From The Editor | February 19, 2009

Quick Tip #3: Connect Branch Offices With Hosted VoIP

As POSitive opens 32 new branch offices across the United States in the next three years, having good communication throughout the company will be imperative. According to Brett Bennett, CEO of POSitive, the VAR recently has implemented technology to virtually connect all aspects and branch locations of its business.

“Our ERP (enterprise resource planning), CRM (customer relationship management), and project management software all are hosted, allowing employees to access important customer information anywhere an Internet connection is available,” says Bennett. Perhaps most importantly, the VAR has chosen a hosted VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) solution that ties into the other systems. “Employees have a software utility that runs in Internet Explorer,” Bennett explains. “When we want to place or receive a call, the software hooks into our ERP system to access important customer information.” The result? Employees can quickly dial customer numbers, and the VoIP system makes it appear as if POSitive employees are calling from the office, regardless of whether they’re in the office or on a convention floor. In addition, interactions with customers are automatically logged in the CRM system. POSitive has selected Telesphere for its hosted VoIP solution and pays $49 per seat per month. “We used to have a hardware solution from a leading vendor, but didn’t want to have to maintain the unit ourselves,” says Bennett. “Because of our new virtual nature, we wanted something hosted, that someone else was responsible for maintaining.” POSitive isn’t alone. Research by analyst group Frost & Sullivan shows that hosted VoIP services revenues that were at $372.6 million in 2005 are estimated to reach $14.6 billion by 2012.

After seeing stats like this and experiencing firsthand the benefits of using a hosted VoIP solution, the VAR now acts as a Telesphere reseller, targeting retail chains of 15 to 50 stores. Bennett anticipates that hosted VoIP revenues will amount to as much as 10% of POSitive’s revenue in the years to come.