Choosing the right PBX system is a tricky business and it requires thorough and careful research. In the past the best sources for information might have been analyst reports or technology and telephony publications but all of that information has moved online. The single best way to review all the options is to thoroughly explore all the available information online from each of the forty or more different established vendors in the PBX space (and that is excluding an additional 50 or more vendors that are too small or too new to be considered reliable). But that is huge task and one that very few businesses can spare the time for. Instead, high quality independent online publications like CompareBusinessProducts now provide reviews and comparisons that are just as thorough and usually much more straightforward that the big analyst companies and at the same time gather the most important information from those key vendors into one place.
The right way to do a quick but effective evaluation of which PBX system is right for you is to follow this simple checklist.
First, clearly establish your requirements. Look at the size of your organization and your telephone usage. A heavy usage organization like a sales team or a call center is going to have substantially higher requirements than an analytical organization that has few external needs. You also need to look at the number of locations. The needs of a spread-out retail organization are different than those of a medium-sixed business located in a single central office.
Part of knowing exactly what you need is knowing what the current features set and capabilities of PBX systems are and how to evaluate or review them. Take a look at our Phone System and PBX Buyers Guide for information about features and capabilities that are applicable to businesses of any kind.
Once you have the criteria that interest you established, you need to start looking at and comparing different vendor capabilities - reviewing PBX and phone systems to see how they match your needs. The goal is to create a shortlist of anywhere from one to four products or vendors that you can then evaluate thoroughly by contacting them and getting a demo or a trial. For the single most comprehensive table of PBX systems with a comprehensive list of features, see our CompareBusinessProducts Comparison Guide. Unlike most comparison tables it is in a convenient Excel format that lets you filter and search easily as well as add new criteria and comments of your own. You can get the Comparison Guide here.
Do your research thoroughly, but take advantage of the shortcuts and preliminary research we have already done for you. Then carefully look at your shortlist. Remember to get input from the future users of your new phone system. A common mistake is to forget the phone itself - whether it is a deskset or a headset, people have strong preferences and the wrong phone can make an otherwise great system unusable.
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