telephone business on-line
The office telephone can be used for far more than simple voice communications. Does your company make the best possible use of the features available?
What else can you do with a telephone connection?
- integrate geographically separate locations into one organisational telephone network (branch offices, outsourced services and home/remote workers)
- connect to a value added network (VAN) or virtual private network (VPN) for intra-organisational or close partnership inter-organisational working
- connect to the Internet to send and receive e-mail, transfer documents and access business information resources
- access office computer files from a sub-office or from home
- use teleconferencing to discuss and edit documents on screen, build established relationships and cut travel time and costs
Telephony is not generally a high proportion of a company's costs, but it does tend to be "mission critical". You may not want to upgrade your equipment or change your service provider, with any risk of disruption, simply to save a small percentage of your rental and call costs, but if you do spend a large amount on long distance or international calls the time may be right to consider a change or at least using an indirect or Carrier Pre-Selection (CPS) operator.
What are the latest innovations?
The market for telecoms is moving rapidly, as technical innovations are translated into new services. Some of the applications to consider for your business include:
- on-site and wider ranging mobile communications provided through fixed wireless (DECT) or mobile telephony (GSM)
- least cost routing (LCR) - programs a system to use the cheapest available service for the distance and time of day of the call
- Computer Telephony Integration (CTI) - uses telephone signalling to provide information to computers, and computer interfaces to ease telephony administration
- unified messaging or customer relationship management (CRM) - makes integrated customer records available at the contact interface
- Centrex services - private network or PBX-type functions provided from a telco's own central exchange without consumer equipment
- combined voice and data networks - saves the installation and administration costs of two separate networks
For little or no extra cost many of the above applications could be introduced into your business. By looking out for new products and services available in your area you may well find the humble telephone at the heart of your strategy to do business on-line.
Reviewed January 2011
last updated : 21/01/2011
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