The pros and cons of the call system technology
When you’re considering an audio, video, and messaging collaboration solution, ideally, you want to pick the right one for you on the first try.
One of the packaged collaboration solutions the KR Group partners with Cisco to supply is Business Edition 6000 (BE6K).
This technology allows for companies between 35 and 1,000 users to make and receive voice and video calls, check voicemail, send messages, set up meetings, and more.
As a Cisco partner, we’re often asked what we like and dislike about Cisco BE6K.
This typically boils down to six points:
- We like Cisco’s support.
- We think BE6K has high audio quality.
- Cisco BE6K is relatively problem-free.
- BE6K users will interact with multiple interfaces.
- You must use VMware with Cisco BE6K.
- BE6K is for companies within the 35 to 1,000 user range.
An overview of these topics, generally, helps our customers recognize if BE6K is right for them.
1. Cisco support
For one, Cisco manufactures more than just the software and physical phones to run BE6K. If you call Cisco with a problem with BE6K and they realize it’s actually a server error, they’ll be able to direct you to help inside their organization.
Cisco’s support is also great when you need to update your software. Since you’ll have redundancy with their servers, your phones will only be down for minutes – not hours.
They also work with you on upgrades. If you have Call Manager Express or BE4K platforms, an upgrade to BE6K is relatively simple.
The support Cisco provides is a pro for BE6K.
2. Audio quality
When you’re looking at phone systems, you want excellent audio performance – that is the basis of why you need a call system after all.
While the additional features like instant messaging, single number reach, and softphones are great features, a phone system is useless if it can’t perform its primary function of making quality phone calls.
Newer versions of the BE6K software have made audio quality one of the best features of BE6K.
Pair new codecs with modern IP phones, and the audio is much clearer than Cisco’s competitors and even previous versions of Cisco call systems.
3. Generally problem-free
While there are a couple of problems we hear from our customers regarding Cisco BE6K, the call system is relatively problem-free, which is a strength of the software.
The most frequent BE6K problems have to do with connectivity, security, and user-interface with BE6K. However, connectivity is a telecom issue, not a Cisco issue, and security is only a problem in specific scenarios.
If you’re looking for call technology you don’t have to worry about frequently having bugs and requiring patches, BE6K can meet those expectations.
Cisco BE6K earns our recommendation because it won’t give you many problems.
4. User interface
A disadvantage directly related to Cisco BE6K is the learning curve you’ll need to hurdle to get acclimated to how its features are organized.
With BE6K, you have to navigate between applications for audio, voicemail, instant messaging, etc.
It can trip people up and isn’t always the most intuitive.
Cisco designed the applications to be separate to allow for continuing inside each interface, which is a positive. Once you know how to use the software, you shouldn’t have to relearn it.
However, if the separate interfaces are still daunting for you, you can review Cisco’s surplus of information.
You could also choose to pay for training from your Cisco partner or ask if they have a recommendation for a training specialist if you want further assistance with how to use Cisco BE6K’s features.
However you decide to solve it, the multiple user interfaces of Cisco BE6K can be a drawback.
5. Running on VMWare
A specific disappointment we’ve heard is that Cisco BE6K only runs on VMWare servers, which can impact the total cost of implementing the call system.
Years ago, when Cisco had to settle on a virtual server, they chose VMware, and they now own a small portion of the global cloud infrastructure and digital workspace technology leader.
Even though you’ll have to use a VMWare server, their pricing is competitive.
However, if your company prefers a different hypervisor platform, you’ll still need to accept the VMware platform, even if you solely use it for the BE6K server(s).
6. User count
Whether or not Cisco BE6K is right for you depends on how many users you have as well.
BE6K starts at 35 users and can accommodate up to 1,000 users.
If you’re below or above that range, a different Cisco phone system will be a better fit for your needs.
On the low end of the range, Cisco’s Call Manager Express is a more affordable option for companies with fewer than 35 users.
BE6K’s capabilities max out at 1,000 users, and if you’re above that range, Cisco BE7K offers a nearly identical administrative experience on a larger scale.
When do we and don’t we recommend BE6K?
In the majority of cases, Cisco BE6K will meet your needs. If you are looking for quality audio with strong manufacturer support and few problems, Cisco BE6K provides all of those.
However, if a single user interface or VMware servers are deal breakers for you, another call system will likely be a better fit.
If you aren’t dissuaded by those two negatives but if you fall outside the 35 to 1,000 user range, you can still enjoy the benefits of Cisco but through Call Manager Express or Cisco BE7K.
If you want to learn more about BE6K to help you decide if it’s right for you, schedule a free consultation with us.