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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
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March 29, 2022 | Robert Cooper

Business Agility Always Starts with Communications

Successful providers of UCC technology actively convey to customers the direct link between communications technology and agility—and choose solutions accordingly.

If you were to pin down one trait that separates successful businesses from unsuccessful ones, you’d be hard pressed to find a better choice than agility. After all, the real way to determine a business’s success is how long it holds onto profits as outside circumstances inevitably blow it off course from the original vision. Sometimes this requires changes to positioning and services, and sometimes it means upsizing your scale of operations. No matter the form agility takes, though, it never happens without a communications system to match.

As much as factors like effective leadership and smart planning factor into business agility, it still takes effective communication and collaboration, both internally and externally, to actualize any changes. And with how much more quickly and effectively digital communications facilitate those processes, a well-implemented business communications platform is nothing less than the main engine driving them. All that works out nicely for MSPs, too, since as a result they become the main provider of a key element for nothing less than a business’s survival.

At least, that’s how it all should work. As we know just from looking across industries, plenty of organizations don’t function with the agility needed to survive in the long run. And obviously, the factors that play into that failure are extensive—far more than I could cover in a single article. But at the same time, no matter how much poor leadership or COVID-19 or anything else might affect a business’s agility, poor communication systems will compound those problems.

It goes without saying that MSPs ought to understand all of this. Knowing and actively communicating the direct link between communications technology and agility is a core way today’s unified communications and collaboration (UCC) providers achieve success, because this aspect of the industry isn’t simply an added feature; it’s the very foundation of success for everyone involved in it.

Therefore, it’s vital that MSPs select and build their solutions with business agility chiefly in mind. As in all things, not all platforms are created equally when it comes to enabling agility. Plenty are simply too complicated to deploy, making them unfeasible to realistically scale up or down as different business needs arise. Others don’t provide enough flexibility to change the nature of deployments on the fly. The ability to scale and alter a solution must be an essential factor in weighing the practicality of any vendor’s solution, especially for the long term.

So, what exactly should a fully agile solution look like?

Must be cloud based. Deploying a solution remotely, which is only possible through cloud-based PBXs and accounts, dramatically simplifies how any MSP may approach a given business in need of downsizing or expansion. It’s not just extra work cut off from your daily load, either; end users will always massively appreciate simply opening up their devices and seeing that their new accounts are ready to go (or have been automatically removed).

Enables you to go “as-a-service” with your offerings. Giving customers the option to simply pay as they go for accounts and services, rather than making an upfront investment, ensures they have the financial flexibility to alter business models according to changes right as they arise. Scaling up or down through this model, especially when paired with a cloud deployment, becomes significantly more convenient for the end user—and as an extra bonus, makes for a more financially predictable solution for both you and your customer.

Integrates with other business utilities. Integration is the often unsung aspect of the UCC model. An overly complicated stack of separate apps or a convoluted integration process will always hamper the rollout of communications technology, for the simple reason that spreading out tools makes them more difficult to use. What’s far and away more favorable is to put such utilities within the same window, routing functions from analytics to even the customer relationship management software under one usable interface. The more of these tools that can be routed within a given unified platform, the better—after all, what good is a package of application tools if they are too difficult and clunky to use?

Has a secure-by-design approach. Similarly overlooked in many cases is security, which can make or break a system’s agility. If security is designed as an external add-on, built around firewalls and VPNs and the like, by design it will not make for an agile setup: Remember, all those added tools must be installed, then maintained on top of the communications platform itself. That equates to time and expense—the two biggest enemies of true agility. An agile system, by contrast, has security built into its architecture. The secure-by-design approach empowers organizations to move forward in the future of work, with conversations and data safeguarded from any location, on any device.

Offers reliability for reaching an entire customer base. Above all, businesses must be able to rely on the UCC solution to reach out to their entire customer base at all stages and sizes of deployment. As we saw from the pandemic, the No. 1 priority in times of emergency for a company is to be able to contact its customers—to speak to them and reassure them that the business remains open and available, or otherwise to report changes. It’s that element of customer contact, not just internal collaboration, that’s often missing from agile deployments, so having it in your offering is a massively important point of value.

Conveying the value of an agile UCC for your customers’ business is key to increasing your own value to them. The importance of the MSP is, fundamentally, the ability to enable greater agility on the part of businesses, and that makes your role even more vital to business longevity itself. If you’re not communicating this as part of your pitch to new or even existing customers, you’re shortchanging your actual value to your client base.

In today’s business environment—where buying directly from vendors is more and more the norm and the MSP’s role threatens to disappear—it’s vital to emphasize the fundamental importance system integrators hold to business continuity and businesses’ survival. Don’t take it for granted that your customers know the role you play in how they can adapt to changing circumstances; emphasize it, and more importantly, demonstrate it as you roll out fresh accounts and move customers to the cloud. With this essential part you play in the size and even function of businesses, you only stand to grow closer with your customer base, and therefore to profit even more alongside their success.

ROBERT COOPER is president and managing director of Wildix Americas.


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