Premise based IP PBXs offer many benefits to SMBs over hosted solutions. As this is not a discussion on hosted PBXs, I'll cover that subject a later day. The most important parameter is to purchase a system that fits the size of your company today and will meet your needs for the near future. That should be a minimum of three years with five years considered.
Since small business represents the engine of most economies, the definition of "needs" is critical. Previously I discuss cost ROI and TCO addressing some of the cost needs very broadly. However, as Broadvox grows its SIP Trunking business, we see a new entry point for premise based systems. Small business with as few as a half dozen employees are investing in open source PBX software and deploying their own systems.
Why is this happening? Every business looks at the features offered by a communications system and compares them against the way their business operates. If you have a premise based platform, it becomes easier to upgrade or expose your employees to new features that can benefit your company. Whether the entry point is a half dozen people or the typical 25 plus, the small business with a premise-based platform does need to have experienced in house IT support. Out of the box systems, look simple until the small business faces installing and configuring phones, switches, servers and the IP communications connectivity.
Open source platforms built and deployed by a business require the most in house talent. Systems targeting SMBs from companies like Panasonic, Grandstream, 3CX and others can be deployed using in house talent and/or a VAR. The Broadvox model for selling SIP Trunking is indirect as we believe the experience and consultation offered by a VAR is crucial to the long-term success of new IP communication projects. Developing a partner with a VAR, will result in access to additional experience with most it provided at a very reasonable cost, if tied to systems and product purchases.
In summary, select a system that is designed for small business, have some in house IT support and develop a relationship with a trusted VAR.
More on Friday...