Traditionally, business growth has come from working longer and hard than anyone else – but technology is changing that. Today, the companies that are emerging as startup success stories are the ones that are embracing innovative systems and using them to push their strategies forward.
So, that begs a question – what are these technologies? Here, we’ll explore what’s happening in business networking – and give you some examples of how businesses are using this tech to drive growth.
A cloud-based phone system
A telephone system’s a telephone system – right?
If you’re thinking of a system that carries voice and allows for extension numbers, transferring, some hold options and redialling – then you couldn’t be more wrong.
Telephone systems have gone digital – and this fully digital approach means you shake of the confines that have traditionally come with copper-based technology that still relied on some analogue input.
Now, it’s useful to think of a telephone system as simply an extension of your IT system – for more reasons than one.
Firstly, modern cloud-based telephone systems are now entirely carried over your internet and IT network. There’s no need for a dedicated phone line any more – now, the same high-speed connection you have to the internet carries voice data quickly too.
The second reason it’s useful to consider your phone system as part of your IT network is simply to shake off the preconceived notions of what’s possible with a phone. Rather than thinking of your phone as a standalone system – it actually becomes an input that can feed into an almost never-ending range of applications and systems. Voice is now an input – so your customers can use their ‘telephone’ to simply navigate a huge range of ultra-customer-friendly systems – from payments and account enquiries to fully automated support desk solutions.
Hosted telephone systems have an enormous amount to give businesses – and a lot of the reason is down to the fact that they cut out a notoriously unreliable part of the customer service experience – that is – people. Normally, people represent the interface between the systems the customer wants to use – when you hand this control to customers through a neat interface, you hand full control to them.
From automatically transcribing calls that are taken by your customer service team – to fully handling calls through hosted voice systems, there’s a world of productivity and positive customer service experience waiting to be had when your phones become fully digital.
More and more companies are turning to managed service providers to deliver the previously-expensive service that an in-house IT team would otherwise fulfil.
The benefits of using a managed service provider are almost endless – from the cost-saving and cashflows benefits – to the ever-evolving best-practice that you buy into when you’re working with a team that’s day-to-day experience extends across a range of companies and industries. That said, not having ‘hands on’ support can be problematic – that is, until SD WAN came along.
SD WAN (or a Software Defined Wide Area Network) is a system overlay that can be used to remotely manage your entire IT network from one central portal. This represents an enormous step forward from simply systems-monitoring portals that have been in use for some time – and steps toward a completely ‘hands off’ solution that can see your network configured and maintained from anywhere on the planet.
Now, SD WAN isn’t going to physically install devices – but it does allow your IT team to have their hands-on devices that reside in offices anywhere on the planet. This allows an unprecedented level of control and cost saving – as well as reducing the amount of time that IT engineers are physically on your site (and the time you spend waiting for them).
If your IT network ps offices, regions, or even countries, then looking at a SD WAN solution might be a way of ensuring your IT concerns are kept entirely under one roof – an enormous peace of mind when we consider just how important IT systems are to keeping your business moving in the right direction.
‘Multi-Protocol Label Switching’ – or MPLS for short – is a type of network technology that brings greater speed, reliability and efficiency to your network.
Of course, speed, reliability and efficiency in your network directly result in speed, reliability and efficiency for your end-users too – which are absolutely crucial factors when it comes to growing your business.
So, how does MPLS help to make this happen?
Well, it’s all about how data’s transferred across your network.
An MPLS system attaches tiny data ‘labels’ to the data that your network handles – and, by doing so, it allows you to prioritise how each application’s data is treated – with absolutely pinpoint accuracy. This is especially useful if you’ve got systems that absolutely must be working if your business is operating as intended. In many cases, systems like this will be the core functions of your organisation – so downtime can be catastrophic.
Aside from making sure your key systems stay working – what else does MPLS offer?
A better customer experience
If you interact with customers, then end-user efficiency is absolutely key to making your service memorable for the right reasons. If you’ve ever felt the pain of telling customers that their payment couldn’t be processed – or that your ‘systems are down’ – then you’ll realise quite how important it is to deliver the service you need – exactly when you need it. MPLS will keep your system up – and working at a good pace.
The more complex your network is, the more difficult it is to maintain. With an MPLS system, different types of data take intelligent routes across your network – which makes fault finding and maintenance far simpler than would be normal for a network engineer. The less maintenance that’s needed, the smaller the chance that anything goes wrong as a result of human error.
There are some systems you just can’t live without. If you want to make sure they’re running when they need to be – and at a pace that won’t leaving you wanting – then MPLS will deliver. A well configured system will ensure your most important data is always taking the quickest route – and will redirect dynamically if anything ever stands in its way.