As businesses grow, so do their communication needs. Efficient communication is essential for any business to thrive and be successful. An organisation must ensure that its communication system is reliable, professional, and cost-effective.
Two popular telephone systems that businesses use to manage incoming and outgoing calls are traditional PABX and Hosted PABX. While both systems provide similar services, you could consider Hosted PABX an upgraded version of Traditional PABX.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Traditional PABX and Hosted PABX systems and explore which option may be best for your business.
Traditional PABX vs Hosted PABX
Traditional PABX and Hosted PABX (also known as on-premise PABX and cloud-based PABX systems) differ primarily in the way calls are managed and the associated hardware and software requirements.
PABX systems are hosted on-site and use hardware to manage calls, while Hosted PABX systems use software in a cloud-based setup. Traditional PABX systems are generally more expensive since it requires more hardware and additional lines to be installed and maintained.
As the upgraded version, Hosted PABX systems offer a much higher degree of customisation, control and reliability. Hosted PABX systems are also a more viable option for businesses that are expanding and don’t want to spend money on additional installations while growing.
What is Traditional PABX?
Traditional PABX systems are on-premises, hardware-based systems that provide centralized call management, advanced call routing, customizable extensions, call queuing, conferencing capabilities, and integration with other communication systems. They offer businesses complete control over their system and data, allowing for flexibility in customization and integration.
However, traditional PABX systems come with high upfront costs and require ongoing maintenance and IT expertise. They also have limited scalability and may face the risk of becoming obsolete.
When considering traditional PABX systems, businesses should evaluate their specific requirements, budget, and scalability needs. They need to assess whether they have the internal resources and expertise to handle the installation, maintenance, and customization involved. Traditional PABX systems are typically better suited for larger enterprises with dedicated IT departments and specialized requirements.
What is Hosted PABX?
Hosted PABX, also known as cloud-based or virtual PABX, operates on a service provider’s servers rather than on-site. It leverages the internet to deliver telephony services to businesses, eliminating the need for physical hardware installations.
The main advantage of a Hosted PABX system is how customisable and scalable it is. Hosted PABX systems can be tailored to meet the specific needs of a business, allowing them to set up automatic call routing, voicemail, and other features to match their communication requirements. Hosted PABX systems can also integrate with other communication tools providing businesses with a unified communication solution.
What are the benefits and features of Hosted PABX?
Hosted PABX offers a significant advantage in terms of reliability since service providers typically house their infrastructure in top-tier data centres, ensuring complete redundancy in connectivity and power supply, along with additional backup measures.
Another benefit of Hosted PABX is its cost-effectiveness. The pricing for this solution is usually calculated per extension, and a single Hosted PABX server located in a data center can accommodate a large number of extensions, ranging from 2 000 to 10 000, for multiple clients. This scalability enables providers to offer affordable pricing due to economies of scale. Moreover, the management of a Hosted PABX server is highly efficient, allowing for the quick onboarding of new clients within minutes. This streamlined process further minimizes input costs, which are ultimately passed on to the clients.
Call routing is a key feature of Hosted PABX systems. With call routing, calls are automatically directed to the appropriate department or individual based on the caller’s input or other criteria, such as time of day or day of the week. This helps to ensure that callers are quickly connected with the right person or department, improving efficiency and customer satisfaction — without the need for a human operator.
Auto-attendant is another feature that is commonly included in Hosted PABX systems. With Auto-attendant, callers are greeted by a pre-recorded message that provides them with a range of options for navigating the phone system — allowing callers to instantly be redirected to the department they’re looking for. This feature can help to reduce the workload of receptionists and provide callers with a more efficient experience.
Voicemail is also an important feature that PABX systems offer. With voicemail, callers can leave a message when the person they are trying to reach is unavailable. Hosted PABX systems can also provide voicemail-to-email functionality, allowing users to receive voicemail messages in their email inbox, making it easier to manage and respond to messages.
Finally, call recording is a feature that is becoming increasingly popular in Cloud-based PABX systems. With call recording, businesses can record and store phone conversations for a variety of reasons, including training, quality control, and legal compliance.
How Hosted PABX Promotes Remote & Hybrid Work Environments
With the rise of remote and hybrid work environments, businesses are increasingly turning to communication tools that can support their distributed teams. A PABX system offers a range of benefits for businesses that operate in remote or hybrid work environments.
One of the main benefits of a Hosted PABX system for remote and hybrid work environments is the ability to support remote workers with the same communication tools as on-site workers. Since Hosted PABX systems are cloud-based, on-site workers and remote workers can benefit from the features like call routing, voicemail, and call recording no matter where they are. This helps to ensure that remote workers can communicate effectively with their colleagues and customers, regardless of their location.
Another benefit of a Hosted PABX system for remote and hybrid work environments is the ability to easily add and remove users. With a Hosted PABX system, businesses can quickly add new users since no hardware or phone lines are required, allowing them to scale their communication system as their business grows. Hosted PABX systems also make it easy to remove users, allowing businesses to quickly adjust their communication system to match changes in their workforce.
With automatic call routing, businesses can ensure that calls are automatically directed to the appropriate person or department, regardless of their location using Hosted PABX systems. This helps to improve communication efficiency and reduce the workload of receptionists and other support staff.
Finally, Hosted PABX systems can provide businesses with detailed call analytics and reporting, allowing them to track communication trends and identify areas for improvement. This can be especially valuable for businesses that operate in remote or hybrid work environments, as it can help them to better understand how their communication system is being used and make informed decisions about how to optimise it.
Key Considerations Before Choosing a PABX Solution
Ultimately, the decision to choose a Traditional PABX or Hosted PABX system depends on the specific communication needs of a business. Smaller organisations with less complex communication needs may find that a Traditional PABX system meets their requirements, while larger organisations with more complex communication needs may require the customisation, control, and scalability offered by a Hosted PABX system.
When choosing a PABX solution for your business, there are several key considerations to keep in mind. These include:
- Business size and scalability: If you have a small business that is rapidly growing, you may want to consider using a Hosted PABX because it’s far more affordable and convenient to scale.
- Feature requirements: Identify the key features that your business requires, such as call routing, voicemail, call recording, and advanced analytics. Hosted PABX offers all of these features with cloud-based convenience.
- Integration with other communication tools: The Hosted PABX solution can integrate with other communication tools that your business uses, such as video conferencing, instant messaging, and email. This can help to create a unified communication experience for your employees and customers.
- Reliability and uptime: Hosted PABX solutions have a high level of reliability and uptime. Look for solutions that offer backup power systems that can help to ensure uninterrupted communication.
- Security: Hosted PABX systems need to be secure. Always look out for essential security such as 128-bit encryption, access controls, and secure remote access.
- Support and maintenance: The level of support and maintenance that the Hosted PABX solution offers is critical. You need to have comprehensive support options available to you in case your system requires maintenance or repairs.
What a Successful implementation of Hosted PABX looks like
Before implementing a Hosted PABX system, it’s important to identify clear goals and objectives. This can include improving communication efficiency, enhancing customer experience, or reducing costs. Having a clear understanding of your goals and objectives can help to guide the implementation process and ensure that the system is configured to meet your specific needs.
The starting point of a successful Hosted PABX implementation requires thorough planning and testing. This can include identifying the hardware and software requirements and budget requirements, developing a detailed implementation plan, and conducting extensive testing to ensure that the system is functioning properly.
With the Hosted PABX system up and running, you need to invest in user training and support. These are critical components of a successful Hosted PABX implementation. This can include providing employees with training on how to use the new system, as well as ongoing support to help them troubleshoot any issues that may arise.
A successful Hosted PABX implementation requires integration with existing communication systems and tools, such as email, instant messaging, and video conferencing — allowing you to get the most out of this system. This can help to ensure that the new system is seamlessly integrated with the existing communication infrastructure and that employees can easily switch between different communication channels.
Once the Hosted PABX system has been implemented and is being used properly, ongoing maintenance and support are essential to ensure that it continues to function as required. This can include regular software updates, hardware maintenance, and troubleshooting support wherever needed.
A good Hosted PABX supplier should assist you with all of these aspects, and streamline your transition.
Why Choose a Centracom Hosted PABX solution?
Centracom is South Africa’s leading Hosted PABX provider. Choosing a Centracom PABX solution can offer several benefits for businesses looking for a powerful and cost-effective hosted PABX system in South Africa.
Centracom has one of the most advanced hosted PABX systems in the country, offering a full range of features at a fraction of the price. The Cloudcall mobile application, available for Google Android and Apple iOS devices, provides business users with a set of features and benefits that can transform a company’s communication system into a real powerhouse.
The Presence Panel functionality integrated with Cloudcall Hosted PABX enables users to plan phone calls, control time and define availability. The Cloudcall desktop application offers voice and video calls, conferencing, instant messaging, faxing, file sharing, CRM and Outlook integration, all in one unified communications tool.
This means that businesses can rely on a single desktop application to handle all of their day-to-day communication needs, whether in the office or working remotely. Choosing a Centracom PABX solution can help businesses experience efficiency at their best, work on the move, and make calls on their home desktop as if they are in the office.