Archive for March, 2011

 

South East Business Show

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Last week was jammed packed with adventures for the Telcare team but it all ended with an enjoyable day on Friday at the South East Business Show at Gatwick. Actually the fun began on Thursday evening when I met up with one of our customer’s Kent Cleaning Supplies and one of our supplier’s All Health Matters. We were mindful of an early start so sensibly paced ourselves with drinks but completely overdid it when it came to food and had to retire to bed with extremely full bellies.

The organisers ought to be congratulated not only for getting the venue right but also planning the event to coincide with the arrival of spring. It was a gloriously sunny day which I’m sure helped to entice the 800+ visitors to the event and with 130 exhibitors, the Millennium Conference Suite was really buzzing. We would like to thank everyone that stopped by the Telcare stand; we thoroughly enjoyed talking to you. It was a particular pleasure to meet up with Jonny Holloway from Grenke Leasing, who we have spoken to previously but had never met. Thanks Jonny for taking the time to visit us. It was refreshing to find so many receptive and intriguing people at the event, we left feeling educated, entertained and hopeful of new relationships.

The winner of our champagne was James MacDonald from Spiritas Marketing Agency. You can find them at http://www.marketinginaction.co.uk The bubbly is on the way to you James, enjoy!

Reliable business telephones - it's not just about buying new solutions

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

Having reliable business telephones and associated systems is critical to the success of your company.

Although it is perfectly true that there may come a time when an aged and obsolete system can no longer be cost-effectively maintained, it may in some cases be possible to defer purchasing a new system for a little longer than you may imagine.

Defining Reliability

It may be a little unrealistic to expect that you will never encounter any sort of glitch, however minor, with business telephones.

Things can and will go wrong from time to time. What is important is typically:

  • that the severity and business impact of such incidents is as minor possible;
  • that they are infrequent;
  • that such problems are quickly and efficiently resolved and with a minimum of expenditure.

Achieving reliability

So how can you improve the reliability of your system, where reliability is defined as above?

There may be a number of key steps you can take:

  • ensure that your system is regularly serviced and maintained by appropriately skilled technicians (some routine maintenance may be adequately conducted by your own personnel);
  • try to select only solutions and plug-in components that are sourced from recognised manufacturers of quality and standardised technical architectures;
  • put into place a maintenance contract with a reputable supplier of telephone support services and ensure that this is underpinned by a clearly laid out and specific service level agreement (SLA) that contractually commits them to providing a minimum level of service when you have troubles.

The writing on the wall

In spite of all your best endeavours and those of your selected maintenance company, you may eventually reach the point when an obsolete system becomes, effectively, unsupportable.

A telephone installation and maintenance company such as ourselves will have the skills required to advise you when you are at or approaching this point.

This is not a pleasant realisation because it may involve you in new capital expenditure, however, it is important to be objective and realistic.

If your business telephone system cannot be supported then sooner or later it will fail and your support company may be unable to bring it back online for you.

The complete loss of your business telephones may prove to be a major business catastrophe - something that may put the cost you saved on a new system into very harsh perspective.

Assessing whether or not your existing business telephones and systems constitute an acceptable degree of support and maintainability risk is a skilled job. It is one that we have expertise to help you with.

Red Nose Day Tea Party

Monday, March 21st, 2011

It was certainly hard to escape the fact that it was Red Nose Day last Friday. It was brilliant to see and hear about so many special events going on all over the country. The evening’s TV really did make for emotional viewing and the record breaking £74m raised was confirmation of our nation’s dedication to the cause.

Telcare were invited over to Maidstone for a Red Nose Day tea party, hosted by the very kind Stiddard Accountants with the help of Louisa Felstead of Facilitator Kent. I went along, sporting my Red Nose Day t-shirt, to represent Telcare. The Stiddard team not only provided us with superb hospitality but had been busy cooking a delicious range of cakes too. If that wasn’t enough to tempt us into gaining a few pounds for charity, Yvonne at Everything Cupcakes sent over some mouth watering delights that simply wouldn’t take no for an answer.

The highlight of the event was when the Naked Advisor agreed to live up to his name and post a naked profile pic on twitter. This little teaser helped the Stiddard team to raise a wonderful £463 for Comic Relief. It’s great to know that there are so many caring people around and it was a pleasure to be invited to join them and their event. Thank you! Have a look at our photos below and Stiddard’s blog at http://www.stiddard.co.uk

An office phone system to revolutionise your business

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

An office phone system may prove to be a huge facilitator of success for your business - or it may help bring it to its knees. Here’s why:

  • like it or not, a very significant component of any 21st century business revolves around its internal and external communications;
  • small business telephone systems are typically at the heart of such communications, particularly when integrated with the use of the internet and wireless services around the organisation;
  • if your office phone system is unreliable, it may cause severe difficulties both in terms of your internal processes and management systems, as well as your day-to-day communications with your clients and suppliers;
  • whatever may have been the case in the past, today's customers are not inclined to wait around while companies ‘sort out’ their telephone system problems and inadequacies - they will simply go elsewhere to your competitors, who may not have such difficulty in supporting them;
  • it may also be important to realistically assess what is called the ‘cost of ownership’ of your existing, perhaps antiquated system - if you are constantly calling people out to fix and repair it, the direct and hidden costs may be rather more substantial than you would imagine;
  • whether you are a major corporate business or a SME, the capital investment required to obtain and install a modern business telephone system may pale into insignificance when compared against the various costs and service issues associated with running an outdated and outmoded alternative;
  • selecting the right solution is more than just a case of looking in a few glossy brochures – this is where our services and expertise can help analyse and assess your requirements, then help you choose an effective solution;
  • if you have made the decision to procure a new system, it may be important to guard against the tendency to look for the system with the lowest price tag - a system that uses non-standard technology or which has been built to poor quality standards, may prove to be equally as disastrous for your business future as an outmoded and outdated system would be;
  • a typical office phone system supplied by a major global player, such as Siemens business telephone systems, may provide you with a platform from which you can exploit compatible plug-in technologies and be capable of growing with your company - that may be rather less assured if you select a system from a relatively unknown and marginal manufacturer;
  • taking a chance with the selection of your office phone system might not be advisable, as it seems intuitively unlikely that this technology will become any less critical in future.

March Madness!

Monday, March 14th, 2011

The Telcare team have hardly come up for air this month, today being no exception. The Monday morning gremlins have been out in force and our helpdesk has had all sorts of faults and queries. The team are truly in their element solving all the telecom problems, so keep them coming. In addition to all the hard work we do have some other items on the agenda, including the launching of our Facebook page, so keep an eye out for that it would be great if you paid us a visit.

On Thursday 17th March we will be attending the Whitstable Tweet Up at the Hotel Continental, Whitstable for more information go to http://www.officehounds.co.uk

On Friday 18th March we will be joining in the fun at Stiddard Accountant’s Red Nose Day Tea Party all in aid of Comic Relief. For more info go to http://www.stiddard.co.uk

On Monday 21st March we will be off to the University of Greenwich to help with mock interviews. Working with students is always a rewarding venture.

On Friday 25th March we can be found at the South East Business Show on stand 52, why not come along and say hello. For more details of the event please go to http://www.b2bsoutheast.com

The sometimes false economy of cheap school phone systems

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

We understand that school budgets are under tight pressure in today's modern world and that this may lead to the understandable temptation to look for cheap school phone systems.

There is, of course, absolutely nothing wrong with looking for cost-effective solutions to your educational or business telephone systems needs. Yet cost cannot be everything.

The fact of the matter is that there is now a huge degree of choice in the area of small business phone systems of a type that theoretically may be suitable for schools and other educational establishments.

Although that is typically a good thing, it also means that there are a large number of systems out there of what may be called ‘variable quality’.

Although your instinct may be to consider the quality of your telephone system to be of secondary importance to its cost, in reality, cheap school phone systems may cause you considerable direct and indirect expense downstream.

Consider the impact upon your school if your phone system ‘goes down’:

  • you may be unable to communicate with the outside world - something that may be a disaster if you suffer an on-site emergency;
  • the outside world may be unable to contact you - something that may be difficult to explain to, for example, parents who are trying to contact you due to a family emergency;
  • your internal communications may be unavailable meaning that your staff are spending their time walking backwards and forwards between classrooms and the office instead of being able to use an internal phone.

They, in a sense, are the potential consequential but intangible costs and risks that may arise if your phone system breaks down.

There may also be rather more direct and quantifiable costs.

Cheap school phone systems may not come with the same warranties and post-sales support services as systems sourced from professional high-reputation solution providers.

If your system is unreliable and you are paying for constant callouts and repairs, your original cost-benefit case may start to look rather shaky.

Of course, the temptation doesn’t only arise in terms of the procurement of new business telecoms services.

You may be even more tempted to stay with your existing, albeit unreliable, system because you do not wish to spend money on a replacement.

That may be a reasonable strategy but you should keep in mind that the older and more obsolete a system becomes, the greater tendency it may have to fail.

You may experience the highly undesirable situation of finding that your system fails one day and it is impossible to remedy the problem due to the age of its hardware or software components.

That is why we typically advise the selection of solutions from globally known manufacturers such as Siemens business telephone systems, coupled with the expertise of telecommunications installation and maintenance specialists such as ourselves.

That may be a more advisable approach than looking exclusively for cheap school phone systems.