What to consider when choosing a cloud PBX provider

When choosing a Cloud Private Branch Exchange (PBX) provider, the most important aspects to consider include business alignment, the level of support provided, number portability, and pricing.

MyBroadband asked Switch Telecom, Euphoria, and Vox Telecom what factors were most important to weigh when deciding on a Cloud PBX provider in South Africa.

Managing director at Switch Telecom, Shannon Swanepoel, said businesses should avoid signing long-term contracts and ensure they choose a scalable Cloud PBX.

“Make sure that there are no additional costs for standard features. Businesses should also select a cloud PBX that will scale as they grow,” she said.

“Access to a management portal is also important. This will allow any business owner the ability to take control of their company communications, particularly after-hours.”

Swanepoel said businesses should find out who owns and manages the provider’s network and whether it is registered with the Number Portability Company.

“Cloud PBX technology has advanced so much over the years that it’s often overwhelming to compare features and functionality,” she added.

“The best providers have videos demonstrating what their system offers.”

Vox Telecom’s telephony division head Natalie van der Merwe also said selecting a Cloud PBX provider can be overwhelming.

“Cloud PBX providers are a dime a dozen these days, and with the endless acronyms, disparate features, complex pricing structures, and technical jargon, it makes the decision of choosing the right vendor very overwhelming for customers,” she said.

Van der Merwe explained that choosing a vendor well-aligned with your business goals is crucial, as this helps to implement a system that increases productivity and efficiency at a lower price.

She provided a list of questions one should ask when considering a Cloud PBX provider:

  • Does the provider offer a complete solution, including PBX, connectivity, support, and so on?
  • What level of support is available?
  • Who owns and manages the network and equipment?
  • Is the provider up to date with the latest technologies, and what security measures does the vendor take to protect their Cloud PBX from hacking?
  • Can it off the PBX features your business needs? Does it provide an overall solution to save costs?
  • Are there any additional fees involved? I.e. Costs to add new users, annual escalations, and unknown installation/development fees?
  • Can the Cloud PBX platform scale with your business? Is it possible to upgrade or change your solution during the contract period?
  • What features does the Cloud PBX offer you, and are your specifications being met?
  • Can you port your number to the new provider’s network? Can it offer you new numbers if necessary?
  • Is faulty equipment replaced throughout the duration of the contract or only during the equipment warranty period?

“It is highly recommended that you compare service providers based on the aforementioned points to ensure you get the best provider for your business,” Van der Merwe said.

Euphoria Telecom CEO John Woollam

Euphoria Telecom’s CEO John Woolam explained that essential issues to consider include service and availability, functionality and flexibility, and pricing.

“Ensure your provider has given you a documented, enforceable SLA that outlines the uptime you can expect as well as response times to queries, amendments to your service, and outages,” Woolam said.

He added that flexibility is critical to ensure that you can scale the solution as your business changes.

“You don’t want to get tied into a specific solution set that doesn’t change as fast and as often as you need it to,” Woolam stated.

“Be careful not to get tied into a long-term contract with a provider whose solution may not evolve as your business’s needs do.”

He added that, if possible, it is best to sign a month-to-month contract rather than locking your business into a long-term agreement.

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What to consider when choosing a cloud PBX provider