How to save money on your hosted phone system
Cloud-based Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone systems are the ideal communications solution for many businesses today. In a world where distributed workforces are the new normal, the ability to offer calls, video, and messaging in the cloud effectively and efficiently is business-critical.
What is a cloud-based PBX phone system? Cloud PBX, also known as hosted PBX or virtual PBX, is an IP-based PBX solution that’s provided and entirely accessed through the internet. Instead of hosting software on a server the way digital systems do, cloud PBX hosts all software and data in the cloud. Cloud PBX is also sometimes known as hosted PBX or virtual PBX.
The question we hear now most is, “How do you control the costs?” Through our work with customers across the UK, we know that choosing the right supplier and the right hosted phone system can save your business a significant amount of money over time.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what makes a quality hosted phone system, how you can control your communication costs, and we also share an example of how we helped a business reduce their costs.
Why cloud-based PBX phone systems are better value
With a cloud-based PBX phone system, you only pay for what you use. There’s no need to invest in expensive on-premises hardware. As a result, the pricing of a cloud-based system is a significant reduction compared to other options.
And unlike traditional phone systems, cloud-based means you’re only billed for calls, not phone lines. So you could save thousands of pounds each year when migrating from BT phone lines and services.
In some cases, we have seen savings of 80% compared to the customer’s previous system, which is incredible for any size of business.
Cloud-based means that even small businesses can now access full-featured VoIP services for the office and even the home, which include features previously only enterprise companies could afford to build.
The result is that any business can have a cloud-based phone system that also provides Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), for keeping all messaging, calls, and video conferencing, all working from the same platform. A better system for less.
Features of a quality hosted phone system
Simple setup with flexible options
Your PBX should offer easy installation and setup. It should run on-premise on a range of machines. It should offer virtualisation. And it should offer you a choice of cloud hosting options.
Look for a web-based setup so you can easily configure your setup remotely, provisioning IP phones, gateways, SIP trunks and smartphone apps.
Plug and play
The ability to ‘plug and play’ can make a huge difference when it comes to the initial deployment and the provisioning of new equipment. A system that lets you plug in an IP phone or gateway to your network and then automatically configures it for you, will save you countless hours of configuration time.
Extensible and scalable
You need to be able to grow your communications capabilities as your business grows. A quality hosted phone system will let you deploy new phones quickly and easily.
Your communications need to be secure. Data protection is paramount to every business, especially when the customer’s information is at stake. Look for a system that offers end-to-end encryption for all of your comms.
A quality PBX phone system gives you ‘bang for your buck’, offering useful features that ensure you get value for money. Look for features like:
- Android and iOS VoIP apps
- Instant messaging
- Web conferencing
- Live chat for websites
- CRM integration
Where you can save money
Look for a system that lets you set up your PBX quickly, with minimum training or preparation. A cloud-based system should not take hours to get started. Ensure the system is ‘plug and play’ so you can easily add IP phones, gateways and trunks
A simple, easy-to-use system that lets you manage your phone system easily will be faster when it comes to making changes like rolling out deployments. Saved time means saved money.
Slash phone bills
With an IP telephony system, your phone bill will be reduced significantly. Remote workers or employees on the go should be able to make phone calls free of charge through an IP phone or mobile app. You should also be able to easily connect the phone systems of remote offices and home offices to make internal phone calls free.
Avoid per extension charges
Traditional phone systems are difficult to scale; add more extensions and you are hit by licensing costs, or you could run out of ports. And even cloud PBXs can be expensive as they can lock you into expensive per extension and per-minute pricing. So look for an open platform PBX that lets you self host with your own cloud provider or virtualise on your own harden. You need a single low price per PBX, not per extension.
Eliminate expensive web conferencing services
A quality cloud phone system will include integrated video conferencing with unlimited user licenses. This will save money as you avoid paying for an additional web conferencing service, which can be expensive with their common ‘per user, per month’ pricing structure.
A system that gives you real flexibility in terms of where you can install your PBX, which SIP trunks and IP phones you can use, will save you thousands per year compared to a system that locks you into expensive proprietary tools.
The ability to choose your own SIP trunk means you can select one that works for the needs of your business rather than being forced into something that isn’t quite right or means you’ll pay more than you need to. For example, if you communicate with people outside the UK regularly, you can select a provider that will help you save on international call charges. Some SIP trunks even come with unlimited calling.
The costs of available cloud-based phone systems vary. So let’s compare some of the popular cloud-based phone systems for businesses from Horizon, BT Cloud, and 3CX to see where you can make cost savings.
This example, based on a 32-seat license, shows where your money goes and what you get for your investment. It uses 3CX as a baseline for comparison with their direct competitors.
|3CX||BT Cloud||Gamma Horizon Cloud||Avaya Cloud Office|
|SIP Trunks (phone lines)||£899||-37%||Included||-343%|
|HD Video Conferencing||Included||Paid add-on||Paid add-on||Paid add-on|
|Android/ iOS Apps||Included||Not included||Not included||Paid add-on|
|Interactive Voice Response (IVR)||Included||Included||Included||Paid add-on|
|Contact Center||Included||Included||Included||Paid add-on|
|Per User Per Month Cost||£10||+62.5%||+179%||+204%|
Prices were up-to-date at the time of writing (November 2020) and are based on a 32-seat license.
Our recommendation for your next phone system
We have worked with many PBX phone systems over the years so are well-placed to make an honest assessment of what’s out there, how well they work in ‘the real world’, and their true cost to businesses like yours over time.
We recommend 3CX not only because they offer incredible cost savings for our clients but also because they offer everything we look for in a PBX phone system. 3CX is a phone system that delivers exactly what our clients need and never forces them into paying for features they don’t use. The system can be expanded as their business grows, and there are no hidden costs.
Many of the Unified Communications features that other vendors class as add-ons, such as video conferencing, iOS and Android mobile apps or call centre features, are included with 3CX as well.
Need hosted phone system advice or expertise?
Our cloud-based solutions ensure you have complete communications coverage across your business that you can manage from any location. We deliver dependable communications functionality to meet your requirements without exceeding your budget.
Call a business comms expert: 01382 848669 (office hours: 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri) or email us.