Choosing the right PBX system for your business

One of the most important aspects of any business is that customers are able to get hold of you.  As VoIP communications technology continues to evolve and improve, many businesses are saying goodbye to their old phone systems and embracing digital technology. Making that decision requires careful planning, but the lower costs, increased flexibility and simplicity of virtual PBX systems make them hard to ignore.

Choosing the right PBX for your business can be a daunting task. You ask yourself: do I remain with a traditional on-site PBX or do I go with a hosted system? If I don’t, will I be left in the dark ages, but if I do, will I lose control of my business? Decisions, decisions – all I want is for my business calls to be answered!

To help you make that decision with minimal fuss, we have outlined some questions below that will guide you in selecting the right option for your business needs.

  • How big is your business?

A good rule of thumb is that if you have more than 40 employees needing connections, a traditional on-site PBX is most likely the best option. Alternatively, if you are a smaller business with fewer employees and minimal needs for advanced functionalities and features, then a hosted solution would probably be the best option.

  • Do you plan on growing your business and staff in the near future?

Not only should you choose a good business phone to match your current needs, but also one that continues to meet the needs of your business as it grows.

A hosted PBX is not only flexible and scalable, but also provides security, mobility and growth whereas a traditional system is fairly stagnant, expensive to install and maintain and once it’s installed, it can be costly to add users or to replace it.

  • How much are you willing to invest?

An on-site PBX solution has a high upfront cost because of the hardware, licensing, and installation costs.

Hosted PBX offers the advantage of much lower start-up costs since you're not responsible for purchasing all of the necessary software, core hardware, and equipment as required for an on-premise system.

  • How are your employees working?

In the case of remote employees, it often means sacrificing functionality and professionalism when communicating from cell phones, Skype, etc. With a cloud phone system, remote employees can take their VoIP phones wherever they go and maintain a consistent number and service functionality with customers and the home office.

  • How reliable is your office’s Internet connection?

With a PBX system deployed on-site, there is no need to worry about having an internet connection that can support the phone system.

As high-speed and reliable internet connections with good download and upload speeds are becomingly increasingly available to small businesses, this can be great for e-businesses who do everything online. However, a simple connection to the internet will not necessarily do the job and it’s important to check with your service provider about the service itself, the connectivity and hosting.

In conclusion

While there seems to be more advantages to a hosted VoIP based system, the kind of phone system you opt for really comes down to the size, type of business you are running and the type of infrastructure you already have in place.

The table below provides a simple comparison between hosted and traditional premise-based PBX solutions which should aid you in making the right decision for your business PBX requirements.

Traditional PBX
Hosted (Cloud) PBX
Traditional PBX
Call management, real-time management, advanced user tools.
Hosted (Cloud) PBX
No hardware required, cloud management, scalable, portability.
Traditional PBX
High maintenance.
Hosted (Cloud) PBX
Low maintenance.
Call quality and reliability
Traditional PBX
Excellent in comparison to hosted.
Hosted (Cloud) PBX
Average to good (last mile type dependent)
Cost outlay
Traditional PBX
High setup costs.
Hosted (Cloud) PBX
Low setup costs.
Traditional PBX
Limited amount of lines.
Hosted (Cloud) PBX
Can upgrade as and when needed.
Plug and Play
Traditional PBX
Here you will physically need to decommission your PBX and re-install it at each location, making it a long and costly process.
Hosted (Cloud) PBX
Office moves are much simpler. With a Virtual PBX you just need to pack up your phone and connect once your new broadband system is up.
Technical support
Traditional PBX
Resources such as an IT Manager are required and therefore additional costs are incurred.
Hosted (Cloud) PBX
Virtual PBX solutions provide great features without having to put staff or resources in place to maintain or troubleshoot the system. Remote maintenance by the service provider is an added benefit over needing to send expensive technical resources to site if there is a problem.
Shelf life
Traditional PBX
As soon as a PBX goes on the wall it starts to depreciate in value, its functionality will be superseded by new technology and it will undoubtedly require several software updates during its lifetime.
Hosted (Cloud) PBX
Simply rent the amount of user extensions you require from one centralised system with the latest functionality and features.
Maintenance contract
Traditional PBX
If you have a traditional telephone system you will no doubt have a maintenance contract.
Hosted (Cloud) PBX
There is no maintenance contract. All system maintenance and software updates are performed centrally, at no further cost.
About Author:
Diana Martins Prenner

Diana has been in the PR and Marketing industry for over 23 years, of which 13 have been with Vox. She is passionate about her role in the company which includes media and public relations as well as the management of all events....