Like creating a financial model to justify costs, you’ll need to do some very detailed prep work to clearly identify all of your phone system needs before you buy. For example, will the IP PBX system fully support remote employees’ needs? Will the system support ACD (automatic call distribution) or routing to specific employees? Can it be easily integrated with your CRM tool, your email client, and employees’ computer systems? How many calls will employees make per day and how quickly? Simple features like click to call can dramatically increase productivity. You can’t underestimate the importance of clearly identifying and quantifying all of your phone system needs before you talk to vendors.

• Do I have the proper infrastructure to support the new phone system, such as adequate network capabilities?

If you’re going with VoIP, consider the increased demands on your network. You’ll want to make sure that you can fully support your new system, in addition to your other Internet usage activities – without sacrificing the data speed and quality of any of them. If you need to make some equipment and connection upgrades to support the new system, be sure to factor these into your overall costs. There are a variety of ways that phone calls can be routed over the Internet, in addition to ways a PBX VoIP system can be integrated with Internet telephony. For example, ENUM technology will match phone numbers to IP addresses, enabling it to send VoIP calls directly to other VoIP providers, which reduces losses in call quality. When talking with different vendors, be sure to ask about your options and their requirements for network infrastructure.

• Will the new phone system integrate easily with the other technologies my employees are using?

You’ll want to make sure that your new phone system can be integrated with other technologies you use, such as Microsoft Outlook for email and sharing calendars, and as mentioned, your CRM tool integration with virtual PBX, and even existing business phones if you’re not planning on buying new ones. Your sales rep should be forthright about explaining how well their equipment will integrate with your other technologies, and if you feel like they’re trying to sell you too much other equipment, be sure to get a second opinion! There are many highly flexible systems on the market. Along these lines, consider getting an SIP-based system. SIP is an initializing protocol used for setting up sessions in an Internet Protocol network, and it is now the protocol of substitute among VoIP users. SIP works splendidly with Internet apps, and with an SIP-based system, you have access to a multitude of pioneering services, including: voice-working e-commerce; click-to- call on interactive Web pages; instant message sending with friend list; collaborative, multi-party, multimedia conference calls; and more. Ensuring that your phone system is SIP-based can save you a lot of headaches over the long term.

• Does the phone system provider have enough capacity to support my business?

From both an infrastructure standpoint and a customer service standpoint, you want to know that your phone system provider is going to be able to fully support your business needs today and in three-to-five years, perhaps longer. Depending on where all of your employees are calling from and where they are calling to, check to see that the providers you talk to will be able to fully support your call volume wherever and whenever it takes place – and at the speed and frequency you’re going to need it. In addition, think about the level of support you may need over time, in each time zone you’ll need it, and to what extent. Be careful of hosted PBX providers that may betray once they get a signed contract!

Author's Bio: 

Technology specialist at therealpbx.com ‘Adom Brown' is a specialist in small business PBX systems. The Real PBX is a pioneer in providing Hosted PBX Systems that deliver business class voice quality, real time customer assistance, scalable office Business Phone system office and more. Their enterprise class PBX VOIP services include top notch features like Unified Communication. Their IP PBX Systems deliver business class voice quality, real time customer assistance, scalable office etc