Connectivity is king
Connectivity is central to everything a business does, as is finding a provider that meets its exact requirements and having a solid SLA in place.
Nothing makes people pay attention more than a really good data deal. You know what I mean. Fifty gigs for R99. However, all too often, half of that data has to be used during the middle of the night, or there are other restrictive terms and conditions in the fine print. Which is why, when it comes to your business, you shouldn’t buy connectivity based on cost. Instead, you should decide what’s important to you, such as the ability to make and receive video calls or high-speed Internet for downloading big files, and find a provider that meets those exact requirements. And make sure that you have a solid service level agreement (SLA) in place.
From a business perspective, data enables voice, video and data connectivity. The more companies move to the cloud, the greater the demand for, and reliance on, connectivity.
Mark Taylor, CEO of Nashua, says: “While both PBX and VBX can operate in the cloud, we’re seeing increased demand for video calls based purely on cloud adoption.”
Taylor doesn’t believe that the traditional landline will disappear completely, but says that as the provider is no longer investing in traditional copper lines, together with other challenges such as cable theft and older technology, as well as the expansion of fibre networks, these have all opened opportunities for newer players in the sector to gain market share. However, he points out that connectivity is still the backbone of any cloud solution, so if there isn’t a good last-mile connection, you can’t successfully run those cloud-based applications.
He highlights the importance of choosing an enterprise-grade connectivity solution that isn’t contended. The majority of solutions offer a shared service, whereas businesses will have more reliable connectivity if they opt for a dedicated service that isn’t shared with other businesses in the area.
“Having a dedicated bandwidth for voice, for example, ensures quality of service. Businesses generally get a single connectivity for all of their services, so if someone is downloading large files or there’s heavy Internet traffic at a particular time, that can influence the quality of service on a voice or video call.”
Why does this matter? Well, if you consider a call centre as an example, it could mean lower call volumes that could, in turn, affect their ability to enrol new customers, thereby affecting potential income. This is why SLAs are so important when it comes to voice and data, in particular. It’s vital for businesses to have both a dedicated bandwidth for voice and video calls, and a solid SLA with their provider, says Taylor.
He adds that one way to ensure that SLAs are met is to implement a remote monitoring system that enables the supplier to notify the customer about potential connectivity problems before their line goes down, so they can address the issue proactively.
As mentioned previously, customers need a stable connection to their business in order to benefit from cloud-based services. Once you have secured good quality connectivity, you require added services, such as asset monitoring and management as a service. “This means you can be notified ahead of time when your voice or data line might be slow or even down, although hopefully it never happens owing to proactive maintenance,” says Taylor.
Remote asset monitoring enables a provider to proactively engage with customers and tell them that an issue has been resolved before they even knew there was a problem. “This ability to provide businesses with a proactive service is key to a good SLA,” he says, “as it ensures that your environment is up and running when you need it most.”
When considering remote monitoring solutions, look for one that is compliant in how it manages your personal data, over and above being able to monitor and manage your IT systems remotely. This will become relevant once the Protection of Personal Information Act comes into effect.
Taylor is a firm believer in providing outstanding service levels, and says that in this age of centralising everything, people are still hankering after the personal touch.
“People still want to deal with people. So, while the fourth industrial revolution is permitting us to do more remotely without setting foot in the customer’s business, which means cost savings and efficiencies for both supplier and customer, we can’t lose sight of the value of hearing a human voice on the other end of the line just checking that everything is running as intended.”