In parts one and two of our blog series, How to Find Your Next Phone System, we explored how to select a phone system that has the right features for your company and why maintenance and usability should be a factor when reviewing your phone system options. In this blog, we’ll look at how to choose the right deployment option for your next PBX.
Challenge Three: Cloud or On-Premise PBX
All across the VoIP and Unified Communications landscape, industry analysts have been claiming that on-premise PBX solutions are dead and that cloud-based PBX solutions are the future. But, just like their counterparts in the desktop/laptop world who have been shouting that tablets, smartphones, and thin clients mean the traditional computer is dead, it’s not quite so simple.
When doing preliminary research into your next VoIP phone system solution, it becomes quite obvious that your first choice – aside from manufacturer – is to decide whether an on-premise or cloud-based solution is right for your organization. We’ve talked time and time and time again about the pros and cons of both on-premise and cloud-based solutions. But, it really comes down to two major points of contention: connectivity and cost.
For companies with limited or dynamic internet connections, a cloud solution may turn into a nightmare with dropped calls, call quality issues, and overall poor performance. As with any new technology, if you’re looking to improve the efficiency and utilization of a new phone system within your company, this will clearly fail.
For companies with the proper infrastructure, however, a cloud PBX removes many of the associated burdens that come with managing and maintaining an on-premise solution – namely backup/disaster recovery preparedness, failover abilities, on-site maintenance of hardware, and the list goes on.
However, from a cost perspective, choosing a cloud solution oftentimes lowers up-front costs and can even lower month over month costs (depending upon the platform you choose). The downside of a cloud solution is that you have limited control over what’s offered, how it’s configured, and you end up paying month to month, year over year with essentially no end in sight.
For companies that have the infrastructure, an on-premise PBX is the way to go. It allows your company to select a particular hardware platform, purchase the equipment that’s required, install, manage, and maintain it on-site. And, after X number of months or years, you’ve saved enough to recoup your initial investment, making the rest all cost savings. Not only that but since you own the equipment in your own facilities, you can control who exactly has access to what and can reduce concerns about 3rd party data breaches.
But, how does this all help to determine the right solution for your next business phone system? Essentially, when you’re given the choice between selecting an on-premise or a cloud-based phone system, your business can look at the entire telephony marketplace as a way to improve your company’s business processes. Instead of relying solely on a few key areas, such as price, feature set, and technology location (cloud or premise), you’re able to focus on the overall design and use of the system – not just how to work around a new system’s limitations.
For example, the Digium Switchvox Unified Communications platform includes all features for all users. Switchvox is available as an on-premise appliance, VMware virtualization appliance, and a cloud platform. Because the solution is the same across each platform, your business isn’t forced to make sacrifices when choosing where or what deployment model works best. Instead, your company can work on resolving key business challenges, such as: “How do we reduce the amount of wait time a caller experiences when first calling into our business?” or “How do we, in a fair and unbiased way, route new accounts to separate sales personnel?” or “How do I minimize the amount of time it takes to set up, deploy, or manage a new phone?”
All in all, finding your next phone system can be challenging. However, if you’re armed with the correct tools and knowledge, it’s very possible that your business will gain more than just a replacement for your current PBX. With the right solution, your organization will receive a communication and collaboration platform that moves your business forward, allows your customers and employees to communicate more efficiently, and ultimately, should lead to happier customers and employees.