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, it’s a must to look into the total cost of ownership (TCO) of these systems besides the initial capital that you will need to buy a new phone network.
Specific Functionality vs. 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 generally bundle features for a fixed per-user charge. On-premise PBX provides more feature and functionality options, on the other hand, so that users can only pay for those that they want. If customization is crucial to you, be sure to let the provider know from the very start.
You will probably have to shop around to find the right company that can offer you the right bundle, depending on your needs. Before deciding on a particular provider, have them give you a detailed list of features and an accurate price estimate.
Ease of Customization Process
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 with this is that in most cases, the provider can only customize up to a certain level. If you need customization up to extreme details, on-premise PBX may be your better option. If you want to go with the hosted option, check with the provider whether they can meet the level of customization that you need.
Smooth 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 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 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 don’t’ have an internal IT team, hosted PBX spares you from the cost of hiring new employees. 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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