Money’s tight, so if you’re looking to increase the productivity of your business and boost the effectiveness of your marketing without breaking the bank, sorting out your business telecoms budget is a good way forward. So we’ve put together some guidelines to help you get started.
Allow for MovementAn increasing number of business employees now work from home on a regular basis, with forecasts projecting that over 60% of workers in the UK could be doing this within the next 10 years. More and more companies now offer flexible working as a condition of their employment contracts. When putting together your telecoms budget, you’ll need to ensure that your operations are adaptable enough to allow for these changing work patterns. On the ground this means budgeting for a wide range of working conditions with equipment to match. Workers on the road will need mobile devices, while in-office staff will require computer-based softphones or desktop handsets. All must be part of a telecoms network that allows for seamless interactions with your customer, supply, and client bases.
Adapt to Changing DemandThrough the year the demands on your telecoms system will not remain constant. Holidays, promotional drives, competitions and special appeals will impose occasional peaks in demand on your incoming or outgoing call volumes. If your business telecoms set-up isn’t sufficiently flexible these spikes may become a problem. So you’ll be needing a system that can easily scale up or down to meet changing demands – without costing you the earth or disrupting the smoothness of your operations.
Use Appropriate TechnologyMobile workers and the rising popularity of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) are seeing a shift away from traditional private branch exchange (PBX) systems – with their associated hardware costs and rental fees. IP-based telecoms systems are allowing companies to bring together several different communications strands under a single computerised network – with ties to other departments within an organisation (e.g. for customer data analytics) and access to multimedia resources like videoconferencing. Systems like Session Initiation Protocol or SIP allow for lower set-up costs than traditional ISDN – with drastically reduced charges for line rental and individual calls. Internal calls may even be free, while Internet telephony ensures that long-distance communications attract local call rates. VoIP systems also stretch your telecoms spend by allowing for much greater scalability of the services you use. In a typical SIP trunked account you can increase or reduce the number of channels you subscribe to in accordance with the actual shifts in demand that take place in your specific circumstances – rather than having to buy a pre-determined number of lines in advance. And changes can usually be made by you via a Web-based software interface. So, no call-out charges for technical support.
Manage Your ExpensesWith telecoms spending being among the major operational costs for most organisations, it’s no wonder that an entire science has been built up around it. Known as telecom expense management or TEM, it gathers all telecom-related invoices into one place where they can be centrally managed, with funds allocated appropriately. It’s available as a service – but some of its principles you can implement yourself. Begin with some simple housekeeping, and ask questions of the services you use.
- Are you being charged for assets that actually belong to you?
- Are your service providers charging you at fair and appropriate rates?
- Have service rates changed since your previous budgeting period – and if so, in what way?
- Are there tools or services you no longer need or use that can be phased out?
- Have you studied the telecoms service market lately to see if there are better plans available?
- Are you attributing costs and allocating funds to the correct divisions within your organisation?