What is the right iPBX solution depends a lot on the enterprise and how they use voice service today. There are so many options available for On-Premise connectivity and a equal number service providers offering hosted services. The question that is rarely asked is ‘How are you using voice today and how do you see it being used two to five years from now’? This question alone will drive what vendor solution we recommend over another. Why? Because making a iPBX solution decision is a lot like rolling the dice. Coming up short can mean a complete replacement in a short amount of time.
The typical iPBX provides a host of features that can transition the way an enterprise functions from the top down. Knowing what features are important to your organization now is just as important as knowing what may be useful in the future. A prime example is roaming and traveling users; the smartphone has helped level the playing field but at additional cost. An “app” can be installed on the smartphone making it an extension off of the iPBX but increasing the amount of data being used on the monthly plan. Soft clients that can operate on the average PC/Laptop are equally as important and in many cases can replace the typical handset altogether.
Another prime example is Auto Attendant functionality and Call Center capabilities. They are similar because they both are based on queues and route calls to individuals or agents. They are extremely important in directing calls to the right place when an actual receptionist is not part of the operational plan. It removes the human element from the equation but ultimately makes the organization more effective in servicing the customer.
So is what the answer? Many enterprises latch on to a handful of functions like conferencing, call parking or ease of use. The problem is there are at least (50) standard features that are common between each iPBX system. There are probably less than a dozen features that used throughout the organization on a daily basis. The CFO has to review the licensing and annual maintenance costs of each system to determine the true cost. Is the client licensing based on a per user or number of concurrent calls? Is the server software a perpetual license or annual license? These costs will determine what type of iPBX solution best fits the budget of the enterprise and they should not be considered lightly.