Cloud PBX Solutions

Welcome to our Cloud PBX guide. Here, we explain what Cloud PBX is, its benefits, and how it can transform your business communications. Whether you're new to Cloud PBX or looking to switch, this page offers the essential information you need to get started.

Cloud PBX Solutions (1)

What is Cloud PBX?

Cloud PBX is a modern phone system hosted on the internet, eliminating the need for physical hardware and manual maintenance. It offers businesses flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness, allowing for digital management of phone operations with features like call forwarding, voicemail, and conference calling. Cloud PBX enables remote work, works with various devices, and reduces infrastructure and operating costs through cloud technology.

Cloud PBX vs IP PBX

Comparison Between IP PBX and Cloud PBX

 

IP PBX (On-Premise)

IP PABX South Africa

Uses the organization’s network infrastructure to transmit voice and data traffic.

Cloud PBX

Hosted PABX | Phone Systems Solutions in South Africa

Hosted and operated by a third-party service provider in the cloud.

CostHigher initial setup and maintenance costs.Lower upfront costs with monthly subscriptions.
MaintenanceRequires in-house IT staff for updates.Minimal maintenance; provider handles updates.
ScalabilityLimited by available hardware capacity.Highly scalable, easy to add or remove users.
Control and CustomizationOffers more control and customization.Limited customization, relies on provider’s features.
MobilityLimited remote access and mobile integration.Enables remote work from anywhere.
ReliabilityDepends on the quality of on-premises equipment.Reliability depends on hosting provider’s infrastructure.
Upgrades and UpdatesManual updates may cause downtime.Provider handles updates seamlessly.
Implementation TimeLonger setup due to hardware.Faster setup, often ready to use quickly.
Disaster RecoveryIn-house responsibility for backup.Managed by hosting provider with redundancies.
Cost of OwnershipHigher long-term costs due to equipment.Lower long-term costs without hardware expenses.

Find the Best Cloud PBX Solution for Your Business

WhichVoIP Shape 19

Choosing the right business phone system is more than a necessity; it’s a strategic decision that influences your first impression with clients. As technology progresses, the breadth of available options and their customization features have grown, complicating this choice. 

It’s vital for businesses, regardless of size or location, to navigate these waters carefully. Selecting an appropriate system and a knowledgeable partner is critical. 

At WhichVoIP, we’re dedicated to simplifying this process, guiding you toward scalable, reliable, and cost-effective business phone solutions in South Africa. 

We focus on understanding your unique needs to ensure you receive the best value and performance, eliminating the burden of high monthly costs. Let us help you make an informed decision, ensuring your business communication system aligns with your goals and budget.

Why Cloud PBX?

It offers flexibility, allowing you to work from anywhere with internet access. It’s cost-effective, reducing the need for traditional phone system hardware. Cloud PBX systems are scalable, making it easy to add or remove features as your business needs change. They also provide advanced features such as auto-attendants, voicemail to email, and call forwarding, enhancing your team’s productivity and customer service experience. Opt for Cloud PBX to modernize your business communications with a reliable, scalable, and efficient system.

Cloud PBX

Key Advantages:

Scalability

Cost Savings

Reliability

Mobility

Explaining the Process

Simplify your search for the ideal Cloud PBX provider with our easy-to-use comparison service. Here’s how it works:

Tell Us About Your Needs

Complete a short form detailing your business size, communication needs, and preferences.

Receive Customized Quotes

Get personalized quotes from South Africa's leading Cloud PBX providers, matched to your specific requirements.

Compare and Choose

Compare features, prices, and reviews to choose the best solution for your business.

Key Features to Consider

Auto-Attendant​

An auto-attendant is a virtual receptionist that automatically answers calls, providing callers with menu options to direct their call to the appropriate department or individual without human intervention.

Improves efficiency, ensures calls are always answered promptly, and provides a professional image to callers.

Customization options, ease of setup and update, and the ability to handle high call volumes.

Voicemail to Email

This feature converts voicemails into audio files and sends them directly to your email, allowing you to listen to messages without accessing your phone system.

Enhances flexibility in message management, ensures timely response to important calls, and allows for easier archiving and forwarding of messages.

Audio quality, integration with various email platforms, and notification customization.

Call Forwarding and Routing

Call forwarding and routing allow incoming calls to be redirected to another phone or device, or routed based on specific criteria such as time of day, caller ID, or simultaneous ringing.

Ensures important calls are never missed, allows employees to work remotely, and improves customer service by directing calls to the right person or department.

Flexibility in routing rules, ease of management, and support for advanced routing features like hunt groups or sequential ringing.

Conference Calling

Conference calling facilitates multi-party phone calls, allowing team members and clients to participate in meetings from different locations.

Supports collaboration and decision-making processes, saves time and travel costs, and allows for quick dissemination of information.

Call quality, participant limits, ease of use, and additional collaboration features such as screen sharing or virtual meeting rooms.

CRM Integration

CRM integration links your Cloud PBX system with your customer relationship management software, providing direct access to customer data during calls.

Enhances customer service by providing immediate access to customer information, streamlines workflows, and improves data accuracy.

Compatibility with your CRM platform, synchronization capabilities, and the ability to log calls and capture call-related data automatically.

Why Use WhichVoIP ?

Access to Exclusive Deals

Get the best prices from top providers

Save Time

Compare all your options in one place, without the need to contact each provider individually.

Expert Insights

Benefit from our analysis and recommendations to make an informed decision.

No Obligation

There's no cost to use our service, and you're under no obligation to sign up with any provider.

Our Verdict

We can’t possibly rule on this one. This is a consultative process, and you should not rush to decide. The right partner will work closely with you to understand more about your business dynamics, vision and strategy, and then guide you to the option that best aligns with this strategy.

Although most businesses prefer to go for hosted platforms, the majority of the market is still using on-premise platforms and many of the mid to large market still find purchasing and managing a dedicated phone system favorable when compared to hosted options.

Before you take the leap, some things you need to know:

Take time to write down all the functionality your business uses and requires in a new system. 

Depending on complexity or importance, you may even want to consider developing a formal Request For Proposal (RFP) specification or appointing a consultant to develop and manage this process for you.

Having a well-defined list of your short-long term business goals and objectives, the current systems and channels used in your business, and agreeing on how you want to buy/pay for the solution are important factors to understand before you embark on your journey.

In some cases, what you are quoted will have a validity date, and may not be fixed for the duration of your agreement. This is usually the case for products and services which are sourced from international vendors, and as with anything you import, you will have to pay a fee based on the rate of exchange at that time.

Pull out your old contracts – look at the agreement terms, early settlement penalties or cancellation fees which may be applicable.

Chances are you’re moving phone line providers as you move phone systems, so you need to consider your phone service as a separate element.

Most businesses have phone numbers that they have used for years and need to keep these numbers even when moving to a new phone system. The good news is, as of 7 March 2022, all SA phone numbers can be moved or ported between providers. Just be sure to check the cost to port each number between networks.

 

Make a complete list of all the phone numbers your business uses and share this with your provider, who will advise how they can retain these numbers. 

If you intend moving away from traditional PSTN fixed lines (analogue or ISDN) over to VoIP, you’ll need to assess the impact that adding the additional bandwidth will have on your internet line and service.

In addition to this, If you’re like most other businesses, you probably intend sharing the same line you use for internet, email and so on, and not install a dedicated internet line for VoIP. Therefore, you need to carefully plan how to set up your internet line so that voice takes priority over other traffic, and that the bandwidth required for voice is consistent.

Anything that is based on the internet (IP) has a deep reliance on an internal and external internet network. Therefore, buying a new phone system and VoIP phones is not quite as simple as just plugging everything in and walking away.

Connecting internal networks (local area networks or LAN) may require internal reconfiguration to prioritise voice traffic over other network traffic. Additionally, any firewalls need to be made aware of voice traffic, and your cabling and power infrastructure needs to be complaint.

When working with your phone system provider, ask for a detailed rundown of the prerequisites and best practise for running VoIP and IP telephony. Ask this before you sign up to avoid unexpected investments to upgrade your network and other elements thereof.

Unlike traditional legacy devices, VoIP phones require power to operate.

Power can be provided by purchasing a local power adapter, or through your LAN as long as your LAN supports Power over Ethernet (PoE). Phones are usually shipped without a power adapter, so it is advisable to understand what your environment requires, and for you to plan accordingly.

Ready to go?

Questions to ask your provider

Work with your chosen provider to understand all the FIXED and VARIABLE costs involved in receiving the service for your business.

Fixed Costs – are usually made up of line rentals, subscriptions, hardware and service level agreements.

Variable Costs – are made up from usage-based services or ad hoc services, including any out-of-bundle charges.

Ask what costs there are at the different stages of your partnership too.

Start-up Costs – these could be costs related to any service activation, installation and provisioning, training and hardware required for the service.

Note: If there are no setup or hardware costs, make sure that you understand whether you are liable for any of these costs at any stage of the partnership.

Subscription Costs – these are the anticipated costs for use of the services. Be sure to understand what other costs may come into play and ensure that you agree to those costs upfront.

Conclusion and Exit Costs – at the end of the agreement term, ask what happens. Is there a cancellation notice period, is there an automatic renewal? What happens to the hardware, and are there any fees for removal of the equipment or infrastructure?

Having clarity and complete transparency on all costs will help you to do an apples for apples comparison between providers, and ensure that you don’t sit with any unexpected surprises.

One of the biggest value propositions for next generation communication platforms is compatibility and interoperability.

Devices you buy now should be compatible with other phone systems, and you should consider what provision the phone system has for connecting devices from third party vendors.

BYOD extends beyond VoIP phones and conference devices, to things like mobile phones and personal computers. In an ideal world, you should have many options for what device you use (and from whom) and you should consider that an investment that will move with you, irrespective of whether you end up changing your phone system in the future.

Knowing how long the product is proven to last is vital in understanding what future costs you may be in for.

On the one side, you may be expected to subscribe to an additional programme for annual software upgrades and support, whereas in other cases all costs are included in their subscription fee.

If you do have purchased hardware, find out what the past failure rates are, what the warranty is, and what is included and excluded. We all know that hardware has a lifespan, so understand what happens when the manufacturer decides to stop making your device – what is the upgrade path, how long will your hardware still be supported, and up until what point with the manufacturer have spares, if needed.

GOOD TO KNOW: Usually you’ll need to include your telecoms equipment under your office insurance!

Take a moment to look a bit into the future… with both business and sales becoming global and virtual, workers are no longer localised in one particular space.

With that in mind, think about the tools your business may need in the future to keep your stakeholders connected to your business – maybe this is by having everyone work from their mobile phones or laptops at home?

Although one assumes that you’re already aware of all the costs involved in using another phone system, it goes back to the understanding of what functionality your business needs now, and in the future.

Have a clear understanding of what features and functionality you get with your package or platform, and what is an optional extra.

With optional extras, find out what impacts the pricing? (such as additional integration fees, SLAs or fees impacted by the exchange rate).

It is always advisable to read and understand the full service terms and conditions which will state the contract duration, renewal and cancellation terms.

You may want to place particular focus on notice periods, automatic renewal clauses, and fees associated with renewals and cancellation – especially when new equipment was provided at no direct cost to you at the start of your agreement.

Most of the time everything should work as expected, but when it doesn’t, the real difference between providers can be realised.

Each service should be accompanied by a service level agreement which will give a clear understanding of how you can expect to be supported.

Questions you may want to ask you provider include:

  • What are your coverage hours?
  • How can I contact support?
  • How long will you take to respond to my request?
  • How long will it take to resolve my issue?
  • Is there a cost for support? When do costs apply?
  • What happens if I am not happy with the level of support I receive?

 

This is where it becomes extremely important to research the various providers before you make your decision! Read past customer reviews, see what their other customers have to say about them online, and don’t be shy to ask for references which you can personally contact!

Network uptime and guarantees

Make sure you understand more about the network your service provider has built or manages. Ask what network redundancy and resiliency is in place, and what uptime guarantees there are? If these are important to you, then they will be important to the service provider too.

Network and device monitoring

Find out whether your chosen provider monitors your connection and the hardware required. Will they know about connectivity issues before you do? And what happens in the case of faulty hardware? What will it take to restore services and at whose cost for collection, delivery and provisioning?

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