This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.
Bruce Downing, Managing Director, Asia and South Africa, ShoreTel
There is a new reality in the workplace, where the Internet has replaced the desk phone as the hub of communications. Since the Internet is everywhere, work is now everywhere, and people are rarely at their desks 9-5 anymore.
Businesses need to be agile and responsive -- anywhere and anytime -- and this applies particularly to small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) that are looking to expand and serve new markets internationally.
According to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, SMBs are the engines of growth and innovation in the APAC region. SMBs account for over 97 percent of all businesses and employ over half of the workforce across APAC economies. SMBs contribute significantly to economic growth, with SMBs' share of GDP ranging from 20 percent to 50 percent in the majority of APEC economies.
It's evident that SMBs are the backbone of the Asian economy — they drive innovation.
Today, traditional industries are embracing technology in the way they do business and also as a catalyst to create something new — new markets, new products, and new areas of growth and revenues.This means more intense competition, yet are SMBs equipped to stay competitive and enable their employees to work productively?
SMBs need to consider investing in tools that enhance mobility and collaboration — and consider the concept of Unified Communications (UC), where employees can continue a conference call while shifting from a desk line to a mobile device — or vice versa — without losing access to any of the work in progress; launch an ad hoc conference with a few mouse clicks; access integrated contact profiles across multiple directories so employees can access all key information in one screen; or push shared line appearances (the employee's DID) out to all devices so remote workers can look professional when dealing with customers.
Yet, many SMBs have looked at UC and decided that UC is a grand concept that's too big to fit their needs and budget. But times have changed, and it's worthwhile thinking about implementing UC solutions that are tailored to be the right fit for SMBs.
Bring Your Own Experience
The key to doing this is to understand what makes for a great user experience and how that enhances productivity and then build the UC solution around that.
In the highly competitive SMB market, delivering a great user experience can be key to differentiating one organisation from another and is often overlooked when it comes to communications technology. If an SMB can respond more quickly and is more productive through the use of UC, this can be the way a business can set itself apart from its competition.
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