Good communications can make a huge difference to the way that a business operates, but with so many options available, it’s often hard to know what to invest capital into and when to move forward with new technologies. Let’s discuss how to know when a communications tool is right for your business and how to know when it is time to upgrade.
What are the Most Utilized Communications Tools for SMBs?
Working with small and medium-sized businesses gives us a great perspective on how businesses utilize their technology. Most small businesses, especially those that depend on an office staff use the following communications tools (in order of preference):
Email has long been the most reliable communications medium to use for business. It is inexpensive to roll out, it allows for personalization, and nowadays cloud-based email platforms make email storage a problem of the past. If you are one of those people who often wonder why people would want to use email for business communications in the information age… it’s simple, people prefer it. One study suggests that over two-thirds of workers would rather communicate internally (with their co-workers) and externally (with clients and vendors) via email. As long as that number stays that high, email isn’t going anywhere.
Today’s business email isn’t like it used to be where businesses had to set up an email server in-house and constantly manage and maintain it—although that option is still very much on the table. Today, a lot of businesses have moved to hosted email such as Outlook or Gmail that is hosted, managed, and maintained by a cloud provider (in this case Microsoft or Google, respectively). This is largely because many businesses have chosen to use the Microsoft 365 or Google Workspace productivity suites and they come with email integration.
People like talking on the phone a lot less than they once did. It’s because there are so many other mediums to choose from that don’t require you to stop everything to give someone a call. This isn’t a very good reason as telephone calls tend to take less time and circumvent problems that come from messages written with bad grammar, misspellings, or, worse, people taking written messages out of context.
Every business needs some type of telephone presence, but unless your business relies heavily on its phone as a medium for sales, it may not be a priority as it is significantly more expensive and can get even more so if you consider the cost of mobile for business. For businesses that do absolutely need an enterprise phone system, the best thing you can do for your business is get a hosted VoIP platform. It is a cloud-hosted enterprise telephone solution that you pay for by user. What’s more, every VoIP number can be accessed through employee mobile devices through a provider application. It effectively eliminates any mobile service plan costs.
Once thought to be a thing that only happens in sci-fi movies, video conferencing has become one of the most popular and valuable communication platforms for business. The technology not only took a step forward as the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to rely on remote workers, it now is used internally and externally by many businesses, regardless if they depend on remote workers or not.
Today’s solutions not only have VoIP and collaboration app integration, they also can be used from mobile devices over any data connection 3G or better. This makes them one of the most indispensable communications tools for businesses today and for the foreseeable future.
For a more advanced approach, organizations can unify their communications platforms to be seamless from one application to another. This means that for distributed teams, organizations can break down the barriers that were once there regardless of what type of communication people use. This integrates email, VoIP, persistent chats, file sharing, and video conferencing.
The benefits of unified communications are vast as a UC platform can:
- Enhance the user experience
- Improve organizational productivity
- Provide a stronger performance through analytics
- Reduce long-term communications costs
If you are looking to obtain a better communications experience for your company, give the IT professionals at Innovative Network Solutions a call today at (866) 572-2850 to have a conversation.