But what are the differences between the two? And how do you choose which is the right solution for your business?
Well, here are the answers to some of the main questions you may have before deciding to implement a new office phone system.
How do the systems work?
Put simply, a hosted phone system is cloud-based, with not much hardware other than the phones themselves located on your site.
Calls are made using SiP or Voice over IP (VoIP) technology and you pay a provider who is responsible for the data centre where your information is stored and for the maintenance and upgrading of the system.
However, with an on-premise system the hardware will be located on-site within your business premises and support and maintenance are your own responsibility.
What are the costs?
With an on-premise system, you need to buy all of the hardware for running the system in your office.
With a hosted phone system the only hardware you need are the handsets themselves, so even when any other set-up costs are factored in, the price is usually considerably lower than an on premise system.
Regular ongoing support is much more simple with hosted telephony, and maintenance contracts are not required as there is no real hardware to take care of.
Both solutions can offer similar telephony features, such as unlimited free calls and personal voicemail etc, but hosted phone systems are often cheaper as many of the features can be enabled from an online account.
If you are wanting to adopt the use of smartphone apps to allow working when away from your premises, then a hosted solution is by far the best option to support this type of working.
Usually with an on-premise system, you must select the features you require up front when buying the solution. After that point it becomes harder and more expensive to add them.
How long will it take to install?
An on premise solution requires all of the hardware to be installed and set up on site, so there could potentially be disruption to your office phone system.
With hosted telephony, the programming can be sorted by the provider before they arrive on site, and all their team needs to do is plug in the handsets and give users training on how to use their new business phone system.
Which system is right for us?
Despite the reduced costs, upgradability and scalability of hosted telephony, there are still plenty of cases where customers either don’t want to change over to a fully hosted phone system, or it just isn’t the best route for them.
Some organisations prefer to keep their business phone systems in-house and don’t want to rely on external providers due to security, privacy or reliability concerns.
One negative of hosted telephony is that with some providers, each new client is simply allocated space on a much larger phone system, so in effect you’re sharing with thousands of other clients.
This could in theory affect the security, quality and reliability of your business phone system.
However, some providers (including Time Communications) set up a dedicated virtual server for every new customer which then runs the hosted phone system for them alone; and there is no space sharing with any other client.
Each type of business phone system has its positives and negatives, but one of the most important things to consider when making such an important decision is who you’re buying it from.
Make sure your provider is able to walk you through the pros and cons and provide the best office phone system for your organisation.
If you would like to learn more, we would be happy to talk you through the options available to you. You can contact us by clicking here