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You run a small or medium-size business. You and your staff communicate regularly by phone with customers, suppliers and each other. You need a phone system for business that provides both internal and external calling capabilities, and you want that system to be uncomplicated, reliable, and cost-effective.
No problem! As long as you carefully define your needs, learn what’s available, and compare offers, you should be able to select a telephone system that will enable your business to thrive.
Define your business phone system needs
- How many users will the telephone system need to support?
- How many business calls do you make/receive in an average day, week or month?
- Do you expect your call volume or your staff to increase in the coming six months or year?
- How many business phone lines do you need?
- Are you constrained by your current hardware infrastructure?
- Do you need an automated greeting message or do you have a receptionist?
- What features do you need (voice mail, caller ID, conference calling, transferring, etc.)?
- Is your location equipped with broadband Internet access?
- Does your business occupy more than one site?
Examine the options
Once you have an idea of your needs and your budget, you are ready to examine the market’s offering.
- Traditional PBX phone system: A Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone system serves a particular office or location. It comprises an internal switching network for distributing calls within the organization and trunk-line access to external numbers via the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). A PBX system delivers standard functions like call-waiting, call-forwarding, on-hold music, conference calling and voice mail. It requires a substantial investment in equipment, if such infrastructure is not already in place.
- Hosted PBX: A hosted option enables your company to outsource the management of your phone system to an external service provider. The PBX is housed and managed by the provider, who delivers service to your business over the PSTN or the Internet. You pay for the service and avoid purchasing and maintaining expensive hardware. A mobile PDX option is a hosted solution that also extends fixed-line service to mobile phones and PDAs.