Featured Image for the blog: What Is PBX? [Definition]

Today’s contact centers and business operations teams look starkly different than they did a decade ago. And as technology improves, the changes to your operations and customer experience pile on.

According to research from Forrester, nearly 60% of enterprises in North America now rely on public cloud platforms to run their businesses. That’s more than 5x the percentage of companies who relied on the cloud just 5 years ago.

As companies flock to new technology and new systems to function, how does it all translate to the integral pieces of your business? And, how have improvements to legacy tech changed contact centers and business ops teams for the better? Operations leaders (like you!) look to industry terms and sites to learn what’s new. 

To help, we’re continuing our Definition Series of re-introducing and defining industry terms in 400 words or less for the busy manager. Today, we’re defining PBX and how companies have shifted away from these tired systems to adopt UC tools, instead. 

What is PBX? 

PBX stands for Private Branch Exchange. In short, your PBX is the business phone system that connects your companies’ inbound and outbound call routes to your telco provider. 

It’s an older term that refers to your direct phone lines for business users, not your contact center seats. 

Years ago, PBX systems were housed in companies and run by operators. They were switchboards with wires you had to physically unplug and plug back in to connect callers to the right person. 

In businesses with modern tech, companies have largely replaced PBX with a much richer Unified Communications experience. Instead of focusing solely on business phones, these UC tools combine tons of channels. Like, voicemail, email, texting, phone, fax, and collaboration features into a single platform for business users. 

Cloud-based UC tools entered the scene to replace old, premise-based PBX systems. And, they exist to eliminate business silos – joining core business functions and the contact center together. Further, some unique UC tools (like Sharpen Connect) integrate with your contact center tech and even offer global telco services, so customers can combine vendors and complicated systems into one, streamlined solution.