Hosted vs On-Site IP-PBX A Guide for SMEs

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1 A Guide for SMEs

2 When switching to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony, the decision of whether to use a hosted or on-site phone system (IP-PBX) must be made. Both have fundamental differences which will have a long-term impact on how the system is run and maintained. This white paper analyses the distinct advantages and disadvantages of hosted and on-site IP-PBX systems, and compares the differing costs. It also includes a useful decision flowchart to help you determine the most appropriate solution for your business. They are suitable for businesses of all sizes - from micro companies to large corporate entities.more than 40 per cent of UK businesses are already using VoIP, with adoption highest among medium-sized enterprises. A further 25 per cent of companies have plans to deploy VoIP in An introduction to voip telephony for business VoIP is a technology that allows voice and video calls to be made and received via a high-speed Internet connection. It enables users to call anywhere in the world for a fraction of the usual cost (typically at least 50 per cent cheaper) and other VoIP users for free. VoIP telephony systems, more commonly known as IP-PBX systems, can provide an advanced set of call handling tools and features to improve service, efficiency and productivity. Hosted or on-site ip-pbx? VoIP telephony systems can be vendor operated via the Internet on a hosted cloud platform or physically installed at office premises. Hosted systems incur operating expenditure in the form of a monthly service charge, while on-site systems incur an initial capital cost for the phone system hardware. Both have fundamental differences with distinct advantages and disadvantages. It is important to fully appreciate how they differ in order to make the right VoIP telephony decision. What is an IP-PBX? An IP (Internet Protocol) PBX (Private Branch Exchange) is a telephone switching system which enables audio, video and instant messaging communication. It interconnects an internal VoIP network with the public switched telephony network (PSTN) for telephony communications between VoIP and traditional telephone users. 1 Source: Vanson Bourne Independent survey commissioned by Telappliant.

3 Hosted IP-PBX A hosted IP-PBX is provided, configured, managed and maintained by a VoIP telephony provider. Calls are routed by the service provider and delivered over an Internet connection (Figure 1). No additional equipment is needed by the customer, other than IP handsets and an Internet connection.

4 Hosted IP-PBX advantages VS disadvantages Low capital investment required for expensive hardware or software, which in turn frees cash flow and eliminates perceived risk for businesses using VoIP for the first time No complexity or in-house technical support demands because the VoIP service provider is responsible for managing, maintaining, updating and upgrading the hardware and software Suitable for growing businesses and those with fluctuating demand because new users, numbers and phone lines can be added quickly and easily. Excellent scalability means call capacity can be increased or decreased in line with sales and demand, including seasonal peaks No expensive installation fees or engineer call-outs as the system is in the cloud. Phones can be automatically provisioned, remotely Support and maintenance are included in the monthly cost Provides a unified phone system for companies with several offices, allowing efficiencies and a consistent experience for both users and customers anywhere in the world Call quality is directly influenced by your Internet connection, so it is essential to use VoIP-optimised broadband with the bandwidth to handle your call requirements Dependency on the Internet connection means that if your Internet access goes down, so will the phone system. You will not be able to make outbound calls (although inbound calls can be temporarily diverted to landlines or mobiles). Telephony features and compatibility are dependent on the VoIP provider and access to its system may be limited No physical hardware on site may give the perception of lack of control There is no reliance on a single site, so if a connection to the IP-PBX is lost from one site, calls can still be routed to other sites Enables and supports seamless, professional remote working as calls can be directly routed to any employee, regardless of location. Calls can also be made from mobile phones and softphones, as well as desk phones. By always keeping users connected to the same phone system, benefits including increased efficiency, productivity and employee satisfaction can be achieved Quick and easy to implement with migration from traditional telephony very straightforward. Disruption during implementation is extremely rare and the transition can be complete in a matter of days Minimal hardware storage, racking and cooling requirements because the VoIP provider houses most of the equipment off-site Ensures continuity in the event of a fire or natural disaster because all critical hardware and software is stored off-site in a secure data centre. Even if your premises are destroyed, the phone system will still work, allowing business to continue from another location Hosted IP-PBX disadvantages Failover to the PSTN is achieved through hardware, which will require capex and maintenance Dependency on the VoIP provider means you should thoroughly evaluate its credentials and financials to determine its ability to provide a long-term high quality service Monthly fees may mean that the total cost of ownership may be slightly higher compared to an on-site IP-PBX. Any marginal additional costs however are outweighed by the savings in maintenance charges and will still be less than using the public switched telephone network (PSTN)

5 ON-SITE IP-PBX Designed primarily for those organisations wishing to integrate legacy PSTN lines with VoIP, an on-site IP-PBX is installed at the business premises and managed in its entirety by the user. As well as an IP-PBX, a VoIP-PSTN gateway is required to route and convert analogue or ISDN calls to VoIP (Figure 2).

6 Hosted IP-PBX advantages VS disadvantages Cost of ownership reduces over time, with lower operational expenditure and savings over the course of several years No monthly subscription payments, because you have purchased the system outright More control over the feature set and call routing (if using an open-source platform such as Asterisk) No need to change current call carrier because an on-site IP-PBX can connect to the PSTN, which in turn minimises procurement changes PSTN can easily be used as a failover when Internet bandwidth is limited or disrupted Significant up-front capital expenditure is often prohibitive or deemed to be toohigh, especially by businesses using VoIP telephony for the first time Hardware maintenance and upgrades are an ongoing expense, requiring engineering slots with the provider/manufacturer, as well as in-house technical expertise Flexibility, scalability and bespokability are limited by the physical hardware Increasing the number of users is not straightforward and can be a complex process, particularly if the system has already reached the maximum number of allowable users. This in turn reduces the suitability of an on-site IP-PBX for companies, including those which are growing or plan to do so, and those with fluctuating demand Licencing costs for upgrades and additional users can be high even if the hardware is capable Support for homeworkers may be limited as it is reliant on the site housing the system and the available bandwidth (with bandwidth requirements doubled foroutbound calls as a result of tromboning) Failure or loss of the PBX will mean incoming calls get a busy tone, indicatingthat no transmission path to the called number is available. This can potentially lose sales and damage a professional reputation Physical disasters or power/broadband outages at your premises will put the PBX and therefore the phone system out of action The IP-PBX is a single point of failure that could lead to significant downtime Business premises rarely offer the resiliency and protection of a purpose-built secure data centre, potentially exposing the phone system to greater risk Additional space will be required to house the system, along with racking and cooling The full potential of the system may never be realised due to relatively limited in-house technical knowledge. This will minimise the benefits gained from VoIP telephony and the investment itself

7 Cost comparison: hosted vs on-site IP-PBX As with any purchasing decision, costs are a vital consideration. The distinct differences between hosted and an on-site IP-PBX mean there are significant cost differences too. The table below (Figure 3) compares these differences so you can make a fully informed decision. Capital investment costs Hosted IP-PBX On-site IP-PBX IP-PBX system Low High VoIP-PSTN gateway N/A From 20 Router From 40 From 40 Server N/A From 650 IP phones From 20 each From 20 each Softphone headsets From 20 each From 20 each Monthly costs IP-PBX system 8 per user N/A Technical support & maintenance Included 15-20% of solution cost Service charges Included Depends on system Less than 200 (including DSL and SIP 30 concurrent calls trunking) More than 500 (including ISDN lines) One-off costs Installation and setup Less than 10 per user More than 75 per user Software upgrades Free Dependant on system Upscaling (adding more users) Free Depends on system Lead time A hosted IP-PBX typically takes 24 hours to set up. An on-site IP-PBX can take as long as three months to implement. Costs based on a 60 user system (Hosted IP-PBX costs based on Telappliant VoIPOfficeTM Hosted Professional)

8 Making the decision - hosted or on-site IP-PBX Use the flowchart below (Figure 4) to help you make the right VoIP telephony decision.

9 IP-PBX SOLUTIONS FROM TELAPPLIANT VoIPOffice Hosted Professional is Telappliant s flagship hosted IP-PBX system. It enables users to enjoy the features and benefits of an advanced VoIP telephony system but without the hardware and maintenance costs of an on-site IP-PBX. VoIPOffice consolidates business communications from multiple locations anywhere in the world under a single high performance IP telephony platform. As well as intelligent call handling tools and features, it provides free internal calls and external calls at less than 1p per minute. VoIPOffice is also available as an on-site IP-PBX solution, including all the hardware, software and complementary services such as call plans and incoming phone numbers. Discover VoIPOffice For a no obligation free VoIPOffice trial, please visit or call The trial is designed to avoid any disruptions to your business and can run concurrently with your existing telephone system and numbers. For 10% off VoIPOffice, quote the code WHITEPAPER when you place your order. About Telappliant Telappliant has been delivering Internet telephony solutions since It is a founding member of the Internet Telephony Service Providers Association (ITSPA) and was one of the first companies to launch VoIP services into the UK SME market. Telappliant owns one of the largest VoIP networks in the country and offers a range of associated services. In addition to hosted and on-site VoIP telephony systems, these include SIP trunking (VoIP telephone lines ), VoIP-optimised broadband, global telephone numbers and unified communications solutions. The company is ISO 9001 certified and uniquely positioned to deliver state-of-the art, integrated end-to-end VoIP solutions, with high quality business support and dedicated account management.

10 Calculating the return on investment While the financial rationale for unified communications should be primarily based on the total cost of ownership, it is relatively quick and easy to calculate savings and therefore a return on investment. Savings may arise from: Reduced travelling expenses Unified communications can significantly reduce commuting and travel to meetings, saving both fuel and the cost of employee transit. Reduced overheads By facilitating remote working, office space can be minimised, which in turn will reduce costs such as rent, lighting and heating. Reduced cost of audio and video conferencing Many unified communication packages include the option of audio and video conferencing, which will eliminate the need for additional separate expenditure. Reduced IT equipment costs As previously covered, unified communications is a software-based application, which eliminates the need to buy or update expensive IT equipment and can actually replace desktop handsets. Existing IP handsets can also be integrated seamlessly into the unified communications environment. Improved collaboration, productivity and decision making Although more difficult to quantify, these benefits can deliver vital strategic outcomes including quicker problem resolution, reduced time to market, and improved customer satisfaction and knowledge sharing.

11 Achieving unified communications with VoIPOffice Communicator VoIPOffice Communicator is a free unified communications service specifically designed to work with and leverage the benefits of Telappliant s VoIPOffice Hosted telephone system. Features include: Softphone with video Make and receive telephone calls using your computer, or take part in video conversations with other VoIP users. IP handset integration Control your IP phone using your computer. Instant messaging Take part in on-screen text chats with individuals or groups. Contacts integration Import contacts from Apple Address Book, Google Contacts and Microsoft Outlook. Presence Call management tools See whether your contacts are available View and manage voic s and dialled, before you call them. received and missed calls using your computer. Click-to-dial CRM system integration Click-to-dial telephone numbers in s Automatically open a CRM contact record or web browsers. when calls are placed to or received from that contact. Screen popping See who s calling you with a pop-up window on your computer desktop For a small monthly fee, the Free Edition of VoIPOffice Communicator can be upgraded to the Business Edition, which also includes audio conferencing, video conferencing, fax messaging and surveillance camera monitoring. Alternatively, the Call Centre Edition includes all the benefits of the Business Edition, but with the added functionality of advanced CRM system integration as well as real-time monitoring and statistics.

12 ABOUT TELAPPLIANT Telappliant has been delivering Internet telephony solutions since It is a founding member of the Internet Telephony Service Providers Association (ITSPA) and was one of the first companies to launch VoIP services into the UK SME market. Telappliant owns one of the largest VoIP networks in the country and through its flagship VoIP phone system, VoIPOffice Hosted, provides a reliable telephony service to more than 20,000 businesses. VoIPOffice Hosted Professional is an IP PBX solution hosted by Telappliant in the cloud. It provides low cost calls at less than 1p per minute and enables users to enjoy the features and benefits of an advanced business telephone system but without the hardware and maintenance costs. Telappliant also offers a range of complementary VoIP services. These include SIP trunking (VoIP telephone lines ), VoIP-optimised broadband, global telephone numbers and unified communications solutions. The company is fully ISO 9001 certified and uniquely positioned to deliver state-of-the-art, integrated end-to-end solutions, with high quality business support and dedicated account management. DISCOVER VOIPOFFICE COMMUNICATOR Existing VoIPOffice TM user? If you are an existing VoIPOffice TM Hosted Professional or VoIPOffice TM Hosted for Call Centres user, please contact your account manager to enable VoIPOffice Communicator on your account. You will then be able to download the VoIPOffice Communicator client software from and start using it immediately. New to VoIPOffice TM? If you have never experienced the benefits of the VoIPOffice TM phone system, you can find more information and arrange a free no obligation trial of VoIPOffice TM Hosted Professional with VoIPOffice TM Communicator at or by calling The trial is designed to avoid any disruptions to your business and can run concurrently with your existing telephone system and numbers. For 10% off VoIPOffice TM, quote the code WHITEPAPER when you place your order.

13 Telappliant Ltd. Layden House Turnmill Street London EC1M 5QU United Kingdom Tel: Web: Unified communications For the small to medium-sized enterprise

Hosted vs On-Site IP-PBX A Guide for SMEs

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