A hosted or cloud PBX phone system for small business is increasingly becoming popular, but there’s good alternatives too. A growing number of companies use either a cloud or the next generation platforms as their primary means for talking with their customers.
The primary benefit of an online PBX phone system is that it is less costly and more flexible. But, even if a cloud PBX phone system is consistently cost-efficient for most of businesses and organisations, there are some important factors to consider. Before you make your choice of which platform you’d use, some food for thought.
Hosted or cloud use: do you still need a provider with its own managed internet service?
In the past, the major risk associated with having the business telephone calls via public Internet access was the availability of stable internet. Putting a phone line over an existing internet connection, commonly known as “over the top” connections, was not always 100% reliable. This was mostly due to bandwidth and other traffic matters. It actually didn’t matter whether you were considering hosted PBX for small business or on-premises solutions. Fast forward and nowadays, even modern on-premises phone systems are internet based. Numerous countries are phasing out the traditional copper since its bandwidth and technology is too limited or has simply, reached it maximum capacity.
So without you being aware, you might already be calling via the net. In Australia, with the introduction of NBN Co, a separate entity that supplies the broadband internet infrastructure, the playing field changed. Almost everyone uses the same network infrastructure as a basis. It means that the monopoly of the big telco providers with their propriety networks ended. This meant that good network access, reliability and speed became available to much smaller players.
However, quality and data protection should be guaranteed by an online PBX phone system provider. Therefor it’s always good to check on their SLA’s (Service Level Agreement).
Are you concerned about initial capital?
Not every company can afford to invest tens of thousands of dollars in a new office or on-premises based PBX phone system. With a cloud PBX phone system you’re don’t have to purchase all the equipment, devices and hardware compared with an on-premise system. So using a hosted PBX for small business has much lower startup or initial costs. Pricing structures can vary significantly depending on implementation factors and licensing. Most businesses find that a cloud PBX phone system is far less expensive to implement than on-premises PBX platforms. Besides that, on the longer term there is no equipment to be depreciated, or technical knowledge needed to keep the system up and running.
What percentage of your calls are international or long-distance? Cloud pbx phone systems are definitely cheaper.
An online cloud PBX phone system almost always results in quantifiable cost reductions. Studies show that the “average” savings of 40% on phone systems over traditional phones are just the beginning. Depending on your particular needs and volumes, we have seem cases where it was more than double that percentage. Additionally, call rate savings can be even higher for startups and businesses that do a lot of foreign callin. The introduction of special plans that offer fixed or unlimited packages of minutes to certain destinations made prices even lower.
Do you have any special setup, customisation or additional requirements for a cloud PBX phone system?
Since no two organisations are alike, neither should their phone systems. A cloud PBX phone system is rich in features. However, before making any generalisations, make sure your provider offers the functionalities you require. A lot of business phone system providers have various plans to choose from, each with its own set of features. Sometimes they offer tiers, or others have just one package that has all features so you don’t have to upgrade to higher tiers later. It’s a fast changing and competitive market, and you should consider your current and future needs. Figure out how the system can grow with the success of your business.
The latest developments – not only a cloud pbx phone system, but other channels also integrated into one platform
Relatively new on the market are systems, that offer cloud based phone system that are part of a broader platform. As phone platforms, they’re feature rich with all bells and whistles. But on top they also offer more mobility, email processing, web-chat and more. The tendency appears to move on from separate systems to these all-in-one solutions.
The development of the internet, easing of telecommunications laws and globalisation saw new players emerge with fresh ideas on the traditional telecommunication markets.
In fact, this development is not much different from what happened to our mobile phone experience. During the last 15 years mobiles went from a device only intended to call to multi functional small computers. We now message, email, do social and far more on our phones. Simpler: everything that we would do on our computers and use different programs or devices for, is now built-in in our smartphones. Old fashioned, and especially stationary, premises bound systems, seem to be on the way out.
Start by thinking and planning ahead
You can start talking to suppliers after answering the questions above and calculating a realistic budget. By planning ahead, your phone system can help to accelerate your business growth.