There is no doubt that many, maybe even most, businesses are moving to the cloud. But the decision to move to the cloud is not the final choice to be made; companies must choose a type of architecture – multi-tenant or dedicated.
To understand the difference between the two, we can compare them to housing. A dedicated solution is like a home that you own – the whole thing is yours and yours alone. But a multi-tenant solution is like an apartment building that you rent a part of while the rest of the structure is shared.
Of course either scenario has its benefits and drawbacks. But multi-tenant architecture has many benefits that can be marketed to your customers.
First, the cost of multi-tenant is less than dedicated. From the up-front investment to the upkeep to the IT expertise needed, multi-tenant is a better option for companies with a small budget or interest in cost-effectiveness.
Second, multi-tenant is a more flexible solution. It is easily scalable and the owner can quickly and easily add features, do updates, or enhance service for all tenants.
Multi-tenant solutions are particularly appealing to start-ups that will appreciate the price and the built-in support system.
It is always with caution that one should speak of competitors and their products when clearly they are better able to do so themselves. All the more so with Thirdlane, given how respectfully Alex Epshteyn at Thirdlane has always spoken of PBXware.
I am often asked why to choose PBXware over Thirdlane and it seems only right to write.
Curious about this question is the clear circumstances in which it is asked. These can be described in three categories:
Existing users of Thirdlane’s Multi-Tenant PBX who have had reason to look further.
New Providers looking to start a business line with very little resource
Well established businesses – either ITSPs, VARs or Long Established Sellers of Phone Systems
For the first group, Thirdlane customers have dial tone. However, their ITSP is now so busied with the running of the business that the cost of maintaining the system takes on greater importance.
It is very noticeable how few subscribers the pain threshold seems to bite. So often, fewer than 100 subscribers – a handful of customers. These, still quite new, Service Providers are also considering how to automate the monthly invoice run and, ideally, the provisioning of services.
A customer wants a Queue, a Conference, an IVR… Surely this should take no more effort than checking boxes to solve everything from the feature’s creation to the monthly invoice going out, right?
There also are issues of support. Again the sheer stress that happens once ‘real customers’ come on board and previously naive dreams are exposed. Answers need to be found immediately both to ‘how do I do x, y, z?’ questions and, less often, bugs or critical failings.
Increasingly the need for integration to the desktop is a make or break to getting End User businesses. Whether in the form of onsite systems from the Traditional Vendors or the large Internet Telephony Service Providers often using Broadsoft platforms, the market at large expects standard offerings to have presence, chat and more at the finger tips. Mobility is next.
What has also been learned by bitter experience is problems that may be caused by trying to piece-on a third-party software just because you don’t have it yourself. This could be an Operator Panel, for example, that can be strung through the Asterisk Manager. There’s no choice, you have to do it. The customer is screaming at you. So you spend an hour to download it, install it, try it yourself, and another hour to read the manual. You repeat that with the customer. Next day, the customer wants something that is missing … it is crashing … whatever happened to your sales plan that week?
For some though, there is the matter of scalability. To simply ‘add another server’ and ‘stick on another few hundred customers’ is not enough. All the customers need to be brought together in a single interface to be found easily and redundancy needs to be in clusters often with the options of dual location.
Stay tuned for Thirdlane vs PBXware, Part 2: Cost of Entry and check out these other posts in the meantime:
According to Comms Dealer, the global PBX extensions/licenses market has experienced a 9% drop for Quarter 1 of 2014.
Breaking it down even further:
The Enterprise market (solutions with over 100 extensions/licenses) fell by 11%
The Below 100 market (solutions with less than 100 extensions/licenses fell by 6%.
This decline was caused primarily by the North American market which saw a 17% decline compared to declines ranging from 3% to 10% in other regions.
Potential causes for the drop are:
A record-breaking cold winter in North America. MZA Analyst Will Parsons said “Deployments in enterprise may have slowed more significantly due to the frigid North American winter, as US GDP contracted for the first time in three years”.
An increase of mobile and multi-tenant alternatives
Decreased spending due to the Global Financial Crisis