Essential Considerations for Installing 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.
Real Ownership Cost
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
These days, hosted and on-premise PBX systems have mostly the same technical capabilities. The difference lies 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 customization is important to you, make sure this clear with the provider right from the get-go.
It’s a must to shop around so you can find the right company that offers you the right bundle for 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 Process
When you talk about on-premise systems, customization is usually easy since there will be an on-site IT staff that takes care of deployment and maintenance. 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 require highly detailed customization, you may find on-premise PBX more suitable. If you would like to use the hosted option, make sure the provider can give you the level of customization you require.
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.
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 think voice quality will become a problem in bigger networks, factor this into your choice between hosted and on-premise systems.
Cost of Technical Support
If your company handles your own data, you may already have a well-trained IT staff. 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.
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