After reading Ruben on VoIP‘s article Hosted PBX vs Google Voice vs on premise PBX, I knew I had to write a response.
My first thought: Interesting and provocative in all the best senses. Oh the benefit though with hindsight.
Your ascertain that everything that can be done onsite can be done hosted is true. Your assumption that ‘there are no reason why hosted PBXes can’t have the same feature set as on premise PBX,’ seems well … how can I put this ? “Academic.” From being involved in the great efforts needed to see such ideas become reality here’s a little insight to why simple writings and commentaries may not always suddenly see flows of actions.
For our part at Bicom Systems we started in 2003 at a point that this all seemed quite obvious. It took us until 2007 to start supplying hosted systems and we are just about to deploy with NEC a system for 50,000 business subscribers. I can give you two very big reasons why this statement does not have the reality to support it that may seem technically obvious.
The first reason is this : somebody has to do it. Who ? NEC, Siemens, Avaya, Mitel ? None of the incumbents are going to vote for Christmas.
Only Siemens have I seen begin to promote such a product through existing distribution channels and even then Siemens dealers that are twenty years in the business are not hesitating for a moment to move to PBXware. Simply – it does not have the features. NEC in the United States has put something together but again it lacks features.
Specificly – it does not have the features that ‘the next customer’
requires. Yes – you read that right.
Each customer requires something unique. Mostly that can be achieved by configurations that the vendor can quickly convey to the dealer. Often though it needs development that comes about only by years of being in the market with each and every possible scenario and even that is only enough to allow you the space to be able to fulfill that next requirement..
What about Google ? Well – clearly they have not done much since your writing in 2009. Even if starting from a greenfield position in terms of market they wish to enter, the complexity of these small features that make the difference is not easy for a streamlined web site company to detail, never mind explain. This then brings me onto the second problem
– who is going to explain. From our experience the complexities are so great that only really the manufacturer truly understands once you get into the ‘what if’. Resellers take weeks to gain a deliverable competency and years to gain reasonable competency. A new End User – just wants a phone systems up and working. There is a size of company that is ‘just big enough’ to have its own inside Network Support staff but not so big as to measure their worth in terms high enough that they would prefer to use more expert labour of ‘a phone guy’. Yes we know the Network Support staff wants to play with new toys – but … you get my point by now ?
Broadsoft seems to have tried following its IPO and is doubtless under pressure to now pay dividends instead of investing its future. Sysmaster ? A long time since I heard the name and they never really got into the detail of SMBs.
Surely then with all the opening up of Open Source Telephony Systems there’s someone out there that has the greenfield advantage that they are willing to disrupt the existing status quo but a wish to dedicate the time to detail, training and support of such complexity ?
There are certainly many out there. Which have the resource to take this forward ? Fonatliy seems spent. Digium seems still in search of a product for all that it has slaved with SWITCHvox I do hear a real uptake on the ground nor does the company seem overly open to resellers.
Finally here I am not saying you are wrong, we do believe in this cause and are working to it more quickly than many. It will though – Take Time!
At Bicom Systems we continue to make good on the advantages that we had secured since our outset of being involved in both onsite and hosted. We are though to invest heavily in producing the content of documentation and videos needed to support the using of such complicated tasks. Above all support needs to be as open as possible. The manner by which we will do this is known and being prepared but you’ll just have to be patient to discover.
For more information on our Hosted PBX solution, visit our Multi-Tenant page or check out our Access Communications Case Study