Buying A New Phone System? Top 3 Things You Need to Know

Communication is foundational to success, which makes the choice of how and when to move to cloud-based communications even more critical. Gaining a better understanding of the major costs, risks, and value behind your options can help you find the best solution for your global enterprise. 

  • Explore the key factors around cost, risk, and value 
  • Understand the two divergent cost models and how to reduce risks while increasing value
  • Challenge yourself with 12 questions that can help you prioritize and scope your project

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Cost. Risk. Value.

If you can’t decide whether to buy a new PBX or to move your business to cloud-based communication services, you’re not alone. Each option has very different features, benefits and cost models, which makes it hard to conduct a traditional head-to- head comparison.

Usually, when deciding on new business tools, most of us start with evaluating the total cost of ownership– how much it will cost us to invest in the new solution, and to maintain and use it from year to year.

But cost isn’t the only consideration you should weigh. Risk and value are equally critical. Keep reading to understand the major costs, risks, and value behind both PBX and cloud communication services, so you can find the best solution for your business.

Cost Factors

Premises PBX and cloud-based communication services are based on two widely divergent cost models. A PBX requires an initial capital investment, followed by ongoing operations and maintenance costs. A cloud-based communication service, on the other hand, is offered for a fixed licensing fee.

Consider the following questions as you evaluate the two cost models:

  1. Is Budget Predictability Important To You? With a premises-based PBX, costs can be tough to predict. How do you know when a component will fail or your business will exceed its PBX capacity? With cloud communications, you pay a predictable licensing fee. You know precisely what your costs will be, month by month and year by year.
  2. Have You Factored In Escalating Support Costs? Support and maintenance costs can quickly outstrip your initial capital outlay for a premises PBX. And they soar higher as your equipment ages. With cloud communications, your service provider manages your infrastructure, including all those costs and headaches.
  3. Have You Looked Beyond The Obvious? In addition to eliminating capital and maintenance costs, cloud communications may reduce or eliminate other operating expenses, such as long distance and broadband charges, conferencing and WebEx costs, and analog phone lines.
  4. Will You Need A Contact Center Or Other Advanced Features? Adding a new contact center or deploying new productivity features like audio, web and video conferencing, call recording and collaboration tools can boost your business. But new features may require a costly infrastructure upgrade. With cloud communications, you can easily add new services for a predictable monthly fee — no infrastructure investment required. The cost model is so compelling that 75 percent of organizations surveyed about their contact center needs predicted they would move to a cloud-based platform.1

Risk Factors

Even the cheapest solution may not be the best if it limits your choices or leads to costly outages. Consider the following:

  1. Is There A Chance Your Business Will Grow Or Shrink? Buying hardware can be a guessing game. Make the wrong decision and you can quickly outgrow your PBX or waste hard-earned capital for capacity that sits unused. With cloud communication services, you pay for precisely what you need and can easily scale up or down to match your business’s fluctuating demand
  2. What Is Your Tolerance For Downtime? Communication is vital to almost every business’s operations. You probably you won’t want downtime for any reason, even updates or repairs. With the cloud, you get a carrier-grade infrastructure, independent from local power, networks or systems. Even if your offices are inaccessible, you can work from any Internet connection or cellular device. With a PBX, will need to invest in duplicate hardware to ensure the same level of protection.
  3. Are You Worried About Making The Right Technology Moves? If you bet on the wrong technology or your new PBX fails to deliver as promised, your investment is sunk. With cloud communications, your service provider assumes responsibility for technology acquisitions and upgrades that keep pace with the market, with service-level agreements guaranteeing performance. If you are disappointed for any reason, you can simply move to a new provider.
  4. What Is Your Tolerance For Deployment Risks? Deploying a new PBX can be time-consuming and complex. And there’s that nerve-wracking moment when you have to decide whether to “go live.” With cloudcommunications, you can radically reduce deployment time, complexity and risk. You can even make a phased transition – integrating your existing PBX into your new cloud infrastructure so the two operate side-by-side. You can transition individuals, teams or locations as you are ready, while maintaining your current dial plan and extensions.

Value Factors

It’s important to think through how your communication choices will impact your day-to-day operations. Ask yourself:

  1. Do You Collaborate With Colleagues, Suppliers Or Customers? Unless you work in a vacuum, the answer is probably yes. Cloud communications can give you a leg up to your competition. Online collaboration tools let you set up shared workspaces where teams can store files, notes and task lists, hold voice or video conferences, use IM, share screens and stay on top of the same set of information. These are features a PBX won’t be able to match.
  2. Do You Have Remote Or Mobile Workers? With the cloud, it becomes simple to give each employee the same secure, productivity-enhancing tools for voice, video and information-sharing, regardless of where they work or travel. Remote workers can “plug and play” from any Internet connection. Mobile workers can take their work number with them on their smartphone. When members of your team can work seamlessly from anywhere, your business becomes more responsive to customers and prospects.
  3. Is It Hard For Your It Team To Keep Up With Demand? If your IT team is stretched to the max, cloud communications can help. Most of the heavy lifting is the responsibility of your service provider. Simple, intuitive online tools help you take care of day-to-day administration, including security protocols, moves, adds and changes
  4. Are You Wasting Time Jumping From App To App? Walk into any business and you’ll find communications, calendar alerts and information scattered across devices and applications. Workers waste a lot of time trying to find what they need, when they need it. Cloud communications can end the productivity drain by aggregating notifications, information and interactions from multiple sources and serving it up in context, when you need it. You can even integrate communications directly into the apps you use every day – from Salesforce to Google G Suite and Office 365.

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