What Is PBX Unified Communications?


Modern call centers are amazingly efficient compared to the centers from just a few years ago. The main difference is hosted PBX unified communications services vs. on-site installations. In the first section, we look at the older strategy of on-site PBX installations. In the second section, we see how unified communications are more efficient.

A PBX is a private branch exchange. It is basically an on-site telephone switching board. This allows several employees to use one external phone number among many other features:

  • Transferring calls internally.
  • Transferring an incoming external to internal phones.
  • Listen to voicemails in an email inbox or transcribed into a PDF.
  • Complete control over the PBX.
  • Potentially the most secure and private communications system.

Many companies are moving away from an on-site PBX. But for some companies such as hospitals and security-related government agencies, using an on-site PBX is their only option. These entities need complete control over privacy and security. Allowing the PBX to be hosted off-site could result in a compromise. This type of on-site installation requires a highly specialized team for regulars maintenance of the PBX but also to ensure the highest privacy and security of the system.

An on-site PBX is expensive. It requires the phone company to come out any time there are problems or when another extension/phone needs to be added. Hardware can also fail and must be replaced. Depending on the failure and how long it takes to repair, the company's phone systems can be adversely affected.

When a new phone needs to be added to the PBX, the phone company must be contacted to come out and perform the installation. This type of expansion isn't something the company's IT team can do. There is usually a contract in place with the phone company. Allowing the IT team to work on the PBX will most likely be a breach of the contract.

Transitioning From PBX to Unified Communications

Moving from a PBX to a unified communications phone system is not that difficult. Mainly because there isn't any additional hardware to install. The on-site PBX is abandoned once the unified communications software is installed.

To start the transition, a company finds a cloud communications service provider who meets the company's communication needs. One of those needs is unified communications. Unified communications is a suite of communications applications consisting of:

  • Call routing
  • IVR
  • CRM
  • Billing integration
  • Messaging

The unified communications software has everything a call center should need and probably more. The software integrates with lots of other applications. A benefit of going with a service provider who offers unified communications software is that all applications in the suite will be compatible. 

If you choose a provider who offers call routing and a CRM only, you'll need to add IVR and messaging at some point. If these applications come from a different provider, there could be compatibility problems between the applications. Also, reps might have to open several applications at once to get their workspace started. With a unified communications application suite, only one app has to be started. This is far more productive than waiting for multiple apps to start.

Using a cloud communications provider means using a virtual PBX. It offers all the benefits of a traditional PBX without the high-cost overhead. To get started with the hosted solution, the call center only needs to install the service provider's software on their machines and start the app. The app will communicate with the cloud provider's servers. Anyone in the call center who is logged into the app can communicate with anyone else within the company's group. 

Because the hosted solution is just software, a new rep can be added by management in the software's administration section. A visit from the service provider is not needed. Additionally, there isn't any hardware to break. The company's cost has been cut down to a flat, monthly fee.

To summarize the main points:

  • A PBX is an on-site phone switching system that manages a company's phone system.
  • PBX Unified Communications is a hosted solution that provides the benefits of a PBX without the cost.
  • Transitioning from a traditional PBX to a hosted unified communications solution is as easy as installing software on each workstation.

Your business needs every cog in your machine to be as productive as possible. With 8x8's Team Messaging System your business gets the unified messaging it needs without the need for multiple disparate systems. Call 1-866-879-8647 or fill out an online form to request a no-obligation quote from an 8x8 product specialist.

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