How do you know if a hosted PABX is the right option for your business?

If you have a business, you will be making phone calls at one point or another. For many small businesses, it’s enough to have a cellphone, but as your business grows, you need a bit more than just that. There are few options available to you – traditional analogue lines, hosted PABX, or onsite PABX.  Of these options, you will hear praises sung to the benefits that a hosted PABX can provide for your business. The praises will probably be true too, but not every business is the same. The question is, is hosted PABX right for my business. To help you make that choice, we’ve highlighted some things you need to consider and remember as you choose what telephony system to implement in your business.

Monetary considerations

You have to carefully consider the type of financial commitment you can make. If you choose to invest in a hosted PABX, it means you are committing to a monthly financial obligation at the least. In other words, you pay a hosting company for the service of hosting your PABX, and there are specific PABX features that you have access to. You might need to also make an upfront investment in some hardware (like IP phones, headsets and a router). If you don’t have a stable enough internet connection with enough bandwidth, you might need to also invest in that upfront.  The service plan you have with your provider will determine your monthly payment, the number of extensions you have, and the features that you can enjoy with your PABX.

Business size, nature, and mobility

The size of your business can greatly influence the telephony system you choose. More often than not, a business should have at least three employees to have the cost-saving effect of a hosted PABX become a reality. If your business is getting larger and you are regularly hiring new people, the scalability of a hosted PABX is a great feature that you can make use of. If the business size is very stable, you can also consider the pros and cons of an onsite PABX.

If the nature of your business includes a lot of long-distance or international calling, a hosted PABX can work exceptionally well. It can reduce call rates significantly and help the business save some money. If the nature of your business is to handle personal and sensitive information, a hosted PABX might not meet the safety and security requirements you have to operate under.
If your employees need to be particularly mobile and still have the secretary patch calls through to them directly, a hosted PABX can also work very well. It can allow every member of your business to be travelling or working from home and still be reached on the “office number”.

In-house expertise

This is a very important factor to keep in mind. What IT knowledge and expertise do you have in-house, how up to date is it, and how up to date does it remain? If your company has a PABX expert on staff and a team that can dedicate itself to that system 24/7/365 to monitor call quality and the like, you could possibly invest in an onsite PABX. If this is not the case, however, and you either don’t have an in-house IT expert, or your IT expert doesn’t specialise in PABX and cannot dedicate him-/herself to that system, a hosted PABX would be a better option. Your service provider should always be up to date on the latest technology and should also upskill their staff and technicians regularly to ensure that you are always receiving the best service, support, and upgrades to the system.

These considerations are some of the most important to keep in mind when you decide what telephony system to invest in. Do also bear in mind that none of these factors can be considered in isolation but rather, they influence each other. You might be a business that is still growing at a steady rate and projections look good, you are hiring experts and thus an onsite PABX can work when you hire the right staff and invest into paying it off.
You might also decide that you don’t want to risk paying off an onsite PABX if your business is still growing because something could happen where you will have to default on a payment and thus you would rather go with a hosted PABX where it is easier to cancel a service. Your unique business needs will determine what is best for your company.

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