Voice, Data, & Video Communications: Strategic Resources or Bare Necessities?

by Ed Mass - Date: 2007-01-08 - Word Count: 631 Share This!

For companies to increase their competitiveness, they must examine their voice, data, and video communications as strategic resources for creating competitive advantages. As with microcomputers, the costs for equipment and services related to communications are rapidly falling. At the same time, functions and capabilities are rapidly increasing. Computer and telephone technologies are merging and blending into a smoothly integrated system.

Cost effective voice, data, and video communications technologies are merging, opening new opportunities for conducting your business, and forging computer telephone integration. Strategies for using these technologies can attain the following business benefits: improved customer service; shortened customer response time; more timely information provided directly to the customer; decreased expenses; greater efficiency through electronic interactions with suppliers and customers; shortened design, manufacturing, and delivery times; increased productivity; and enhanced internal communications.

Restructuring Your Thinking

As prices for communications services and equipment have dropped, their capabilities have expanded at a rapid pace. New communications technologies are causing a restructuring of the way business is conducted. In this climate, companies must realize that restructuring is continual and inevitable - the question isn't "do you change" but "how do you change?" How do you restructure to increase your competitive position?

Often new technologies are first justified by cost savings resulting from doing the same tasks in a new way, or by making improvements for the same cost as the original tasks. But change also means that new ways of conducting business can lead to increasing revenue from current sources and creating entirely new sources of revenue.

Using communications technologies, businesses of all sizes are able to compete by eliminating distance and time. Creating a "seamless" office with locations across the country or around the world can easily be implemented. The seamless office is one in which multiple locations are integrated. Picking up the phone at a remote site acts just like picking up a phone right in the main office. All the functions and capabilities are the same. An outside call to the main office is routed to an individual extension in the remote office just as if it was located in the main office.

With downsizing and reduction of overhead, telecommuting is increasing. The "virtual office" is becoming a greater reality. People are working out of their homes, cars, and on the road locations, in their "virtual offices", just as if they were sitting in their company's physical office. Your goal should be to discover how the above technologies are used to create the "seamless office" and the "virtual office" and the advantages they offer you.

From Operational Necessity to Strategic Resource

When a business adopts an attitude of viewing communications as a resource, it takes on a new view of itself and its industry. This new world view allows a thinking process to create competitive advantages and leave other firms playing "catch up." It allows communications to move from being used simply operationally, i.e. "keeping up", to being used strategically, as illustrated in the following progression:

Operational needs - control costs to keep up with customers and internal operations

Defensive positioning - match the competition

Competitive advantage - create an edge

Change the rules - develop a new way of viewing and conducting business that creates a new paradigm for the industry. (Changing the rules is rare but powerful when it can be accomplished.)

Consider your business: Who within your organization looks at communications from the above viewpoint? Who will take your organization from "operational needs" to a "change the rules" position?

Move Ahead of the Pack

Challenges and opportunities are presented by new technologies. When you're driving in your car and rapidly change acceleration, you feel a "jerk" on your whole body. That's what many individuals feel by the rapid changes in communications and computer technologies. The companies that will thrive are the ones that take advantage of the changes to create competitive advantages and leave their competition "in their dust."

Related Tags: voip, strategic planning, voip phone, business voip, telecommunications, ip phone, voip phone system

Ed Mass is President of Mass Strategic Communications, Inc., a telecommunications consulting firm since 1993. Visit www.voip-telephone-system.com and www.masscom.com for more information. We specialize in Transforming Telecommunications from a Tactical Tool To a Strategic Business Resource. We Integrate Business Strategies with Technology Opportunities.

We act as an extension of your staff. We are business strategists to increase the performance of your company through intelligent and cost effective use of technology.

Specifically, we consult on IP Telephone System Decisions, Service Provider Decisions for Voice and Data Services, and Services Audits to Inventory All Services and Discover Unused Services. We do all this within a framework of Vendor-Neutral Consulting.

Copyright 2006 Ed Mass and Mass Strategic Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article as long as you do not edit the article in any way. You must leave all of the links active and include the full author name credit with company profile.

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