Considerations for Installing Private Branch Exchange (PBX) System
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 call for a big upfront investment; in contrast, hosted systems are paid for with smaller 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. The only difference is in the bundling of features. Hosted PBX providers generally bundle features for a fixed per-user charge. 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 important to you, make sure this clear with the provider right from the get-go.
You will probably have to shop around to find the right company that can offer you the right bundle, depending on 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
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. With hosted systems, customization is generally done by 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 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. Since voice and data packets typically compete for preference, data quality is lower with hosted PBX solutions.
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 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.
Technical Support Cost
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 have no IT team right now, hosted PBX can save you the cost of hiring new workers. However, consider how dependence on third-party support will work with the current strategies and systems used in your company.