A visit to a provider’s website will quickly tell you if they are an advocate of a Hosted phone system (Cloud PBX) or if they offer a premise phone system (PBX) option. I won’t go overkill on the acronyms, suffice to say that VoIP and IP PBX are standard fare for all, so we can simply refer to the phone system as a PBX and focus on whether Cloud or Premise is better.
Many providers claim that their offering will provide your users with the:
Some even back these claims with cleverly worded documents that breakdown the business case proving their solution is the best. The problem with the generic Return-On-Investment (ROI) and business case analysis views is that they presuppose a lot; they over-simplify a lot more and they out-right omit some of the pertinent data. The devil is certainly in the detail.
But let’s face it – nobody has time for details.
Assuming the myriad of Cloud PBX providers have the comparative categories correct, (i.e. cost, features, reliability, mobility, security, customer service); are we really to believe their slick marketing and glib sales professionals at their word, that their solution is “the best”? Just because their job is to convince you, doesn’t mean you have to buy into their convincing.
I mean are we really to believe that your internet service is more reliable and more secure than a traditional phone line? Not that I am advocating for old circuit switched traditional telephony, it’ just a case in point. Is a network-based phone system more reliable, feature rich and secure than a traditional PBX? If all you have to offer is a Cloud PBX and VoIP, then we already know what answer you will arrive at.
Are you a believer that web help and call center Customer support is superior to a local trusted phone technician? My experience tells me otherwise. In fact, whenever we used to pick up a circuit-switched telephone (TDM; analog or digital) the call was of the highest quality and always worked – whether the network and your router was up or down. That doesn’t imply it is better than an IP phone. Depending on what you are looking for it might be better or at least no worse than VoIP. After all it is just a phone call, a conversation, just talking…unless you are getting packet loss, jitter, bad echo, one-way speech, robot-talk or many of the new terms that have entered the PBX lexicon since VoIP and QoS considerations have become IP network challenges.
My best advice is to look for a company that understands telephony and offers both Premise and Cloud PBX options. One that will freely advise you which solution is best based on your needs – not theirs.
Furthermore, if you are using traditional telephones and are happy with your service, don’t let anyone convince you that what you have is bad and must be replaced. The Cloud Crowd will always tell you that a Cloud PBX is what you need, it is superior and will make all your phone dreams come true – that is their answer out of necessity. If you are intent on Cloud PBX, make sure you own your own space in the Cloud. Your business is not assigned to a shared resource environment which is the case with most major Cloud PBX providers. That way you are much more secure and do not have to deal with resource contention and you have the flexibility to schedule updates and maintenance windows on your terms, not on the group terms of the Cloud Crowd.
Note – I have purposely avoided the Leased versus Owned debate. With lease-to-own and managed service options, these differences are moot and completely based on your personal preferences; with one caveat, Cloud PBX is by design, a leased model only.
In my next blog, I will deconstruct a typical business comparison on Premise vs Cloud PBX and delve into some of those devilish details.