If you’ve decided you want to start selling Metaswitch hosted PBX to businesses in your service area, there’s a bunch of work to do – from marketing and product design to technical work. And it’s all important, but before you do anything else I’d recommend you set up a lab deployment.
Why a lab?
Is a hosted PBX lab even necessary? Consultants rarely give you a firm answer on anything, but in this case I’ll make an exception and say… YES!
- A lab will allow you to validate that you can actually make the product work – that you have all the right features tied together correctly to provide a service to your customers.
- A lab will allow your product and marketing people to understand what the hosted PBX product looks like in practice, what features might be appealing to your customers, and hence they can work on how to price and package it.
In fact, a lab isn’t just a good idea during this early test phase – I’d recommend that you maintain a permanent lab so that your NOC and operations team are able to test new features, reproduce customer problems and implement specific customer feature designs.
You might think that it would be easy to set up an internal lab, but even if you have all of the right features available on your Metaswitch, there’s a lot of work involved in combining them altogether into a working deployment.
Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. We’ve put together this short quick start guide so you at least know the tasks involved before you start.
Quick Start Guide for a Hosted PBX Lab
- Select the phone models you want to use (Polycom VVX phones are a good bet if you’re unsure).
- Make sure you have the latest endpoint packs (available on the Metaswitch Communities website) loaded for these phone models.
- Review the EAS classes of service you have available, and make sure you know which ones you want to use for different circumstances.
- Make sure MetaView Web and CommPortal are working for you.
- Check your CFS persistent profiles, and make sure you have added the appropriate phone profiles to the phone configuration section (based on the Endpoint Packs).
- Build a business group, including the number blocks, hunt groups, connection to music-on-hold, etc.
- Build the individual business group phone lines.
- Add the phones into the business group, and complete the phone-specific configuration in SIP Provisioning Server (SIP PS).
- Either manually configure the phones to connect to SIP PS, or else figure out how to set up DHCP option 66 or zero-touch provisioning through the phone vendor.
- Figure out how to configure incoming call manager, auto attendants, park orbits, line state monitoring, voicemail, and all the other features users expect from a hosted PBX system.
It’s a lot of work, but at the end of it you’ll have figured out the kinks in your deployment, and you’ll have an example on which to base all future business groups you build.