As fast as Technology seems to change and advance, year by year that pace quickens even more. Just consider that in the last 10 years, ‘new’ technologies like e-mail and instant messenger have become old hat and now social and business networking sites such as twitter, facebook, and LinkedIn are the ‘new’ technologies.
Technology has now become the major agent of change in the business world, surplanting marketing, research and development, and even profit. Social networking has become a standard marketing tool. Communications and computing hardware have become mobile Blackberries and wireless/cellular technology is eroding the function of the desktop pc. Software-as-a-Service and cloud computing have even changed the way technology products are delivered.
As a technology provider for our clients, this is a question that Pacific Business Centers grapples with. What technology should you deploy today to keep up with the development curve?
Voice Over IP (VoIP):
Voice over IP is currently replacing analog telephone and voice by delivering these communications over the internet. The major attraction to this technology is that VoIP drastically reduces the cost of communications. In the early days of VoIP, problems with quality of the connection affected it’s adoption. Now, the current generation of VoIP offers call quality indistinguishable from traditional analog lines.
This isn’t the case for popular consumer-grade solutions such as Skype or Vonage. While the technology infrastructure is good, the DSL connection of the end user is not fast enough to achieve clear and reliable call quality. Even the typical business T1 isn’t enough. With this in mind, we upgraded to an enterprise grade solution for our operations and our clients. Enterprise grade PBX systems require more capital outlay, and we use connections as fast as a DS-3 line to allow for reliable call quality. Our technology works in conjunction with our current phone system, and is used via the handsets as analog lines, instead of being tied to a computer.
One way that technology has affected us is that we are connected in more and faster ways, which has lead to an expectation of speedy and comprehensive response to business communications. Universal messaging brings all of your message and communication channels – email, fax, voicemail – together in your e-mail inbox, so that you can receive and respond in a timely manner.
Our solution for our clients in this case was to go with a ShoreTel phone system. The ShoreTel system not only allows us to leverage VoIP but also provides a system for Universal Messaging. An additional perk this that the ShoreTel system also allows for “find me – follow me” features as well as an online based control system so that your calls find you at whichever phone you are at. (Or not if you prefer – we all need some down time now and again.)
The Blackberry and iPhone has become standard issue business equipment. Phone applications are increasingly robust and useful – even essential – and this development will continue – especially as GPS is thrown into the mix to make application-use relevant in a mobile environment. We appreciate this most exciting feature of mobile technology; smart phones make universal messaging and find me/follow me robust … truly bridging the gap to a completely mobile work experience.
Collaboration software is the natural development to communications technology to create a truly virtual workforce. These solutions allow for online meetings (i.e. GoToMeeting or WebEx) and virtual collaboration through solutions such as the new Google wave, Google docs, and a plethora of other solutions.
The enterprise grade collaboration solution is Microsoft’s Sharepoint.
Sharepoint allows companies or users to store and collaborate on documents, assign workflows, departments, workgroups, and manage not only their own schedules but the schedules of other sharepoint users. The flexibility and options of the system are limitless.
Currently serves as a Marketing Manager with a focus in online marketing and market strategy. Prior to joining Pacific Business Centers (rebranded as Pacific Workplaces), Nick consulted with small businesses to assist in a business development and public relations role.