12 September 2018

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The Best Cloud PBX Providers With The Most Flexible Scalability

Business Phone Service by Tom Collins

Lower cost is one of the most common reasons businesses switch to a Cloud Private Branch Exchange (PBX) phone system. Cloud-based business phones can be significantly less expensive than PRI Lines or other on-premises deployments. However, there are many other benefits of cloud communication tools besides lower cost.

According to the CompTIA 2018 Cloud Computing Trends Research survey, the top business benefits of cloud adoption include:

  • Simplicity and speed in adopting new features
  • The ability to add new capabilities
  • Modernizing legacy IT environments
  • Avoidance of software upgrades and licensing fees

These benefits can all facilitate business agility, which is a competitive advantage. With a Cloud PBX phone system, organizations can achieve flexible scalability. Unlike with traditional PBX systems, new features can be added immediately without having to purchase equipment or pay licensing fees. A single Cloud PBX phone system can expand from 150 users to 300 without having to add new features.

Finding the best business phone system for your company means selecting the right technology and vendor to maximize the value of your investment. In this post, you'll learn why flexible scalability is among the essential business phone system features to shop for, and which major Cloud PBX providers offer the most agility.

Flexible Scalability: Cloud PBX Providers vs. Alternatives

Cloud PBX systems are hosted in the cloud by a telecommunications provider. Hosted or Cloud PBX takes traditional, on-premises PBX systems and creates a virtual system where voice calls are transmitted using data connectivity. By combining voice and data, businesses can achieve superior, cost-effective voice communications and multimedia communications features such as instant messaging, mobility, collaboration tools, and more.

Hosted PBX systems facilitate agility because they don't require capital expenditure in physical infrastructure. Since Unified Communications is provided as a service, phone lines and features are billed monthly. By creating a relationship with a vendor, businesses are able to outsource maintenance and upgrades effectively.

Learn more in Hosted PBX: The Benefits of Cloud-Based Phone Service.

How Traditional Phone Systems Stack Up to Hosted PBX

Historically, many business phone systems have offered very little flexibility. On-premises PBX and PRI circuits present some serious challenges when it comes to scaling:

  • Upgrades to physical infrastructure are costly, and sometimes require 30-45 days of waiting on a telecommunications vendor.
  • Service outages and routine maintenance mean scheduling a “truck roll” or technician visit.
  • Adding lines and service requires the purchase of additional equipment, and sometimes, infrastructure.
  • Traditional business phone systems support only voice communications, and cannot be scaled to include enhanced, multimedia communications.
  • Many telecommunications providers require long-term service contracts.

Switching to a virtual Cloud PBX can offer agility and freedom from expensive contracts, physical infrastructure, and long wait periods for upgrades.

Read more in 11 Way Cloud Communications Create a Competitive Edge.

8 Use Cases for Flexible Cloud PBX

Organizations with the technology and culture to support business agility have a significant competitive advantage over their peers. However, there are some specific scenarios where the flexible scalability of a Cloud PBX can be particularly advantageous.

  1. Organizations pursuing growth goals, geographic expansion, or planning to add new lines can support voice communications at a minimal cost with no waiting period.
  2. Companies supporting remote workers and temporary personnel can adjust without provisioning dedicated phone service.
  3. Businesses can offer employee mobility features to achieve flexibility in where employees work.
  4. If your company is planning a move, a Cloud PBX can help you seamlessly transition between locations.
  5. Businesses with seasonal staffing requirements can save money by removing unused lines in slower months.
  6. Cloud PBX systems can support the on-demand addition of new phone lines for special marketing promotions or other temporary ramp-ups in direct inward dialing (DID) numbers.
  7. Companies can achieve maximum flexibility around communications and cost during periods of significant transition where staffing or even company structure could change, such as mergers and acquisitions.
  8. Cloud PBX can provide seamless service alongside a legacy PBX during complex implementations at large enterprises or multi-site organizations when users are migrated in batches.

In today’s business climate, agility is a competitive advantage. Compared to alternatives, Cloud PBX systems provide extensive flexibility for adding lines, scaling service, and transitioning the organization to Unified Communications. While flexible scalability can benefit every company, there are some scenarios which provide a particularly strong business case for Cloud PBX adoption.

Get more insights in 6 Hosted PBX Benefits vs. Alternatives for Businesses of All Sizes.

5 Surprising Cost-Saving Benefits of Scalable Cloud PBX

Moving to Cloud PBX can cut costs because it does not require upfront capital investment in equipment such as cabling installations, a physical PBX, PRI circuits, or T1 cards. There are several other ways Cloud PBX flexibility can save you money:

  1. On-premises systems that connect to the PSTN via PRI circuits require the purchase of dedicated capacity, which often leads to unused resources. With Cloud PBX, companies pay for phone lines and features used.
  2. Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) offers significant and simplified scalability in licensing, including the ability to provision features by role and user need.
  3. Unified Communications applications offer a lower cost of deployment and implementation. Businesses can even future-proof investments by testing new features before deployment to ensure they’re the right fit.
  4. Redundant and reliable Cloud PBX systems offer mobility, which can save costs by increasing employee productivity.
  5. Hosted service reduces the burden on IT staff and the costs of paying for on-site phone system maintenance.

Find an in-depth breakdown of how traditional solutions stack up to Cloud PBX in 10 Factors that Impact UCaaS Total Cost of Ownership.

The 3 Best Cloud PBX Providers for Flexible Scalability

Just switching to a Cloud PBX Provider is likely to help you cut costs, but it may not be a guarantee of high-quality voice communications or excellent customer service. With the wrong provider for your needs, your organization may not achieve the flexible scalability you need to cover scenarios such as seasonal fluctuations in staffing or a goal of rolling out UCaaS. To help you understand the best Cloud PBX vendors and whether their offerings are agile, here are a few of the top vendors.

1. Vonage

Vonage is a major provider of Internet-based telephone services nationwide to both businesses and consumers. Their offerings include cost-effective residential service, small business offerings, and Cloud PBX. Tech and customer support offerings are available 24/7. Pricing begins at $24.99 per month.

According to Vonage's website, their Cloud PBX system offers the advantage of easy setup for anywhere a softphone can be connected to the internet (which can be beneficial for mobile workers). Vonage's communication features can be extended to include a virtual receptionist, call recording, and mobile apps. Integration is available with many major business applications.

According to PCMag, Vonage Virtual PBX is an excellent choice for freelancers and solo operations.

2. RingCentral

RingCentral is an international provider of internet and cloud-based phones and communication tools for businesses. RingCentral Cloud PBX can be extended to offer features such as conference calling, call routing, text messaging, and video conferencing. RingCentral Professional, a business suite platform for productivity, can be integrated with many critical applications such as Outlook, Salesforce, Google Docs, and DropBox.

Pricing for RingCentral Cloud PBX systems varies according to features but ranges from $25.99 for Pro Plus to $49.99 for Office Standard. Technical support by phone and multimedia communication features is not included in the Pro plan. However, the Office Standard version provides access to Unified Communication tools and technical support.

3. Atlantech

Atlantech Online is one of the oldest telecommunications providers in the Washington DC Metro Area. Founded in 1995, we are proud of our commitment to offering cutting-edge Unified Communications and Cloud PBX solutions while providing exceptional customer service. We deliver Cloud PBX and Unified Communications tools on a Broadsoft platform.

Over the past 23 years, the telecom industry has evolved significantly, and Atlantech has grown and changed with it. While we're smaller than Vonage or RingCentral, our size is a benefit to our customers, and we thrive knowing we provide the best solutions for Cloud PBX, fiber-optic internet connectivity and data center in the DC area.

As a comprehensive provider of cloud communications solutions for businesses, we deliver service over our own network and data centers located in the DC metro area. All call media is kept in the region. Business calls aren’t routed through New York or LA to reach a company next door, which translates to cost savings and greater call quality for our customers.

We also keep customer service in-house, and we invest in hiring experts and performing ongoing training to provide one-call resolution to our customers. Pricing for Atlantech Online Cloud PBX systems starts at $12 for standard voice service and $24 for premium.

Which Cloud PBX Provider is the Best?

Determining which Cloud PBX provider is best for your business is not easy, especially when it comes to something as variable and complex as communications technology. The “best” PBX system for one company is not always the “best” for another. Selecting the right option requires assessing factors such as technology, the vendor, and whether the system will serve your goals of achieving flexible scalability.

How do you know if a provider will offer flexible scalability?

Generally, companies which can accommodate your growth goals take pride in strong customer relationships and exceptional service. Vendors with a broad range of technology offerings and an excellent UCaaS platform can support a seamless transition to Unified Communications. The best Cloud PBX providers for agility have case studies and testimonials to back up their commitment to helping their customers grow and change.

How do you find the right Cloud PBX Provider and make sure your investment translates to value? For expert insight on finding the right solution and vendor, download the free eBook: 10 Questions to Ask Before You Buy Phone Service for Your Business.





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About the author:

Tom Collins (Twitter, LinkedIn) - is the Director of Enterprise Sales & Marketing for Atlantech Online. He has over 20 years of professional experience in the Internet Service Provider industry and is known for translating technology into positive results for business. A native of Washington, DC, a graduate from University of Maryland (degrees in Government & Politics and Secondary Education), Tom is also a five-time Ironman finisher.

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