A few years ago, it wasn’t unusual for businesses to use an on-site PBX for both internal and external communications. VoIP telephony was still a relatively new player in the telecom world, and it was not a standalone solution for serious communications needs.
But today, the game has changed. VoIP telephony is here to stay, and on-site PBX technology is often considered unwieldy (at best) and outdated (at worst).
Despite this and the many benefits that VoIP communications has to offer, many businesses are still choosing to stay with their on-site PBX solution. We spoke with Ben Smith, an AVOXI Account Manager who works with many prospects who have maintained their on-site communications platform, to find out why.
Related: See if a Hosted PBX system is right for your business!
We’ve always used an on-site PBX.
Change is hard, and it can be scary. And not surprisingly, resistance to change is one of the top reasons why businesses stay with an on-site PBX.
“It’s a little bit of a corporate mentality,” says Smith. “Most of these businesses have always used an on-site PBX, so it’s hard for them to imagine making the switch to cloud communications – even now.”
For large enterprises in particular, the prospect of leaving an on-site communications solution for a cloud-based one is even more of a challenge.
“These big enterprises are more likely to go with big name brands, like Cisco and Avaya. There are a few big names in the VoIP communications market, but it’s still fairly young. So, big enterprises often don’t see them as reliable when compared with long-standing players in the telecom industry.”
In reality, cloud communications solutions are more viable than ever – especially for large enterprises. Today’s VoIP providers are continually updating their products, which means that they never really go out of production. Many on-site platforms can be difficult to maintain long-term, especially in cases where providers stop supporting a certain piece of equipment.
We’re not sure that cloud communications are really more cost-effective than our current solution.
VoIP providers are quick to tell you how much you can save by making the switch to cloud communications. And, they’re right. There is no initial capital investment required, as is the case with most on-site PBX technology. And you’ll just pay a flat monthly rate – a subscription – plus minutes used. And some VoIP providers even bundle minute usage along with your monthly subscription for more predictable invoices.
So, why would anyone think that an on-site PBX could be more cost-effective than a cloud solution?
“It really depends on the business and they’re individual needs,” says Smith. “VoIP is definitely the cheaper option for many businesses, but there are some exceptions.”
“For example, some businesses get a monthly package of minutes that they don’t have to ‘pay’ for,” continues Smith. “Chances are, those minutes are rolled into whatever monthly bill they receive from the local provider. But, the loss of those ‘free’ local minutes would seem like an additional cost if they moved to a VoIP provider.”
The cost-effectiveness of VoIP solutions depends on two factors: how much you’re paying for your current usage (particularly local), and how much you’re willing to spend on equipment, installation, and maintenance costs. VoIP will save you money on long-distance and international calling and requires no hefty upfront fees. But, some businesses find that the rates from local providers are more affordable when it comes to local calling.
So, let’s say that your business has an on-site PBX that allows for affordable local calling. But, you’re paying a fortune in international and long-distance calling fees. What should you do?
“In a situation like this, we would recommend a hybrid solution,” says Smith. “You can use your on-site PBX for local calling and get the bundled minutes from your local provider. Then, we can connect a SIP trunk to your IP PBX, allowing you to use leverage affordable VoIP rates for long-distance and international calls.“
What if my Internet goes down? I don’t want to be without a phone system.
This is a legitimate concern; but, reliability is still a bad reason to stay with your on-site PBX.
Well, what happens to your phone system if your on-site PBX is damaged by fire? A flood? What about a power outage? Your business stops receiving calls.
“It’s the same problem, just from the opposite viewpoint,” says Smith. “If you rely only on VoIP, your business phone service could be affected by an Internet outage. And if you rely on your on-site PBX alone, your phone system could be damaged by any kind of unforeseen event – including a power outage.”
So, what’s the solution?
“It’s simple: redundancy,” says Smith. “With a VoIP solution, you can maintain call continuity by routing traffic to an alternate destination in the case of an outage. You can’t get that same kind of quick and easy alternative call routing solution with an on-site PBX alone.”
On-Site PBX or Hosted VoIP: Which Is Right For Your Business?
While we’ve made some strong points in favor of VoIP solutions, the question still remains: which type of communications solution is right for your business?
“When it comes down to it, every business has to decide what’s best for them,” says Smith. “Determine what your communications needs are, and do your homework. The right communications provider will help you find the perfect fit. Maybe that’s a pure VoIP solution, and maybe it’s on-site PBX. Or, maybe it’s a combination of both.”
For more information about business VoIP solutions from AVOXI, schedule a demo with an AVOXI VoIP specialist today.