Find your balance: how to weigh up your telecom needs for 2017

The telecoms landscape is changing. Infrastructure is moving from on-premise to the cloud. The workforce is becoming more mobile, as work becomes less defined by what is achieved between four walls and a desk. And, at the same time, IT budgets are forecasted remain stagnant in 2017, despite the growing innovation behind business technology.

In order to remain competitive, IT decision makers must assess their priorities for the year ahead. Cultural, economic and technical change mean communications strategies must be updated accordingly.

The focus should be on striking the right balance between often disparate IT demands, and on prioritising the systems and features that matter.

Moving to the cloud amidst budget restrictions

The IT department is no longer seen as a cost centre but as a division with real strategic purpose. As such, the need to provide lean and agile infrastructure is real.

Many businesses will be tempted to stay with their existing telecoms provider for convenience, but may not realise that they are missing out on improved cost­efficiency and productivity gains by switching to a new provider.

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For medium and large enterprises, the move to the cloud is inevitable. It unlocks huge strategic potential with almost unquantifiable value. And, for all businesses, the move towards cloud telephony is essential and inevitable, given BT’s planned ISDN shutdown by 2025.

Yet the capital outlay needed to transition from on premise servers, applications and tools to cloud-based solutions can often seem too high or the implementation too disruptive. So how can your business innovate its processes against the demands of budgetary pressures? The answer is simple: outsource your core processes.

Shifting telecoms services to a cloud-based third party provider can relieve your internal IT team of the bulk of their support requirements. You get the benefits of cloud, but without any management burden. This in turn frees up your IT capacity to focus on delivering strategic technology deployments elsewhere in the business.

Flexible working: expectation vs reality

Flexible working is a win-win for the workplace. Employees benefit from a better work-life balance while employers benefit from greater productivity. However, for this to happen, employees need to have the right tools to be able to work remotely.

This can be achieved by prioritising VoIP technology alongside promoting the use of mobile devices. It can also be achieved by optimising systems so that they can be accessed using a mobile app, as well as a desktop platform. Or, it can even mean ensuring your mobile provider can prioritise a business call over other data on the network.

How this shapes your telecoms strategy will be unique to your business. Look at the tools your employees use. Can these tools be used at home, at another office site or on another device? And if so, do you have sufficient security protections in place? Ideally, you want a seamless experience that can meet your employees’ expectations of flexible working, as well as the realities of having such practices in place.

Outside the world of telecoms, the year ahead looks likely to be fraught with uncertainty. And the world of business is sure to continue to be as rapidly changing as ever. What’s important is to act today and ensure that your critical telephony networks are adaptable to meet the demands of the future, whatever those demands might be.

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13 January 2017 | Cem Ahmet

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The views in this article are the personal views of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by Gamma.