Essential Considerations for Installing a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) Solution
As private branch exchange solutions become increasingly popular, so much information about these virtual telephony systems has sprung up. If you’re considering installing a PBX system in your small business, there are specific considerations you have to make.
Real Ownership Cost
On premises systems often require a huge upfront investment, while hosted systems are paid off with monthly installments. But you need to study the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the systems aside from the initial capital to be used in purchasing a new phone network.
Specific Functionality and Bundled Functionality
These days, hosted and on-premise PBX systems have largely equal technical capabilities. One difference they have is the way the features are bundled. Hosted PBX providers usually bundle features and charge a fixed price per user. On-premise PBX, on the other hand, gives users the option of choosing the features and functionality that they need. If customization is important to you, make sure this clear with the provider right from the get-go.
You will probably have to shop around to find the right company that can offer you the right bundle, depending on your needs. Before you choose a certain provider, let them give you a list of features in full detail, including an accurate cost estimate.
Customization is typically easy when you talk about on-premise systems, since there will often be an IT staff on site that takes care of the system’s deployment and management. As to hosted systems, customization is generally the job of the provider. The problem with this is that in most cases, the provider can only customize up to a certain level. If you need customization up to extreme details, on-premise PBX may be your better option. If you prefer to use the hosted option, discuss with the provider the degree of customization you need and whether it is possible.
Smooth User Experience
PBX systems prioritize data traffic in order to boost voice quality. Since voice and data packets typically compete for preference, data quality is lower with hosted PBX solutions.
Hosted vendors offer a Session Border Controller (SBC) device to improve data quality, but this increases to the system’s total cost and complexity. If you expect voice quality to be an issue in larger networks, take note of this as you decide between a hosted and an on-premise system.
Technical Support Cost
If your company manages your own data, you may already have a whole bunch of IT professionals at your disposal. This should also mean that having a hosted PBX system will not likely wipe out your current staff. Instead, all it does is pass the responsibility over to a third party and drive up your costs instead of pulling them down.
If you have no IT team right now, hosted PBX can save you the cost of hiring new workers. However, also consider how depending on third-party support will go with your company’s current systems.