How Hosted PBX Systems Reduce Total Cost of Ownership
Deploying a phone system that keeps pace with the needs of your business without becoming a drag on your IT resources can represent a thorny set of issues. With an environment that adds a variety of new communication modes to the classic phone ecosystem, from videoconferencing and mobile devices to VoIP, the challenge of developing and maintaining an infrastructure that can suit the needs of your business is becoming more complex than ever.
By the same token, your business has more options for meeting those needs than ever before. A phone-based exchange can be configured to meet a variety of needs depending on the particular nature of your company, and Hosted PBX services offer an alternative to managing all this infrastructure in-house.
Taking advantage of these opportunities can produce an environment that offers enhanced efficiency and new possibilities for internal and external communications. However, these opportunities also present a range of costs, including: the original investment associated with installing and maintaining a modern phone system, the costs of ongoing maintenance, additional expenses such as long-distance or Internet service, and the administrative tasks associated with ensuring that your network is structured effectively.
Administrative costs are a key cost advantage of Hosted PBX
The phone environment has organized itself into a few distinct forms of system architecture, each with its own set of features and administrative requirements. The challenge in deploying a sophisticated and modern system comes both from the necessary design and infrastructure decisions and the demands of scaling and maintenance as the system ages.
If your business has a version of the traditional central office phone system, a private branch exchange will probably feel most familiar. By routing calls through dedicated switches and phone hardware, a traditional PBX network incorporates a programmable framework that can scale for larger businesses and incorporate features such as hold music and recorded messages to accommodate high call volumes. It offers some cost savings because it shares business telephone lines across a large number of phones. However, this approach can also carry up-front costs and a heavier maintenance load for the IT staff charged with keeping the hardware in order.
A newer method, using PBX systems that take advantage of premise-based IP and voice over Internet protocols, replaces many of the hardware constraints associated with traditional PBX with software-based solutions. This offers greater integration with your business’ existing networks and data communication schemes, but it also means a new set of maintenance tasks geared at ensuring that the software is configured to effectively manage your communications traffic.
Both approaches have more in common than it might seem at first. In terms of raw capability, traditional and premise-based IP PBX systems have been converging in recent years thanks to new infrastructure and software developments. At the same time, this added versatility means extra complexity for systems that can already feature a demanding set of challenges for your IT staff, from identifying the proper configuration and setup parameters to performing ongoing maintenance, repairs, and maintaining unbroken connectivity with phone service providers.
The advantage of Hosted PBX systems, which employ an offsite provider to manage your business’ phone switching, comes when the infrastructure and maintenance costs are taken into account. Hosted PBX provides a service managed by a professional team dedicated to providing a smoothly functioning infrastructure, while freeing up your own IT staff’s time. With an expanding suite of features entering the communications environment and a volume of increasingly fine-grained challenges for administrators to address, such a system can be a powerful tool for cost-effective management.
Phone System Photo by Dmitry Barsky