This article originally appeared in Cloud Computing Magazine Q4 2012
The hosted versus premise debate has been raging for a while. The tide is turning. One major reason that hosted PBX (News - Alert) is winning is due to the nature of the office. The idea of the office is changing. Freelancers, virtual workers and mobile workers are making the physical office – if there still is one – a hub, but not the place that many workers work.
The nature of the business environment now is the workforce that is spread out geographically. Certainly, IP-PBX delivers enterprise level features that rival Metaswitch, but the remote capabilities of these premise based systems is limited. It is limited by the voice trunking capacity, since voicemail requires a call path to be answered. Even forwarding calls to the mobile phone can tie up a call path. The capacity quickly gets eaten up.
Who will manage the premise IP-PBX? With the changing office, the number of moves/adds/changes has increased for 10 years ago. In addition, that remote capacity needs to be monitored and maintained. In many cases, the IP-PBX runs on a server that requires patches to both the operating system and the PBX software to fix bugs and security issues. Today, the voicemail system is the weak link that hackers exploit. Who is going to play cat and mouse with the hackers?
Besides Macs, capacity and security, the business manager just wants to focus on his core business. Running a PBX is not a core function. With downsized operations and personnel, any function that can be outsourced must be examined. It isn’t just a financial decision; it is a practical one. One reason Xerox has been able to sell Managed Print is due to the need in business to control costs and upkeep. The copier gets jammed or doesn’t send to email or some other function affects productivity, adds frustration and should just be a phone call away.
Premise-based solutions require someone to maintain them and keep them running efficiently. On top of that, they require a physical office to reside at. Both of those resources are diminishing – both a physical office and human resources since the move is to a virtual office with a remote workforce.
Edited by Brooke Neuman