Monday, December 10, 2007

Five reasons why you should deploy Unified Communications in your SMB

Here's a simplistic and to-the-point list of indicators and symptoms that tell you that your small business or start-up should have Unified Communications Apps:

  1. No one to maintain the infrastructure. SMB market characterizes for not having many employees and resources; especially for operations and administrative work. Your efforts should focus on product development and sales. Unified Communication is going prime time with small boxes targeted to the SMB setup-once-and-forget-about-it environment
  2. If you don't do it, your competitors will. A key system, or a bunch of Panasonic phones only give you dial-tone and a telephone line for outbound calls and incoming calls from customers and partners. A full blown UC integrated device brings productivity generation features like auto-attendant (for friendly incoming calls and call-routing), voicemail-to-email (for the ability of checking your voicemail from your email), and soft-phones (for having a phone on your laptop wherever you go). It builds competitive advantage.
  3. Paying too much for the phone line. Carriers offer IP telephony lines directly to the customer premise at a lower rate than a regular line. Look at Vonage rates versus a regular AT&T phone line.
  4. You want to look good with your customer. From an image perspective, you want your customers to see that you deploy the latest technology and that you are ahead of everybody.
  5. You want to be available wherever and whenever for your customers. Advanced call routing functionality in a Unified Communications system allows you to do things like single-number reach, call forwarding, retrieve calls on your laptop, or conference people in with the push of a button.

The price of Unified Communication systems has dropped dramatically. It is no longer exclusive for the enterprise. Devices like Cisco's UC500 for the SMB bring wireless, routing, analog and digital phone lines, voicemail and unified communications applications into one single small-form factor platform, at a low cost for the SMB. Also, manufacturers like Linksys have a line of SIP phones for that market too.

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