If it’s been over three years, you’re in a good position to reap big benefits, including reducing your monthly expense, improving employee and customer satisfaction, your business’s image, and overall productivity.
Voice and messaging applications are the “other” set of applications that often get ignored by small and mid-sized businesses as the focus is more often on the data software and application set supporting the business.
However, when you consider that communication is the basis for virtually any business activity, and that voice and messaging applications are the backbone of communication, it’s understandable that you can reap considerable benefit from a review and tune up of the application stack and carrier services that support voice and messaging for your business.
In the past, voice and messaging applications were limited to telephony, voice mail, fax, and email. But today, this application set also includes UCaaS, or Unified Communications as a Service, voice over IP (VoIP), and IM, or instant messaging, voice and video conferencing, and software for webinars. Fax services have also changed. Most of my clients today are using inbound fax to email, and many are using outbound fax from the desktop. In the past, voice and messaging applications were stand-alone, in that they didn’t integrate well with one another. Today, these applications are often integrated, so for example I can be on a conference call and very easily instant message with any or all of the participants on that call. Another example is being able to use my smart phone as an extension of my office phone. When I’m away from the office and someone dials my office telephone number, my smart phone rings, showing me it’s the office line ringing. I can handle that call just as if I were at my desk, and can transfer the call to another extension in the office just as easily as if I were sitting at my desk.
The voice and messaging application stack can also be put in the cloud now, thus eliminating the need for premise-based equipment, backup software, and the ongoing service contracts and other overhead associated with premise-based technology. Cloud architecture also enables disaster recovery and business continuity for the voice and messaging applications. Most of the cloud-based solutions I’ve helped clients implement also have little or no up-front costs.
A review of voice and messaging applications should also include reviewing the carrier service contracts that are used to support the business; these include Internet access, analog and digital phone services, conference services, etc. Often, my clients are able to upgrade Internet bandwidth, add capability to their network(s), and improve services, all while reducing their monthly expenditures for carrier services.
As with any technology, ultimately benefits are obtained by appropriately pairing the technology with the business needs, utilizing correct design and implementation practices, and working with reliable, proven vendors. Getting an independent perspective, and working with an experienced provider for your review and for obtaining appropriate recommendations will ensure that your solution works effectively, and also provides you with rapid return on your investment.
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