PBX: the journey is only beginning

Posted by Kevin Hall
virtual PBX

At a time when digital transformation represents the front line of corporate communication, the role of PBX (private branch exchange) systems has come to the fore. While some may question whether these systems have a place in a fast-moving digital world, the reality is that hosted PBX is a stepping stone and catalyst for a truly transformed business.

This is the view of Kevin Hall, national sales manager at customer engagement solutions provider Elingo.

“In some ways, hosted PBX is also part of the digital transformation, due to all the mobility offerings, the ability to log into the cloud PBX from anywhere, and the ability to listen to voice mail, and access the application from any web based platform makes hosted PBX part of the transformation, possibly a stepping stone to a complete new world,” says Hall.

However, success in digital transition depends on approach and the migration from legacy to virtual PBX is topical.

Technology specialists at Elingo point out that there will always be a migration path into new technologies, this journey can take longer for some, due to all the legacy investments and all the other hardware that needs to be replaced or in some cases repurposed.

“Before we start on the virtual PBX journey, one first need to decide on the goals, and the vision behind the change, simply changing for the sake of change, serves no purpose. The legacy infrastructure can then be part of a long term IT strategy, the reality is that most IT strategists have not predicted this very fast pace of change in the IT landscape. So the journey might be longer for some, and shorter for others,” Hall continues.

Approach is critical in this area of architecture strategy and infrastructure approach. This is where perspective on the evolution of technology is critical.

“The reality is that some technologies that we are investing in today, will change once again in future, so having a more phased approach, and finding quick win opportunities to change existing hardware into more cloud based systems in certainly an option. Most companies start running dual systems, assessing the promise of the virtual world, and then making business decisions on larger change, as the ROI starts making more sense,” says Hall.

Hosted PBX cost will remain higher for longer, and the cost of maintenance in the long term will be higher.

“However in the short and medium term, the reality is that the difference between the two options of virtual and hosted is very small,” Hall explains.

Just delivering simple hosted PBX services, without a multi tenancy strategy, will not be able to deliver the true solutions cloud, and virtual PBX solutions could offer. One needs to take a careful look at your Vendor, and make sure the solution is not just a virtualised copy of the premise based system, but it build and designed for cloud from the ground up.

To prepare adequately to accommodate a virtual PBX solution, Elingo advises that the preparation is often more end-user based. The user needs to understand that the communication channels are always available on every channel. Your preference to a specific media like instant messaging (IM) could then be your default communication method, with the other more traditional communication like voice becoming secondary.

“Why not go virtual is often a question, and this question is more based around the business needs, the more important question is, what do you hope to solve, or gain by implementing a virtual PBX (private branch exchange), simply adopting new technology because it’s new, is not a business solution, we change and adopt technologies based on what they offer, and in some businesses virtual PBX business continuity and always on solutions is not as key as connectivity restraints the client might be experiencing due to location, or other operational challenges,” Hall concludes.