What switchboard (PBX) configuration is the most cost-effective and efficient for a large, multi-branch or multi-office organisation – a single, large, centralised PBX that leverages the business’s IP infrastructure and the declining cost of broadband connectivity; or smaller, stand-alone PBXs in each branch?

Graeme Victor, CEO of voice-based telecommunications solutions company Du Pont Telecoms says many organisations answer that question incorrectly because they neglect to look beyond the technology to their unique telephony requirements.
“Both centralised and a decentralised telephony solutions have their place. Knowing which one to choose depends on how the business is structured and how much inter-branch connectivity is required,” he says.
He points out that as broadband costs decline, it could be increasingly cost-effective for multi-branch businesses to move from today’s typical PBX-centric business telephony system in which each branch of the business has its own PBX to one in which all the business’s PABX functionality is provided from a large, centralised PBX.  By utilising the company’s IP infrastructure, calls between branches, and between the branches and the centralised PBX would be free, resulting in significant savings.
Eventually, this PBX could be replaced by a virtual switch that is maintained and managed by a specialist outsourced provider, thereby eliminating the need for the company to purchase and maintain a PBX at all.
“However, this centralised configuration only makes financial sense if there is considerable interaction between the branches. If there isn’t, it might not be advantageous to move to a VoIP-based solution.
“The bottom line is that companies should avoid being dazzled by technology and examine all available options before making a decision,” Victor concludes.