When `Good Enough’ Holds You Back

Colin Ashmore
On: 28 Jul 2016
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What happens when your business growth hits the wall built by your old communications infrastructure? We look at flexible and scalable solutions for growing businesses.

Ireland recently ranked 7th in the world for business innovation, up from 17th place in 2015. That’s the finding of a recent study by BDO International Business Compass, which measured labour market performance, infrastructure and foreign direct investment in 74 countries worldwide. Ireland is clearly in a growth phase, and despite the uncertainty created by Brexit, there’s reason to be optimistic that this growth will continue for years to come.

Optimism tempered by uncertainty ”€ that’s a pretty good way of capturing the situation. It’s also not a bad way of describing what it’s like to run a business in any environment. You need to be ready to capture opportunity when it comes your way, and you need to be ready to make mid-course corrections as the situation changes. If Irish companies are to make the most of this period of growth, they must maintain the flexibility to scale up as well as down, and make sure technology investments balance short-term savings with long-term potential.

Businesses can be lured into getting something for free. Having been in the business for over 20 years, I’ve witnessed the high cost of “free” many times over the years, which tends to leave businesses caught in the trap of unscalable communication systems. Many ICT providers will push a technology regardless of how well it integrates with the rest of their customer’s systems or how well it fits with their long-term strategies; such as a VPN service that meets an immediate need, but doesn’t let them scale. In the retail environment, for example, you may initially need to connect your point of sale systems across 10 locations. You can patch them together with a mix of standalone systems, but what happens when you grow to 30 locations?

Instead of trying to retrofit rigid systems onsite, we help businesses explore the potential of creating a cloud-based Unified Communications system, which ensures agility, flexibility, and scalability. What we tend to see is this: a company has grown organically. Their 20-person office is now a thousand employees spread across six offices. They’re trying to find a new communications solution that will grow with their business, so I help them adopt a totally elastic private cloud. It lets them layer on the services they need going forward. They might want to add some individual site reporting, auto attendants, call recording, new phones… In essence it’s about scale and flexibility.

With a Unified Communications solution, businesses only pay their operating expenses (OPEX), leaving all the capital expenses (CAPEX) to Three. They also benefit from ease of access through an online portal and a technical support team whose sole purpose it is to update, understand and maintain their integrated communications system.

And with the ability to scale up as rapidly as needed comes the reassurance that the system can scale back just as quickly”€an essential feature in the cautiously optimistic world of business. Change is the only constant, and Unified Communications allows businesses to change as fast as they need to.

Play the `what if’ card at least every three months. If you don’t ask what might happen, you can’t plan ahead or scale. You have to keep asking what you’re working toward and evaluating your system to make sure it’s equipped to get you there. With the right provider and solutions, there should always be an answer, and it shouldn’t be `rip and replace’.