Choosing a Phone System for Your Business

When business phones work properly, they basically become invisible. Everyone is doing their task, communicating with clients and vendors without a thought to the phones. Yet when the phones don’t work, every phone call becomes a burden – worse, clients and vendors feel it. Finding the right system that can “get out of the way” of productivity is critical. And every once in a while, you’ll find a system that can actually boost productivity.

There are two approaches to phone system offerings in today’s fast paced telecom world – purchased and hosted. Generally speaking, the purchase model includes buying the phone system along with some kind of support or maintenance agreement. The hosted model includes paying for the phone system as a service through a monthly service fee. Let’s look at some of the benefits and challenges of each.

On premise phone systems offer much with functionality, options, and name recognition. These systems come from resellers who’ve provided phone systems for years. Premise phone systems use private voice connectivity to avoid quality degradation which often occurs with over the internet solutions. However, while today’s phone systems offer more functionality, they face new challenges. Once, a business could purchase a phone system and depreciate it as an asset for years. However, because of sprinting technology advances, new equipment costs, new feature licensing, and phasing out of “old” equipment, phone systems become an unexpected burden both at initial purchase and throughout the system’s life. Once, phone systems lasted 20 years. Now, the average replacement cycle is less than 7 years with firmware upgrades required for continued technical support.

Hosted phone systems are usually cloud based meaning the intelligence of the phone system is hosted away from the business premise. Additionally, the equipment is not owned but is part of a monthly service expense. This means that when new features become available, there’s no licensing fees or mandatory upgrade charges. Many hosted systems have exceptional feature functionality and provide superior disaster recovery (because the “brains” are not located on premise). Some hosted solutions, however, run across the public internet. Because the provider doesn’t control the public internet, there is no way to ensure that the quality of service across that public space and when call quality suffers, internet bandwidth can only solve part of the problem.

To avoid the challenges that come from either of these solutions, some businesses have found a solution that provides the benefits of both the hosted model and a premise solution. Cox Business provides this phone system in its IP Centrex service.

IP Centrex is a hosted and managed phone system with great features that are available because of the cloud architecture. Cox provides the equipment as a service. Any question, change, problem is resolved by calling Cox – not 3 different vendors for phones, internet, or phone service. A business doesn’t have to worry about “Is it the phone system? The local line? The long distance?” and so on. One provider means one point of resolution.

IP Centrex is a paradigm shift where the wiring, equipment, programming, and support are available as a monthly service charge. And, new features are pushed – there’s no charges for firmware upgrades and feature enhancements. This ever-green approach means no cycling through phone systems that eventually age.

Cox provides a skilled application designer to help program the system around how you do business. For some businesses, having an automated system for call routing is essential to free up scarce resources. For others, having a live person answer every call is top priority. Cox will help identify your top communication priorities and develop a design that supports the culture of your business.

IP Centrex is a scalable solution that can support small businesses with as few as 3 stations all the way up to campus style environments. And with frequent new feature releases, like unified communications, instant messaging, presence, and more, Cox ensures that businesses stay competitive and productive.

For more information about Cox Business please visit them at or contact Cody Sims at