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Essential Considerations for Installing a Private Branch Exchange (PBX) Solution

The popularity of hosted private branch exchange (PBX) solutions has led to a surplus of information about these modern 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.

Actual Cost of Ownership

On-premises call for a big upfront investment; in contrast, hosted systems are paid for with smaller monthly installments. 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 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 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. 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 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. With hosted systems, customization is generally done by the provider. The problem in most cases is that the provider will only be able to customize up to a particular degree. 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.

Smooth User Experience

PBX systems prioritize data traffic in order to boost voice quality. 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 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, this only moves the responsibility over to a third party and increases your costs instead of decreasing them.

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. However, also consider how depending on third-party support will go with your company’s current systems.

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