What to Consider When Setting Up a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) Solution
The rising popularity of private branch exchange (PBX) solutions has brought forth a sea of information regarding these virtual telephony systems. If you plan to install a PBX system in your small business or office, you have to make a few crucial considerations.
Cost of Ownership
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 vs. Bundled Functionality
These days, hosted and on-premise PBX systems have mostly the same 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 other hand, on-premise PBX gives you more flexibility in terms of the features and functionality that you are willing to pay for. If customization is crucial to you, be sure to let the provider know from the very start.
You will likely have to shop around to find the best company that can provide you the best bundle, depending on your needs and requirements. Prior to choosing a specific provider, have them give you an accurate price quote that includes all the included features in detail.
Ease of Customization
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. With hosted systems, customization is generally done by the provider. The problem in most cases is that the provider will only be able to customize up to a particular degree. If you need customization up to the very small details, on-premise PBX is clearly your better choice. If you prefer to use the hosted option, discuss with the provider the degree of customization you need and whether it is possible.
On-premise PBX systems ensure high voice quality by prioritizing data traffic. With hosted PBX solutions, voice and data packets usually compete for preference, leading to low data quality.
As a solution, a Session Border Controller (SBC) device is offered by hosted vendors, but this will not come for free, both in cost and complexity. If voice quality will probably be a problem in bigger networks, factor this into your decision to choose a hosted or an on-premise system.
Cost of Technical Support
If your company maintains your own data, you probably have a well-staffed IT team. This should also mean that having a hosted PBX system will not likely wipe out your current staff. Instead, this only passes the responsibility from your in-house experts to third-party experts, thus increasing instead of minimizing your costs.
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.