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Considerations When Evaluating a Hosted PBX (VoIP) Provider

Considerations When Evaluating a Hosted PBX (VoIP) Provider

This is the second half of a two part article on hosted PBXs. Click here to read  Hosted Phone Systems VS Premise Based PBXs written on September 12, 2010.

  • Ensure that the proposal they are providing you with is complete; this proposal looks like they are just providing you with the cost to rent/lease the equipment. Typically, there is also a monthly fee for the hosted PBX service, which would include usage, a cost to install it and some companies even charge to make administrative changes.
  • What is the total cost of ownership (equipment rental, installation, maintenance, reoccurring hosted PBX fees/usage, additional internet service (bandwidth) and taxes/fees?). Will they increase this during your contract period?
  • What is their guarantee? i.e. if you are having problems, how do they plan to resolve them? If they can’t find a resolution, what is the out-clause on the contract? This is typically called a SLA or Service Level Agreement which will specify predetermined ways to remedy service issues.
  • Who else in the area are they working with? References are huge, consider other companies your size, or from your industry – call them and find out what their level of satisfaction is. Due your own research as well, get online and Google® the company and see what reviews and other information that you can find. 
  • Do they have their own technicians doing the installations, ongoing moves, ads and changes, or is it outsourced to a 3rd party? Also, is there a cost for any of this? What is the typical procedure to request a change and how long do you need to wait?
  • What features are included? Which ones do you need to pay more for (i.e. voicemail to email, mobility, Outcalling, etc.)?
  • What technology are they using:  for their hosted PBX system, the phones that will be on your desk, the service providers that will deliver the internet service, and the data center which is so crucial to provide guaranteed uptime?
  • Most important – are they providing you a managed and dedicated internet connection? There are two ways to install hosted PBX; 1) is with managed internet, this is essentially guaranteeing your connection back to their office (some form of a point-to-point T1, MPLS or fiber connection) or 2) using the public internet. When the public internet is used, the cost is significantly cheaper, but there is no quality of service because it is out of everyone’s control and there is no way to provide any guarantees.

 

Here at Teltek we have spent a lot of time over the past year analyzing hosted PBX technology and providers as I have seen the technology evolve; some providers are extremely successful but many are not. If you are seriously looking at this new technology to run one of the most critical systems of your business I would plan to either hire a consultant or to invest a significant amount of time and effort to doing research and ensuring that you are fully aware of what to expect.

I know I have provided you with a lot of information here and hope that it assisted in making your decision of which direction to go. Should you choose not to purchase hosted PBX technology, my recommendation would be to buy, rent, or lease an Avaya, Mitel, or Cisco phone system from a local vendor. For your particular needs,  I think if you stick to one of those brands it really doesn’t matter which system you end up with; you want to invest more time into selecting a vendor that has a proven history of supporting their clients’ total communications needs. As your organization grows, changes, or requires new technologies, you will need to have a reliable vendor that will not only provide you with what you are asking for, but assess your needs, make recommendations and work with your other vendors to integrate the solution properly.

Teltek, as you know, has provided communications architecture consulting, telephone system installation, maintenance, and cabling for over 50 years. We also source the best and most competitive phone and internet service companies for our clients and work with their existing technology vendors to ensure a seamless and cost competitive end product.

For more information click here:

Teltek Blogger


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