Apptix VOIP SaaS offering targets SMBs

Software-as-a-service provider Apptix is expanding its product line Monday with a VOIP service designed for small and midsize businesses.

Apptix is trying to entice enterprises with service-level agreements guaranteeing 99.9 percent uptime, 24-hour phone and e-mail support, and features including an auto attendant, call center management, extension dialing and the ability to have a desk phone ring straight to a cell phone. By providing VOIP with these features, the company is hoping to differentiate itself from popular services like Vonage .

"If you're a small business, you need more than just a phone line," says Samir Gulati, vice president of marketing and business development. "You need those auto attendant capabilities, you need the call forwarding. ... You might need a simple call center application to manage your call center as you grow."

Apptix says it provides e-mail and collaboration services to 150,000 subscribers at 14,000 companies. Monday's release marks the first time it has offered VOIP services. Three companies have signed up as early adopters, Gulati says, including Krengel Technology, a software development firm with about 14 employees, who all work from out of their homes.

Founder Quentin Krengel says the company switched from Vonage to Apptix VOIP last week.

"Prior to this we were using a voice-over-IP solution that did not allow us to accommodate the inbound call routing. We didn't have an auto attendant. We weren't able to conveniently transfer calls between each other," Krengel says.

Krengel says his company stopped using Vonage partly due to frustration with slow customer service.

Apptix's VOIP system provides unlimited local and long distance calling starting at US$39.99 per user per month. Apptix also sells a router for $200 per building that improves quality of the voice service.

With software-as-a-service growing in popularity, Apptix is hoping customers will find it cheaper and easier to outsource VOIP service than to build and maintain it in-house.

"We believe there is a tremendous opportunity to expand into that market," Gulati says. "Every time we engage with a customer and show them the total cost of ownership, they say 'wow, why am I doing this in-house?'"

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