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Smooth, omnipresent communications are absolutely vital to a growing business, allowing colleagues and customers to share information quickly and easily. And the humble telephone remains a key part of the communications toolkit.

The advent of broadband technologies means that traditional office-based systems have been replaced by hosted alternatives. Functionally the same, Cloud PBX Systems, have much more to offer besides. Per user subscription licensing, infrastructure free deployments, instant scalability – hosted PBX reduces the overheads associated with running a corporate telephone system.

Despite the similarities however, not every Cloud-based phone system is the same. Two of the most popular options – a hosted PBX and Skype for Business – offer slightly different benefits. Here we outline the differences so you can better choose which meets your needs.

1. Cost

Both Skype and hosted PBX systems are billed on a per-user basis, so you only ever pay for what you actually use. In reality, the cost difference is virtually negligible.

It is worth noting that Skype for Business is available as part of an Office 365 subscription however, offering some additional value for your monthly outlay.

2. Hardware

The genius of hosted call systems is that you need almost nothing installed on-site. Users can work with wired or wireless headsets.  There is no need for a traditional PBX unit to be installed on site for instance.

However, if your employees prefer using a physical telephone, you have the option of installing VOIP enabled handsets for those users.

Skype on the other hand is fully reliant on software to make calls. Your employees will need the Skype app installed on their device, and a half-decent headset for making calls. They can also install the Skype app on their smartphone, allowing them to make and receive calls anywhere they have a data connection.

It is worth noting that a hosted PBX system can also be accessed via a smartphone app for similar any place, any time, or any device communications.

3. Collaboration

The use of video calling and screen sharing is becoming increasingly popular, particularly as it allows your team to collaborate on projects remotely. You can also better serve customers by “seeing” what they are trying to describe – perfect for troubleshooting technical issues or similar.

Video calling is not available via a typical hosted PBX system – only Skype for Business provides this functionality. PBX users will need to use a second tool if they want to make and receive video calls – usually at extra cost.

4. Instant messaging

In some situations a voice call may be inappropriate – such as when contacting a colleague during a client meeting. You could send an email, but for questions that can be answered quickly, a text message may be more appropriate.

But to ensure the contents of these messages are captured for future reference, instant messaging is an even better solution. Skype for Business can store instant messages, ready for filing against customer records, or even in the company knowledge base. You have a full, auditable trail of every message – perfect for proving compliance for instance.

Unfortunately a hosted PBX does not offer instant messaging capabilities.

How to choose between hosted PBX and Skype for Business?

Ultimately the decision about which communications platform is right for your business comes down to functionality. Both Skype for Business and hosted PBX provide excellent telephone call capabilities, and if that is what your primary communications focus is, the decision will probably come down to the minimal variations in price.

If you want to take your communications to the next level, adding additional features like collaboration, video calling and instant messaging, the choice becomes much clearer. As the only platform offering these functions, Skype for Business is the best choice of the two.

To learn more about your hosted PBX and Skype for Business solutions, please get in touch.  We will help you figure out the best option for your business.