How a Converged Network Reduces Call and IT Support Costs
A study by Springboard Research, conducted with 469 Australian CIO's and business owners, found that 33% of SME's are planning on converging their voice and data network in 2009. Analysts agree the technology is about to boom, but why is this the case?
Benefits of a Converged Network
The answer lies in both the current cost and productivity benefits of the technology, and that the converged model of telephony will be the platform of the future. The benefit of adopting early is that rather than wait for the inevitable and going with the majority of SME's late in the game, there is currently a competitive advantage to be gained.
- Consolidation of IT and telephony providers, meaning one bill, one point of contact and the reduction of complexity means reduced outsourced IT and telephony support costs.
- Toll-bypass between offices, large reduction in line rental costs and cheaper calling rates with VoIP can save up to 50% off telephony costs.
- Advanced systems are capable of videoconferencing, instant messaging (IM), internet phone calls, least cost call routing, web conferencing, telepresence, plus sophisticated PBX capabilities.
- Productivity and customer service enhancements with new communications integration with other systems, such as MS Exchange and most CRM's.
- Work from home or on the road as if you were at your desk with a remote connection to your entire network, including your desk phone.
VoIP has come of age
Perhaps the biggest benefit is the ability to take advantage of the call-cost savings associated with VoIP. With the right network and QoS (quality of service) in place, VoIP technology is now at a stage where it is impossible to distinguish a call made from it and its traditional fixed line competitor. The difference? You will save anywhere from 25% - 60% off your current phone bill.
In combination with a private network (for businesses with more than one office location), the savings and benefits cannot be ignored. See below for a typical network diagram of a converged network running voice, video and data between three offices and the rest of the world.
Calculating ROI - The Hard and Soft Savings
To determine the return on investment (ROI - when the equipment will have paid for itself) for unified communications you must calculate both 'hard' and 'soft' cost savings. 'Hard' costs are those with a ready and fixed dollar value like call costs, travel expenses and line rental. 'Soft' costs are not as easy to measure, and involve putting a dollar figure on increased customer service, employee productivity and job satisfaction. While this sounds difficult, by understanding both the average salary of employees and determining how much time the average employee spends each day locating the correct contact details of the person they are seeking to contact, we can calculate and eliminate those costs with UC using the corporate directory, IM and telepresence.
To help SME's calculate the ROI for unified communications North Sydney IT, an IT services and unified communications specialist, has developed an online ROI calculator. For those interested in the hard cost figures of investing in UC we recommend using this tool. Keep in mind also that this tool does not take into account the 'soft' benefits discussed above.
To calculate your businesses ROI with unified communications, click here.
The recession reminded us that businesses that stay ahead of the curve and eliminate costs where possible stand the best chance of survival in hard times. Now we look out the other side at familiar problems. A shortage of skilled resources, competitive hiring environment and the difficult decisions of where to invest hard earned capital.
By getting a jump on the inevitable, your business can have a UC system paid off within a year thanks to reduced monthly call costs, and develop a competitive advantage with increased customer service, productivity and flexibility.