What is most valuable?
The ease of deployment, scalability/flexibility of it running on Windows. The biggest aspect that I really like about this product is the flexibility of it being on Windows. That means whatever you need to script, automate, backup, or virtualize with Windows, it can be done. This means a lot more control for the administrator, as opposed to a ‘black box’ type of system, where it’s proprietary.
How has it helped my organization?
It has allowed for more flexibility and easier deployment/operation for more of our technicians, who might not otherwise have specialized in voice training. It is quite an intuitive system to deploy. It can be as simple as you need, as well as complex as you need. Because it’s quite easy to deploy and operate, it has allowed us better disaster recovery options for our clients. We’ve had some clients that have had to evacuate from local wildfires, which has allowed us to be able to move their system onto a temporary VM server in our data centre and still allowed them to make and receive calls, allowing their business to continue to function. We’ve also had to rapidly deploy the phone system for a local hotel, whose aging phone system finally bit the dust, and getting in the special board, meant thousands of dollars to re-invest into their old system. This allowed them the opportunity for a new, scalable system. Because 3CX is a software system and not entirely hardware, it allowed us to rapidly get the hotel online to a functional state, all within software. As we could get the hardware parts in, we restored more functions to the main operations to get back to normal.
What needs improvement?
Support. They have global offices and it would really make a huge difference if they were 24/7. Just as much as it is also a benefit that you don’t have to rely on a ‘black box’ solution and have the flexibility of different products to mix and match your solution, it’s also a downfall that you have multiple product vendors to put together the entire solution. It means you’re engaging with all the vendors and jumping from one, to the next, in order to fully troubleshoot your system.
For how long have I used the solution?
It’s been a solid two to three years since I first started with 3CX deployments.
What was my experience with deployment of the solution?
Over the period of deploying it, I’ve come to quite enjoy all the functionality that’s possible with it, and it’s so easy to setup. You still need a bit of voice experience and network expertise, but that’s my background, so it was quite easy for me to jump into.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
So far, I haven’t run into any stability issues.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
Not in the least. This product is quite scalable.
How is customer service and technical support?
Support could be better, especially when you have an emergency and need assistance. They only work certain shifts, not 24/7. They have a great product and make setting up a phone system a breeze compared to some of the big brand systems. Though, the big brands have the benefit that they make all their own hardware, which means they can support the entire solution, not just the core system.
I come from deploying large brand system vendors, and am quite used to their high quality, 24/7 support. When you put in an urgent ticket, you get a warm handoff from dispatch to a tech within 10-15 mins max! This does not exist yet with 3CX. If they ramped up their support, it would add that much more value to their product.
Which solutions did we use previously?
Yes, we did use Cisco’s small business UC5xx line of products, up until a few years ago, then they decided to drop their entire small business line of products. This line of products fit quite well at that time with our customer base and was a sweet spot for the cost. Once they dropped production/support/warranty on this small business line, their new lowest product was the BE6k which was quite costly and didn’t fit in with a lot of our customers’ budgets. So we were forced to look into other options, and 3CX became our go to small business and even scalable for large businesses. There’s just so many features, simpler licensing, and a much easier way to deploy and implement solutions on 3CX.
How was the initial setup?
With 3CX, it didn’t take long to get to know it. Of course, with any new product, there’s a bit of a learning curve, getting to know the way to set things up, where all the settings are, etc. But once you really dig into it and use it, you can’t imagine going back or what there ever was before.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The pricing and especially the licensing is way simpler and easier to understand instead of the larger brands which tend to be so complicated that you almost need to seem to be certified in understanding their licensing models. Not with 3CX. It’s just straight forward.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Yes, we definitely had a look in a few other products like FortiVoice and Ubiquiti. Now there’s Meraki Voice products too, but right now, we’ve taken a liking to 3CX.
What other advice do I have?
Review the training material to familiarize yourself with 3CX’s interface, download and setup the free version and really get to know it. Or I believe they even have a trial or sometimes give away a standard license. I think you’ll quite like it and find it a breeze to setup a system. If you’re technical, you can even automate a lot of the setup and deploy it even faster with a standard template.
Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: We are 3CX partners and certified.
Aug 20 2017