Should You Run Your Company from Smartphones or PBX solutions?

GONZALO BAEZA-PBX and smartphone

(Photo by GONZALO BAEZA)

With an estimated 45 percent of Americans now using smartphones (66 percent for those younger than 30 years old), it makes sense this trend bleeds into the enterprise space. This strategy isn’t as easy as telling employees to use their own phones, however.

You need to know what phone number to put on your website. And what if you want more than one employee to be responsible for responding to that number? Or what about call recording, routing and other services you traditionally associate with landline service?

In this article, I will analyze research from Software Advice contributor Kelly Lindner. She recently shared her insights on strategies for deploying smartphones for business, as well as pros and cons for transitioning to this business telephony model.

To PBX, or Not to PBX?

Companies with three or fewer employees can usually get by just using their smartphone network to run operations. But larger organizations might instead opt for a “virtual” private branch exchange (PBX) – a call routing and management service – to unite their mobile-device empowered workforce. In this model, one employee’s number is designated as the main line, and other individuals provide their numbers to customers as needed.

Or companies can leverage products such FORETHOUGHT.net PBX solution or Google Voice to provide a main line, that routes callers to individual smartphones using business extensions. Also, when an employee calls from their mobile phone, these PBX systems will show the main line on recipient’s caller ID. Some of these cloud-based services also offer call recording, voice transcription and other business-focused services.

The Pros of a Smartphone-Run Business

The first and most obvious benefit is customer accessibility. If employees are reachable anywhere – in or out the office – customers are less likely to have to wait on hold, or for their messages to be returned.

“Having a landline tied us to a specific location and was presenting a barrier to connecting with clients. … Now we don’t have to run back to the office to check messages,” said Stuart Randell, a virtual PBX user and head of business strategy at Code & Company Inc.

A smartphone-run business also has advantages for employees. They get to use the device they are most comfortable with. Also, business owners realize savings (though sometimes small) compared with traditional VoIP-based systems.

The Cons of this Telephony Model

There’s nothing worse than hearing that dooming beep indicating your phone is about to lose power. Loss of battery life is a huge negative to using smartphones only for your business. You depend on workers to keep their phones charged, and chargers close by. But we all know this doesn’t always happen.

Additionally, cell networks are not always dependable depending on your location. This connection is particularly at risk during a natural disaster. And just in general, voice quality in any condition is not always clear.

What advantages and disadvantages do you see with using PBX-enabled smartphones over traditional VoIP? Join the conversation by commenting here.

About Ashley Verrill
Ashley Verrillis a market analyst at Software Advice. She has spent the last six years reporting and writing business news and strategy features. Her work has appeared in myriad publications including Inc., Upstart Business Journal, the Austin Business Journal and the North Bay Business Journal. Before joining Software Advice in 2012, she worked in sales management and advertising. She is a University of Texas graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism.