How connectivity is enabling better business  for all

Connectivity is everywhere

Spotify.  Netflix. Dropbox. Whatsapp. Cloud-based applications like these are part of daily life now.  And the amount we use them makes constant data connection a necessity for living in the digital age.

It’s no different for small-to-medium sized enterprises. All businesses are digital  businesses now.  Whether you sell hand-carved tables or online services, you rely on digital  technology to run  your  company and meet the needs of customers. And, increasingly, businesses are consuming many of their critical  applications from the cloud, which  is also  where they’re storing their data. Using the likes of Office 365, Amazon Web Services, Dropbox, Sage  (the  list goes on), anything from crucial  voice infrastructure to file storage to the timesheets system can  be hosted. Doing so allows businesses to create efficiencies, reduce costs, and pioneer new  products or ways  of working that give them an edge over  competitors.

All of this  means that connectivity is a critical  enabler for business. To support an ecosystem of cloud-based services and infrastructure, the requirement for robust and well-engineered data services cannot be overlooked.

This eGuide explores the benefits quality connectivity can  bring to organisations and what can  be done to unlock them. It will discuss the risks  that businesses expose themselves to by not  prioritising this  aspect of operations. And, crucially,  it will address the misconception that the data services necessary to run  cloud applications successfully are out  of reach for smaller businesses.

How cloud connectivity can enable better business

By putting communications services, applications and data in the cloud, business can  yield huge benefits. And, because robust data connectivity is the key to giving organisations access to this  cloud ecosystem, it can facilitate the following:

  • Greater scalability

    With cloud-based services, you can  quickly  and easily  scale provision to your  business needs. New users can  be added instantly. You only pay for what you use. And if you need to increase capacity at crucial  moments – as a retailer might at Christmas, for example – then that can  be done with minimal admin and zero disruption to other users.

  • More manageable costs

    Most  cloud applications are monthly subscription services, meaning that businesses can  better manage their costs. Moving  from capital expenditure to operational expenditure leads to long-term savings that keep the bottom line healthy and outgoings predictable.

  • Greater redundancy measures

    In the digital  age,  service loss  can  be disastrous. Suddenly becoming unavailable to customers can  lead to damaging loss  of revenue and reputation, especially for small businesses. Cloud  services typically  have robust backup measures in place to mitigate any service loss, meaning that companies can  rest assured there will be no crippling downtime.

  • Getting rid of costly on-premise hardware

    Having  physical infrastructure like a data server onsitecan  be incredibly expensive – both to install and maintain. Shifting  storage to the cloud removes this  large capital outlay. What’s more, all maintenance and upgrades are done by the supplier behind the scenes and at no additional cost.

  • Productivity and efficiency gains

    Cloud  services such as Slack, G-Suite  or Salesforce increase efficiencies by housing everything in one centralised place. They reduce the amount of time spent looking for files or tracking down information, and improve collaboration and file sharing among employees. Plus, because these apps are usually optimised for mobile, tablet and PC, it’s much easier for employees to access their professional applications wherever they are,  and on whichever device they have to hand. Shifting  storage to the cloud removes this  large capital outlay. What’s more, all maintenance and upgrades are done by the supplier behind the scenes and at no additional cost.

  • Getting closer to customers

    Embracing these kinds of solutions will ultimately allow businesses to provide a better service to end customers, whether that’s  by delivering more convenient digital  experiences or developing compelling products and services. However, all of it rests on one crucial component…

Enabling maximum connectivity with data services

If you want to realise the benefits outlined here and make new  ways  of working a reality, powerful data services are a must. If your  business is going  to successfully build  its operational model around cloud services and applications, it needs the connectivity to support that.

To ensure you choose the right  data services for your  business, the types of cloud applications being used should be considered. For example, are you planning to have capabilities such as voice delivered over  the internet? Poor quality connectivity used for VoIP can  result in low call quality or even call loss.  When a customer is contacting your  business, this  could be the difference between a profitable sale  and harmful lost revenue.

The same goes for cloud-based business applications or data storage. Throttled connections to a cloud CRM system could lead to failure in processing customer orders. While an inability  to access business data stored in the cloud could bring an entire organisation to a standstill. Having  the right  connectivity solution that suits the needs of your  business is crucial.

Connectivity for all

Many people understand that powerful connectivity is the key to running cloud applications successfully (and therefore, running their business successfully). But they believe that the data services they need to power this aren’t available to them.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The growth in the availability of connectivity services and the number of providers around has expanded the number of solutions on the market. What’s more, because of this  increased choice, there are options to suit  a variety of budgets and requirements.

This means that businesses must do their homework when it comes to choosing a suitable provider. One  size doesn’t fit all. Businesses should look for a provider that meets their needs by offering a range of cloud-based connectivity services:

Business broadband:

  • Business-only network is used so that business traffic doesn’t have to compete with consumer traffic

  • The network is built so that it is geographically-resilient and businesses with multiple sites can  be accommodated

  • It should provide sufficient bandwidth to support the size of the business and cloud services/applications used (i.e. Azure, Office365, G-Suite)

Ethernet:

  • Can deliver highly reliable, fast  and secure connectivity with the flexibility to scale

  • Dedicated and uncontended Ethernet services are suitable for cloud connectivity

  • Can be used to consolidate voice and data into  one connection

Voice networks:

  • Connectivity is designed to deliver quality voice and data traffic,  or the ability to prioritise certain types of traffic  (i.e. voice) for optimal performance

  • High-performance network that delivers fast throughput (as opposed to headline speed) and minimised delay

  • Customers can  benefit from a single point of contact for data and IP voice networks, leading to reduced administration burden

For all types of connectivity, businesses should look for providers who can also deliver:

  • A choice of suitable data access services that can  match their needs now  and in the future (e.g. budget, number of office sites)

  • Best-in-class resiliency/backup measures, stringent SLAs and robust security

  • 24/7 customer support in the event of an issue

Get in touch for more information on the data services available for your business.