When you pick up the phone to call a business, you probably don’t think about how your call reaches whoever picks up on the other end.
Behind the scenes, packaged collaboration solutions, like Cisco’s Business Edition 6000 (BE6K), are connecting your business to whoever you’re trying to reach through audio, video, and messaging.
BE6K enables thirty-five to 1,000 users to use Cisco’s collaboration technology to communicate. Users can make and receive audio and video calls, check their voicemail, and a whole slew of other communication services.
Phone calls — and now video calls — are an important aspect of business operations. You want to make sure you’re paying for a system that will work for you. In fact, at The KR Group, one of our customers’ top concerns about BE6K is how much it’ll cost.
Price is a big factor when considering implementing any technology program, and there are three components you should consider when budgeting for Cisco BE6K:
- Each user will require a license.
- You’ll need hardware to run the phone system.
- Variables can raise or lower your final price.
Together, all these provide a range of what you can expect to pay to implement Cisco BE6K into your business.
1. How much you’ll spend on BE6K licenses
By itself, BE6K is a set of licenses giving you access to Cisco’s collaboration solutions. There are three price options for BE6K licenses:
- Cisco BE6K enhanced licenses
- Cisco BE6K workspace licenses
- A combination of enhanced and workspace license
1. Cisco BE6K enhanced licenses
If you opt for BE6K’s enhanced licenses, the Cisco software will cover one phone per license.
This is the most basic option for companies wanting to enjoy the benefits of BE6K, such as voice and video call control, instant messaging, conferencing, and contact center options.
All enhanced users can make and receive phone calls from one device with single-number reach.
2. Cisco BE6K workspace licenses
If you’re willing to spend a little more, you can have the same accessibility of the enhanced licenses on 10 “phones.”
This is a good option if your employees work remotely. A workspace license allows a user to make remote calls using BE6K on their cell phones, laptops, tablets, as well as their desk phone.
Workspace licenses also offer connectivity across a variety of devices. You can call into a video conference on your laptop, but if your audio isn’t working, you can easily transfer the call to your desk phone.
Like enhanced licenses, any device linked with a workspace license sends and receives calls tied to a single number.
3. A combination of enhanced and workspace licenses
If you want some workspace licenses but not all your users require access to additional “phones,” Cisco allows you to mix and match licenses for your company.
Price-wise, the cost of BE6K licenses can range from $200 or more for enhanced licenses and $230 or more for workspace licenses.
Keep in mind this is the price per license and you’ll need to multiply it by how many users you’ll have.
2. How much you’ll spend on hardware to run BE6K
In addition to per-user licensing fees, you’ll need to incorporate three other pieces of technology to run your Cisco BE6K technology:
- Servers run the applications needed for BE6K.
- Physical phones to make and receive calls.
- Gateways to connect you to the telephone network.
The price of these varies much more than the licensing fees for BE6K. While the cost of these components is outside of the licensing price, they still impact the overall cost to implement Cisco BE6K.
1. Servers add to the Cisco BE6K implementation cost.
Call processing, voicemail, automated attendants, and emergency communications are running in the background when you make and receive phone calls with BE6K.
To run those applications, you’ll typically need a new server; business servers most likely don’t have the available capacity for them.
Cisco medium- or high-density servers work best with BE6K. The medium-density server costs $8,500 or more to run four applications, and the high-density server costs $17,000 or more to run eight applications.
Which server you’ll need will depend on how large your company is and how much you are using your call system. A Cisco partner will be able to help you discover which server will work best for you.
2. Physical phones can be the most expensive component of implementing BE6K.
Often times, the most expensive part of implementing BE6K or any phone system is the physical phones.
Cisco’s most basic desk phone, a single-line handset starts at around $150. The price can quickly increase to $1,000 or more for a phone with call monitoring, video, and Bluetooth capabilities.
Besides desk phones, conference phones and Bluetooth headsets to accompany phones can add another layer of cost to the hardware portion of implementation.
Depending on how many users you have and what kind of phone you need, the physical phones can quickly become the most expensive part of implementing BE6K.
3. Gateways will add a cost per location when implementing Cisco BE6K.
To connect you and your customers to the telephone network and other voice resources, you’ll need a voice gateway at every location. This also allows a satellite office to continue to have a local number show up on your customers’ caller ID.
You can expect to spend between $2,100 and $21,000 on a gateway, depending on the capacity you need at your office. This is a wide range in cost, but it varies depending on your needs.
If you only need a SIP trunk (virtual phone lines to make and receive calls over the Internet), your cost will be around $2,100.
If you have a high number of analog ports for fax machines, modems, shop floor phones, and/or analog paging integrations, your gateway is going to need to be able to accommodate all of those communication lines. You’re going to have a higher cost and pay closer to $21,000 for what you need.
Most likely, you need a SIP trunk and a few analog ports from your gateway, and you’ll find yourself paying somewhere in the middle of the range.
It is important to keep in mind, though, that you’ll need to multiply the gateway price by the number of locations you have.
3. Variables that can save you money
While there are many components driving up the price of implementing Cisco BE6K, the good news is that there are three ways you can save money.
Cost savings through these means aren’t guaranteed, but if you find yourself fitting any of the following scenarios, your final price will likely decrease.
1. Receiving promotional pricing through a Cisco distributor
Cisco can offer its partners promotional pricing on a first-come, first-served basis. This can reduce the cost of Cisco hardware and software by roughly 30%.
Approved pricing on products does vary, though. The final price depends on what you’re purchasing and if we’re the first Cisco partner to work with you.
2. Forgoing desk phones with Cisco BE6K
Another situation where we’ve seen customers save money is if they forgo desk phones and instead opt to implement Bluetooth headsets connected to a laptop “phone” or Smartphone.
If you have 150 employees who don’t need a desk phone, this option could save you $7,500 or more in phone costs. You’ll still have to pay for Bluetooth headsets, but there are several options below the $150 starting point for Cisco’s desk phones.
3. Upgrading from an older Cisco phone system
Your price will likely be lower if you’re upgrading from a Cisco phone system with active support to BE6K.
Cisco will often give you credit for your existing licensing and put it toward your upgrade to BE6K.
If you already have Cisco collaboration package, there’s also a chance you already have compatible physical phones and can omit an entire category of costs.
There isn’t an exact formula for how much you’ll save with promotional pricing, using Bluetooth headsets, or upgrading. However, you’re likely to reduce a portion of you total bill if any of these situations apply to you.
An estimate of the total cost to implement Cisco BE6K
Overall, the cost to implement BE6K varies from customer to customer.
A company with 35 (or fewer) users wanting the most basic package would pay approximately $23,000 for the licensing, servers, gateways, physical phones at a single location. You can expect to spend at least that much.
However, that price increases as you add users, choose to use workspace licenses, require additional gateways or higher-capacity servers, and opt for phones with more capabilities.
There is the possibility of that price decreasing, though, by using Bluetooth headsets, upgrading from an existing Cisco phone system or receiving promotional pricing.
For more information on Cisco BE6K, check out some of our other articles:
- Common Problems with BE6K (and How to Solve Them)
- Cisco vs. Avaya vs. Mitel: How the 3 leaders in IP telephony compare
- Cisco Business Edition 6000 (BE6K) Review