IT departments are under considerable financial pressure. Nothing new, but the events of the last couple of years have forced many businesses to reduce or fix their IT budget while at the same time implementing new strategies. IT Support costs have been increasingly under scrutiny.
Many Businesses now have a significant online presence having adopted e-commerce to replace bricks and mortar outlets. Even if e-commerce isn’t significant, IT infrastructure supports all business processes, and loss of IT services can have a serious effect on business operations including lower productivity, increased operational costs, and frustrated staff.Continue reading
Back in the day, most businesses had an in-house PBX system connected to the public switched telephone network (“PSTN”), operated by a manual or automatic switching system. Then came the Internet and digital communications. The in-house PBX was connected to the PSTN and the Internet using a SIP Trunk.
Strictly speaking, SIP Trunks were not necessary since a PBX could connect using standard landlines. However, a SIP Trunk could provide additional functionality such as call forwarding. Then came VoIP, connecting a digital phone system running on an internal corporate network to the Internet, again often over a SIP Trunk.
Over the last few years, businesses have been steadily embracing remote access to their systems, either supporting working from home or remote access to eCommerce systems. This is often in addition to implementing VoIP systems to accrue their costs and operational benefits.
Other remote access systems used increasingly over the last few years have been collaborative communications systems, both free-standing and supporting integrated voice and videoconferencing, like Messenger, Zoom, and NetMeeting.
The “as a Service” concept has become common as Cloud usage expands. We now see SaaS, “Software as a Service” and PaaS, “Platform as a Service” for example. There are other implementations of the concept, generically known as XaaS In terms of customer service, CCaaS, “Contact Centre as a Service” has begun to gain some traction.
What is XAAS?
In its simplest terms, XaaS is where an IT service is delivered to the end-user remotely using Cloud Technologies. VoIP, including VoIP Phones, is an example where the configuration of the handset, user profiles and perhaps phonebooks and contact lists are delivered from a central repository in the Cloud held on a hosted server.Continue reading
VoIP is the go-to application for businesses looking at reducing communications costs and improving customer service. Because many businesses are improving their general network security, VoIP Systems are increasingly being seen as an easier target and an easier inroad to the theft of data and disruption of business processes.
To be sure, VoIP Security is still an evolving area, but there are steps that will mitigate the threats to a business. Here are five top VoIP Security vulnerabilities and how to prepare defences against them.Continue reading
Many organisations have implemented VoIP Solutions as part of their move to an Integrated Communications Strategy. Usually, the rationale includes the financial benefits of toll-free long-distance and International calling, improved customer relations, and better performance and productivity in the workplace.
However, if the VoIP Solution is not properly implemented and managed, problems can arise over time. Without becoming too technical, here are some of the more common
Many businesses have recognised the need for improved customer relations recently. Many customers have moved to an online basis, often as e-commerce rather than a physical business. As a result, their customer management arrangements (“CRM”) need to be upgraded.
Often CRM is a part of a wider unified communications system, where all internal and external communications, voice, video and data are linked on a common set of standards, platforms, and information sources. A VoIP implementation is a key part of that.
Simply put, a contact centre is a portmanteau term for a central point from which all customer interactions are managed. It is usually a combination of call centres, offline support centres, and other channels of customer interaction. They may operate using a common Customer Response Management system (“CRM”).Continue reading
Most people nowadays use website contact details to get in touch with a Business. They usually have email addresses and Business Phone Numbers plus other information like address details and contact names.
Why Do you Need the Number?
One reason might be that a company you deal with has changed its contact details since you last dealt with them. They could have been taken over, moved, or simply gone out of business. The details you have are out of date and you are having difficulty in contacting them.
If the number you have is a cell number, it could be different for a number of reasons. One reason is that If a prepaid number is not used or recharged for a period of time, say six months, it is reclaimed by the cell company (“Churned”) and reissued to another client.
There are however, from time to time, darker reasons.
Cloud VoIP has become an essential part of most business communications strategies. It gives real operational cost benefits, and improves business operations and public image.
Part of the process is selecting the correct VoIP phone type for each user for a range of mobile and desktop units.
One of the first steps in any Cloud VoIP implementation is to determine where VoIP handsets will be needed, the type of handset, and if the supporting infrastructure is available at the installation point. The two main types of handset are software applications on smart devices, and physical handsets connected to a cabled or WiFi network.
Moving to the cloud has become an attractive option for many businesses, either as an internal private cloud or more often to an external hybrid cloud operated by a Cloud Provider. As with the selection of any other external services supplier, selecting the Cloud Provider that best meets your business needs is not a trivial task. Selecting the wrong Cloud Provider could be harmful to the business.
It must be clearly understood that you are choosing a business partner with whom you will have a long-term business relationship. The selection process is therefore not just assessing technical competence and capability but looking at the cultural fit between your two organisations. Continue reading
The last two years have seen a major shift in IT towards Working from Home and remote access to systems. Because of lockdowns, and the closure of physical outlets, the pandemic has closed some businesses and forced others to move to e-commerce.
Two major disadvantages of Working from Home include the increased communications costs with the staff member, and a feeling of remoteness and isolation when they don’t interact with team members and other members of staff regularly in person.
Many businesses have already installed VoIP to take advantage of the cost and operational benefits of a Unified Communications platform. If the company has a high-speed and stable Internet connection, and most with e-commerce will, it is easy to use the corporate VoIP system to extend communications to staff Working from Home to overcome these problems.Continue reading