My previous blog post focused on using Google Voice at your church to minimize costs, and provide important features, especially in small churches. Now we'll talk about ways to save money and provide functionality usually only found in large telephone switches (PBXs).
Choices of Phone Systems at Your Church
Asterisk is an open source program that allows you to use an old server or even a workstation to act as the PBX for your office. The platform has really developed and grown in popularity over the last few years. While it isn't something for anyone, you don't have to be a programmer or an IT expert. Like most open source projects there are many forums and sites where you can get help configuring it for your phone system. With this choice you would still need phones, either analog or IP. In case you have any Asterisk provides many different options that are only available with larger systems.
Another solution for telephony that I think is going to grow exponentially in the next year is managed IP systems. More and more telephony companies are offering IP systems that are hosted in their facilities. The only equipment on site would basically be the IP phones connected to a switch in a closet with a connection (T1) back to the phone company. Just like with Asterisk, this enables your office to capitalize on the functions and cost savings of 'renting' a part of their enterprise level PBX.
These are just two solutions that I think are important to highlight when your office considers revamping it's current phone system. There are many other options to choose, but these both have become a lot more popular, standardized, and economical in the last years.
Even if you don't work in a church office, has your office recently made significant changes to it's phone system? What wisdom did you learn through the transition.