It is abundantly clear that the rise of the internet has seen dramatic changes in the way in which businesses operate. Where once it was advantageous to operate on the internet, now it’s necessary in order for a business to thrive in this modern, highly interactive economy. It is equally imperative for any serious modern business, irrespective of size, to utilise a low cost means of communication, and one increasingly popular solution is the use of Virtual PBX.
Private branch exchange (PBX) was developed to allow for intercommunication between a large number of telephone networks within an organisation. With the advent of the internet, the use of PBX through Internet protocol (also known as VoIP) has become ever popular in the business world for it’s ability to offer a low cost means of communication and to integrate multiple functions of communication into a single system – including SMS, emails and automatic calling.
However, for relatively smaller organisations, such a complex network setup is difficult to maintain without soaking up ever increasing margins of resources, something they do not readily have available. Therefore many businesses have resorted to using hosted PBX providers. This third party provider hosts the network for a number of organisations, which:
1. Distributes the relatively high initial fixed costs associated with setting up a Virtual PBX system, lowering initial setup costs
2. Gives each smaller business access to the large range of service features, and the expertise of a specialist outside company, who manages the private VoIP system.
Successful implementation of a PBX system starts with selecting the right VoIP plan for your organisation. This, of course, will vary with each and every organisation, as business needs will vary dramatically between and even within each industry. As such, here is a brief outline of what sort of questions you will need to answer when setting up your PBX system.
Organisational structure will determine how many networks and call extensions are required. The ability to group your employees into departments, so that calls concerning those departments will be allocated to the most relevant employee, would be highly beneficial.
If the geographical spread of your organisation is large (e.g. you have many separate locations), the ability to perform conference calls between multiple participants would ensure this potential issue can be overcome.
If some employees are constantly on the move, e.g. in warehouse, real estate or childcare, then the phone system best suited for your business is a cordless VoIP phone compatible with a hosted PBX system.
Since each call is using data through the internet in order to communicate, then bandwidth, which is the speed at which data is communicated between devices, will vary. Different inbound and outbound call intensities will determine how much bandwidth your organisation will need. Note that again this is dependent on the first question, since some employees, such as your sales and outreach staff, will require almost unlimited calling capacity and therefore more bandwidth, while others may not need as much.
Latency can be defined as the delay between when data packets of voice conversation are sent and received. This is due to a variety of factors including firewalls, lack of bandwidth and distance between calls, among many others. This is almost always solvable by the provider, so you should ensure that your provider has the requisite skills and technology to provide the type of quality service you require.
Finally, any specific needs you have regarding your communication requirements should be available for you to customise, so the customisability of the provider you are choosing needs to be considered as well.