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.
Actual Cost of Ownership
On-premise systems usually call for a big upfront investment, while hosted systems are paid for with smaller monthly payments. However, you have to look into the total cost of ownership (TCO) of such systems on top of the initial capital you need to buy a new phone network.
Specific Functionality and Bundled Functionality
Nowadays, the technical capabilities of hosted and on-premise PBX systems are mainly the same. The only difference is in the bundling of features. Hosted PBX providers typically bundle features and collect a fixed per-user price. On-premise PBX, on the other hand, gives users the option of choosing the features and functionality that they need. If you need customization for your specific PBX uses, make sure you tell the provider in advance.
You will probably have to shop around to find the right company that can offer you the right bundle, depending on your needs. 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 usually easy with on-premise systems, considering there will probably be an on site IT staff that supervises the deployment and management of the system. As to hosted systems, customization is generally the job of 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 would like to use the hosted option, make sure the provider can give you the level of customization you require.
Trouble-free User Experience
On-premise PBX systems ensure high voice quality by prioritizing data traffic. Hosted PBX solutions tend to produce lower data quality since voice and data packets generally have to fight for preference.
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 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 Tech Support
If your company manages your own data, you may already have a whole bunch of IT professionals at your disposal. This should mean as well that with a hosted PBX system, your current staff will probably remain. Instead, this only moves the responsibility over to a third party and increases your costs instead of decreasing them.
If you have no IT team right now, hosted PBX can save you the cost of hiring new workers. But don’t forget to consider how relying on third-party support will jive with the systems you’re currently using.