Any innovative business with growth ambitions must be vigilant about anything that might compromise its flexibility to expand quickly, or take advantage of new market opportunities. Real agility depends on keeping the cost and risk of change low, so that a company can follow the money.
In London, the pressures are higher still. The high cost of real estate and intense levels of competition mean that businesses must review their business models frequently, keeping a look out for new ways to reduce operating expenses without detriment to the customer experience.
Increasingly, on-site IT systems and phone systems are becoming targets for these reviews because of their limited flexibility, the space they consume, and the cost and complexity of managing them.
A new partnership between central London data centre provider Volta and IP-voice service specialist Gamma strikes right at the heart of this requirement. By combining Gamma’s IP-based telephony solutions with Volta’s colocation facility in EC1, the two companies are offering businesses the chance to move some or all of their IT and communications systems off site to be more flexible and cost efficient.
SIP trunking services remove the need for businesses to operate cumbersome PBX boxes and expensive and inflexible ISDN lines. Instead, companies can choose from a range of flexible IP-based voice services, removing the need to host space-consuming equipment on their own premises and giving them many new options in how they manage lines, numbers and calls.
“Voice over IP is growing exponentially at the moment, as companies realise they no longer need to be held back by inflexible telephony systems,” explains Andrew Chalkley, Head of Data Centres and Service Providers at Gamma. “There are still a lot of businesses using old telephone switchboards but as these systems come to the end of their life, they are seeing an opportunity to take out that equipment, swapping it for a service that’s provided remotely – with much greater flexibility, resilience and cost-efficiency.”
Chalkley continues, “It may be that they’ve moved their IT systems into a colocation facility already (to bring down costs, or exploit cloud-based services), and now they can see the benefit of doing the same with their communications – because it will reduce the cost of their telecoms infrastructure and give them back valuable floor space. For a central London retailer, that’s a huge benefit. Also, some companies which move critical equipment and services into a resilient, fit-for-purpose facility can benefit from lower insurance premiums.”
Moving away from a traditional phone system also enables companies to break free from the restrictions and costs of ISDN. “Instead of an ISDN-30 service with 30 channels, they can have fewer channels that they can use more flexibly – all managed via a simple, single connection,” Chalkley explains. “Their use of numbers is no longer fixed either – in a SIP-based set-up they can use any number for any location, including non-geographic and 0800 numbers.”
Of the opportunity to host its services at Volta’s London colocation facility, Chalkley says, “Volta’s Great Sutton Street site is very robust, with lots of resilience and space. Once a customer’s communications facilities are hosted in there, they’ll be very impressed. Features such as the row-based cooling capabilities really stand out. The site, which covers approximately 91,000 square feet, is a legacy data centre site which used to belong to Reuters, then BT, and is now completely stripped and refurbished, with two dedicated electricity substations in the basement.”