Hosted PBX: An ideal solution for small business communication

Small businesses and startups need to be very cautious when it comes to handling assets. Any early spending mistakes can cause investors to reconsider funding and question leadership. It is important to keep costs low by reducing initial overhead costs.

What is hosted PBX?

Hosted PBX is essentially a Web-based phone service that is flexible and affordable. All of the infrastructure necessary for business communication takes place through the Internet. A hosted PBX solution avoids the private cloud and data center infrastructure needs that keep employees connected and productive. Because phone calls travel through the Internet, there is no cost for calling within an organization, regardless of employees' geographical location.

Hosted PBX solutions mitigate the need for traditional phone service providers and their long-term contracts by replacing them with unified communication network that runs on a service provider's cloud-based infrastructure. This ensures that everything is scalable at a moment's notice and that costs align with an enterprise's needs.

A recent report from Infonetics shows that more businesses are implementing hosted PBX solutions every day. Sales of the systems increased 32 percent between Q1 2013 and Q1 2014. This growth demonstrates that hosted PBX solutions are helping businesses connect employees with customers and clients. The researchers noted that buyers' preferences for less expensive solutions is a driving factor in adoption.

Where do these savings manifest?

The first manifestation of saving is apparent as soon as a hosted PBX system is implemented. Rather than installing a data center, all the necessary components are provided by the service. Businesses only need phones. This reduces the costs associated with IT employee salaries, maintenance of infrastructure and the upfront fees for working with a traditional phone service provider. An XO report found that legacy services cost in excess of $120,000 to begin with, while hosted PBX is as low as $1,200 per month.

Processor, a website and publication dedicated to data center news and information, reported that spending can be reduced in administration fees as well as moving and hiring employees. Adding additional communication lines is as simple as contacting a provider. Because of this, services can be brought on or subtracted at any moment without the need to hire more IT department staff members. The hosted PBX solution provider is responsible for supporting the infrastructure, but also employee queries, issues and training. Those IT workers can put all their efforts in keeping the company running instead of answering help desk tickets and handling concerns about phone problems.

Furthermore, the scalability of hosted PBX solutions ensures that enterprises never have unused hardware collecting dust. IT departments no longer need to worry about system updates, infrastructure upgrades or the downtime commonly associated with those data center necessities. If features need to be added, the service provider can do so in short periods of time and employees will not find themselves with unusable phones.

What features are available?

Hosted PBX provides employees with numerous means of communication whether they are at their desks in the office or in a local coffee shop.

With hosted PBX solutions, employees can make and receive phone calls across mobile devices with a single, connected phone number. All calls and messages are directed to the device of the employee's choosing and voicemail can be turned into text and sent directly to email to ensure maximum productivity. Every business needs to be mobile to stand up next to the competition. If staff members are outside of normal mobile phone service, they can still complete calls and message coworkers, clients and customers through a wireless Internet connection.

Also, because hosted PBX phone services communicate via the Internet, there is no additional charge or process when making specific long-distance calls regardless of the country. Voice plans can be added or subtracted when necessary for talking to clients or coworkers.

Another feature of hosted PBX is call waiting and simultaneous ringing. One phone can have multiple numbers associated with it in order to easily account for various client or customers. If that is too much for employees to handle, they can have a single number that allows for call waiting and group phone calls.

If employees are away from their smartphone or desk, they can still access voicemail or make calls via Microsoft Office or Internet Explorer integration. This can save money on overhead when assessing new staff or interns as well as increase productivity.

And, of course, hosted PBX gives workers high-quality phone calls no matter what device on which they choose to communicate.