Considerations for Installing Private Branch Exchange (PBX) System
The rising popularity of private branch exchange (PBX) solutions has brought forth a sea of information regarding these virtual telephony systems. 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 vs. 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 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 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.
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 issue in most cases is that customization by the provider may be limited. 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.
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.
To combat this, hosted vendors can offer a Session Border Controller (SBC) device, but of course, this will add to the total cost and complexity of the system. 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 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 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 internal IT team, hosted PBX spares you from the cost of hiring new employees. However, also consider how depending on third-party support will go with your company’s current systems.