Our church installed a new security system, which included cameras, alarm system, and key fobs for our main entry doors. Everything was working properly for the first few weeks, until we had a power outage. Once this occurred, we started experiencing numerous problems with the systems. The major problem was our Internet provider and our old out of date phone system. We tried for several months to resolve the problems ourselves, but our lack of expertise only made matters worse.
As the business administrator for a large church, I am continually looking for ways to minimize our expenses. One of the best decision I’ve made in this regard was to engage OutTouch Ministries. Bellevue Baptist Church has been utilizing the services of OutTouch Ministries for several years, and we have experienced incredible financial savings from simply allowing OTM to serve as our consultant and negotiate with vendors on our behalf. Their staff has a high level of expertise in a subject matter that many financial officers are not well versed – telecommunications.
For the past 25 years I have been president of Sonlight Studios, an independent television production company that produces live shots with guest in Memphis.
Our communication needs have changed as technology has progressed and just a few years ago we were in a mess. I had tried using some new technology to transport live video for CNN and FOXNews and as it failed, our reputation was at stake.
What’s better for hosting your church/ministry phone system: On-premise or the cloud?
Hopefully by now, your church/ministry has realized the myriad benefits of a VoIP phone system and has installed one to meet your communication and collaboration needs. However, no two VoIP telephone systems are the same, as each offering comes with its own set of unique value propositions and pain points. In particular, one of the biggest decisions that you will likely have to make is whether your church/ministry is better suited for an on-premise phone system or one that is remotely hosted in the cloud.
What’s the difference between the two?
Basically, what sets the two models apart is where the support infrastructure is located. Although business VoIP is supported through the Internet, any office phone system requires some back-end hardware to function properly. As its name suggests, with on-premise solutions the servers and other related pieces of equipment rest on site at your business. Of the two options, this is the one that you’re likely more familiar with.
In comparison, cloud-based phone solutions put all of this equipment away from company,church headquarters and into a remote facility (often a data center) that can be located hundreds of miles away. This is just one of the many uses of cloud computing, and this has quickly become one of the most talked-about IT trends of the past few years.
Of the two, which one is right for me?
Now, here’s where things become a little tricky. No one system is considered universally better than the other one, as it all depends on your church/ministry needs and circumstances.
Let’s start with the cloud. One of its major value propositions is that it allows you to offload costs related to equipment procurement and maintenance to someone else, and these savings can be especially key for churches/ministries. Plus, because everything is centered around the Internet, you can access any aspect of your office phone system from anywhere, even when you’re away from headquarters or main campus. However, the cloud does have some downsides, including that a high-bandwidth connection is needed at all times to use it and it is not always as secure as an on-premise offering.
In comparison, because all of the equipment and support infrastructure is on site, you may be able to better guarantee the safety and security of your office phone system. In addition, on-premise solutions allow you to more easily customize your system per your organization’s unique needs. On the flip side, this kind of configuration requires you to buy lots of hardware up front and keep people on staff to fix it should anything go awry.
At the end of the day, deciding between an on-premise business phone service and one that’s hosted in the cloud all comes down to your church/ministry needs. Some churches/ministries may okay paying more in order to have more granular control, while others would rather gain convenience and decrease costs at the expense of direct oversight. The key here is to thoroughly consider what’s best for you and your team before implementing business VoIP. To learn more about the different offerings, contact a OutTouch/Fonality representative today.
I want to thank you for the efforts OutTouch provided in my search for the right phone and internet service for Sky Zone Memphis. The fact that you sat down with me and got to know our business concept and understand our needs was very helpful.
OutTouch Ministries has been a valuable resource for us in upgrading our phone and internet services. After doing some preliminary work in securing new bids for services, I contacted Richard Halstead and solicited his advice and counsel. He was instrumental in upgrading the vendor bid possibilities, and because of his knowledge and expertise, we now have expanded services at much cheaper rates than I could have ever negotiated on my own. Because of Richard’s contacts and resources within the telecommunications field, Lakeview Baptist Church now has substantial phone and internet upgrades at reasonable prices.
I want to thank you for all of the help that OutTouch has provided First Assembly of God. We have now had our online giving up and running for several months and can already tell the difference it is making in our finances. You came to my rescue and got this set up for us with very little confusion. That was a great comfort for someone like myself, who is not a computer expert.
OutTouch Ministries is a great blessing to us at Grace Fellowship Church. Shortly after connecting with them I was able to send my entire audio/video budget to them to find competitive prices.
Over the past year, our organization has been involved with OutTouch Ministries through Shared Church Services for various opportunities. Most recently we have worked with OutTouch Ministries in order to provide the best cell phone service that would be able to provide not only cost savings, but good quality as well. We were able to find and meet this need through OutTouch with T-Mobile.
We want to thank you for your help with finding the appropriate telephone and internet service provider for our church. Unfortunately, we did not know about Shared Church Services or OutTouch Ministries until late in our research process but better late than ever. We were thrilled to have your advice and knowledge in making our final decision. Your help with deciphering the telephone terminology was invaluable. We were able to make the right decisions thanks to your experience. I know our lack of knowledge was frustrating at times but you were always kind and helpful.