virtual phone systems
A Hosted PBX service is one of many options a business can choose for their telecommunication needs. But why go with a hosted service?
What is a Hosted PBX?
Let’s get this definition out of the way first for those who are just starting to look into telecommunication solutions. PBX stands for private branch exchange, and is a phrase that goes back to the early days of telephone service. A Hosted PBX is a private branch exchange delivered by a third party vendor.
A Hosted PBX allows a business to take complete advantage of their phone system’s features (voicemail, faxing, automated greetings, conferences, etc.) but not actually own or maintain the infrastructure necessary to utilize those features.
There are many advantages of this set up. Here are just a few:
1. Cost efficiency
When PBX services are hosted there are fewer expenses in the form of repairs. This also means that there is less downtime because of in-house maintenance. This type of system has little if any complex infrastructure that would need to be purchased or set up because it uses the Internet connection and the It Network most businesses already have in place.
There is even less initial cost as there is no need for a large expenditure to actually install the PBX system on site.
Businesses grow and contract, especially if they have any seasonal aspect. This can be a Christmas rush, summer increases, or even tax time. It all just depends on what that business is. A hosted PBX is a phone system that can be scale based entirely on the needs of that business. The adding and subtracting of lines enables a business to change seamlessly. Many of these changes can be done by making a phone call or going to a website. In fact even mobile devices can be connected to the hosted service.
3. Outsourced maintenance
In this way the hosted PBX is similar to the positive aspect of the traditional phone company. The business does not have to keep a dedicated in-house staff to keep the system up and running. The hosted PBX system is managed by the provider/vendor at their facility. There is no down time because the PBX system had to be taken offline for maintenance, updating, or repairs; all common reasons for downtime if a business chooses to maintain their own PBX system.
There was a time when a hosted PBX system was not as reliable as a self-serviced system, but with advancements in technology that is no longer the case. A hosted PBX system will typically connect every call without a lag in response times, or delays/lapses in call quality. There will also typically be reception that is on par with a traditional phone system, if not better.
5. Disaster recovery
In the event of a fire, storm, and some cases even power outages the first thing that often goes down is the telephone system. This will causes disruptions and bring productivity down if not to a standstill. This of course affects the bottom line in addition to communication with vendors and clients. With the PBX infrastructure housed in the protected environment of the vendor hosting it, the problem of potential downtime due to external forces is drastically cut down. This also allows communication to be maintained in the event of an emergency.
6. Work beyond the Office
As mentioned earlier, mobile devices can be added the hosted PBX system essentially eliminating office boundaries. This is important as work is becoming not a place to go but something an employee can do regardless of where that employee is. Employees can then work from anywhere, which is ideal if the business has a mixture of home-workers, office works, employees in the field, and salespeople who have to go out to deal with clients.
7. Advanced Features
A traditional phone system only has so many features that can be implemented. Whereas a PBX system has advanced calling features that many businesses find essential to meeting their needs. A PBX system will typically provide access to voicemail, email, remote call management, auto attendant, directory, music on hold, and voice messaging.
With a hosted system businesses can gain inter-connectivity between email, voicemail, presence, IM, video, and more through many different packages offered by the hosting vendor. A traditional phone service cannot provide many of these and an on-site PBX will require the proper equipment and software.
Is this for you?
For many, switching from a traditional phone system to a hosted PBX is the obvious choice. The lower initial investment and lower costs of maintenance alone are enticing. The call quality is the above the board and hosted services can provide data analysis and features that a traditional phone company can only dream of. Hosted services also offer a flexibility and cost savings that many businesses need to survive in today’s ultra-competitive market place.
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