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Replacing your IP PBX with a Hosted VoIP Solution
An IP PBX is just like an ordinary PBX, except that it handles VoIP calls and usually can deliver additional features. It is a piece of on-premises equipment, which like an ordinary PBX, requires some skill to install and maintain. The on-premises solution may well be best for larger enterprises which have the in-house talent to take care of it, and the cash to support the initial capital expenditure. The advantage of in-house of course, is that you retain greater control, and can respond immediately to situations.
For smaller businesses however, the advantages of an on-premises IP PBX disappear. The up-front capital expenditure requirements may be a problem, and a smaller company may lack the staff to maintain the equipment. For this reason, it is often advisable for SMB clients to go with a hosted VoIP solution.
IP PBX v Hosted VoIP Solution
The first consideration of course, is price, and whether an on-premises IP PBX or hosted VoIP solution is better will depend on each company’s circumstance. A company that is fully staffed with an IT department with telecom experience may have very little in terms of incremental manpower costs to roll out an on-premises solution. However, a small company with five or ten people may lack that manpower, and may require additional staff to roll out the on-premises IP PBX, making it a much more costly option. The hosted VoIP solution does have recurring monthly fees, which over time, add up to be far more than the initial cost of implementing an on-premises solution. However, the initial cost is just one cost; the ongoing cost of maintenance must be figured into the equation—and this is why for many SMB operations, the final, bottom-line figure for the hosted VoIP solution comes out to be far less.
Another consideration is access to high-end equipment and features. The hosted VoIP solution gives the small business operator a much greater opportunity to enjoy top-of-the-line equipment and features that probably would not be available were the company to try to roll out an on-premises IP PBX solution.
Of course, scalability is an issue, and presumably, a small business wants to become larger. This will require ongoing additions and expansions, extra lines, and more bandwidth. A hosted VoIP solution will offer much more flexibility in terms of growth. There will be no need for example, to scrap existing equipment to purchase new every time a dozen new employees come on board. Hosted VoIP solutions typically are available on a per-seat basis, which means you pay for what you use, and add capacity only on an as-needed basis.
24×7 maintenance is also extremely valuable to the smaller company, which may not be staffed on a round-the-clock basis. The hosted VoIP solution manages and troubleshoots the system remotely, 24×7—so if there is a problem at 3:00 in the morning, the provider will be on it immediately—rectifying the problem before the office opens up in the morning.