IT leaders at mid-sized businesses are faced with unique challenges, especially when dealing with premise-based communication infrastructure. Various growing pains can crop up when demand exceeds capacity, creating a need for a more innovative approach to internal communications.
Hosted PBX and UCaaS are two such innovative technologies that can alleviate many of the issues faced by today’s expanding businesses. From scalability to employee retention, cloud-based voice solutions offer important advantages to the mid-sized business.
In this comprehensive guide to HPBX and UCaaS, you’ll learn:
In order to capitalize on the advantages offered by hosted PBX and UCaaS, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of these two technologies.
The terms HPBX and UCaaS are often used synonymously. While HPBX usually refers more to the standard business phone system functionality delivered via a cloud-based service, UCaaS includes the business phone system functionality and next-generation features associated with it.
Mid-sized businesses that need instant access to suppliers and information in order to remain successful stand to benefit from a communications solution that comprises all forms of digital communication. HPBX and UCaaS allow users to choose how best to get their message across at any given moment while retaining a record of that communication to inform others in the organization.
HPBX is the cloud-based outgrowth of traditional private branch exchange (PBX) phone service. It offers many of the same advantages as its on-premises predecessor, without the initial capital expenditure and with the added convenience of the cloud.
HPBX allows for seamless communications anytime, anywhere, and from any internet-connected device. Phone calls, text messages, voicemail, and chats can all be instantly routed to smartphones, tablets, and remote desktops regardless of location. This transformative level of freedom empowers employees of mid-sized businesses to be more productive than ever before.
Employees can leverage the advanced capabilities of HPBX and a full suite of communications services if the proper IP phones are in place. Softphone apps also grant mobile workers the ability to use the full spectrum of HPBX services on laptops, tablets, and smartphones, among other devices.
UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) is a cloud-based methodology intended to revolutionize the way organizations communicate. It’s based on the idea of combining traditional technology like voice calls with today’s cutting-edge digital solutions, all on a single platform.
UCaaS allows for the integration of text, chat, video, and voice over IP (VoIP) with the applications your business is already using, eliminating confusion as everything occurs and is stored on the same platform. With a UCaaS solution in place, all of your company’s communication channels are centralized into a single environment that seamlessly fits into your workflow.
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What both hosted PBX and UCaaS have in common is their origin in the cloud. In recent years, the cloud has become a more common destination for workloads. This makes it an attractive environment for communications – specifically HPBX and UCaaS. These cloud-based solutions eliminate the expense of hardware during installation as well as the ongoing maintenance and update costs that come with an on-premise PBX.
The challenge here is understanding the differences between HPBX and UCaaS. As tends to be the case with most business decisions, the best communications technology for your company depends on what your needs are and the specific challenges you’re hoping to solve.
There are a few basic differences between HPBX and UCaaS:
HPBX, also known as hosted VoIP, is an alternative to cable-dependent landlines. It:
UCaaS includes hosted PBX, but it also offers a variety of other features. Depending on your provider, UCaaS:
In order to decide whether HPBX or UCaaS is a better fit for your business, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:
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.
One of the benefits of UCaaS is that it all but eliminates geographical considerations from your hiring process. Further, virtual teams thrive using video conferencing to share ideas and access shared workspaces for improved productivity.
With HPBX, 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.
Whether they opt for hosted PBX or UCaaS, mid-sized businesses cite a variety of reasons for moving to the cloud from their legacy phone systems:
The monthly cost of a legacy system: Businesses that switch to HPBX or UCaaS can save up to 70% on their average phone bill.
Obsolete hardware: Phone system hardware becomes obsolete quickly, and repairs can become difficult when parts are only available aftermarket. Finding support can also be challenging as technicians tend to either move on to newer technology or retire.
Lack of features: In order to deliver superior customer service, it’s important to be able to monitor conversations with customers, route calls to the appropriate party, and deliver a seamless experience to end users.
Limited capacity and difficulty scaling: Because of the hardware requirements of a legacy system, the ability to grow efficiently can be inhibited when a business is ready to expand. Adding users is also cumbersome with a legacy phone system.
Lack of information: Today’s business environment is driven by data, and if a business doesn’t have access to communication reports or call logs, it is likely hobbling staffing and training capabilities. Legacy systems also lack necessary reporting functions.
Cloud communications solutions like HPBX and UCaaS help businesses reduce costs while gaining features and reporting that can help them acquire an edge over the competition. Adding users or new locations is quick and convenient, and capacity is virtually unlimited.
There are a few main reasons more and more businesses are making the switch to HPBX and UCaaS:
Flexibility: Businesses using an on-premise phone system are tied to proprietary equipment and must use certain partners. A cloud communications solution is standards-based or a commodity, so there’s flexibility to choose partners and equipment that fit certain needs and preferences.
Capital expenditure vs. operational expenditure: Cloud solutions are purchased through a monthly subscription, as opposed to the capital expense required to purchase a new software solution or phone system upfront.
Future-proof: When migrating to HPBX or UCaaS, businesses enjoy seamless, ongoing updates, and new features are rolled out as they are developed. When using a cloud solution, the responsibility for keeping the systems updated is shifted to the provider.
Feature-rich: When using an on-premise phone system, each additional feature requires another piece of equipment or hardware component, which adds to the cost. With HPBX and UCaaS, there’s a wide array of features available, from call forwarding to digital receptionist and voicemail, which don’t add to the cost of the basic invoice.
Mobility: Cloud communications give employees the flexibility to work at the time and place they are most productive and with access to all systems.
Predictable, consistent invoicing: With a legacy phone system, a hardware problem or the need to upgrade the system can create unexpected expenses. HPBX and UCaaS have a low, consistent invoice each month with no unexpected charges.
Better security: With security threats changing and increasing on a daily basis, most businesses welcome the idea of outsourcing security concerns to a provider that can offer more robust monitoring and attack prevention. Cloud communications providers offer encryption, service monitoring, and security protocols as part of a comprehensive security strategy.
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Mid-sized businesses that make the investment in hosted PBX or UCaaS are able to realize a number of benefits. These technologies transform the way modern businesses work by leveraging the cloud to streamline processes and enhance productivity. With the right provider, the transition to these cloud-based tools is seamless and brings high-quality features and options for hosted solutions that take the pressure off your IT team.
HPBX allows for seamless communications anytime, anywhere, and from any internet-connected device. The solution offers a large number of upsides to the mid-sized business. These include:
Zero deployment costs: HPBX requires no initial payments or upfront investment in hardware, making it an operating expenditure that appeals to accounting departments at businesses with limited IT budgets.
Predictable pricing: Pricing structures for HPBX solutions are far more predictable than their on-premise counterparts. Costs for HPBX are clearly stated from the start and remain constant under the terms of your contract with a provider.
Remote management: Because HPBX solutions are based in the cloud, they can be fully managed online from nearly any device with an internet connection. Employees can be easily added or removed, and services can be turned on or off as your business’s needs change.
Empowered users: End users have the ability to manage their own profiles and adjust their own settings to their liking. This gives your employees the ability to change their own PINs, adjust their voicemail parameters, modify smartphone settings, and more.
Increased uptime: HPBX solutions deliver a far greater degree of uptime than many other communications tools. Should a power outage or natural disaster strike, HPBX can help ensure business continuity.
The list of UCaaS benefits is extensive, and while some are what you would expect with an as-a-service cloud solution, others may be less obvious but more valuable in the long run. These include:
Streamlined business processes: All communication formats are united under one application, so every employee can access the tools they want under a single umbrella of features.
Support for mobility: As the workforce becomes more mobile, remote and field employees need to be able to access communications tools from anywhere. With UCaaS, all that’s required is an internet connection and a valid login.
Business continuity: With UCaaS, there’s little to no downtime, ever. And the right provider will offer optimized redundancy and the data center features you need for reliable communications access.
Collaborative tools: One of the key features of UCaaS is its ability to connect virtual teams that are geographically disparate. Through shared workspaces and video conferencing, teams are able to make decisions more quickly, respond to customers, and problem-solve in a collaborative environment.
IT relief: UCaaS shifts all hardware purchasing and maintenance, troubleshooting, and updates to the provider, allowing you to lighten the load on your IT professionals.
Support for your brand: UCaaS gives your enterprise a professional face, with consistent communication formats that positively represent your brand.
Cost savings: Thanks to the switch from a big capital investment that usually comes with a technology upgrade to a monthly subscription that can be categorized as an operating expense, your finance department will be satisfied.
While it’s clear hosted PBX and UCaaS provide undeniable advantages to businesses, the technologies are also subject to several myths that need to be dispelled.
The cloud is affected by more breaches than on-premise systems.
The fact is, when you consider two very common types of attack — botnets and malware — on-premise systems are more susceptible to attack. HPBX and UCaaS providers go above and beyond to put strong policies in place to prevent attacks in order to maintain a solid reputation.
Data stored in the cloud is inherently not safe.
The truth is, cloud providers are able to bring expert staff onboard to ensure client data is indeed safe — often far safer than any mid-sized business can muster within a restricted budget. Most find that when they jump to the cloud, their cloud communications security processes drastically improve.
If I don’t physically control my data, it’s not secure.
Not having control over your data doesn’t mean it’s unsafe. Businesses that want total control and insist on keeping all of their data stored locally are faced by an abundance of issues related to human error.
I have no part in protecting my data once it’s in the cloud.
While there are a number of cloud communications security solutions offered by the provider, there is still some housekeeping that needs to be addressed by the company. Having a solid backup plan in place, being cognizant of the current threats, and being mindful of encryption solutions that can protect data going to and from the cloud is critical.
Inflexible legacy phone systems that lack the ability to scale and meet the needs of a growing business are becoming less desirable to the mid-sized business in today’s digital environment. From convenience and cost savings to disaster recovery and business continuity, UCaaS brings advantages that are hard to pass up. With the predictable pricing, increased uptime, and remote management capabilities offered by HPBX, these innovative cloud-based solutions are often pivotal to the success of a growing business.
When you're ready to take advantage of scalability, better employee retention, and more, we're here to help.