The starting point for fulfilling your company's telephony needs is choosing the right phone system.
And now is a good time, as there's never been a wider choice of systems and advanced features available to businesses. Phone systems - also known as switches or PBXs - now offer a far wider range of useful features at a lower cost than ever before.

And with a little knowledge, it's easy to make the right choices for your business.

Where to buy?
The majority of phone system purchases in the Spain are made from specialist telecoms dealers. The dealer should take the time to work with you to ensure you get the functions to match your needs, all in plain English. So make sure you're happy with the dealer you use, and that they are authorised by the manufacturer they are recommending. Customer testimonials, personal recommendations, are good methods of tracking down a good dealer.

Systeline is authorised dealer of Samsung Spain

Digital or Analogue?
The vast majority of telephone systems available today are digital systems - in effect, they're computers for routing calls that are designed to work with digital phone lines (see page 8 on ISDN). Digital systems offer more features, more cost-effectively. Analogue systems are still available, but do less and have less ability to grow and adapt to your needs. If you have very limited telephony requirements, an analogue system may be the right choice but for most businesses digital systems offer far more flexibility and features.

What type of System?
Until a few years ago, telephone systems came in two main types: key systems, used by smaller businesses; and PBXs (private branch exchanges) used by larger companies. A PBX has an operator routing calls to ordinary desktop phones using a specialised operator console. A keysystem uses more sophisticated handsets, called featurephones or keyphones, on each desk, which give individual users more control over calls.

However, these old distinctions have become blurred, as modern 'hybrid' digital phone systems, such as the Samsung iDCS and OS range, can be configured to work as either or both, with a range of handsets to match users' specific needs. A hybrid system gives the flexibility and freedom to manage change and accommodate growth in your company.

What do I need to know ?

In addition to deciding on system hardware there are also a few points you should think about early on in the process, such as:

Call Routing
The system should allow you to set several call routing options. Even if you have a receptionist, they won't always be available, so you need to plan the path through your company that calls take.

Direct inward system access (DISA) allows callers, who know who they want to speak to, to dial extensions directly without tying up the operator. In conjunction with DISA, trunk-to-trunk transfer enables the user to transfer a call to another number, such as a colleague in another department, without the caller having to redial, even when that colleague is located in another office or is only available on their mobile phone.

You should also be able to programme the system to direct calls to different extensions, including automated attendant and voicemail systems, dependent upon the time of day, to ensure that calls can be handled during busy periods, or outside office hours.

Least cost routing
Most systems feature least-cost routing (LCR), which lets you take advantage of independent telecoms companies to save your business money on everyday call costs. LCR automatically chooses the most cost-efficient telecoms company or route for calls, depending on the time of day and type of call. Call-barring facilities that restrict access to numbers, such as international or premium-rate calls, also help to reduce phone abuse.

Handsets: plain or fancy?
Being able to attach sophisticated handsets with integral displays and ordinary handsets helps to put more sophisticated call functions at the disposal of those who need them. Functions, such as programmable keys and speed dialling, help make everyday phone use easier, while easy indication of calls on hold, busy external lines and internal extensions help to give users a quick overview of the phone system's status.