PABX in the Cloud?

One of the biggest challenges for smaller organisations when sourcing your contact centre technology from the cloud is ‘How do we provide basic telephony services (PBX) for the rest of our enterprise?’.

For larger organisations that already have enterprise phone system provided by legacy PABX systems, cloud contact centre technology is often delivered as a ‘layer’ on top of the PBX functionality. Essential voice connectivity is provided by the extensions from the PBX, and routing and higher levels functions are provided from the cloud.

Even larger organisations, faced with retiring their legacy PABX equipment due to increasingly complex and rising PABX maintenance costs, are looking at alternatives to forklifting their old PABX for a new PABX.

There are several alternatives: source the entire PBX solution from the same cloud contact centre provider, source the PBX from an alternative cloud telephony provider, or procure the PBX functionality from a telco independently from the cloud contact centre provider.

First problem is, most cloud contact centre providers do not have enterprise-level telephony solutions that are capable of replacing the traditional PABX functionality, so you need to be sure to ask the question.

Secondly, the interconnectivity between the telephony layer and the contact centre layer is so critical that sourcing this interface from two separate cloud contact centre providers is ill-advised.

Even if you procure the telephony PABX functionality from your telco, typically this is priced in such a way that it only becomes viable due to the reduced ‘internal’ call rates. Depending on how the telco-PABX connects the voice calls with the cloud contact centre solution, these calls may incur additional carriage costs that can eliminate the whole business case.

Furthermore, options are usually severely limited when it comes to using CTI (computer telephony integration) to make your telco-provided PBX and the cloud contact centre solutions work to your maximum advantage. For example, capturing and using caller-ID or facilitating screen-pops can be increasingly difficult without such connectivity.

Finally, a key benefit of cloud contact centre and cloud enterprise phone systems is the reduced reliance on in-house and multi-vendor PABX maintenance and PABX support services and associated costs. If you source your cloud contact centre and cloud enterprise telephony solutions from multiple providers you need to ensure the definitions of functionality and boundaries of responsibility are very clearly defined between providers.

Fortunately, more and more, cloud contact centre providers are providing better enterprise level PABX solutions in the cloud also. This significantly simplifies integration, reduces overall costs, and should provide superior solution by delivering greater functionality to your enterprise users, often similar to the functions available to the contact centre agents.

So if you are considering cloud contact centre solutions, consider also replacing your PBX by selecting a cloud contact centre provider who understands and can deliver cloud PBX at the same time.

Guy Elliott
Head of Product Management @ GSN

Guy Elliott has over twenty years of experience in the contact centre industry. During his tenuous career, Guy has designed, planned, constructed and implemented call centre solutions in over fifteen countries. Over the last ten years Guy has lead creation of cloud contact centre solutions, working with many different platforms, including Genesys technology.


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