- Best cloud phone systems of 2019: set up a business PBX system in the cloud - TechRadar
- Baymark Partners buys Presidium Network Services - PE Hub
- What Is PBX? Is It Right for Your Business? - Business News Daily
Posted: 10 Oct 2019 08:49 AM PDT
Editor's note: Looking for a cloud phone system and PBX for your business? If you're looking for information to help you choose the one that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our partner site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:
PBX (Private Branch Exchanges) are used by companies to route telephone calls within their own premises. Depending on the type of PBX used people in your organization can have their own extensions, place calls and even send SMS messages and faxes.
Setting up your own PBX has traditionally been time consuming and costly. These days however, there are a number of companies offering phone systems in the cloud.
In this guide, you'll discover some of the top cloud-based companies offering this service today. All of these providers will save you the trouble and expense of installing your own hardware, although some are compatible with existing PBX systems too. As their systems are based online, many of these providers also support video and VoIP calling as well as regular telephone calls.
Best cloud business phone systems - at a glance
Comprehensive cross platform cloud-calling for those who can afford it
Good customer support
8x8 Inc. is a provider of cloud communications and customer engagement solutions. Services available include cloud –based voice, contact centre, video, mobile and unified communications for small, medium and enterprise businesses.
The platform offers a unified communications system which is easy to use. It has many features including calling, collaboration, mobile apps and tools. 8x8 is a cloud-hosted VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone system. No complicated PBX hardware is needed.
Phones can be purchased directly from 8x8. If you choose to do this, the will come preconfigured and ready to use upon arrival. However, if you purchased from an outside vendor, an 8x8 representative will help you during initial setup.
The entire 8x8 system is setup and managed via online portal. From where users have access to billing, call logs and support. Administrators can also create and setup extensions and call groups.
8x8 offers three price plans. In order to subscribe, users will need to contact the sales team directly. All plans include unlimited calling, mobile apps, auto attendant, online call management and business SMS.
Users have complained that the cost is high compared to other providers.
Unlimited telephone and video calls, RingCentral ticks all the boxes
Unlimited video & audio meetings
UI learning curve
RingCentral is a provider of cloud-based communications and collaboration solutions. It was founded in 1999.
The solution includes all PBX administration functions, Android and iOS apps and unlimited calling.
Upon registration, users will be assigned an 'implementation specialist' to help determine the number of phones you need. They also help to either transfer over or create new numbers for you. Any phones you purchase directly from RingCentral are preconfigured and ready to use upon receipt.
RingCentral offer several pricing tiers for small businesses. These range from $19.99 for the 'Essentials' package to $49.99 for the 'Ultimate' package. All plans include unlimited phone calls, unlimited business SMS and mobile apps. They also offer unlimited video and audio meetings with screen sharing on both the desktop and mobile apps. However, the number of screen-sharing users is limited by the package you choose.
For enterprise business, subscribers can request a demo and a quote by filling out a form on the website.
Online commentators have noticed that it takes some time to get used to the interface.
Ooma Office is a cloud-based business VoIP solution aimed at providing enterprise-level features and service for small business customers.
Even better is that Ooma doesn't lock you into a contract, meaning you can set up and stay with them only as long as you want, with no penalties.
There are a number of features available to help ensure your business phone service sounds professional to customers, such as extensions, a multi-level virtual receptionist and call transfers, as well as conferencing features.
Additionally there is a mobile app for use on smartphones so that you and your staff can use the Ooma phone system while on the go out of the office.
Ooma is compatible with a number of existing VoIP protocols, but new customers can buy a specially-built base station with range extenders. Existing businesses should be able to use their existing VoIP equipment, but additional phones and bundles are available if required.
Another advantage of Ooma is that it has a single flat-rate fee for small businesses of $19.95 per user, which is a lot cheaper than many other providers, making it particularly price-competitive.
Keep your switchboard in the cloud without breaking the bank
Some connectivity issues
Vonage is an internet telephony service which provides business and residential telecommunication services. They were founded in 2001.
Vonage Business Cloud provides users with video conferencing and online collaboration. The solution offers businesses access to a web-based console. Users can view extension numbers, the number porting tool and setup guide.
Subscribers have access to a variety of plug-ins as well as services. Some plug-ins are free such as integration with Clio, ConnectWise, Google G Suite and Microsoft Dynamics.
Vonage claim to have an easy to use service with no need to install complicated PBX hardware as everything is cloud-based.
The 'Mobile' package starts at $19.99 which includes unlimited calling and messages, mobile app, desktop app and Vonage Flow Team messaging.
The 'Premium' plan starts at $29.99 per month per user and comes with extras such as CRM integrations, multi-level auto attendant, conference calling, online meetings and video conferencing.
The top tier plan available, weighs in at $39.99 per month with all the first two tiers have to offer plus on-demand call recording and Vonage Visual Voicemail.
Vonage offer a 14-day free trial for all packages.
Some users have claimed that calls can disconnect at times.
A powerful cloud phone system
Strong suite of features
Different cloud options
Avaya OneCloud aims to create a truly scaleable business phone solution that can work for every size of business, whether small business or enterprise.
For small and medium-sized businesses Avaya OneCloud operates through Google cloud, meaning that you receive continuous service and don't have to concern yourself with software upgrades or IT buy-ins.
For enterprise companies that already have a private or hybrid cloud service, a customized solution can be set up under the OneCloud ReadyNow service. There's the option of setting up any required server hardware on premises, or else host it in one of Avaya's datacenters.
Of course, Avaya OneCloud is more than just calls, and as a unified communications solution it means integrating all communications channels into a single system.
Avaya have a solid track record in their expanded VoIP and UC service provisions, and the sheer scaleability of the OneCloud solution has to be attractive.
Other cloud phone systems and PBX options to consider
We've only scratched the surface in terms of cloud-hosted phone and PBX providers with considering for your business. Here's we'll look at some additional options which are well worth a look:
aircall is one of the more innovative cloud-based phone providers for business. Not only is it entirely cloud-based, making it an excellent choice for those with mobile devices, it also comes with a ton of standard features. Even better, it comes not just with analytics, but with a huge number of integrations, such as SalesForce, Zendesk, Zoho, Freshdesk, and Shopify.
Jive is another company that offers a hosted cloud VoIP system which combines both voice and video, making it ideal for use on mobile devices such as cell phones. It also comes with a lot of standard features, including analytics, and of course video conferencing. Although it starts from $29.95 per user for up to 4 users, the cost-per-user decreases the more users you sign up.
Dialpad is another big cloud-hosted PBX worth looking at. Dialpad runs using Google's Cloud, and as above includes both voice and video conferencing as standard. It also offers AI to work through your logs to offer actionable insights to help improve business efficiency, customer retention, and profitability. It's also cheap at $20 per user, though costs more to unlock more features.
Microsoft Phone System is part of the Microsoft Teams stable, which not only offers cloud-hosting calling, conferencing, and chat, but also promises full integration with the Office 365 office software suite. However, if you don't want to move to the cloud you can use your existing PBX hardware.
MiCloud Connect is the hosted PBX solution by one of the world's biggest specialist VoIP providers. Although it looks geared more to enterprise, it's also accessible to smaller business, with a range of scales available according to need. It also comes with CRM options and a host of other features to improve business operations.
Posted: 10 Oct 2019 07:21 AM PDT
Baymark Partners LLC has acquired Lakeland, Florida-based Presidium Network Services LLC, an IT services provider. No financial terms were disclosed. Generational Equity advised Presidium Network Services on the deal.
DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Generational Equity, a leading mergers and acquisitions advisor for privately held businesses, is pleased to announce the sale of its client, Presidium Network Services, LLC to Baymark Partners. The acquisition closed September 17, 2019 and details were not disclosed.
Located in Plano, Texas Baymark Partners is a growth oriented private equity firm acquiring growing middle market service (healthcare, business and IT), distribution, manufacturing and tech enabled (SAAS and E-Commerce) companies providing owners with liquidity and companies with resources to accelerate their growth. The Firm has made 18 acquisitions since its inception.
According to Dieckmann, "This acquisition was a good match as an add-on for Baymark to their Slappey Communications platform, which will help them to grow the central Florida market. The Presidium team liked the compatibility of the two entities which made for a smooth and congenial transaction."
About Generational Equity
With over 250 professionals located throughout North America, the companies help business owners release the wealth of their business by providing merger, acquisition, and wealth management services. Their five-step approach features exit planning education, business valuation, value enhancement strategies, M&A transactional services, and wealth management.
The M&A Advisor named the company the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Investment Banking Firm of the Year. For more information, visit https://www.genequityco.com/ or the Generational Equity press room.
Posted: 02 Oct 2019 12:00 AM PDT
Researching phone systems for your business can be a daunting task. There are many different systems to choose from and an alphabet soup of abbreviations to learn. To determine which system type can serve you best, you must consider your employees' business phone needs and where you can cut costs.
What is PBX?
A PBX, or private branch exchange, is a business-grade private telephone network that enables communication both within and outside your organization. PBX uses various communication channels, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). A business phone system is differentiated from residential or cell phone services by its service offerings, with features such as call conferencing, extension dialing, business-hour settings for routing off-hours calls, customer waiting queues and hold music.
A PBX system is monitored through the use of a PBX switchboard, which processes the connections between telephones to facilitate a call. It also provides key information for accounting purposes and controls most of the features in business phone systems.
PBX vs. PABX
Because most PBX systems are now automated, they're sometimes known as private automatic branch exchange (PABX) to differentiate them from original PBX systems, which required a live operator to make connections. Because that practice has fallen out of use, though, the term "PBX" typically implies that the system is automatic.
Traditional analog PBX systems, those with the need for live operators, are seldom used nowadays. They connect to the public switched telephone network (PSTN) over plain old telephone service (POTS), which physically connects voice and fax calls via copper wiring. If you have an analog PBX system and wish to connect it to digital channels such as VoIP, you will need to use an adapter. Analog PBX systems are not expandable or upgradeable.
The most widely used type of business phone system is a digital or IP PBX system, which sends voice and video communications via the internet. You can choose a traditional IP PBX or a premise-based IP PBX, which is a VoIP-based phone system that is housed physically in the office and connects phones over your office's local area network (LAN), often using the same web network as your office computers.
To connect an on-premise PBX system to the PSTN, you will need either a Primary Rate Interface (PRI) or Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking service. A SIP trunking service provides additional benefits such as disaster recovery, call accounting and advanced call routing. [Read related article: What Is SIP Trunking? Do You Need It for Your Business?]
Keep in mind that an on-premise PBX requires a large capital expenditure on hardware and other equipment as well as continuous maintenance and updating costs. You can expect to spend around $6,500 upfront on the hardware, phone, setup and licensing fees plus monthly service costs.
IP PBX systems can be a more budget-friendly option by cutting out the equipment costs. They provide high-definition audio, call queuing and business-hour rules, and they can integrate with other applications like a CRM.
Editor's note: Looking for the right business phone system for your company? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.
What is cloud PBX?
A cloud PBX system, also known as hosted or virtual PBX, is an IP-based telephony system provided by and accessed completely through the internet. A hosted system provides all PBX features, applications and services, and it maintains software in the cloud rather than on a server like digital systems.
Benefits of a hosted PBX system
With cloud PBX, your phone system, applications, features and phone service are all billed together, with automatic maintenance and software updates. Cloud PBX systems are significantly more flexible than traditional phone systems, offering advanced disaster recovery – i.e., more flexibility and resilience than a traditional phone system in the event of a disaster, like network failure or a hurricane – and geographic flexibility that allows employees to make calls from anywhere, anytime. This allows easy remote work for anyone in your company.
Cloud-hosted PBX systems also tend to be more budget-friendly than on-premise PBX systems because, like digital PBX systems, they do not require equipment or ongoing updates and maintenance. You can expect to spend around $2,000 in a one-time phone cost for a cloud PBX system.
Cloud PBX systems are easily scalable and generally support an unlimited number of users. Adding users is instantaneous. Setup and maintenance are typically fast and require no downtime.
Cons of a hosted PBX system
Hosted PBX systems require some equipment to get up and running if you do not already own the necessary components. For example, you will need to purchase IP phones, which generally require an Ethernet port and a large router.
Because hosted PBX systems are web-based, you must have a strong internet connection for communication to run smoothly. If your internet service provider is unreliable, you will likely have a frustrating experience. Make sure your ISP is strong and reliable and can support your communication needs before committing to a PBX.
You should also take measures to ensure your PBX system is secure. Because it's hosted on the internet, your PBX system could be more susceptible to security breaches than a server-based system. Take the time to speak with hosted PBX providers about their security measures and how they protect your system. You should make sure they have both physical and network security, SIP endpoint security, toll fraud monitoring and detection, and a dedicated monitoring system that alerts you to any suspicious activity.
What questions should you ask before purchasing a hosted PBX system?
Hosted PBX systems are the newest entrant in the telephony market and boast several appealing features for small businesses. However, a cloud PBX may not be right for you. Here are some questions you should ask yourself before committing to hosted PBX:
Here are some questions to ask the provider:
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