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 thinking of installing a PBX system in your office or small business, you have to make a few essential 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 vs. 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 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.
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
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 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 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. Since voice and data packets typically compete for preference, data quality is lower with hosted PBX solutions.
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 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 Technical Support
If your company maintains your own data, you probably have a well-staffed IT team. This should also mean that having a hosted PBX system will not likely wipe out your current staff. Instead, all it does is pass the responsibility over to a third party and drive up your costs instead of pulling them down.
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.