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  • IT Efficiency + Your Business = Beat the Competition

    Posted on April 14th, 2009 Nelson Bodnarchuk No comments

    To keep pace in an increasingly competitive world, a business needs to run as efficiently as possible. Efficiency is even more important for a small or medium-sized business, because their resources are limited. I say this from experience serving in both in a large, global, mining company and a small IT start-up.

    Here are 10 tips that I’ve summarized from the IT Business Edge, sans the sales pitch from Cisco at the end, for using network technology to help a business work more efficiently, cut costs, improve customer satisfaction, and ultimately stay ahead of the competition.

    Quoted from a free online White Paper by IT Business Edge titled 10 tips to make your business more efficient.

    1. Give employees secure, consistent access to information. You have an advantage over larger competitors because you can react quickly to business changes. But you can quickly lose this edge if your company network is frequently down, sluggish, or unsecured. A secure, reliable network based on intelligent routers and switches lets your employees access the information and tools they need to keep ahead of competitors.
    2. Deliver anytime, anywhere access to employees on the go. To stay productive on the move, your employees need to be able to reach the people and information they need—anywhere, anytime. With tools like virtual private networks (VPNs), your employees can work outside the office and still enjoy safe access to the business network.
    3. Create effective business processes with partners. Some large companies make efficient, secure business processes a prerequisite for doing business with them. To meet the business needs of your partners, you need a secure, reliable network.
    4. Make it easy to work together. Smooth collaboration between employees, partners, suppliers, and customers is a sure-fire way to boost efficiency while also reducing costs. An intelligent network lets your business take advantage of interactive calendaring, videoconferencing, unified communications, and other technologies for easy collaboration.
    5. Enable employees to take their phone systems wherever they go. Missed calls create project delays, wasted opportunities, and lost revenues. With a networked voice and data solution, your employees can have one phone number that rings simultaneously on multiple devices, so customers reach the right person the first time. Your staff can access all their communications from anywhere, checking for e-mail, voicemail, and faxes from just one inbox.
    6. Streamline customer communications. Delivering fast, knowledgeable service is the best way to keep customers satisfied. Linking your network phone system to a customer relationship management (CRM) solution is a great way to enhance customer communications. When a customer calls, a pop-up window with their records appears on an employee’s IP phone screen, computer screen, or both.
    7. Reduce unproductive travel time. All too often, time spent on the road is time lost. A networked phone solution that offers video calls and Web conferencing can help reduce the time and expense of traveling to offsite meetings and training sessions. Instead of spending time traveling, you can use the time to get work done with technology.
    8. Employ a managed service provider. Is managing a network the best use of your employees’ time? In some situations, it is advantageous to hire a managed service provider for network administration. Working with a managed service provider can free your IT staff to focus on other IT tasks and use their time more effectively.
    9. Improve employee satisfaction. Aging phone systems and slow networks can frustrate your employees and annoy your customers. In some cases, an employee might become burned out and decide to move on. To help ensure that employees are productive and satisfied, your business needs a secure, reliable, and fast network.
    10. Develop a long-term technology plan. The process of replacing obsolete hardware can interrupt your employees and bring the office to a standstill. You can minimize such disruptions by carefully determining short- and long-term business objectives and working with your network vendor to deploy technology that matches them.

    I personally like this list as a starting point when planing how to improve things from an IT perspective. However, take it with a grain of salt and consider the source if and when planning your own solution as there are several paths one can take to arrive at the desired outcome.

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