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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 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. 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 Functionality and Bundled Functionality

These days, hosted and on-premise PBX systems have largely equal technical capabilities. One difference they have is the way the features are bundled. 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 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 you choose a certain provider, let them give you a list of features in full detail, including an accurate cost estimate.

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. 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 require highly detailed customization, you may find on-premise PBX more suitable. 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

To improve voice quality, data traffic must be prioritized by on-premise PBX systems. 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 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, 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, consider how dependence on third-party support will work with the current strategies and systems used in your company.

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