Outdated Technology May Be Limiting Performance
Changes in business technology are so fast paced and constant that staying current can seem futile if not impossible. As a result, it’s tempting to conclude that when something’s not broken there’s no need to fix it. Why commit scarce resources to upgrade or replace a phone system that appears to be functioning? The answer is really quite obvious – you don’t want your company to lose its competitive edge. What’s less obvious is determining whether your company’s performance is being held back, either by technological limits or outdated contractual obligations. What follows is a brief guide to help assess whether your current phone system is inhibiting productivity and future growth. How do you know if your phone system is obsolete? Consider these technology cost factors.
Does your current phone system offer all the features required to manage in today’s demanding work environment? Competitors who have moved up to a multi-faceted cloud phone system may be leaving you in the dust. For instance, they are benefiting from daily call reporting that tracks the hours each salesperson spends on the phone per day, counts the number of calls made per hour and shows hourly connect rates. This information provides managers with powerful information that can identify strengths and weaknesses and demonstrate ways to improve performance.
In evaluating where your company stands relative to its competitors there are other variables to consider, including:
1. The ability to support employee mobility. More than ever before, employees expect to be able reach each other anytime, anywhere. The “office” is no longer a single space but one that extends to remote and transient locations. Immediate connectivity between employees on the go is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity.
2. Collaboration, once a mere concept, is now a highly regarded workplace dynamic. Effective team work requires video conferencing, shared desktops, whiteboards and other collaborative tools. Absent these tools, companies risk falling behind the technology curve and losing valuable talent to companies with a more satisfying work environment.
3. Immediacy and presence that keep up with a fast-paced world. To stay current, it’s imperative to obtain sufficient bandwidth and devices that support instant messaging and presence between employees.
Take a good look at your IT department and ask whether its talent and resources are being utilized as fully as possible. If the department is spending much of its time and effort patching and repairing out-of-date equipment, then its resources are being poorly allocated. Think what could be accomplished if your IT professionals were free to work with the CIO and Board to solve next generation, strategic issues.
Finally, ask how your company might fare compared to others in the event of a disaster. Do you measure up or are you at risk of losing critical data? Without state-of-the-art data retrieval and redundancy, or extensive mobile capacity, the business might not be able to remain up and running during a hurricane or tornado. That would be truly catastrophic.
If mobility, presence, collaboratiion and data retrieval are not part of your legacy system, it’s fair to assume that your business communication solution is obsolete and the organization is dramatically underperforming.
If it’s been a while since you’ve taken stock of the contract between you and your business communication solutions provider, it’s probably time to reconsider. Think about who actually owns the equipment. Is it automatically replaced when newer models become available or do you have to spend to upgrade? Most legacy based contracts require you to pay a fixed monthly amount for a set number of phones. If the company needs to add more units it may be constrained by limited trunkline capacity. Conversely, should managers need to reduce units, the company continues to pay for the original number. There is no option to pay only for what’s used and no flexibility to scale up or down during peaks and lows.
It’s a truism that older equipment will eventually break down. As time passes, it becomes more difficult to find replacement parts for legacy systems. And because they are sparse, they tend to be very expensive. What’s more, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find people that still work on and know this equipment. As these skilled technicians become harder and harder to find, their rates also tend to be harder and harder to justify. Simple math can easily indicate when a point of diminishing returns has been reached.
Imagine if you could make all these problems go away. Since it’s probably more expensive to keep repairing your existing system than it is to replace it with a modern, versatile, hosted VoIP solution, the time for change may be now. The power of a hosted solution is that your communications are delivered employing technology as a service rather than just the sale of equipment with a maintenance agreement.
Commonly referred to as Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS), the provider owns the equipment, is contractually obligated to update phones as technology changes, charges for actual monthly use versus a fixed cost and is responsible for providing up-to-date equipment and bandwidth commensurate with the fluctuating needs of your business. Moving from obsolete, onerous, fixed contracts to a flexible VoIP cloud phone system, can be one of the most cost effective ways to advance your company’s growth and ensure positive performance long-term.