"Never spend a nickel unless you are sure that you have at least a dime coming back." This is, or should be, a core consideration in any business, and, for most, it is. Business efficiency is measured by profitability, but focusing on only profit rarely results in business growth. This is why businesses should also consider that while investing in voice and collaboration technology is a rare opportunity, investing in warehousing, or vehicles can be a bust if there is uncertainty regarding future sales growth. Nevertheless, any of these situations are difficult at best to predict.
Investing in voice and collaboration technology has the unique advantage of providing immediate capital benefit through cost reduction and productivity gains. The integration of communications assets is the key to Unified Communications, which is one of the hottest technologies in the business sector today. For smaller businesses, productivity gains are critical. Personnel are valuable, and their time must be put to good use, not pressing buttons to get to the next message while on the phone with a client.
With the hype surrounding voice technology including VoIP and Unified Communications, it is easy to end up buying the flashiest solution, rather than the correct one, or one that specifically meets your needs. The solution should be flexible and easy to implement, as a week of downtime is daunting enough, and this can stop a project before it ever starts. The solution should also be extensible so that as new technology emerges, you are not stuck with the old, or stuck with cost of the next "new" one. Most importantly, the solution should provide the functionality that your business needs, not a massive suite of tools that requires a college degree to figure out how to install or use.
In the past, Unified Communications solutions were a challenge to adopt because of bandwidth, privacy, and data security issues. However, with the rapid roll-out of quality Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSPs) those issues are now in the past, and Unified Communications solutions are emerging as best of breed solutions that combine multiple voices and collaboration technologies (web conferencing, Presence, IM, etc.) into fully integrated communication systems, with solid back up to ensure that data is never lost. Through properly integrated solutions that can be efficiently deployed with a minimum number of appliances and licensed capabilities, cost control is a major advantage, as you only pay for what you need to use. The number of users can increase or decrease and your costs will reflect those increases or decreases as your business grows. This also drastically reduces the investment needed in IT staff, as the number of systems and appliances that need to be maintained is minimized.
As technology grows, so will your solution. The advantages of investing in Unified Communications technology are clear and are important enough to warrant starting a full investigation today to see how the solutions can benefit your business.
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