Business IT Managers tend to wear many hats these days. Most modern businesses have some form of information technology backing everything they do from marketing to time management, and IT staff have to be familiar with all of it. This means that anything that can be done to simplify an IT manager’s job is worth looking into. Today, we’re going to take a look at hosted PBX services. With a hosted PBX server, IT managers can greatly decrease the amount of time they have to spend managing VoIP systems, while also streamlining things like disaster recovery. Let’s take a look at some more of the benefits of the hosted approach.
Scalability is Improved with a Hosted PBX System
An expanding business is almost never a bad thing, but it can come with certain growing pains. A hosted PBX system helps to minimize these issues by scaling with your business. For example, say you hired a new employee and want to give when their own VoIP number so customers can call them directly. Instead of running new wire and bringing in new equipment to add an extension, you simply open up your management software and make the changes there.
Whether you need to add one new line or fifty, with a hosted PBX solution your only expense is the phone itself (and even this can be eliminated by routing calls to desktop computers or cellphones).
Internal Scalability vs External Scalability
Internal Scalability: Let’s say you hire a new employee that needs their own office and their own phone line. With a traditional analog system, you’ve got to run new (and expensive) copper wire, and configure an old-school punchboard to add the extension.
Conversely, with a digital PBX, all you need is a data line (and let’s face it, any modern office is going to need a data line anyway). A simple software configuration change adds the new extension, and then it’s just a matter of plugging in your shiny new IP phone.
External Scalability: External expansion can be a challenging and exciting time for any business. For our purposes here, this is any time a business opens a new office or location. If you’re installing an analog phone system, you’re locking your new office into an outdated system that’s difficult to maintain.
With a hosted PBX system, you can route calls (from local or toll-free numbers) to localized or specialized offices. Any time you want a new number, it’s as easy as logging into your PBX’s web interface. You can then choose which location handles which call, and you can even route calls from the same number to different locations based on where the call originated. This makes expanding to new locations far more straightforward. For an IT manager, having the challenge of expanding to a new location simplified is a huge benefit, and can really take the stress out of an expansion.
A Hosted VoIP System Provides a Vastly Increased Feature Set
A traditional analog phone system provides standard features like hold, mute, redial, and speed dial, but that’s about it. These options are extremely limiting, especially when it comes to automating your call system.
If you’re an IT manager, having more options, particularly automated options, can really make things easier on your colleagues and on yourself. Being able to set auto-responders and call forwarding from a web admin portal can take the strain off of employees. A VoIP system also affords an unprecedented level of analytical information. A digital phone system can track call patterns and response times, caller history, and other caller demographic information that can have a huge impact on marketing efforts.
- Local number or toll free number
- Free long distance
- Call waiting
- Auto Expanding lines
- Multisite Compatible
- Unlimited IVRs (Auto Attendants)
- Intercom Feature
- Call Analytics
- Never Miss a Call
- Call History Reports
- Emergency Assistance (911)
- View Active Calls
- Conferencing (3-way)
- Multiple Devices on One Extension
- Music on Hold
- Call Screening
- Custom Message on Hold
- Caller ID Block
- Custom Schedules
- View Invoices Online
- Web-Based Admin Portal
- Broadcast Emails
- Web-Based User Portal
- Bulk dialer
- Call forwarding
- Unlimited Outgoing Web Fax
- Call Routing Based on Area Code or Caller-ID
- Voicemail to Email
- Voicemail to Text Transcription
- Caller ID Block
- Dial by Extension
- Dial-by-Name Directory
- High Call Volume Alerts
- Call Hold
- Call Park/Pickup
- Hunt Groups
- Call Transfers
- Do Not Disturb
- Caller ID Number and Name
- Missed Call Indicator
- Multiple Calls per Line
Outsourced Maintenance, Increased Productivity
One of the chief benefits of a hosted PBX, or any cloud-based IT solution like hosted filesharing is the ability to outsource maintenance to a competent third-party. With a hosted PBX system, all of your equipment exists off-site. This has some pretty meaningful benefits for your disaster recovery plan that we’ll get into in a minute, but for day-to-day operation, it keeps your IT staff from having to worry about maintenance on the system.
Freeing up additional space is never a bad thing either, as server closets can quickly become overrun with other equipment, Being able to eliminate all of your onsite VoIP equipment can help with that. It also eliminates the hardware maintenance costs since all your maintenance and upgrades (including the addition of the newest features) takes place in the cloud.
Recovery and Reliability with a Hosted PBX
Time to think about the unthinkable for a minute. A disaster at the workplace, be it fire or flood, or something completely unforeseeable, can kill a business. Insurance only goes so far in this case, as there will be some inevitable downtime following a disaster. An IT manager’s job in this case is two-fold.
- Ensure the integrity and continuity of company data.
- Get the business back up and running quickly at a new or temporary location.
Cloud-based IT options like online file sharing and storage can ensure the first of these. Keeping files off-site keeps them protected and keeps them secure. Redundancy is inherent in these systems, and not having to manage on-site security takes a lot of weight off the shoulders of your IT staff.
As far as getting a business back up and going after a disaster, a hosted PBX system offers an unparalleled level of freedom. With a hosted system, you can have phone calls rerouted to a new location in as little as 24 hours. This makes opening a new office dramatically easier, and more importantly, it makes for a faster transition. The downtime after a disaster is the biggest threat to a business, and a hosted PBX system minimizes that downtime.