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 plan to install a PBX system in your small business or office, you have to make a few crucial considerations.
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
Nowadays, the technical capabilities of hosted and on-premise PBX systems are mainly the same. 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. Before you choose a certain provider, let them give you a list of features in full detail, including an accurate cost estimate.
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. But with hosted systems, it is the provider’s job to handle customization. The issue in most cases is that customization by the provider may be limited. If you require highly detailed customization, you may find on-premise PBX more suitable. If you want to go with the hosted option, check with the provider whether they can meet the level of customization that you need.
PBX systems prioritize data traffic in order to boost voice quality. 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 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.
Cost of Technical 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 passes the responsibility from your in-house experts to third-party experts, thus increasing instead of minimizing your costs.
If you don’t have an IT team in your company right now, hosted PBX frees you from the cost of having your own IT team. But don’t forget to consider how relying on third-party support will jive with the systems you’re currently using.