Every modern business needs to have strong connectivity to effectively communicate with customers, clients and employees. It is key to the day to day running of most software, and determines how well you can deliver your service.
This connectivity is growing in importance too, as the ‘always-on’ mentality takes over and customer expectations continue to rise. The modern consumer no longer goes by 9 to 5 business hours, and wants to be able to communicate and engage with a business at any time, from anywhere, and they expect you to be able to accommodate this.
Understandably, connectivity means different things to different businesses and everything from hardware to software, network infrastructure and business processes will have some bearing on:
- What you’ve achieved to date and
- The kind of connectivity you’ll need to future proof your business plans
Consumers are tech savvy and they want businesses to be on a par. So, whether you’re a local store or an online multinational, the expectation of your connectivity won’t differ wildly.
Not too long ago, the minimum requirement was a good website and being contactable by phone and email.
Not any more.
The growth of mobile technology means ‘opening hours’ are 24/7 and the idea that someone needs to be in the office to respond to requests or complaints is no longer realistic.
Managing that level of expectation starts with the necessary hardware, software, cloud applications and customer-facing mobile apps, but it goes beyond that to touch almost every element of the business.
Modern enterprises drive sales with inbound marketing and engage with rich, high-definition content. They live their brand values publicly through social media and use channels such as Twitter to celebrate the best and shut down the worst of what’s happening, as it happens.
All of this relies on a network infrastructure that can support it and as connectivity demands grow, even small businesses are finding they have substantial bandwidth requirements. For some, standard broadband already feels like a limitation and are finding that they need to revisit their software licensing to facilitate expansion, making widespread demand for superfast and ultrafast speeds inevitable in the coming months and years.
It’s worth saying that keeping pace isn’t about keeping up with the Joneses, it’s about being equipped to use the best channels to raise awareness, sell more, shout louder, reach further, gain a competitive advantage, and keep operations running smoothly.
Every time a business system lapses, it risks brand damage, planting seeds of doubt in the customers’ minds and giving competitors an automatic edge. By safeguarding your connectivity, you can protect your:
- Opportunity to engage and
- Revenue generation
Good quality internet access and connectivity can help with all of that and allow a business to benefit from:
- Cloud access
- Increased cyber security and
- Cost savings
The reliability of your IT infrastructure is everything, because it makes sure your ‘business as usual’ operation never skips a beat and paves the way for:
- Taking advantage of new technology opportunities
If you’re a challenger brand and innovation helps you stay ahead of the curve, differentiate or claim new territory first, you’ll want a finger on the pulse of technology developments to keep your IT roadmap on track.
- Staying ahead of the competition
IT has a huge impact on how products and services are sold and consumed. Businesses that embrace smart technology and use it to stand out from the crowd or deliver an exceptional customer experience will always be one step ahead and in control of the conversation in their industry.
That kind of service relies on strong internet connectivity, so if your internet connection isn’t improving at the rate your business is growing or able to support the innovation you bank on, you run the risk of losing your advantage and falling behind.
- Optimising internet-based apps and services
Software and online services have reached new levels of sophistication and they’re only going to get better. Everything from business accounting and CRM to human resources to meeting management and global collaboration can be improved with the help of an internet-based application or service.
Even if you don’t dabble too much in online services, basics like social media rely on a strong network, a certain level of capacity and bandwidth, so it makes sense to have a service provider and an infrastructure that meets your existing needs, allows for growth and at the very least, lets you experiment with what’s available.
Assessing your business requirements is not always easy, so an IT consulting service is a good, cost-effective option here. They can advise on the IT infrastructure you will need, not just for today, but for the future, and can also play the role of your virtual CIO to ensure that any fixes needed are done as soon as they arise.
- Keeping pace with customers
Like it or not, customers call the shots for most businesses, so if they expect faster response times, a more efficient sales process or simpler customer service, chances are you’re going to have to deliver.
What’s more, they’ll expect to be kept in the loop as you do it, so keeping the lines of communication open all times is essential.
Whether you choose to do that by email, phone, social media, instant message or VoIP (internet-based telephony), you’ll want reliable connectivity to ensure you manage the flow of communication and control the conversation.
We’ve all seen the article headlines before: ‘innovate or die’, ‘connect or die’ and so on. They’re pretty sensational, but they’re founded on experience and remind us that even the most established businesses that struggle to move with the times and stay connected, can’t swim against the tide and survive.
Discover how a strong IT infrastructure can help your business or agency stay ahead of the competition by downloading our free eBook on The Role Of IT In Your Growing Agency: