You Can’t Do that without a PBX ?

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We have had a PBX as long as I can remember.  We can’t live without it.  After all, we’ve got a security desk that needs to forward it’s call at certain times. We have features on our PBX that make a bell ring in a large warehouse when a call comes in.   What about the features in our control room.  You can’t retire our existing PBX.  Right? 

As UC professionals, we’ve heard all of these before and no actually that is not right! 

But let’s first accept a few important points.   These PBX’s have been workhorses for many years and they have been reliable.  So if a business has become attached to this technology their affections are well placed.   

But where they may not have been heavy demand to remove PBXs that is starting to change for a number of reasons.   The reason for the increase in demand is because companies and users are moving up the UC food chain.  Up until now most companies have installed Peer to Peer communication and IM.  They saved quite a bit if money.  But now companies are exploring enterprise voice and in pretty significant numbers.  They are doing this because they have an ageing legacy voice estate which is causing operational risk and they must pay a fortune for the pleasure of maintaining it.   Another factor is the Avaya Chapter 11 Filing.  Despite positive messages from Avaya, there is blood in the water and companies are using this to nudge customers towards a UC solution.  This demand will drive maturity in the capability to replace PBXs.   

We’ve been doing this for the last few years with a very forward thinking customer.   

We’ve found that in even the most complex sites 66% of the features map to a standard SfB feature.  The other 20% typically need some development or may need an add on feature available in the marketplace.  For example, most small office sites can remove their PBX through a mixture of enterprise voice, some standard SfB features and a few POTs lines.  More sophisticated Office sites may require some analogue capability, and perhaps some add on features available in the market place like contact centre capabilities.   

Production, manufacturing and distribution sites typically require all of the above, but also typically have a larger analogue footprint and likely there you will find the remaining 14% of the functions that need special development or process reengineering.  These facilities likely comprise a small portion of an enterprises estate.  But our experience is that the conversation about removing PBXs revolves around these complex sites rather than the larger percentage that are easier to remove. 

 So we suggest a few things.  First, focus on what you can do.  The perfect can’t be the enemy of the good.  If you can remove 9 PBXs and can’t remove 1, focus on the 9.  Also, there is no shame in keeping a PBX in place where it’s truly needed.  For one client we’ve found that keeping one central PBX in place to handle small call centre operations is a short term win that allows our customer to remove many other PBXs.  The technology will evolve.  until it does, transform all that you can.  And don’t underestimate the goodwill with the business of keeping a legacy PBX in place for certain functions.   

So how do the principles above work?  Our team have led the removal of 140 PBXs for a major oil company. And we have solved all those challenges we described at the top of this blog.  And that company will remove more than 200 in the next few years.   

We can help your company achieve these kinds of results and more! 


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