IP-PBX Vendor Selection Checklist

By Ryan Ayers
Updated: September 08, 2011

You already understand that purchasing an IP-PBX solution for your business can help you communicate more effectively and efficiently while lowering costs. You have decided that a hosted VoIP solution is the right choice for your business. Now comes the hard part in finding the right vendor to fit your needs and ensuring that your business ends up with a service package that will help it function most effectively.

What You Need to Know

When your business is evaluating potential IP-PBX providers, it is helpful to determine which attributes are most important to your business’ goals. Not all service and equipment providers have identical strong suits, and it is important to understand the specific features that your business is searching for in a vendor. If your business is primarily concerned with the ability to modify or change your service arrangement as it grows for instance, then it behooves you to seek out vendors that have a specific emphasis on adaptability. Likewise, if call quality is of paramount importance to your company, then selecting your future VoIP provider based on service quality and uptime may be the best route.

Common Goals for IP-PBX Solutions:

  • Scalability
  • Service Uptime
  • Overall Cost
  • Adaptability
  • Service Responsibility

Checking Your List

Once you have decided on the several attributes that are “musts” for your IP-PBX solution, you will be able to move forward and evaluate vendors on a case by case basis without fear of becoming locked in to a solution that is a poor fit for your business.

Scalability – For many businesses today, future growth is an issue that is best kept in mind when entering into service agreements. If your business is likely to grow and/or change rapidly, then a solution that offers some degree of scalability is key for you. There are many VoIP providers available that focus specifically on scalability and the ability to add lines, extensions, features, and more as needed.

Service Uptime – An important question to ask any VoIP vendor is about their service or call uptime percentages. Regardless of your other criteria, you should have some sense of the reliability of your telephone communications. Most IP-PBX providers will have somewhat accurate data regarding their uptime statistics and this will give you an idea of whether they are able to meet your demands in terms of service quality.

Overall Costs – VoIP service was made famous because of its extraordinarily cost effective nature. Most IP-PBX solutions will save your business considerable expense overall, but these service options can very from the extremely minimal (several dollars a month with no equipment included) to the more involved (several hundred dollars per user with premise based networking equipment and advanced telephony equipment). Be sure that your business has a realistic expectation of the initial and ongoing expenses associated with your VoIP goals and you should be able to find a provider that fits into your budget.

Adaptability – Much like the discussion of scalability mentioned above, many IP-PBX providers have a particular focus on the changeability and adaptability of their service agreements depending on your long term needs. If your company is in a constant state of flux, or if you anticipate periodic changes to your equipment and service needs, finding a plan that allows for alterations to your contract is important. Determining the areas that might need change most frequently will help inform your conversations with potential vendors.

Service Responsibility – Unlike service agreements with traditional analog telephone service providers, IP-PBX vendors range from those who will take an entirely hands-off approach and leave you with the proper equipment to those who will manage every aspect of your VoIP service and help you maintain and/or expand your communications network. While the more involved vendors are certainly more expensive, many companies opt for this arrangement because of the savings they get in not having to maintain a networking or IT staff.

Finding a vendor for your business’ new IP-PBX solution should not be a difficult task. Thanks to the wholesale adoption of VoIP technologies, there are providers for any market available with service packages to fit almost any business need.
 

Featured Research
  • 8 Ways Business Travelers Can Save with VoIP

    Do you or any part of your workforce travel for work, or even telecommute? If that answer is yes, then you should be utilizing mobile VoIP. With VoIP, businesses have been found to save as much as 40% on local calls and a whopping 90% on international calling expenses. more

  • Phone System Showdown

    When it comes time to select your new phone system, one of the biggest questions that you will face is whether to go with the hot, new VoIP system or the steady and secure PBX network. There are pros and cons to each of these phone systems, and before making any purchase we highly suggest that you take the time to download and read our latest guide: Phone System Showdown: VoIP vs. PBX. more

  • Signals Your Company is Ready For Unified Communications

    Efficient and effective business collaboration is essential to company success and as you grow your business, you'll discover all the different communication methods that you NEED to stay connected with partners and customers. Implementing a Unified Communications (UC) system can save your company upwards of $920,000 a year due to increased efficiency amongst company employees. more

  • Phone System Implementation Expectations

    Providers would have you believe that implementing a new phone system is as easy as counting to three. However, while the process may not be difficult, there are steps that need to be taken to ensure that your new VoIP system is installed and implemented smoothly. Luckily, the challenges associated with upgrading your system tend to be fairly predictable. Most businesses run into the same set of problems that many others have faced before them, meaning avoiding or overcoming them is as easy as preparing ahead of time. more

  • Your Phone System and Your Bottom Line

    Businesses have been using phones to drive increases to their bottom lines for almost a century now. Telephony, much like the rest of the business world, has seen drastic changes with the increase in technological advancement. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), has enabled companies to connect with consumers at levels that have been seen as unheard of before. And trust us when we say this, it is doing wonders for the bottom line. more