The traditional office PBX phone system involves on-location physical equipment that provides voice telephony using physical wires or fiber to transmit analog signals. PBX technology allows for some audio conferencing (though it can be a bit clumsy to set up) as well as voicemail, call forwarding, and some other call sorting features. However, a PBX has some serious limitations on available collaboration features and requires a trained technician to configure any changes. Even moving someone to a new office requires expensive labor to move the extension to a different physical location.The PBX generally exists as a standalone entity, unrelated to the rest of your technology. Not only is it standalone as it functions in your work environment, very frequently it was sold, maintained and supported by a vendor that did nothing but provide telephony solutions. They would also be responsible for ordering and configuring the telco lines that went into the PBX. The PBX could be a very significant part of your operational structure, but it was segregated from the rest of your technology. This was true even in the call center business.
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) pulls us away from the physical limitations created by the PBX. VoIP turns analog signals (basically your voice) into digital packets that can then be sent via the internet to any destination supported by broadband internet service. Once free to send digital signals via the internet, a whole host of new collaboration tools suddenly become possible.
VoIP matters to working from home because once you are freed from the physical, wired connection of your phone to the world, not only can you take advantage of whatever features your PBX traditionally offered, a whole new range of communication tools become possible. And all of those tools can be accessed on a single platform.
Three Reasons to Consider Dumping Your PBX and Moving to VoIP:
The problem with PBX is that you have two very integral parts of your organization’s communication capabilities that really don’t have anything to do with one another. Tools such as video conferencing, email, chat, SMS are being used but they exist in parallel with your primary voice communication tool. Inherently, that creates a pretty clunky communications model. VoIP eliminates this wall and this helps you increase productivity and performance in three vital ways. In other words, this integrates voice communication with the entirety of your IT infrastructure. VoIP is internet-based, so it suddenly is “just” another facet of the technology infrastructure. There are three advantages to this holistic approach to communications.
- Increased user productivity and satisfaction – Once you adopt VoIP and move towards a unified communications model, you increase user productivity. The movement from a voice call to an audio call or a chat can be “seamless”–not requiring moving from one platform to another. Also, it improves customer satisfaction. Your customers want to communicate with you on the channel that is most convenient at any one time. VoIP and unified communications can allow that to occur. Organizational success hinges heavily today on communication and collaboration. The more your employees and clients can interact on whichever communication tool is most convenient at any specific time, the more productive they can become.
- Eliminating technology silos – Once you adopt VoIP and abandon the PBX, you eliminate the wall between your voice technology and all of your other internet-based technology. The two can be more fully integrated and that means greater communication capacity. More importantly, it means that your IT team has a 360-degree view of all of your communication technology as it becomes just one more part of your IT infrastructure. This improves transparency and helps integrate technology more completely into your business model.
- Change in the role of IT – Technology is important to your organization. You cannot do without it. And with the constant changes and advances in technology, you need to be constantly looking forward to how technology can be used in new ways to improve productivity and revenues, and meet new, perhaps undiscovered, customer needs. With the adoption of VoIP, all your technologies are under one roof and your IT support can become more strategic. For that to happen, you need to look at your managed service provider, who also offers VoIP services, as a part of your team. Now that all of your technology is handled by one entity, they can bring strategic value to your business and allow technology to not be an afterthought, but an integral part of the organization’s present success and its planning for the future.