From the outside looking in, fax can be a complex solution to navigate. Back-end systems, cloud offerings, application integrations, personnel, and automation are just some of the factors enterprises must consider when determining the best fax solution for them. What’s more, the overall costs associated with fax solutions can be daunting. To help better understand the many nuances of fax solutions we have developed a comprehensive guide outlining the options, factors and costs associated with different fax solutions.
Calculating Costs: Analog vs. Cloud
Server-based systems are typically on-premises, need to connect to a phone network and the customer is charged based on the length of a call. Customers with on-premises servers and their own back-end telephony typically pay for the server software, application integrations, and licenses for users, either as a perpetual license model with annual support and maintenance fees
Cloud fax eliminates the telephony management need as well as back end server management and upgrades, and typically charges based on the number of pages sent or received. Customers typically pay a monthly service fee, pay by users, and fax traffic, but do not typically have up front costs. There may be a fixed cost component but the majority of costs for high fax volume users will be in the page cost, and typically support and maintenance fees are rolled into that price per page.
- Initial cost of fax server software, integrations, user licenses
- Application integration fees
- Phone network
- Annual technical support fee
- Upgrade fees
- Downtime costs
- Datacenter fees
- Price per page, multiplied by the number of pages sent per period
- Monthly or per-user fees
- Application integration fees
Calculating the True Cost per Fax Page
- Add up all costs incurred over a period of time. For
- one-time costs, like perpetual software licenses, pay them back over the number of years you plan to use the software (3-5 years generally) and also include any hardware or software refresh cycles.
- If you spread capital costs out over 3 years and are looking at a one-year period, divide total capital costs by 3.
- Be sure to consider downtime costs — both scheduled and unexpected outages — as these costs can be significant. Focus on good reliability history and service level agreements or add this to your overall cost calculations.
Cloud Fax Pricing Variables to Consider
- Volume commitments
- Contract lengths
- Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
Lowering Your Cloud Fax Costs
- Commit to a higher fax volume: You must be able to estimate your average fax volume and commit as closely to that as possible. If your faxing is seasonal or varies, calculate 70-80% of your overall estimate to avoid paying for unused fax pages.
- Increase the term of your contract: Increasing contract terms can provide better pricing but locking into a multi-year contract puts you at risk if there’s a significant change in your business.
- Consider soft costs: Soft costs are hard to determine and most vendors do not want to admit to problems and downtime. But for mission-critical operations this step is key. It is important to discuss the following with your vendor:
- How will they work with you post-sales?
- When calling for tech support, how easy is it to talk to a real person and someone who knows what they’re talking about?
- Ask them the tough questions that keep you up at night
Once you finish this exercise, you should have a pretty good idea of the costs of a system. But costs by themselves shouldn’t always drive decisions. Minimizing costs is important but not at the expense of time, energy, and overall well-being — Continuously dealing with issues will end up costing you more in the long run, so make sure to look at all factors before coming to a determination.
We Are Here to Help
For more information on cloud fax and calculating costs, please visit our page on enterprise fax solutions.