Taking the pain out of PBX

As an entrepreneur, your focus should be on generating new business and then deploying the capacity and funding required in order to deliver a great product or service to the customer.

October 15, 2012

As an entrepreneur, your focus should be on generating new business and then deploying the capacity and funding required in order to deliver a great product or service to the customer. But in today’s economic climate, one of the absolute keys to a business’ survival is managing overheads, and this is something that is often overlooked, or conversely is given more attention than it deserves. This rings especially true when it comes to your telephony system, arguably one of the biggest overheads of a company.

Nobody is more aware of this than Sacha Matulovich, CEO of Fat Budgie leading Cloud Telecoms company, Fat Budgie.  A successful entrepreneur many times over, Matulovich has had first-hand experience of the critical CAPEX factors that can hugely affect-up business and learned the hard way when it came to his telephony providers. Through misinformation and highly incentivised salesmen, Matulovich is still paying off a PBX system he purchased in 2008 and no longer uses. It’s through his own bad experience that he was prompted into investing in the Cloud PBX space and is pioneering to save other companies and entrepreneurs from the same misfortune.

Few small companies, especially start-ups, have R170 000 to expend on a PBX system and many land up financing a solution over a period of years. Typically, these PBX systems are complex pieces of equipment that require specialist technicians if any changes or maintenance is required.  And what salesmen don’t tell you, is that over and above your monthly rental costs, there are hidden costs that suddenly appear when you want to scale-up your business, or access the features you require; an unforeseen wake-up call that Matulovich had not anticipated.

The painful juncture many entrepreneurs are met with is the impossible task of forecasting how the staff compliment will grow or shrink over the next 5 years, if the business premises will change or multiply, what the nature of the business will be and what telephone requirements and technology will be required to best conduct operations.

“I was running a company in an upmarket office park in Bryanston and needed a PBX system to manage incoming calls. A PBX company sold me a ‘bells and whistles’ solution that would scale to my business and offer me the option of performance features and additional lines.  This was fine to begin with, but we soon had an opportunity to service a big client in the finance industry, and were required by law to record all calls. When taking this request to my PBX company, I was informed that I needed an additional stand-alone piece of equipment. The additional cost for this perfunctory service started at about R30 000 and quickly grew to R50,000 as the project was being implemented. We also suffered down time because if our phone-lines were down, we were unable to receive customer calls, something that nearly caused us to lose our biggest contract. The breaking point for me was the quote for an additional R40,000 in order to get the PBX to answer the incoming calls with a pre-recorded message informing callers that their calls “may be recorded”. It was this final straw that compelled me to search for a financially viable alternative and cloud PBX was the obvious solution. The reason for this is that cloud PBX is a limitless telephone service that I could customize and control at the touch of a button by logging in to the web portal. We ported our main numbers to the cloud, which almost entirely mitigates the risk of clients not being able to get through because of a dead phone line or a broken PBX. I knew that if I wasn’t happy with the service from Fat Budgie, that I could move my business, with a month’s notice, to another provider without changing my handsets.  I set up “virtual receptionists” for all my various businesses and departments, with varying weekend modes, opening and closing times, at no extra cost at all because this feature is built into the cloud and unlimited. These virtual receptionists combined with the “find me, follow me” and “voicemail to email“ features meant that a call, message or emergency never went unanswered. The start up costs were low, features plentiful, and there were no risks… This is why I believe cloud PBX is the future of telephony for SME’s and entrepreneurs in South Africa”.

Fat Budgie hosted VoIP and cloud PBX services provides a scalable solution that grows and reduces as your business does, on a month-to-month contractual basis. There are no hidden charges and all you need is good connectivity (like ADSL, diginet, wireless, fibre), your IP desk phones and your normal office network. Nothing special inside the building, because all the exciting stuff is happening outside your building in a secure data centre often referred to as “the cloud”.

“When not misrepresented, cloud PBX solutions are an obvious choice for SME’s and entrepreneurs, which is exactly why I chose to invest in the space”, continues Matulovich. “When applied and implemented correctly, as is the process with Fat Budgie, it can be hugely beneficial to the day to day running of your business ”.

Entrepreneurs and SMEs need to concentrate on what they do best, which is growing and improving their business. To do this successfully, it’s critical that they deploy low risk, feature rich cloud solutions from leading cloud companies, like Fat Budgie, who are service orientated and incentivized to keep your business up and running on a day to day basis.