Alison Brewer, EMEA solutions marketing at Mitel says it’s difficult to predict where the market is heading in 2009.
“There was a slight decline in the sub 100 market in 2008 so I would expect the market to remain flat for 2009. All types of businesses today more than ever need to operate as effectively as possible sometimes that means they have to spend money to make money. Investing in an IP communications solution that delivers longer term gains is something that businesses will still focus on. Mitel continues to excel in the sub 100 extension market in the UK and still hold number one position
In today’s challenging economy, with organisations seeking to get a rapid return on investment, smaller businesses are looking for solutions that provide exceptional value for money. Mitel’s communications portfolio is perfect in supporting the smaller business cost-effectively migrate away from their older traditional phone system to an IP telephony/unified communications solutions that enables that smaller business to benefit from features, functionality and applications which were unheard of in the legacy PBX days.
For the smaller business the 3R’s, yes its old terminology, but still as important today as ever, Reach Customers, Reduce Costs and Raise Revenues are absolutely achievable with they myriad of IP applications in the market place allowing the smaller business to benefit in the long term.
Reaching Customers – Gone are the traditional 9-5 hours of opening for many businesses. In order to remain competitive and successful the smaller businesses have to portray themselves as equals to larger organisations and provide a service to customers outside of the “norm”. IP applications such as Teleworking will allow the business owner(s) to operate the business from another location (home) in addition to the physical office location.
This means that calls can be answered earlier and later in the day as desired extending hours of service. Mitel’s Mobile Extension Application allows staff to chose a second phone to ring at the same time as their deskphone. This allows staff to answer calls even when they are away from their desk. Not so long ago these calls would have gone to voicemail, (if it was a new customer I’m sure they would have more than likely gone to another business (competitor) before the business got back to them). Applications like these ensure the smaller business can stay in communication with each other and their customers.
Raising Revenues – smaller businesses the same as larger enterprises will only survive if they make a profit. In order to raise revenue they need to reach and react to customers and the changing market very quickly. IP Contact Centre applications play a fundamental role in reaching customers and responding to their needs. From simple call routing (ensuring the call is delivered to the right person or group) to applications that allow the contact centre to collaborate with the customer via, SMS text, Web Chat or simple click to call functions can seriously improve the smaller businesses responsiveness to customers. Within the contact centre or workgroup themselves applications such as Instant Messaging (IM) allows agents to chat and communicate more effectively as and when necessary again, freeing up time for more calls to be dealt with. All these types of applications were normally seen to be enterprise functions but now they are priced accordingly for the smaller business too.
Reduce Costs – Cost reduction was a few years ago, the biggest reason why businesses moved to an IP infrastructure. Even though its important businesses still focus on the overall cost of the new solution and the infrastructure savings other quantifiables exist such as staff retention- this could be as simple as rolling out conference and collaboration tools allowing staff to communicate more effectively and efficiently. You also can’t forget that staff stay longer in a business that allows flexibility in the work place providing a better work/life balance, teleworking solutions are a very cost effective way of staff keeping in touch with the office even when they are located somewhere else. Productivity gains are also realised from the applications mentioned. Hand in hand these result in longer term savings providing a healthier bottom line for the smaller business.”