The Seven Deadly Sins of a PBX Phone System

May 2017
The Seven Deadly Sins of a PBX Phone System

The Seven Deadly Sins of a PBX Phone System

Many premises-based phone system (PBX) manufacturers claim that the 5 year costs of their systems are lower than an equivalent Cloud PBX alternative. What the premises guys don’t tell you about is all the extra little hidden costs that come as a result of the limitations of the hardware and software in their systems. This guide will provide you with useful questions to ask yourself and/or your PBX manufacturer as you seek to understand the whole picture as it relates to cost and functionality, and avoid the biggest pitfalls and most expensive surprises along the way.



  1. Flexibility

How does a PBX system cope with peaks and troughs in demand? The answer is: it doesn’t. The manufacturers make you buy capacity for the peak utilization which may only occur for a couple of weeks a year.  An on-premise PBX has a certain number of ports, and requires expensive upgrades to add users, and the telephone carriers are similarly inflexible.  With hosted VoIP you can just pay for the peaks as and when they occur.  Question you should ask: Have you sized this system for my peak demand?

  1. Carrier Costs

Lots of PBX advocates ignore the costs of telephone lines and usage when they try to rig the TCO matrix to their advantage.  Any real TCO analysis should take into account the costs of your voice trunks, PRIs, and local, 800, and long distance usage.  With a cloud based unified communications as a service (UCaaS) solution, all of these costs go away.  If you have an MPLS network you should be wondering whether that is still necessary or whether you could utilize SD-WAN technology to enhance the performance without increasing bandwidth.  Question you should ask: What am I paying for telephony access and usage?

  1. Redundancy

Adding site redundancy will add at least an extra system to your costs. Look at how the PBX system handles calls if you lose the equipment room due to flood, fire or electrical failure. Because unified communications providers are in the cloud, your business communications service is always available on multiple devices.  Question you should ask: Have you factored in the cost of site redundancy?

  1. Obsolescence

The average lifespan of a premises-based system is about 7 years mainly due to the hardware going obsolete in that time. You may also discover features your business relies on that are no longer being upgraded, leaving you with a system that cannot meet your future business needs. Cloud is an evergreen platform that continually adds new features that regularly improve your employee productivity. Question to ask: How old is this product? When will the manufacturer stop developing features for it? Have they stopped already?  Is the manufacturer even going to be in business a few years from now?

  1. Mobility

Mobile integration with the PBX is often cumbersome and ends up with additional call charges on the PBX trunks with calls being hair pinned in and out of the system. Mobility is one of the clear advantages for cloud based systems, which seamlessly route calls across all kinds of devices and networks.  Question to ask: Is mobility supported on this system? Will I incur extra costs from my carrier if I use mobility?

  1. Maintenance Costs

With PBX systems, you need to factor in maintenance costs of on-premises hardware such as service calls to your local vendor, software updates, and hardware replacement as things invariably break from time to time. With cloud based phone systems, all the essential hardware is located within the service provider’s telecom data center so you have no direct maintenance costs on the infrastructure. Question to ask: What are the annual maintenance costs of the hardware and software in this system? Will they rise as the system gets older?  Do you need to purchase software assurance or partner support for the OEM to support you?

  1. Integrations

Need to integrate with a CRM system? This is the most common requirement of a phone system and normally costs you extra to get a system integrator to perform what can be a complex task. With cloud based unified communications systems the integration is already done and can be switched on at a moment’s notice.  Question to ask yourself: Which third party systems have you integrated this PBX with? How much will it cost?

About Altus

Altus is the premier choice for cloud-based business communications, providing companies with flexible and secure technologies that help employees and customers stay connected more easily.  Whether looking for basic voice service, comprehensive unified communications, or contact center, business executives trust Altus to deliver the latest features and functionality without costly capital spending programs.  As an FCC-registered service provider, Altus offers enterprise-grade performance across its secure, geo-redundant carrier platform. Start communicating better with Altus.  For more information, visit or call toll free 866.922.4001.

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