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Hosted PBX vs. Legacy Phone Systems

You Still Have This in Your Office?

You Still Have This in Your Office?

We understand, you’re nostalgic. You are a business owner who believes in counting on what works. In this case, it’s the phone system you installed for your office in 1991. Sure, the system has call waiting, hold music, direct inward dialing, the ability to make conference calls and interactive voice response. And sure, from time to time you get a dropped call, your service fails and you can’t reach your favorite employee when he is on the road in Omaha via the company line. But hell, you have been using the system since Bryan Adams and Color Me Bad were tearing up the charts and you go with what works.

Here is the thing though. The Nortel phone system which you so dearly love, which got you through the great fire sale of 1994 and the even greater barn burner of 1997, it’s costing you money, efficiency and causing a ton of headaches. Your legacy phone was good…for a while, but now it’s time to upgrade to a Hosted PBX system.

Don’t know what Hosted PBX is? Hosted PBX (Private Branch Exchange) delivers PBX functionality as a service via the Internet. As the name suggests, the service is provided to you by a third party host meaning you buy the phones associated with the service and your host company does the rest. You pay a third party host to maintain and update all the hardware/software in your office. All those IT problems disappear.

Your system is installed and maintained by an IT integrator. Thus all the problems that may occur, your IT integrator takes care of. No more calling AT&T or Nortel to come into your office to fix the problem. As your PBX system is hosted, if there is a problem, your integrator fixes it. If you want to install a new feature, your integrator takes care of it. With a legacy system you did all the leg work on maintenance and hardware refresh, with a Hosted PBX system, no more.

Another excellent added feature of Hosted PBX is 24/7/365 support. No matter the time, the place and the events, if your phone system goes down, your IT integrator has an tech on hand working on the problem to fix it as quickly as possible. As long as you pick a good third party host, your problem should be handled quickly and with ease by a large staff of N.O.S. (Nerds on Site). Some top of the line providers make it a point to have the same N.O.S. deal with your issue no matter the time. This is done so your third party provider IT specialist knows your company, your companies IT history and your companies infrastructure like the back of his hand. Essentially great providers build a rapport with their customers so they can feel confident in their outsourced IT services.

Now most likely your legacy phone system is a land line run within the constraints of local telephone grid infrastructure or public switched telephone network (PSTN). This means if there is a hurricane or inclimate weather and a tree happens to fall on a phone line, you’re company service goes down. Regardless of how busy you are, your legacy phone system now has to wait for the local DPW/Area phone provider to fix the line. However long this takes, well, tough luck. It’s what Dr. Seuss called, “the waiting place.”

With a fully virtualized Hosted PBX system, forget about being connected to a PSTN. Regardless of the weather, rain, sleet, snow, hurricane, tornado, your system is no longer based on land lines contingent on local weather and downed phone lines. With a Hosted PBX system your phone system utilizes VOIP technology and built-in disaster recovery/continuity.

VOIP, or Voice Over Internet Protocol, is exactly what is sounds like. Instead of operating via land lines, your phone system is now run over the Internet dependent on nothing more than an Internet connection. And let’s be honest here, if your company doesn’t have an Internet connection, well, you have bigger problems than installing a Hosted PBX phone system.

Built-in disaster recovery/continuity means if a tree line does happen to fall on a local phone line causing a blackout in the area, your phone system still works. It means when you can’t come into the office because its snowy outside, you still have all the mobility features needed to operate from home as if you were in the office. For a CEO, this means no more snow days for his employees. Sorry guys.

Polycom VOIP Phone

Polycom VOIP Phone

Now you’re asking yourself, well, what about all the features I have come to love and enjoy with my current legacy system? Will I have internal company dialing, directory look up and the hold music I love so much? In a few words, yes and so much more.

There is no way around saying this: your legacy phone system is extremely limited. Remember when you tried to call your favorite employee but couldn’t reach him because he is on the road in Omaha? Not anymore. How would it be to have your office phone work in tandem with your cell phone? Within a Hosted PBX infrastructure your cell phone now acts as your office phone. If you call Mr. Omaha’s office phone, his cell phone rings. It doesn’t matter if he is in Omaha, Fiji, London or Los Angeles, Mr. Omaha’s cell phone is now his office phone. And when you call him, he knows it’s you calling.

Your new VOIP phone system allows you to get caller ID on the road, direct inward dialing and your full contact list. When you make a call from your cell phone the number shows up as an office number. Basically a Hosted PBX system gives you full mobility features allowing you and your employees to be more productive. Other features include automated attendant, web-based receptionist and weighted call distribution among others. Don’t worry about the fancy hold music you love so much, you get that too. (Side Note: A Hosted PBX system has too many features to list here. Needless to say, you get a lot.)  So what about cost? With all this fancy technology, Hosted PBX must be a pricey option?

Well, let’s look at the problem this way. On a monthly basis, how much money do you spend for your office phone system or personal cell phone? If you are anything like the vast majority of consumers, your bill fluctuates depending on use throughout the month. Your legacy phone system contract is essentially a pay for what you use contract with the added pleasure of once you exceed a certain cap, the phone company charges you more. It’s the reason you pay $204 one month and $234 the next month. With a Hosted PBX solution, this no longer applies.

With a Hosted PBX service you have unlimited local and long distance calling providing you with predictable monthly spend. As FortressITX CEO Jason Silverglate recently stated @CloudExpo ”…you get a T1 from Verizon, you get x amount of minutes calling here, x amount of minutes calling there, x amount of minutes calling to California, calling to Canada, calling to anywhere etc. and they nickle and dime you all day long. And you never know what your bill is going to be….with Hosted PBX you know exactly every month you’re paying $100 a month from now until the end of time.”

Alright, so let’s assume the phone system you installed in 1991 has been updated a few times to an internal/onsite company PBX system. For you, the system works fine. It has all the great features you love however you still have to maintain the system yourself and moreover, the bandwidth rate which you use is limited across multiple offices. Hosted PBX solves both those problems. Your IT integrator fixes your technical issues and you have a greater amount of flexibility and bandwidth across your full office spectrum allowing more information to be sent between destinations quicker and easier.

Finally, we have saved the best for last. Overall, a Hosted PBX set up is cheaper than any legacy phone system or onsite PBX solution. Why? Think about the overall infrastructure associated with your current legacy system or onsite PBX system.

You had to buy all the hardware. You had to buy all the software. You have to maintain the hardware and software. When the time comes, you have to refresh all the hardware and software to keep up with current technology. If something breaks, you’re fixing it or paying the phone company to do it for you. You also have the problem of dealing with an onsite IT guy who might or might not know the reason why your system broke down during the busiest time of the year and thus blames the issue on your phone company instead of fixing the problem himself.

Don't Do This

Don't Do This

All of this equals setting fire to your money. Aside from the time, the effort and the headaches, all of this means you are taking your money and burning it. If you can afford to burn your money away in this economy, well, cheers to you but it’s still a terrible idea. Hosted PBX is cheaper because it gets rid of all the aforementioned problems. In the long haul you save a tremendous amount of cash on outsourcing your PBX needs to a competent IT integrator who will charge you one monthly fee to maintain, refresh, analyze and update all of your voice needs. By saving the headaches and the money, as a business owner you are now free to do what you want to do, attend to your business. By outsourcing your phone needs to a New York VOIP provider you can get back to shipping cargo across oceans for international beer companies or continuing to perfect a new brand of Mojito mix designed to kick Skinnygirl Cocktails in the backside.

The only question now is, what type of hold music are you going to use when you are waiting for Mr. Omaha to pick up the phone? Bryan Adams or Color Me Bad? Personally, we suggest The Black Keys.

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