20 November 2018
Business communications are vital to the success of every organisation, but scoping out a digital business plan to support this is no mean feat. Especially considering the ever-higher rate of digital change. With such a range of devices, software and communications platforms on offer, it’s all too easy to get bogged down in considering individual products. But taking this approach can mean you end up investing in products that don’t necessarily support the wider picture, or work as well as they could in the context of your organisation.
A better route to creating an effective digital plan is to consider the outcomes you’d like to achieve, and then progress to find out exactly how to make these outcomes a reality.
Discovering your desired outcomes
The specifics of your business will dictate exactly what your desired outcomes are – but there are some goals common across most organisations.
One recent study showed that 95% of people choose and stay loyal to brands based on customer service. But this can be a tricky area for mid-sized businesses to navigate. You’re not the agile start-up anymore – but you also don’t have the round-the-clock clout of a large global enterprise.
So, if your business is making a digital plan, carefully consider what tools you need to provide fantastic customer service. Maybe it’s a reliable hosted call centre to manage incoming calls. Or, it could be a mobile-first strategy, helping staff to provide brilliant customer service even when they’re away from their desks.
As a mid-sized business, the likelihood is that you have staff working across different floors, offices or maybe even counties – making internal business communications a tricky thing to get right.
If improving internal communications is a goal for your organisation, take the time to figure out how employees in your business prefer to communicate with each other. If video conferencing is popular, make sure your digital plan includes robust data services – Fibre Ethernet is a great option for supporting video communications. Alternatively, a hosted phone system combining fixed and mobile capabilities will ensure staff can communicate with each other no matter where they’re working from.
From retail customers shopping online at night, to flexible workers accessing systems on the road, it could be that your business is looking to adopt an ‘anytime, anywhere’ technology approach. Which means your digital plan needs to account for this – not just to win customers, but to help staff work effectively, too.
Having reliable data services in place is central to this, helping to make sure your systems and platforms are always online. But this isn’t just a case of keeping your website up and running – with successful businesses increasingly using IP voice services for their communications, data services may well be vital to powering all of your business communications. And finding the right Data Services provider to help you do this is key.
In our recent Survive + Thrive research report, Gamma found that 75% of businesses feel their business communications infrastructure will need upgrading in the future to keep pace with digital technology. So, it could be that one of your business’ ambitions for 2019 is simply to get ready for the future, whether that’s successfully getting rid of legacy infrastructure or finding flexible solutions that support business growth.
If this is the case, you might want to consider Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), which delivers your voice communications over the internet instead of traditional ISDN lines. With ISDN set to become obsolete in the next decade, this may even be a necessity – but given the various advantages VoIP offers, like reduced costs and higher quality calls, there’s no need to wait until the last minute.
Rolling out your digital plan
With an array of outcomes to strive for – and often a limited budget for doing so – creating an effective digital plan isn’t easy, but it is important. Putting your expected outcomes at the heart of your digital planning is the key to seeing a return on your investment – and it’s never too soon to start.