Enterprise Phone Systems: What You Need to Know
What phone system does your enterprise business need?
There are many options available to you when choosing an enterprise phone system; from hybrid key and PBX systems to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) solutions. These systems vary in terms of equipment costs, maintenance needs, and carrying capacity.
There is no single system that is best for all businesses – the best system for your business is determined by your size, needs, and budget.
Key System Unit: The Basics
Key System Unit (KSU) systems utilize digital switchboard technology similar to that of the larger PBX systems, but require less equipment and are therefore available at a lower cost. As such, they also have a lower carrying capacity – usually limited to 60 employees or less.
Hybrid key systems – which utilize VoIP connections – are a blend of KSU and PBX technologies. They are notable for their ability to maintain hoot-n-holler circuits, which connect multiple parties over an open voice connection. These circuits are popularly used in warehouse and the financial services industry.
PBX & Your Business
Private Branch Exchange (PBX) systems are most often found in the corporate world, where businesses may have hundreds or thousands of employees all utilizing the system. The system provides private inter-office phone connections; external calls are siphoned through trunk lines to the public telephone network.
Traditionally, these systems require a phone closet to house the phone system microcontroller and console, as well as other equipment like wiring, switches, and power supplies in addition to the phone handsets. Installation and maintenance costs are highest for this type of system, especially if pre-existing phone wiring is not extant.
Advances in telephony technology have widened the options available for PBX systems. VoIP PBX utilizes packet switched networks – typically used for transmitting data – in order to transmit calls over an internet connection as opposed to a phone line. These systems maintain hardware and wiring requirements similar to analog systems.
Hosted PBX systems are the next stage of enterprise telephony. These systems function just like traditional PBX systems. However, the hardware is maintained off-premise by the phone system provider, which delivers the calls over an internet connection.
The customer receives the same level of service without needing to purchase, install, and maintain the costly hardware necessitated by a PBX system. Instead, they pay the provider a monthly fee for the service. Hosted PBX can be convenient for a business that does not maintain on-premise IT support staff.
The features of all PBX systems include, but are not limited to:
- Auto attendant, auto dialing, call distributing, directory, and voicemail.
- Call accounting, blocking, forwarding, parking, transferring, follow-me, and waiting.
- Interactive voice response (IVR), hold music, and night service.
Ultimately, the phone system you choose should be appropriate for the size of your business, your budget, and your level of IT support. Make sure your phone system vendor has experience working with your type of business.
The vendor should provide you with good customer support that can troubleshoot network issues, provide swift emergency maintenance, and help you get the most out of the features you’re paying for. Check reviews and references from the company to determine if their level of customer service is appropriate for your business needs.
Get your phone system from one of our hand-picked vendors.