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Upgrading Inadequate Business Phone Systems

Dave Haggblad - Monday, June 02, 2014 |

Image representing an old business telephone system Surveys carried out by Dimension Research, on behalf of RingCentral, revealed that 70 percent of traditional phone systems at offices aren’t adequate. It also pointed out that for 45 percent of those offices, integrating mobile devices and remotely located workers is a key issue.

Inadequate, or rather inflexible business phone systems are also preventing a significant number of small businesses from expanding. Specifically in terms of hiring new staff or opening new offices. Investing in expensive PBX equipment is often not an option for them.

Four main business phone systems

To begin with, let’s take a look at the four main types of business phone systems.

Key systems

This is a traditional business telephone phone system that utilizes regular old-school telephone lines. Incoming calls are transferred to the appropriate extensions by the receptionist....users dial a 9 to get an outside line to make a call.

Hybrid systems

This is similar to Key systems, except that it supports several features generally available on larger PBX systems, like SIP, ISDN phone lines and VoIP phones.

PBX systems

PBX or Private Branch Exchange systems are basically large private digital business phone systems, owned and operated by the company. These systems are typically for companies with hundreds of extensions. The transfer of calls is done internally. Several external lines are shared by the business.

VoIP systems

This system utilizes internet connectivity for making and receiving calls. Since calling is done via the internet the call rates are cheaper and offer more flexibility. VoIP systems have gained in popularity off late.

Should you expand or replace?

This is an important question that needs to be considered while upgrading your business phone system. Irrespective of the type of phone system you have in place currently, it is often possible to expand it and add more lines and extensions. However, the cost consideration is critical.

If you have an old phone system, which in all likelihood will become obsolete in a couple of years’ time, it might make more sense to completely replace it with a phone system that is easy to install, has low upfront costs and is scalable. For example, the VoIP phone system.

It also depends on your requirements and future plans. If your business is expected to expand over the next few years, it is best to ensure the ability to grow your phone system is already in place. More employees, branches, and remotely-located work stations would require more extensions, and features like video conferencing, voicemail, etc. Keep these in mind while deciding to expand or replace your existing business phone system.


When you have decided which type of phone system best serves the business, you will be faced with another question – should you buy, lease or rent the phone system? Renting or leasing a business phone system allows you to lower your upfront costs and you can treat it as an operating cost, instead of investing in a depreciating asset. Buying your system provides lower overall cost and complete control over your system and settings. Either way, think carefully and choose wisely.

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