At what point do you really need a PBX System

I am asking this question because I understand there is a scale factor, but to me anything under 10 numbers you can you just use Voip.MS for almost everything. I am just reaching to to see what the peers have as a reference point for need of PBX for their clients?

We are only selling hosted systems now so from my current perspective we never need a on prem PBX system.

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@LTS_Tom I feel the same Voip.MS I don’t see the point in a PBX thanks so much. to be clear we are talking just using the provider like Voip.MS or are you still using a PBX but hosted?

Hi @bobstertime!

I hope this message finds you well!

The answer you will see most commonly amongst the general IT folks is that “cloud is the only way to go now a days.” The company I’m with actually sells both – cloud and on-prem. Overall, I would say the smallest companies go with the cloud model, almost 100%. There is a tendency to believe that customers spend $X/month for each phone/user. In return they get everything taken care of, they don’t need to pay extra for service calls and that “everything is supported - just call the provider and they will help you with anything you need.” In some cases, the cloud telephony providers do support everything and will correct all issues that are identified by the customer, no matter where the issue lays. That however is not necessarily “the norm” for most cloud telephony providers. More often than not, the customer finds out they actually have to pay services fees here and there to add new users or disconnect a seat that is no longer used. They also tend to find that the cloud telephony carriers put a limit in place in terms of what they will look at/service when an issue is identified. Personally, I’ve found most carriers to be too restrictive (i.e., they should be more willing to do more basic network troubleshooting with the customer) and they don’t really provide as much service/support as the customer really requires or expects, especially if the customer doesn’t have an IT department and/or is not technical themselves. As long as you find a cloud provider that you are comfortable with and you are happy with their fee schedule, then I would say go cloud. One thing to keep in mind is, we are seeing a LOT of telephony cloud providers offering one price when you sign-up, however they increase the price a couple of months down the road claiming the world has too high of inflation and they need to raise prices as much as 25-40% across all of their different “license categories.” There is a lot to be considered on both sides to see what makes the most sense for your business. A lot of the phone systems out there now are software only, you just have IP set and SIP trunks. It starting to get a bit easier for the average IT person to handle and so a maintenance agreement may not make sense. We have customers on both sides of the fence.

One more thing to think about, if you have the phone system in your data center (local or remote), you can have better back up options and add-in your own redundancy/resiliency (not the same thing). In the country where I live, we had a MAJOR-MAJOR carrier company go COMPLETELY down one Friday last month (it hit the internal news). It brought half of our country to its knees. Everyone that was on this carrier’s network couldn’t do a single thing, no internet, no SIP trunking, no nothing. In a case like that, with a premise-based system, you can easily (and at a low cost too) purchase SIP trunks from multiple carriers. That way if one goes down, your business can keep going. In this particular case, that same provider also offers “cloud/hosted telephony” as well. I believe they offer a Generic SIP /PBX solution as a service, as well as MS Teams with Voice as a service. Their customers were completely down the entire day because their “phone system” is controlled by the carrier and it’s not like you can just turn on Call Forward in a situation like that to create a work-around. So, that’s why your own phone system and SIP trunks can make a LOT of sense. It doesn’t have to be overly expensive (check out SIP trunks are truly affordable and offer more features than PRI ever did.

On the other hand, you have a premise-based system that could be on a proprietary box or it could simply be software that is installed in a virtualized environment that may be on site or it could be in a data centre, off site. For customers with at least 50+ end points - this is where they will see value. When you approach 70+ sets, that’s when you really start to see the savings starting in year 3-5. As one customer said to me, after removing their cloud service to go back to ab premise system, “we were paying a lot for phone service and when I calculated it out, we were basically paying for a new phone system every 3-4 years with the fees we were charging.” So, a lot of customers with 50+ set should really do a comparison and factor everything in. For customers using cloud telephony platforms, they should check their contracts every three (3) years, prior to them renewing and make sure you are happy with what you are getting for what you are paying.

So that is a few things that I can think of right off the top of my head. I encourage you to do the breakdown and the cost analysis so that you can see what the best solution is for your company. Personally, we use an on-prem system that is just running in VMware (software only). For us, we just love it and we have built-in 5x different carriers for SIP trunking - so we always have telephony up and running – no matter which carrier may be completely down.

Please let me know if you have any more questions or concerns at all about this subject.

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Thanks for the feedback. My orignial question is geared towards the need of a pbx. I personally am using SIP with 4 phones and have 3 different lines mapped and ring groups, etc. and have no issues. If best practice is to always install a PBX or use a cloud pbx eveb for 1 clients I am game, I just need to see value and want to give the best service.

Bad internet, need for ACD groups, Hotel PMS integrations (haven’t done it with cloud). Places that have really crappy networks. Every network is great until a voip phone is put on it… can’t tell you how many times ive had an IT guy tell me how awesome their network is until i put a voip system on their network. I take care of over a 100 on-premise systems here in the midwest and have converted quite a few to cloud. Not all are interested. Some down right give you the stink eye. Brand names Mitel or ESI still has weight with many customers. I wouldn’t buy a from someone. Mostly becuase i haven no education on it. But i would buy a Mitel or Cisco (throws salt over my shoulder) or ESI system any day.

Yeah have been in environments with Mitel and Cisco

I use and their built in options exceed my needs!

I fax, have multiple phone numbers, texting, calls forward to my cell during business hours only if no one answers, voicemail that is emailed to me after hours, caller ID… it really has it all.

I have multiple physical locations.

Someone can park a call in one town and I can pick it up in another town (or on my cell via an app).

One thing I’m planning to implement is to pass numbers directly to me that are in my phone book, and have unknown numbers have to hit 1 to limit my spam.

I don’t need a ton of new customers, I’m more worried about my sanity!

I also use no more robo to block some spam and that’s free and works well with

In short, most likely don’t need a pbx of your own.

A little bonus, and not really special or unique, but 800 numbers are free. One carrier I looked into PAID you too call 800 numbers, but I can’t remember who that was.

I could save more money with outbound calls through and I do on occasion, but I usually just use

I have a 3 line hardware phone and line 3 is outbound telnyx while the first 2 are with different phone numbers.

Telnyx allowed any number to show for caller id, so it’s a good backup if anything.