Archive for May, 2011

 

Selecting Siemens telephone systems

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011

There are many suppliers of telecoms systems and services in the marketplace, so why do we at Telcare often select Siemens telephone systems?

The role of innovation

As a major global organisation, Siemens is typically accepted to be one of the major players in terms of technological innovation in the area of business telephone systems.

For a small business, this is important but perhaps not, in itself, critical.

Small businesses rarely have, as a top priority, the need to be at the cutting edge of telecommunications technology.

Yet Siemens not only innovates, they also seek to try and ensure that any existing investment you have in their technology is as protected as possible in terms of future compatibility.

What this means is that if you need to expand your system, it is typically possible to purchase new models or components from Siemens and integrate them relatively easily with your existing Siemens technology.

Siemens telephone systems and maintenance

If you have a problem with your telephone system, it may sometimes prove to be extremely difficult for you to diagnose where the problem resides and what is required to fix it.

That is particularly the case where your existing business telecoms system is something of a patchwork quilt in terms of different components, from different suppliers and using different technology, all knitted together in a less than cohesive whole.

This can lead to significant ‘downtime’ and expensive service and maintenance.

By contrast, Siemens telephone systems utilise highly standardised and warranted technology. As their systems are fully integrated and produced to a high quality standard, problems should be minimised. Even if problems do arise, diagnosis is typically straightforward and a resolution quickly found.

Remember that, however sophisticated your telephone system is, if it is broken down then it is no more than a useless collection of technology components. Selecting a solution from Siemens typically ensures that you will achieve a high degree of availability.

Reducing risk

Selecting and installing a new business telephone system always constitutes a risk of disruption to your day-to-day business.

Inevitably, the migration and switch over from your existing system needs to be exactly synchronised with the availability of your newly installed system. If this is not well planned and executed, it can go badly wrong.

As professional telephone system providers, we seek to reduce these risks and where possible, eliminate them. This involves expert analysis and planning as well as being able to rely ‘without thinking’ on the essential quality and predictability of the new system being installed.

Over many years we have discovered that Siemens telephone systems provide a firm foundation for the planning and installation of the new business telephone system and the avoidance of trauma, and we will be more than happy to discuss your options with you.

Finally, having the complementary support of a telephones maintenance contract will help keep your Siemens telephones system working at its optimum level, leaving you free to concentrate on what you do best - running your business.

Selecting business phone equipment

Sunday, May 15th, 2011

Selecting business phone equipment may prove to be one of the more important business decisions you face.

Business telecom services in the 21st century

In today's business world, technology is at the heart of many operations.

It doesn't matter very much whether you are a major global corporate or a relatively small sole trader operation - if you cannot communicate with your customers and suppliers, then you are going to find it hard to survive.

Things have moved on considerably since the 1970s.

Your external contacts are now unlikely to accept that they may not be able to contact you for hours or days on end, simply because your line is constantly engaged. They are also not likely to respond favourably to needing to dial multiple different numbers to speak to different people or different offices in the one company.

Today, things such as seamless multi-site switching, automatic redirection and voicemail, are practically essential in terms of customer service.

Business phone equipment - your requirements

From the perspective of a system owner, you may well expect your business telephone system to:

• operate to a high degree of fault-free availability;

• facilitate the daily operation of your business;

• provide opportunities for you to change and improve your work practices;

• provide a cost-effective solution that is relevant to the nature of your business;

• offer opportunities for expansion of the system on a ‘plug-and-go’ basis;

• be easy to maintain;

• offer ongoing protection of your investment and be ‘future-proof’.

Stating these things is relatively easy. Finding a business phone equipment solution that meets all or most of them may prove to be rather more challenging.

The importance of expertise

Of course, some of these above objectives can be achieved by deciding to focus on business telecom solutions from major established suppliers, such as Siemens business telephone systems.

Yet some of them can only be achieved by understanding the nature of your business and what systems solutions are available to match your environment.

It is not usually advisable to simply pick up a box and decide that you have found a solution. For example, the configuration and facilities required in a veterinary practice may be significantly different to those suitable for a college or educational establishment.

Selecting a solution without sufficient background analysis may result in a system that is either over-specified or even worse, under-specified.

To ensure you get the telephone system that best complements your business activities, an initial requirements analysis may be required which will result in a specification for a new business phone equipment system. Producing this specification requires skill and experience which we can provide. So if you are looking for the telephony system that will best support your business or organisation, why not get in touch? Our friendly and professional service will ensure you get an affordable solution that is the best fit for your needs.

Telcare at the South East Business Show

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

See Lisa talk about Telcare - Footage taken at the South East Business Show

Key concepts when selecting business telephone services

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Here are a few things that we think are critical when considering business telephone services:

• however sophisticated and modern your telephone system is, telephone systems maintenance is extremely important. There are a number of tasks that may help reduce the chances of your system suffering downtime and we would be only too happy to help advise you as to how progress this;

business telephone services may not only help your business survive but also to grow and prosper. That, of course, assumes that you have business telephone systems that are fit for purpose - if they are not, they may prove to be a serious inhibitor to your daily operation;

• if you are selecting a new small business phone system, it is typically a good idea to look for a manufacturer that has a proven track record in supplying quality systems. The system needs to be capable of both easy integration with existing elements of your office technology, as well as being capable of future technological expansion in support of your own business growth;

• protection of existing investment is always something to keep in mind when selecting a new system. If new technology components become available over the next 2-3 years, you will not wish to be obliged to throw away your existing and relatively new system, simply to make use of the new components. Companies such as Siemens business telephone systems have an excellent reputation in terms of protecting existing investment and what is called ‘upwards compatibility’;

• if you have a truly obsolete system that is currently providing you with business telephone services, it becomes a question of judgment as to when it can continue to be reliably supported. It may also be incapable of expansion or on-development to support your business. The longer the position continues, the more your business operations may be put at risk and a professional review of the position may be advisable;

• whether you are a college, school, small business or veterinary practice etc, the people you deal with externally will be forming an impression of your professionalism based, in part, upon your ability to communicate with them. Having business telephone systems that are unreliable and incapable of meeting the needs of others, will potentially damage your professional reputation;

• contrary to what you may imagine, purchasing and installing new business telecoms services does not require a ‘mission to Mars’ budget. It is possible to start with a small system (perhaps of only two handsets) and then expand this on a modular basis, as you need to - providing you have selected an appropriate solution to begin with;

• selecting appropriate solutions for business telephone services involves performing a professional analysis of your requirements. This is something that is a specialist task and one that we welcome the opportunity to help you with.

Guest Blogger - Paul Andrews

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

I am pleased to introduce you to Kent Entrepreneur Paul Andrews, as our guest blogger for May. Among other things Paul hosts the Business Bunker Radio Show. Paul tells us how the show came about and how it’s evolved to become a popular resource for many Kent businesses.

In October 2010 I was asked to appear as a guest on a BBC local radio breakfast show. This is the kind of interview I’ve done many times since winning the Kent Entrepreneur of Year award back in 2009.

On the show we got into a heated debate about how business and enterprise is portrayed in the media. I felt that where business was covered at all it almost exclusively focused on large corporations and on negative news stories.

I made a comment that said I felt there was a need for a local radio show that focused on SME’s and the good things that happened in the local business community. I was told that there was no call for such a show.

I didn’t believe it! I asked around a few people and whilst most people in business felt that they would like a business show they didn’t really expect it to happen.

I was bemoaning this state of affairs to a friend who then graciously reminded me that one of my favourite sayings is “if you want something doing, do it yourself” !

So I began an investigation. It quickly became apparent that a full blown FM licence was virtually impossible to obtain to cover the whole county and was prohibitively expensive. After some research I found Romney Marsh FM a small not for profit, community radio station with a restricted broadcast licence. They only broadcast a couple of months a year to the Folkestone, Hythe and Romney area; however they broadcast all year round via internet broadcast.

We quickly arrived at an arrangement where I lease studio space from them for one hour per week. We set up a website ( http://www.kentbusinessradio.co.uk) to enable listeners to tune in and with very little training on the equipment and no radio presenting experience we did a pilot show.

Our first broadcast went out on Tuesday November 2nd, it was a fairly dull affair only really saved by having two fabulous guests on the programme, John Botting and Roger McKerlie.

The feedback from the show was very encouraging so I decided to go with it. We commenced regularly broadcasts from the following Tuesday right up until end of December. We were then off air for a couple of weeks while the studio was relocated to new premises and brand new, state of the art technology was installed.

I also quickly realised that we needed to lighten the feel of the programme and introduce some fun and banter. So we now have the “Bunker Crew” of co-presenters, Jo Dodds, Jules Serkin and Audra Lamoon who take it in turns to present the show with me. We’ve now had more than 40 guests appear on the programme talking about things as diverse as ice cream, investment start up funding, hypnotic persuasion skills, social networking, QR codes, anti fraud measures, leadership training and auction houses.

The format of the show consists of fielding emails and phone calls from SME owners and managers telling us about their new products or services, contracts they’ve been awarded, new premises or awards they’ve won. We also list a round up of networking events, seminars, conferences and exhibitions that are due to take place. We also occasionally get a roving outside broadcast report from an event, seminar or conference courtesy of Maggie Langley of Office Hounds. Of course the major part of the show is given over to the two guests who talk about their field of expertise and the kind of products and services they offer.

Whilst it is very hard to give a definitive figure, as we have people listening live, people who use the listen again feature, people who listen via other websites and outlets and also for a few months a year on a general FM broadcast, we estimate our total listener base to be around 5,000 on average and growing all the time.

The show is exclusively promoted by social media, twitter and LinkedIn. We recently did an analysis for a show sponsor to see how many people in our region actually saw a message promoting that weeks show. The message was seen at least twice by 168,000 people which is phenomenal reach and shows the power and potential of social media.

One of the most gratifying aspects of The Business Bunker is the feedback we get from guests and phone in callers who report good things as a result of being on the show.

Some examples Tempnetwork won a big staffing contract within hours of appearing as a guest, MyTsafe and GNTFraud Solutions were introduced to each other and realised they could develop joint offerings. SDI and Livewire Performance were introduced and made a series of training videos together, on the day CivicBoom.com appeared on the show they had 799 extra website visits, 3 new Hubs established and gathered 5 news stories. Cloudminds had 6 membership enquires following the show and many more people and businesses have gained work and important new contacts.

These are the things that make doing the show really worthwhile. Building a strong business community and an economy for Kent is one of the key goals and we are really making a lot of headway in that direction.

We’ve also managed to raise awareness of a number of charitable and community based activities which is also very gratifying.

So that is the Kent Business Bunker Show. As far as I know the only business talk radio show dedicated to SME’s in a specific region, another ground breaking first for the Kent business community.

We have been aided and very well supported by a number of Kent Businesses who have either promoted the show and/or sponsored programmes and some such as Telcare Ltd who have done both. We are very grateful to Telcare and others for helping us get to were we have in such a short time. Having just celebrated our 20th episode (have we been on as long as Coronation Street yet?) we look forward with anticipation to the next 20.

So if you run a business in Kent and would like to let the business community know about it, or if you have something you’d like to share or maybe you are running an event please don’t be shy, we exist to promote Kent Business so call in live on a Tuesday afternoon between 1-2pm on 01797362000 or email bunker@kentbusinessradio.co.uk and tell us all about it.