How Do Mobile Users Drive VoIP Decisions in the Corporate World?

Mobile users are driving VoIP decisions in the corporate world.How hard is it to find a group of adults, ready to sit down to a meal, with no mobile devices in sight? The addictive element of a mobile device usually involves an app and can lead to less-than-collaborative human interactions. Voice over IP (VoIP) may or may not be involved, but connectivity is certainly a must.

This can happen when business professionals are in the same room, on the go, or simply trying to make a connection. The demand for instant access when on the move stems not just from a change in consumer behavior, but from a desire to be in the field where it’s easier to connect with the customer. It’s a must in today’s market and it’s driving the demand for mobile. When VoIP is involved, the capabilities reach a whole new level.

In fact, the demand for and use of mobile devices has significantly influenced VoIP and unified communications (UC) in the last few years. Mobile apps for both continue to mature, driving tighter and more seamless integration, ease of use, security, and significant convenience as users easily align their device of choice with the technology needed to accomplish their goals. To that end, the demand for cloud-based solutions continues to grow as such assimilation allows for deep integration and support with VoIP and UC.

Likewise, mobile apps and the desire for better accessibility continue to drive the choice of phone systems within the corporate environment. If a company needs nothing more than the ability to communicate via VoIP, then any VoIP system can easily handle the need. If employees are also using their mobile devices to connect to the VoIP system, the demand changes according to what these employees need. Given that they are generally field-based, including support or sales professionals, the demand may include video conferencing, web conferencing, text messaging, presence, instant messaging, email transcription, admin tasks, screen sharing, and calendar integration.

So how des this affect the way in which VoIP solutions are selected? The employees that use mobile devices for business typically aren’t in the office. They rely on their communications in the field. They also need seamless integration of mobile devices to ensure full phone extensions and access to remote applications at any time. Finally, mobile device policy dictates the use of such devices for business and personal cases.

If you’re ready to embrace these opportunities but you’re not sure where to start, look to Focal Solutions. It’s our job to help our clients evaluate their options, available solutions, and the type of VoIP that fits their needs. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you.

Growing Small Business with VoIP

shutterstock_152025617Finding the right Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider for small business can be tricky. This business tool delivers cost-effective solutions that help streamline tasks and improve productivity, but there’s a big difference between understanding the benefits that are available and actually integrating a solution that will engender business expansion and outreach.

Knowing the aspects of VoIP infrastructure that actually drive business growth can help companies create actionable guidelines for choosing a service provider. These specific performance features have the ability to expand small business capabilities and maximize growth potential.

Scalability

A scalable solution is essential for most small business models. For example, many service-based companies experience seasonal fluctuations, and rather than invest in an extensive infrastructure that isn’t needed, it’s more cost-efficient to scale usage through a provider. With the cloud, businesses have the power to escalate or diminish communication and IT capabilities. Moreover, as business expands, flexible scalability ensures that increased usage won’t create an increase in IT headaches.

Intuitive Administration

Many small businesses operate with slim margins, making it difficult to staff a full-time IT department. With cloud-based VoIP, companies experience a user-friendly interface that allows effortless routing, calling options, and similar administrative functions. Further, a team of experts ensures that maintenance and support tasks are performed at the service level, so businesses can concentrate on performing mission critical tasks without dealing with frequent or unexpected downtime.

Automated Routing

With VoIP, small businesses can take advantage of routing solutions that limit hold times and other enhancements designed to improve customer service by improving business responsiveness. For example, the system is able to route off-hours emergency calls directly to on-call personnel, so that customers are able to reach a professional rather than an answering service. It’s also able to ring several numbers at once, giving a particular staff member the ability to connect from a variety of locations.

Enhanced Mobility

More and more business models depend upon a growing mobile workforce. Employees, especially the sales staff, are more productive when they are able to conduct activities from a remote location. Many service providers offer mobile optimization through software applications that empower small businesses by delivering instant connections to real-time business and client information.

Business growth doesn’t just happen; it’s the result of dedication and development. With VoIP solutions and the right service provider, companies can optimize their current resources and make improvements that deliver positive results. Contact Focal Solutions to learn more about how to orchestrate company growth and lasting success with VoIP.

What Managed Service Providers Should Avoid in SLAs

SLACreating a comprehensive Service Level Agreement (SLA) is a vital aspect of providing managed cloud-based services for customers. Every managed service provider (MSP) should acknowledge SLAs as a primary means of protecting both the provider and the customer, with a clear plan and warranty.

An SLA with any weak points will fail to establish rules about security implementations, data ownership, mobile options, and other aspects of managed services. Like with nearly any contract, an SLA containing a mistake could result in legal disputes as well as a short-lived relationship with a customer that ends on bad terms. Forgetting important parts of SLAs can make customers feel deceived and lawsuits might arise.

Avoiding these particular SLA mistakes will help prevent issues between MSPs and their customers.

Focusing Only on the MSP Side of the Agreement

MSPs will want to avoid only focusing on their own service requirements, as this leaves out client expectations. Both sides need to work cooperatively in order to ensure smooth service and that includes a mutual understanding of how customers will go about dealing with any issues they experience. How will customers resolve any system failures or complaints? When will customers be able to audit data management services? A thorough SLA will clearly answer such questions.

Missing Discontinuation Plans

It’s important to have an SLA that details all of the aspects of a customer-MSP relationship, but it’s also necessary for it to include information about discontinuing services. MSPs can run into legal troubles if SLAs don’t include clear instructions about how to discontinue service.

Writing Unclear SLAs

While a majority of MSPs claim to have a 99.95% availability, it takes specific conditions to guarantee that availability. Leaving information such as all relevant terms and conditions out of an SLA could lead to customers being unhappy when they don’t get exactly what they want. They might feel cheated if they believed they were guaranteed something, even if that belief was due to a miscommunication.

One example would be if a power outage occurred. Depending on how long this outage lasted, it could get a company into trouble if it isn’t covered in a detailed SLA. However, if it is a possible event described in the SLA, the customer can discover that they weren’t deceived in any way.

Forgetting to Update the SLA

As certain restrictions and conditions change along with the landscape of managed services, it’s important to update SLAs with any new information that comes to light. MSPs should always make sure that SLAs stay up to date with current company policies and service requirements. Industry standards and regulations are aspects to consider when reassessing SLAs. Additionally, if changes are made to a particular client’s employed services, the SLA should be modified according to these alterations.

There are many ways an SLA might fail to meet the requirements of both the managed service provider and its customers, but by properly scrutinizing every aspect, a fruitful relationship can continue. Having routinely thorough SLAs will help secure an MSP’s relationship and reputation with not only current clients, but many others to come.