Before we make that comparison, we must of course first introduce the two solutions.
The classic telephone exchange (PBX)
A private branch exchange (PBX) is a combination of hardware and software that is located on-premise (within your company buildings). The telephones in your offices are all connected to the physical telephone exchange via fixed lines (physical cables). The maintenance, management and security of the exchange must be done in the office.
Telephony in the cloud
The virtual telephone exchange is of course… in the cloud. That means that you no longer have any hardware in the office. You use a virtual telephone exchange that is offered by a cloud provider. Your telephones (mobile, fixed) and other devices (PCs, laptops, etc.) can all be easily linked to that virtual telephone exchange via the internet.
What are the main differences between them?
We have listed five important points of comparison, namely installation, management, daily use, cost and availability.
Installing a private branch exchange (PBX) requires time and the help of a specialized partner. When new branches are added or disappear, the exchange must be expanded or even separate exchanges must be provided. When your company should move to another office, the PBX must be disconnected and reinstalled at the new location.
Installing a cloud solution takes a lot less time. The scalability ensures that new branches and new users can be easily added. During a move, the virtual exchange simply follows you, without the need for a new installation.
With a PBX, the hardware and software are your property. This means that you are responsible for maintenance, management and updates, or that you have to hire a specialized partner for this. The PBX is also a system in itself, which means that there is little integration with the other communication channels of your organization.
With cloud telephony, the cloud provider is responsible for the management of the software, maintenance and updates. The only thing you have to do as a customer is adjust the available settings to your liking. Cloud telephony also makes it easy to integrate with other means of communication, so that you really have a unified communication solution.
3. Daily use
Because a traditional telephone exchange has separate networks for voice and data, those functionalities are often separated. With telephony, this is usually limited to basic functions, with a number of extras such as meeting rooms, call queues, etc.
Cloud telephony connects all devices within your organization. That also means that there are many more options. For example, think of “find me, follow me” (accessible on any device), chat, file sharing, mobile apps, etc.
With the traditional PBX you have a large investment in hardware and software in advance and usually also a fixed cost per user. So it mainly concerns Capital Expenses (CapEx). In addition, there are also the recurring costs for maintenance and management.
Since everything is done virtually, the set-up costs for a cloud solution are limited. You also have a monthly subscription per user, which is based on usage. This therefore concerns more flexible Operational Expenses (OpEx).
PBX vendors will be happy to highlight the “unreliability” of cloud telephony. Because if there is no internet connection, you cannot be reached. As opposed to the traditional exchange that works over another network and is always available.
There are a lot of caveats to be made today, but the most important is that the availability percentages of cloud services are so high today that that story has been outdated. Solutions such as Office 365, Salesforce and various social media show that 24/7 availability is the rule today.
When you look at the investment and the limited flexibility of the traditional PBX, cloud telephony today is better tailored to the needs of modern companies: easily scalable, tailored to real business needs, a pay-as-you-use cost and especially a higher ease of use, for both users and administrators.
Are you convinced and do you want to know how cloud voice is put into practice? Then be sure to check out our Arxus Cloud Voice offer!
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