It is well known that successful small business owners must learn how to juggle the various demands of running a business. But these days that juggling act may extend to things like managing a mobile and geographically disparate workforce, coordinating multiple modes of communication, working with various forms of data, and doing it all in a prompt, personalized way.
Staying on top of all of these networks, services, and resources can create one big headache, not to mention, it can burn a pretty hefty hole in your small business budget. This is where network convergence steps in.
Defining Network Convergence
Network convergence is the integration of telephone, video and data communication within a single, seamless network. The demand for texting, surfing the Internet, VoIP, streaming media, video conferencing solutions, online gaming and e-commerce continues to increase among consumers, businesses, and other institutions. People and organizations want the ability to work from any single device at any time from anywhere, and with these demands, the technology and capability of network convergence has progressively evolved.
Today, it is possible to turn to one network provider and receive a bundle of services, often at a significantly reduced cost when compared to buying into these services separately. These services typically include some or all of the following:
- VoIP- Voice over Internet, business telephony services including multiple phone lines, extensions, call forwarding, toll free numbers, and international calling
- VVoIP- Video VoIP, including video collaboration and web-conferencing solutions
- High Speed Internet Access
- Website Hosting
- Email Accounts
- Support for Wireless and Mobile Networking
- Collaboration and Productivity Tools
What Are the Benefits to Network Convergence?
There are many benefits to relying on a networking convergence solution in your small business. Here is a rundown of just some of them:
- Integrated communications means avoiding duplicate hardware and software as well as multiple, disparate upgrades, and centralizing all networking equipment and connections.
- Support future business growth by easily accommodating any increase or change in network usage due to new applications, users, and locations.
- Improve collaboration among geographically separate workers and clients by having all of your collaboration tools and information in one place. This in turn can enhance decision-making and work processes as well as reduce production cycles.
- Improve the customer experience by reducing response times and making sure that your employees can access the customer information they need when they need it in order to deliver personalized service.
- Allow remote employees to effectively work from home or in the field with seamless integration of wireless and wireline networks.
- Maintain a cost-effective, green network solution that allows you to conserve electricity and other resources, travel time, and physical space.
Should You Use Network Convergence in Your Small Business?
If your business relies on a high speed Internet connection, must maintain several phone lines and/or extensions, has remote workers and/or clients, and needs collaboration among geographically separated employees and/or clients, then you should definitely look into a network convergence solution. If you would like to actually crunch some numbers to see how much you could save, Allstream has this handy savings calculator that you might want to check out.