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Investing In Office Telephony, The Essentials

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There are a number of things one must consider before buying a PABX. There are many types of PABXs, with various capacities and an assortment features but most are commonly classified as Analogue PABXs, from yesteryear technology, Internet Protocol PABXs (IP-PABXs) from the recent past and the most modern being Unified Communication Servers (UCS). All work depending on requirements, which is why it’s critical ensure you have the correct specifications from the beginning. Here are top five tips to consider when buying a PABX for your organization.

Size of the PABX
The size of the PABX means number Trunk Lines like Tel One, GSM or VOIP (or a combination of lines) and number of extensions for staff. Some PABX systems will allow for the connection of Telone lines only, while some can connect to technologies listed above. Deciding the number of extensions will depend on number of users in the office who require constant telephone connectivity. For example, the Administration Department would generally require more extensions than the Factory, where one extension can be shared by a number of people. Future growth prospects of the organisation must also be considered meaning, the PABX system must be scalable, in terms of extensions, lines and other features.

Future upgrades
Scalability of the PABX is an important factor to decide what PABX to buy. There are PABX models which can be upgraded to certain number of trunk lines and extensions, Voice Mail, Auto-Attendants, Mobil Extensions, Least Cost Routing, Advert-On-Hold etc. The cost of upgrade vary depending on the upgrade required. So, one should consider up-gradation costs carefully and ask for the costs as options, to get a clear picture. For any organization which is growing, it is advisable to buy a scalable PABX, which can then be installed with expansion cards as the needs of the business grows.

PricePrice is very important factor to decide on what PABX to buy. However if the correct PABX specifications have been accurate, as recommended in our first article, it becomes easy comparing quotations, in fact as easy as comparing oranges and apples!! (You can request for first article from info@standardglobal.co.zw).  

One should never compromise quality of PABX system in order to choose the cheapest with less features than required, as it is the heart of communications for the organisation. There are many auxiliary costs with PABX systems like wiring, power supply back-up, battery, rack etc. In addition one should also consider maintenance costs and after sales service before deciding on purchasing one.

Choice of PABX Company                                                                                                                                      Purchasing a PABX is a long term investment, generally a minimum of 10 years. Get your equipment from a professional, experienced and authorized distributor of a PABX manufacturer, ensuring access to genuine warranty on hardware and software upgrades. To eliminate fly by night, ‘‘ PABX experts’’, ask for the Authorized Dealership Certificate from the PABX manufacturer, VAT Clearance Certificate from Zimra and  PABX Dealer License from Postal and Telecommunication Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe and at least 3 customer reference letters.  Remember communication is key to the success of your organization.

Features of PABX

Modern businesses require an integrated communication solution that is easily expandable and can grow with the growing communication needs of the organization. Furthermore features that help in efficient call management and reduction of telephone bills are a must. Some of the features readily available on modern PABXs include:

VoIP: This feature allows the carrying of voice traffic using data networks, especially for organisations that have offices located at different sites. Thus, telephone calls to the other branches are made of free of charge, if internet connectivity is available.

Least Cost Routing: This unique function designed using structured programming, selects the most cost effective trunk from the allotted lines like PSTN, GSM and VoIP, to make the cheapest possible outgoing calls, to any destination local and international, resulting in major call savings.

GSM Connectivity: Allows for instant communication by connection of GSM lines on the PABX using GSM expansion cards, especially were no landlines are available or are prone to vandalism.

Auto-Attendant and Voice Mail System: This feature allows the optional automatic answering of telephone calls and routing them to desired extensions, relieving pressure on the switchboard operator. In addition, external callers can leave messages for your staff and staff can leave messages for each other, ensuring messages are captured accurately.

Telephone Recording: This feature is for recording and achieving of all business telephone conversations for customer service, training and security reasons, as well as reviewing these recordings as and when required.

Use Your Own Device: Forget cordless phones!! Now you can go wireless with your GSM Phone as an office extension, from anywhere in the world, as long as internet access is available.

Telephone Management Software: Helps effectively manage the telephone usage, capturing records of dialed numbers, by what extension, department, when, costs per call etc and generates consolidated reports, holding every user accountable.

Call Budgeting: Allows for allocation of call budget for every extension in order to control usage.

Advert-on-Hold Port: Allows for connection of studio recorded audio marketing messages about the organisation, to callers on-hold, waiting to be connected on the phone.

Hotel and Hospital Features: These are customized comprehensive hotel or hospital features built into the system.

In conclusion we hope you make the right decision when investing in one of the most important business tool, a PABX.

This article is published by Standard Global Communications. The company has been deploying Telecoms and Electronic Security solutions in Zimbabwe for over 20 years. SGC offers free consultation, designs, deploys and provides after-sales support. Our flexible and scalable solutions help reduce telephone costs, while increasing operational efficiency at an affordable cost.

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