20 September 2016
As technology has allowed small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to operate across increasingly dispersed regions and countries, mobile is becoming the bedrock of business communications. Two thirds (66%) of SMEs now support remote working practices, and over half (53%) of UK organisations cite mobile flexibility as crucial to business performance.
For companies that have to make the most of increasingly stretched resources whilst maximising employee effectiveness, managing the cost of mobile to the business is hugely important. The challenge is to ensure that what has now become such an essential part of day-to-day work is delivering real value to the business. Investing in mobile solutions that bring productivity gains and maximise the ROI of business communications will have tangible effects on the bottom line.
Here are the main ways investing in a powerful mobile solution can deliver value to your business.
Mobile users in businesses both big and small will have experienced connectivity problems, with Ofcom research suggesting that 48% of UK mobile users experience a lack of signal at least once a week. The unfortunate reality is that there is no single network that can guarantee total coverage. If your business has a contract with a single provider, then your employees will no doubt have experienced the frustration of being unable to work as productively whilst in an area of low, or no coverage.
It’s not hard to see how this can have a significant impact on revenue. If an employee working remotely experiences coverage failure preventing a new prospect from getting through, then you can be certain that the business opportunity will have been lost. In fact, research suggests that 50% of customers will not hesitate to call a second company if the first cannot fulfil their needs.
Having multiple contracts with the mobile service providers with coverage where your business needs it most can help – but this is by no means a cost-effective solution to the problem. Fortunately, there are now solutions for businesses that give their users access to more than one UK mobile network from a single SIM card.
Visibility into data usage
It is safe to assume that most employees will use their company-provided data allocation responsibly. But many SMEs will have experienced rogue use of mobile data from staff at one point or another, or the frustrations of managing individual allowances that are overused by some and underused by others.
Naturally, no business wants to be shocked with an enormous employee data bill. But no one wants to put a stringent cap on employee data usage, especially when accessing email and other business applications while on the move is important to maintaining productivity levels.
In order to help mitigate these issues, mobile providers are now offering data alerts that can be set up to notify both employee and employer when the employee is approaching his or her data limit. This not only gives the employee the opportunity to turn off their data, but it also gives the employer the opportunity to approve additional data if it is deemed necessary. Data-sharing tariffs are also enabling more effective management of data usage across multiple users.
The aim is not necessarily to prevent or curtail data usage, but to give businesses the visibility to determine which usage of data will deliver the greatest return.
Bringing everything under one roof
It is likely that some businesses will have their fixed voice, data and mobile sitting on separate contracts with separate providers. And while this is not uncommon, it does not necessarily mean that those businesses are getting the best value out of their communications infrastructure.
Bringing voice, data and mobile services under one provider can deliver a host of efficiencies to SMEs. There are the long-term cost savings of receiving all services from one provider, but there are also some other, more immediate benefits too.
Having a single point of contact for all administrative and support requirements reduces the resource needed to manage the entire estate. It also simplifies the process of making any changes, meaning that you can optimise and scale your communications infrastructure quickly and your provider will have a complete view of your communications estate, enabling them to identify further efficiency gains to drive even greater value to the business.
These may sound trivial, but for SMEs, eliminating unnecessary work and management of this nature could free up valuable resource for more business-critical activities. Ultimately, it is not just a case of reducing the cost of mobile telecommunications to your business. It is about finding a way for your business to get the most value out of mobile.
20 September 2016 | Jamie Ward
The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.