Industry interview with G3 Comms: Care for a SIP?
This article was also featured as an interview in the November 2016 issue of Legal Practice Management magazine. To read the issue in full, download LPM magazine.
Many legal businesses are changing the way they work, enabling flexible, remote or mobile working set-ups to save money on expanding offices and attract talent. Of course, mobile set-ups require flexible technology, but innovation in telecommunications, which aids agile working and firm growth, is often overlooked.
Session initiation protocol (SIP) telephone numbers can make fee earners more accessible whether through the office phone or a mobile device, says G3 Comms’ director James Jeffs.
“A lot of legal businesses are now moving to SIP because of a need to consolidate their fixed line estates. Benefits from cost savings can be achieved by centralising these services where they’ve got multiple sites.”
SIP ‘trunking’ is a powerful, scalable and highly flexible solution that helps businesses streamline their communication costs and resources. It also offers a level of flexibility that traditional ISDN lines simply can’t compete with. “SIP enables users working remotely to reroute calls made from their desk phone to their smartphone or PC without incurring any forwarding charges.
“But if an office is hit with an unforeseen event – like a local network failure – SIP minimises these problems, allowing a business to keep working through every eventuality,” says Jeffs.
There has been a rise of alternative business models among SME firms, with distributed or virtual firms in place on the far end of the spectrum.
In September, LPM found that 65% of SME firms are moving to a more remote set-up or already have it in place – with such a set-up it’s important to have a reliable and flexible phone system that can give firms a competitive edge.
“One of SIP’s key advantages is the flexibility that it can provide customers. You can port numbers in from any geographic location and present different numbers on outbound calls from one location to look like a local company,” says Jeffs, an important factor for virtual firms who need a local presence. Switching to SIP essentially allows firms to exist anywhere in the world. It also allows fee earners and staff to be always available.
“If all the lines at your primary location are busy rerouting incoming calls, SIP allows your system to automatically divert calls to a different site while simultaneously insuring continuation of service should a location suffer a network failure – so you never miss a call,” he says.
In this way, legal businesses that offer flexible working arrangements can leverage the flexibility and reliability SIP offers, rather than potentially fail to connect to their clients on a restricted ISDN line. Agile working continues to catch the eye of the SME legal market because, as they grow, firms need a phone system that suits their needs.
The growth circuit
But flexible working isn’t the only benefit of SIP – firms looking to grow need a more adaptable infrastructure that will allow them to scale easily.
“Firms are also able to scale up and down the number of SIP channels to save ongoing rental costs or increase capacity when required, and it goes hand in hand with growth – if they’re moving to a new site, SIP can makes it easier to expand or quickly increase telephone capacity,” says Jeffs.
He adds that the faster firms can roll out and grow, the faster the firm can raise bills and bring in new clients. For lawyers, it’s an invaluable addition to ease the way they work. With SIP trunking, firms are able to quickly expand or consolidate on a perchannel basis and avoid the cost of unused lines, bringing about cost benefits and flexibility.
BT announced that operating on ISDN systems will end in 2025. As such, Jeffs says that SIP is the way forward for a modern firm.
“Although it seems quite far away, for firms discussing growth strategies it may be something to think about now.”
SME firms in the legal sector are growing and becoming more flexible and SIP systems can help with that flexibility and seamless evolution. So, in the coming years, switching to more sophisticated SIP technology should be a priority for businesses, Jeffs says. With the switch to SIP inevitable, what should firms consider before making the move? As with most things in life, it’s all about selecting the right partner.