This option is generically known as Centrex and uses the network exchange as an alternative to telephone systems for small business. Users can still hold and transfer together with services such as voicemail. However, they are required to rent a separate line for each phone. So this is prohibitively expensive for operations that require more than 3 handsets. Those who migrate to hardware based solutions report poor responses to requests for programming changes and a general lack of understanding by the respective technical support team.
The major downside is the running costs as lines are billed at an inflated rate to compensate the provider for utilising their switching capability. It is a quick fix for new businesses rather than a permanent way out. The problem is that companies are frequently persuaded to sign lengthy contracts. So it’s buyer beware!
After having reached a requirement for 4 staff it is usual for a physical telephony system to be deployed. It is not purely about being cheaper. Flexibility and powerfulness are sighted as motivators for migration.
Having a keyphone on your desk is extremely helpful to the smallest of organisations. They don’t have receptionists so in effect everybody is a receptionist. The display on keyphones gives everyone control as if they are on a switchboard position. Knowledge is power and displays equip users with all of the know how to manage the traffic efficiently.
Functionality such as tannoy enables speedy location of those “slippery eel” people who move around your building. But this is just the basics, it is higher level technologies that are magnetic to today’s firms.