What's good about the Alcatel-Lucent OmniPCX
Today we're reviewing the Alcatel OmniPCX phone system. The Alcatel handsets are still the main contact point staff will have with the phone system, so let's start there.
The handsets are well priced, feature rich and look great. Within the range you can choose from both digital and IP versions and, like many manufacturers, they offer several models to suit any budget or staff need. Alcatel has gone for a more modern phone handset design which is both a pro as well as a con. The positive is with screen driven handsets users can see far more than traditional style key system phones with lots of buttons. The handset screens are a good size, easy to view, and using them is straightforward once you're used to the technology.
The handsets also incorporate some very clever features that other manufacturers don't. The prime example on the executive models is they have a large QWERTY keyboard. This is a fantastic addition for companies that have large speed dial lists (the Omni PCX system can store 3000). It also allows users to message other internal staff with the keyboard. Plus, the intelligent button layout for frequently used keys is arguably second to none.
The Alcatel Lucent Omni PCX can accommodate up to 200 users and as a hybrid phone system it allows for the integration of traditional phone lines (PSTN, ISDN, Onramp 10 and multiline) as well as SIP trunks (VoIP). The multi connectivity continues with the ability to connect digital, analogue, IP, DECT and even cordless phones. This let's you create a diverse handset mix to suit your budget and requirements.
The VoIP system functionality (as opposed to VoIP phone lines) is also excellent on the Omni PCX. It provides a wealth of options such as the ability to connect remote workers, link multiple locations, link to Microsoft Outlook and much more. The CTI integration is easy to use with their proprietary Pimphony software and easily and seamlessly integrates with the Omni PCX system and handsets. You can also get unified messaging, call centre applications and a host of other advanced features also.
The price point for the Alcatel Compact and larger OmniPCX is also very good. SME customers really get a lot for their hard earned dollars. In contrast, the Alcatel OXE or Enterprise is targeted at very large companies and compared to other systems it can be a little on the expensive side. You're stepping up to a different level of infrastructure and accordingly, so does the price.
What's not so good about the Alcatel- Lucent OmniPCX phone system?
Where the handsets were a "pro", there are also points that detract from them. Many manufacturers realise that SME clients are used to more basic key system handsets with different colour flashing lights and lots of buttons. This is why brands like Ericcson LG, Avaya, NEC have all created both options - screen driven handsets as well as more traditional models that still offer all the display buttons. In larger companies where it isn't feasible for everyone to see all staff represented on a phone it's not an issue. The fact is they're used to limited visibility. In small companies with about 10-20 staff this type of handset is still frequently requested. The lack of choice is what lets the Alcatel Omni PCX down. The sad this is the previous range of handsets offered this and then the stopped with the current models. Check out the range of current handsets for yourself:
If you're looking at IP handsets you should also be aware that Alcatel, and some other brands, don't offer Gigabit connectivity. Alcatel IP phones offer 10/100MB but if you're migrating to a gigabit environment this may be an important consideration. Speak to your IT people and make sure you get the right IP handsets for your office network infrastructure.
Only a few years ago the Alcatel Omni PCX telephone system was a standout. It came equipped with a slew of free features that other manufacturers charged an arm and leg for. How times have changed. Most current pbx systems now also include features like voicemail and Auto Attendant free - it's only more advanced applications that you pay extra for.
A bit of a buyers trap, not just for the Alcatel OmniPCX but also some other brands, is that while many features are free some "extra" features can be very expensive additions. Functions like call centre applications, call recording, IP networking sites, call accounting and others. Accordingly, we always suggest you carefully map out which features you may potentially need in the future when pricing and comparing the Alcatel OmniPCX pbx to any other solution.
The Bottom Line
For smaller companies with less than 100 employees the Alcatel Omni PCX phone system is a proven, feature rich performer from a world-leading brand and is definitely worth consideration. The Alcatel Omni PCX Compact pbx is still great for the under 8 staff market. The underlying caveat to this is you don't need certain features that may increase the price - Call Centre, Full Auto Attendant, Call recording to name a few. If you operate a relatively standard business then the Alcatel Omni PCX telephone system will do everything you need at the right price. Just make sure you like the way the handsets operate - they seem to be a love'm or hate'm type of proposition.