in a new TDM system is essentially a waste of time and money for most business we see in the Santa Barbara area, there are some exceptions to this rule and unless a business has taken the time to understand the pluses and minus of all three systems the decision to go with TDM is usually due to the business being mis-informed about their real options. The difference between hybrid VoIP and pure VoIP is out of scope of this article but in a nutshell hybrid solutions are usually developed by legacy TDM vendors who are looking to make their current TDM system VoIP enabled the cheap(cheap as in taking a short cut that results in a inferior product) way.

Before any of the questions above can be answered/evaluated in the context of a given business, the business requirements need to be defined. In Santa Barbara/Ventura/San Luis Obispo we have found that the larger the organization the more likely they are to understand the business requirements both from an executive and technical perspective. These are the 50 Phones and above organizations. As the size of the organization decreases we typically see employees tasked with the “new phone system project” are looking for guidance on tying the technical capabilities to the business requirements.

Some Basic questions that we use to understand business requirements
1.) What events have cause the organization to look at new solutions/review their phone system needs?
2.) What is the number of users and phones
3.) How many sites are involved? If these sites could communicate easier would that be of value to the business?
4.) Who are the power users and how do they use the phones on a regular basis?
5.) Do people currently use rolodex for storing phone numbers?
6.) How do remote workers function, can the new system provide enhancements to the way they work?
7.) How does the receptionist operate on a day to day basis? Who covers when she is not available?
8.) If you could report on inbound and outbound calls would that be useful?
9.) Who supports the current system and what problems do they have with the current support?
10.) What do you currently do for customer service or other inbound call distribution groups?
11.) Would it be beneficial to have one vendor that can help support both your data and voice needs?

Our experience has found that 90% of business’s in Santa Barbara will find that ShoreTel will meet their business requirements and exceed their expectations in terms of business value. For the other 10% we have phone systems that will meet their needs as well. The best advice I can give is, if you are in the market for a new phone system in Santa Barbara give us a call for a free consultation on understanding your business requirements.