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If you’re launching a new company, or if you’re preparing for a communications upgrade, you may be hearing of some technologies like hosted private branch exchange (hosted PBX) and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). Choosing between hosted PBX services and UCaaS can be a challenge, particularly if you don’t have a good understanding of the differences between them.

If you’re hoping there will be a definitive recommendation for which of these two technologies is better, you’ll likely be frustrated. Like a lot of business decisions, the best communications technology depends on what your needs are and what challenges you’re hoping to solve. Take a look at the basic differences between hosted PBX and UCaaS:

Hosted PBX, also known as hosted VoIP, is an alternative to cable-dependent landlines. It achieves a dial tone over an internet connection, generally using your existing network. This technology has been in use for decades and is no longer considered at all risky, but there are differences between business hosted PBX and consumer hosted PBX. Hosted PBX offers an array of options that provide a professional face to your company, including call forwarding and interactive voice recognition.

Among the benefits hosted PBX offers are significant cost reduction over a landline, simple phone line management with the ability to scale up or down, and the ability to upgrade to a UCaaS system in the future.

UCaaS includes hosted PBX, but it also offers a variety of other features. While the exact combination differs by provider, you’re likely to gain video conferencing and other collaborative tools as well as instant messaging. UCaaS provides a seamless experience for end users by offering all communication formats through a single application, whether it’s a customer or the customer service representative accessing the system.

This means when a customer calls to resolve a problem, the customer service representative can see all formats of conversation history, even if they previously communicated via instant messaging.

The benefits of UCaaS include integration with other cloud applications such as customer relationship management tools, video features that include video conferencing and screen sharing, and an improved customer experience.

Choosing the best solution for your organization: The decision between hosted PBX and UCaaS might be solved with a few questions:

What’s the average age of your customers? This may seem like an unusual consideration, but while contact centers are still busy, many millennials hate the idea of talking on the phone and would prefer to contact you by instant messenger or through email or social media.

Are you hoping to reduce travel expenses? One of the benefits of UCaaS is that it all but eliminates geographical considerations from your hiring process. Virtual teams thrive using video conferencing to share ideas and access shared workspaces for improved productivity.

Are you simply looking to reduce costs? With hosted PBX, you have access to great features, but with a small and predictable monthly invoice. You can also utilize your existing PBX hardware that’s still depreciating, making the move to hosted PBX a good option for an upgrade.

If you’d like more information about hosted PBX and UCaaS, contact us at Access One. We serve businesses in the Chicago area and beyond, helping you replace legacy equipment and support your mobile workforce.