Find the Best PBX for Office Use

By Ryan Ayers
Updated: August 22, 2011

Finding the best Private Branch Exchange (PBX) solution for your business is among the most important systems decisions you are likely to make. Your office phone system is the lifeblood of your business in many ways. Connecting customers, vendors, and employees while helping to facilitate sales and operations activities are integral functions for your PBX system. With such a wide variety of choices when it comes to business telephone systems, finding the solution that will integrate with your operation is critical.

Finding the Right Fit

The most common mistake that businesses make when sourcing a business phone solution is failing to identify the attributes and capabilities that their new system should have in order to help boost productivity and solve communications issues. Identifying the core capabilities that will benefit your business most will help to narrow your field of choices and ultimately will ensure that your business purchases the PBX system that will best help you succeed.

Different PBX providers specialize in different areas, and finding one that focuses on the specific areas that meet your business needs most closely will help ensure a good fit. If your company is prepared to move forward with a large capital investment and has the need for a premise based PBX solution, your choices are likely to be very different than a business that is looking primarily for a low-cost hosted solution.

Defining Priorities for an Office PBX Solution:

  • What is the primary goal of your PBX? (Lower costs, premise based Unified Communications, scalability, etc.)
  • How significant a factor is budget?
  • Are IT resources a factor in the solution type?
  • How important are flexibility and scalability?

Premise Based PBX Solutions

Premise based PBX solutions offer businesses an advantage in that they function as a proprietary communications solution. This leaves your business with options when it comes to adapting and changing your PBX arrangement without incurring fees for each modification. It also generally allows for lower telephone calling charges as you are not utilizing an additional third party to complete your calls. The drawback of a premise based PBX system for many businesses lies in the fact that these solutions require a significant up-front investment and require the IT infrastructure to maintain them.

Hosted IP PBX Solutions

Hosted IP PBX solutions sold as service packages are on the rise and are definitely the more prevalent of these two options – particularly amongst small and medium sized businesses. While there are service charges for additions and changes, as well as a monthly or annual service fee, there are no costs associated with ongoing maintenance and upkeep. The up-front capital investment is generally much smaller than that of a premise based PBX solution. Additionally, making the necessary changes and additions to the service plan fall to the service provider and do not require a large on-site IT staff.

Finding the best PBX system for your business, whether a premise based or hosted solution, will depend largely on your business’ specific needs and restrictions. There are a multitude of vendors for both of these system types that cater to specific needs and/or industries, and finding the best fit for your business should be a simple matter of defining your goals appropriately and sourcing the best solution provider based on those criteria.

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