Monday, March 26, 2012

Why should we choose PBXware MultiTenant PBX vs Thirdlane Multi-Tenant PBX ?

It is always with caution that one should speak of competitors and their products when clearly they are better able to do so themselves. All the more so with Thirdlane, given how respectfully Alex Epshteyn at Thridlane has always spoken of PBXware MultiTenant PBX. I am demanded to reply to this question aurally and it seems only right to write.

Curious about this question too is the clear circumstances in which it is asked. These can be described in three categories:
i) Existing users of Thirdlane's Multi-Tenant PBX who have had reason to look further
ii) New Providers looking to start a business line with very little resource
iii) Well established businesses either ITSPs, VARs or Long Established Sellers of Phone Systems

For the first group, customers have dial tone. However the ITSP is now so busied with the running of their business that the cost of maintaining the system takes on a greater importance. Very noticeable is with how few subscribers the pain threshold seems to bite. So often, fewer than 100 subscribers - a handful of customers.

These still quite new Service Providers are also to considering how to automate the monthly invoice run and ideally the provisioning of services. A customer wants a Queue, a Conference, an IVR... then "surely this should need no more effort than a check-box selection to solve everything from the feature's creation to the monthly invoice going out ?"

There also are issues of support. Again the sheer stress that happens once 'real customers' come on board and previously naive dreams are exposed. Answers need to be found immediately both to 'how do I do x,y,z ?' questions and less often bugs or critical failings.

Increasingly the need for integration to the desktop is a make or break to getting End User businesses.  Whether in the form of onsite systems from the Traditional Vendors or the large Internet Telephony Service Providers often using Broadsoft platforms the market at large expects standard offerings to have presence, chat and more at the finger tips. Mobility is next.

What has also been learned by bitter experience is problems that may be caused by trying to piece-on a third-party software just because you don't have it yourself. This could be an Operator Panel for example that can be strung through the Asterisk Manager. There's no choice, you have to do it. The customer is screaming at you. So you spend an hour to download it, install it, try it yourself, another hour to read the manual. You repeat that with the customer. Next day the customer wants something that is missing ... it is crashing ... whatever happened to your sales plan that week ?

For some though there is the matter of scalability. To simply 'add another server' and 'stick on another few hundred customers' is not enough. All the customers need to be brought together in a single interface to be found easily and redundancy needs to be in clusters often with the options of dual location.

If you found this useful or can add please feel free to post, Parts II (Cost of Entry) & III (It has to work and it has to do more) are to follow and of course our whitepaper on How to Start an ITSP.

Read the second part of this series here.

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