PBX Archives | Access4

The Role of a Small Business PBX

The Hero of Your Mobile Integration

What is the future workstyle for the small to medium enterprise-size businesses in the era of mobility, millennials and generation Z? Do you know which applications your employees use for everyday communication within the company and with your clients? As a small company owner, you may be concerned about the communication tools your employees use, how they use them, and the impact they are having on your customers or clients.

Maybe you are considering establishing some communication standards for your business or just thinking about change, looking at the hidden costs of the premise-based small business phone system. Perhaps you feel it’s just too much trouble to worry about tools that seem to be only available to bigger businesses or corporate teams? But it’s not – and what’s more, change can positively impact your employees and your business.

The first step of your cloud transformation

Teams usually start their transformation by moving their documentation to the Cloud. They will look for a ‘freemium’ feature and functionality and consider the pricing and security aspects of the service. Accessibility across devices could be the next step, but then things get slightly complicated – should your employees be able to use their private mobile phone? Do you expect them to be available while on the go?

A new era of mobile productivity

The world is mobile and on the go and BroadSoft’s infographic about mobile productivity is showing following;

  • 50% of employees use their smartphone as their primary device
  • we spend 60% of the time away from our desks
  • 50% of companies require employees to supply their own device for work
  • 55% of emails opened on mobile devices
  • 50% workforce will be millennials by 2020.

Your future workforce, the loyalty challenge and team efficiency

BroadSoft’s survey ‘The Future of Work’ finds that information overload, disconnected workflows, fragmented communications, inefficient meetings and projects, cost and complexity are the typical consequences of disconnected content management technologies.

Deloitte’s Millennial Survey for 2018 confirms what the recruiting industry is already dealing with; Australian millennials believe company culture is more important than money. 67% of them will choose a new employer based on a positive work environment, and that’s 15% higher than findings on a global level.

Apparently, millennials are not so loyal either, and they tend to stick around less than two years. Simon Sinek, author and organisational consultant, suggests that loyalty is not a generational thing, but human; everyone wants the same thing from their work environment. But millennials and Gen Z grew up with technology and might be less patient with non-efficient work environments.

Your phone system – the hero of mobile integration and your journey to the cloud?

Looking at all these findings, communicating seamlessly across platforms might be the next thing you will consider. Imagine your small team with a corporate – looking communication platform: text messaging, quick file sharing, switching from a desk phone and office computer to mobile, or just scheduling a video call for participants within or outside your organisation.

There is no difference from the perspective of your clients or customers, as well as your employees; they will have the same expectations and you have the unique opportunity to make your business more collaborative. It might not resolve ‘the loyalty issue’ but just might be the opportunity you wouldn’t want to miss.

Learn more about the opportunities you can get through Managed Voice and why is it easy to add Unified Communications as a Service, or just get in touch with us if you would like to learn more about your options!

 

Sources:

  1. https://www2.deloitte.com/au/en/pages/about-deloitte/articles/millennial-survey.html
  2. https://au.pcmag.com/cloud-services/45359/guide/the-best-cloud-storage-and-file-sharing-providers-for-busine
  3. https://www.inc.com/why-do-employees-really-quit-their-jobs-research-says-it-comes-down-to-these-top-8-reasons.html
  4. https://www.comparebusinessproducts.com/phone-systems/pbx/pbx-101/history-of-pbx-phone-systems
  5. BroadSoft, The Future of Work: BroadSoft, A New Era of Mobile Productivity
  6. Access4 Whitepaper – Cloud ISDN

Many manufacturers of Business Phone Systems (PBX) claim that buying a solution is more cost-effective over 5 years. What are the hidden costs they are not telling you about?

Flexibility

With premise-based Business Phone Systems (PBX) you are typically buying a fixed asset. This is either constrained by the appliance hardware, the servers you need to buy to run it on or the licensing model from the vendor. This means that you need to estimate your peak demand 5 years in advance to buy for what you might need. The risks here are that you buy a business phone system for what you need today. This decision can also be influenced by getting the best commercial outcome for today’s needs and not paying for future needs that don’t eventuate. You could end up with a PBX that won’t meet the demand of your future business. Questions to ask are:

  • Can your premise based PBX scale to meet the needs of peak demands?
  • What are the physical limits of the system?
  • How do you scale rapidly if needed?
  • Redundancy

Adding redundancy to on-premise business phone systems generally means duplicating it to another site. This is an expensive form of insurance in the event something happens. Have you factored in this cost of building redundancy?

Capacity planning

On-premise PBXs often rely on servers for functions like call recording. These servers will have a fixed storage capability and when full, no more calls can be recorded without purging old files. Questions to answer are:

  • What is the total capacity?
  • What is my capacity planning threshold (IE when do I need to buy more)?
  • Who is going to manage these servers and at what cost?
  • How is my data backed up?

The cost of obsolescence

The average lifespan of an on-premise phone system is 7 years and longer if companies are looking to maximise the return on big investments that they haven’t fully used.

Industries, companies, and the way people work change much quicker than this. You may find yourself without features that your competitors have, costing your business revenue. Alternatively, you may find your business cobbling together other technologies that don’t integrate well into your business phone system or even having to give your employees multiple applications for communication. Questions to answer are:

  • How old is the product [not the one you are buying but the platform/technology]?
  • When is the next big release and do I get the new features automatically?
  • What is the cost to upgrade?
  • Mobility

Businesses are more mobile than ever, and employees are starting to use their mobiles more than their desk phone. Integrating mobility into on premise-based PBXs can be difficult and expensive with calls having to be delivered to your site before being sent out to the mobile. This incurs additional costs and with employees manually forwarding phones the potential for toll fraud is heightened. Questions to answer:

  • How many more voice lines do I need to cater for mobility?
  • What are the call costs?
  • Can my mobile users call from the office line while on the road?
  • Maintaining the hardware

With on-premise PBX you need to factor in additional costs to maintain the hardware. If the PBX is an application you may also need to factor in licensing costs for the servers. You need to house the equipment in a suitable environment which means a computer room with appropriate cooling, or you need to buy colocation services from a data centre provider. Questions to answer:

  • Who is maintaining the PBX and at what cost?
  • What additional licensing costs do I need to factor in?
  • What is the cost to house the equipment in my office and what is the opportunity cost if I was to use that space for staff, not computers?
  • Ability to integrate

Most businesses these days are looking to integrate their business phone system into their CRM. With an on-premise system, this normally is left to the business to manage which means additional costs for someone to integrate the two systems. Questions to answer:

  • Which third party systems does the system integrate out of the box?
  • What is the cost to install 3rd party integration, and to maintain it?
  • Performance

Due to most of the premise-based systems being confined to physical equipment on site the more features you turn on the more resources that equipment needs. Often features needed now are unknown when you buy the on-premise PBX. Businesses can find that the new features use up too much capacity of the system creating performance issues. Questions to answer:

  • What resource does this new feature need?
  • Who is running my configuration successfully and are they willing to help?
  • Management

For most businesses the business phone system provides a means to contact customers. Managing complex IT and telephony environments is not a core capability and therefore either needs to be managed internally at considerable cost or outsourced on a one to one basis. This can add additional costs. Questions to answer:

  • If you need to make a change, what is the cost of this and who does the work?
  • How do you prevent errors?

Whilst on occasion it can seem commercially attractive to simply own the PBX, the costs to do this don’t show the full picture. Using a cloud business phone system removes ancillary costs and simplifies management allowing you to focus on your core business, not the management of a phone system.

 

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