Is It Possible to Outgrow an Open-source PBX?

Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

Is It Possible to Outgrow an Open-source PBX?


Due to cost, many small businesses have started with an Open-source PBX such as Asterisk and FreePBX.  But once you have that in place, is it possible that you might need to move to a more business oriented solution – one that is supported?  In other words, is it possible you might outgrow what you started with?

Open-source PBXs are great for the right customer.   If you as a customer are programming oriented, then digging into an Open-source PBX is great.   They are highly customizable and so you can can go in there and figure out exactly how you want your phone system to behave.   And it might be fun to go download new releases and pick the specific phones you want and keep the system updated with the latest security upgrades.

But let’s say your business grows.  And you have less time for that than you used to.   I mean, you need to sell your wares right?  Certainly in that case it would make sense to upgrade to a commercial systems, so that someone else handles the updates, the support, the specific upgrades required, and has a choice of phones and SBCs that work with the unit.   The system can still be Open-source based and can behave like you are used to, but you’d have more time to run the business.

Let’s also say you like the system, but you purchased it from a reseller who put the Open-source components together.   There are many specialist resellers who in fact do that.  They take an Open-source PBX such as FreePBX craft it into a from that can be sold to a customer.  However, many of these resellers are small companies.  They might not be able to handle your growing needs.  Or you may be worried that they’ll go in a different direction and not be able to support you any longer.

And let’s say you need other features beyond what the Open-source version offers.  You might want specific routing capability.  You might want to add on applications beyond simple phone calls.  You might want to add SmartPhone support via a SmartPhone client.   You need MORE.

In all these cases, it makes sense that you would “outgrow” what you are currently using.   In fact, the O’Brien Automotive Team did in fact follow a similar path above.   They started with an Asterisk based PBX, moved to FreePBX from Sangoma (also based on Asterisk) and then from there moved to the Sangoma commercial supported PBX version PBXact.  Read the case study here.

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