If your small business still relies on landlines, an on-premise PBX system, or another legacy phone solution, you’re likely missing out on a boatload of benefits offered by today’s hosted technology. Companies of all sizes are now discovering that hosted voice isn’t only an affordable option when it comes to phone service, but it’s also an incredibly robust tool that can help small businesses succeed in several ways. Yet if you’re uncertain about what hosted voice is — or if you think it’s strictly for large enterprises — here’s a look at four ways it’s helping small businesses boost their bottom lines…. Read More
When it’s time to update communications, most enterprises will consider both Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). The two are not opposites, but rather two different levels of service along the same spectrum of Internet-based communications tools.
The choice between VoIP and UCaaS generally depends on the needs of the enterprise surrounding a few key areas. First, the benefits of each type of technology:
VoIP: The implementation of VoIP often comes with significant cost savings on long distance, international, and inter-office calls. Simplified call center management and built-in mobility are often a reason to switch to VoIP. In most cases, vendors that offer VoIP can scale the client up to UCaaS as the need arises.
UCaaS: The migration to unified communications is often driven by particular business processes, such as a need for video or the increasing influence of remote, virtual teams. There are a number of benefits that come with UCaaS, including a uniform experience for end-users.
How to determine the right option for your enterprise:
The decision between VoIP and UCaaS often comes down to a few key factors.
- The need for video conferencing: If your organization only uses video occasionally and doesn’t rely heavily on remote workers or virtual teams, you likely won’t need UCaaS. VoIP will fit your needs.
- A demand for flexible unified communications formats: You may primarily hear from your customers via phone, but there’s a good chance that your millennial target market would rather use text or email to contact you. Offering your customers flexibility through a single application is often a motivator for choosing UCaaS.
- A team that needs shared workspaces: If you find that innovation and growth rely on the ability to share access to documents or collaborate over projects, then UCaaS might be the right choice. UCaaS offers enhanced opportunities for innovation, brainstorming, and collaboration that are not possible without this technology.
- Flexibility needs: Both VoIP and UCaaS offer scalability, but UCaaS allows you to expand into more integrated solutions, as well as add and eliminate services as needed.
The right vendor will be able to help you choose the solution you need, or implement VoIP with the expectation that you may eventually require UCaaS.
Whether you need to prioritize mobility, stability, or the flexibility to expand as your enterprise grows, contact us at Copper State Communications. We can help you determine the right solution for your situation.
Mobility has become a large part of personal and business life. Whether it is geared toward customer satisfaction, employee needs, productivity, reduced costs, or improved organizational performance, mobile technology has a significant impact on the enterprise as a whole.
The growing acceptance of mobility in the workplace cannot be ignored. Workers want to be productive inside and outside of the workplace. Similarly, customers everywhere are becoming more reliant on mobile devices to get instant information on the products and services they want to buy and the brands they want to transact with. The enterprise wants to address employee needs, acquire and retain customers, and improve its bottom line. Clearly, employees, customers, and the enterprise stand to benefit from an effective mobility initiative.
A Mobile Strategy Creates a More Engaged Workforce
Employee discontent is a silent traitor that many business leaders seem to give little importance to. An unhappy employee is an unproductive employee. In a massively connected and mobile world, employees are increasingly clamoring for a more flexible work environment.
A worldwide survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) observed a link between employee engagement and a mobile environment. 1,865 employees were surveyed, and the following findings show that working in a mobile environment improved their productivity and creativity and increased their loyalty under the following working conditions:
- 49% – working anywhere, anytime
- 38% – ability to collaborate
- 42% – rapid access to mobile information
- 29% – workplace freedom
The increase of employee engagement was measured as follows:
- 16% – productivity
- 18% – creativity
- 23% – satisfaction
- 21% – loyalty
A Mobile Strategy Builds Customer Relationships
Mobile technology as a marketing strategy is an effective tool to deliver a seamless customer experience from discovery to purchase. As the enterprise network captures all the vital information on customers, marketers can then follow through the entire consumer buying lifecycle.
Every company’s goal is a larger customer base and more loyal customers. Offering innovative mobile applications is a compelling solution to creating breakthrough relationships and retaining the loyalty of old ones. An attractive characteristic of mobile applications that marketers should leverage is their close relevance to emerging generations and their affinity to social media.
Mobile Technology as a Business Initiative
As people and things are increasingly going mobile, businesses are finding new and interesting ways of using their mobile strategy to gain increased value for their brand. With 87% of the population using mobile devices, there is no excuse for companies to not notice this opportunity to gain actionable information on which to build a more agile and competitive company.
Developing a business mobile strategy and the applications that may follow is not an easy task. But one thing is sure – not developing one is a big step backward. Wherever you are on your mobile journey, contact us at Copper State Communications to learn more about how we can help your company.
Since unified communications (UC) was first introduced to IT professionals, its popularity has grown steadily. It quickly became apparent that the features and benefits afforded by this technology would be highly useful to small to medium sized businesses (SMBs). SMBs have a specific set of needs that are met effectively by UC features and integrations, and providers who understand this have a seemingly infinite market to tap.
Cloud vs. On-Premise
SMBs find much greater use in cloud UC services than the on-premise model. This is largely due to the flexibility, scalability, and ease of use of a cloud suite compared to the more fixed on-site arrangement. SMBs have limited capital and human resources, so paying only for what’s used and having the ability to access system tools from remote locations are major selling points. Using hosted/cloud solutions for UC typically drives down cost.
UC packages give technology power to SMBs previously only affordable to large, entrenched corporations. Mobile accessibility, voicemail, conferencing, video and audio streaming, and collaboration tools allow the SMB to perform at a level that surpasses its physical size. The do-more-with-less mentality is no longer a constraint, and productivity blossoms. The price tag is surprisingly manageable for all of these assets. Critical programs such as business continuity and disaster recovery can be more easily folded into the systems for cohesion and seamless operation.
UC packages are useful across the entire organization. Business development, sales, marketing, customer support, IT, app-dev, and public relations groups all benefit from UC. The positive impact to an organization after implementing UC is dramatic and rapid.
Keeping up with Competition
Competitive companies know what resources are available and how to use them to differentiate themselves from other organizations in the same industry. Sticking with outdated phone or technical systems is short sighted and carries a massive opportunity cost.
Using vendor-hosted or managed service models for UC and other telecom tools makes them predictably priced, affordable, and easily manageable. Technologies like SIP trunking are now cost effective and go a long way in helping companies of all sizes, but are especially valuable to SMBs. Many of these technologies haven’t begun to see their full potential, so it’s important to look at long-term possibilities in addition to satisfaction of an immediate need.
UC tools offer real value to companies of all sizes. SMBs stand to benefit the most from these offerings thanks to their affordability and flexibility. For more information on implementing UC solutions, contact Copper State today.
Cloud services and high speed connections have made many advanced functions possible for business, including telephony. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone systems use the Internet for phone calling as well as other communication methods. Enhanced productivity is a key benefit of this powerful technology, helping companies do more with their resources. Following are a few of the areas where VoIP boosts productivity.
Reduce Technical Issues
VoIP-based systems are simple to install and manage. Though they are so flexible and feature-rich, they require very little in the way of equipment. They’re designed for ease of use and are generally quite stable. In the event that the Internet connection that the system relies on does fail, calls can still be handled by way of forwarding to another phone or to voicemail. Missed opportunities are costly, and these systems do a great job of capturing every opportunity possible.
An increasing number of employees today have some sort of remote work arrangement with their company. Not only does telecommuting save the company money on office space, it also reduces absenteeism and has been shown to improve the satisfaction of workers. In addition, people who are able to work from home are typically less distracted and able to get more accomplished. VoIP facilitates remote work scenarios by keeping employees connected to company systems and optimally accessible to one another.
Better Call Management
From ensuring that customers reach the correct department or employee rapidly to helping workers respond quickly to messages left when they’re unavailable, VoIP is the right tool for the job. Voicemails can be converted to a more easily consumed email format and passed to appropriate resources efficiently. Caller ID helps employees determine critical calls versus non-priority contacts, and Virtual Assistants handle everything from call routing to silencing when necessary.
Improve Customer Service
A great way to promote customer satisfaction is by handling customer needs promptly and competently. VoIP-based services reduce hold times, convey valuable customer data automatically from one system to another, and help employees find the right resources quickly. Clients receive top notch assistance in minimal time, which goes a long way toward retention and word-of-mouth referrals.
Unify the Workforce
VoIP tools are the glue that connects globally distributed teams and creates allies across departments. Information can be conveyed instantly via IM, phone, or email. Using web or video chat, coworkers from around the world are able to collaborate as if they were in the same room. This builds relationships and strengthens the bonds of cooperation within the organization.
VoIP systems are a springboard for organizational productivity. With so many time saving and information sharing features included, nearly any type of business benefits from using VoIP. For more information on implementing a new system,contact Copper State today.
Running a successful business means managing expenses effectively, and knowing when an expense will pay for itself is a critical part of the decision making process. Bandwidth is one example of when paying for services can create significant ROI. Read on to learn why every business needs strong bandwidth.
Improve Productivity & Efficiency
When web pages load promptly and Software as-a-Service (SaaS) is supported at an optimal level, work gets done much more quickly. However, when employees are wasting time waiting for their data to upload or download, labor costs are higher than necessary. Better connection speeds and bandwidth improve productivity and efficiency.
Support More Features
Some very useful tools are on the market today, but nearly all of them rely on fast Internet to work. Video conferencing, integration of communications and customer relationship management (CRM) tools, and use of the cloud to access or manage software, data storage, or infrastructure must be conducted on a speedy connection. These new tools can save money and potentially result in additional revenue streams.
Reducing employees’ stress levels leads to fewer sick days taken and higher morale. Improving system performance by investing in broadband will give workers a sense of accomplishment when they’ve been able to complete their responsibilities more rapidly. In addition, customers are more satisfied when help is efficiently delivered.
Support Cloud Requirements
Storing information, applications, and services in the cloud has a number of distinct advantages. Cost savings, disaster recovery, and flexibility are just a few reasons to transition traditional system components into the cloud, but this requires adequate bandwidth to support upload and download requirements.
Other Available Cost Savings
Improved bandwidth via broadband Internet offers a few other direct opportunities to save on operating expenses. Telephony can be transitioned from plain old telephone service (POTS) lines over to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) when broadband is implemented. In this arrangement, the Internet is used to make and receive phone calls. The comparison of VoIP costs to a normal telephone company’s bill is staggering — the regulatory fees on the telco bill alone are often more than the entire VoIP bill, including long distance. Further, employees may also be able to telecommute rather than require office real estate if the company’s network is equipped with broadband.
Communication and cooperation across teams or departments can be a major challenge. Better bandwidth makes it possible to share more and function at a superior level. Collaboration is much easier as tools such as instant messaging, chat, and video conferencing allow teams to brainstorm as if they were in the same room. This is especially helpful when employees are remote or distributed across the globe. Results include projects that move forward more efficiently and a shorter time to market for new products.
In short, the affordable price tag of broadband makes it an extremely worthwhile investment. The company can save on operating expenses and enjoy many non-monetary advantages at the same time.
There are several options on the market that you can deploy to securely store, organize, share, and access your information for your staff. SharePoint, Microsoft’s intranet solution, is worth considering for your data access and sharing needs.
SharePoint is part of Microsoft Office 365. The advantage of SharePoint is that it can be accessed via web browser (IE, Chrome, or Firefox) on virtually any Internet-connected device, which means that you don’t have to have the SharePoint app downloaded on the device in order to view and access your files. SharePoint can be hosted on-premises (in your own IT infrastructure) or on the cloud.
SharePoint is a versatile tool that Microsoft utilizes in a variety of ways. The Microsoft support website explains the different SharePoint technologies that are available to consumers.
- SharePoint Online. A cloud-based service, hosted by Microsoft, for businesses of all sizes. Instead of installing and deploying SharePoint Server in-house, you can subscribe to an Office 365 plan or to the standalone SharePoint Online service. Also, your employees can create intranet sites to share documents and files with colleagues and clients.
- SharePoint Foundation. SharePoint Foundation is available for on-premises deployment. You can use SharePoint Foundation to create many types of sites where you can collaborate on documents, lists, calendars, and other data.
- SharePoint Server. Organizations can deploy and manage SharePoint Server on-premises. This offers additional features and capabilities such as Enterprise Content Management, business intelligence, enterprise search, personal sites, and a news feed.
- OneDrive for Business folder sync. A desktop program that you can use to sync offline versions of files or a OneDrive for Business library to a folder on your computer.
SharePoint allows you and your team to easily organize all of your corporate data so that everyone who needs it can access and share it. Here are a few ways that small businesses can use SharePoint:
- Share documents and files with employees and partners.
- Host internal training guides.
- Manage and organize projects.
- Keep commonly updated documents in order.
- Build and maintain repeatable processes.
- Use it as a single, central location for everything going on internally.
Businesses that are already heavily-dependant upon Microsoft Office with its apps like OneDrive will get the most out of SharePoint. Microsoft has even taken big strides to integrate SharePoint with other popular enterprise software too, like Yammer, a corporate-style social network.
Is SharePoint right for your company’s data needs? Before you officially select a cloud-based tool to handle and organize your company’s information, we recommend that you first check with the IT professionals at Copper State Communications. Contact us at 888-550-4484 and we’ll take the time to analyze the data needs of your organization, and pair it up with the best solution available.