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How to Use Unified Communications to Facilitate Business Growth

Published on 07 May 13
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Without growth most businesses will either find themselves occupying a stagnant position in the market, or face the prospect of an active decline in revenue which could ultimately lead to total extinction.

The last few years in particular have proved to be very tough for companies of all sizes, with the global recession putting pressure on firms to innovate in order to avoid serious fiscal repercussions.

The diversification of products and services has been key to combating the credit crunch for many businesses in the UK, including Homestraight Mortgages, which has been able to overcome various obstacles thanks to technological advancements and unified communications (UC).
Unified Advantages

Although Homestraight Mortgages only employs five permanent members of staff at the moment, it relies on a network of consultants and advisers in order to offer the broad range of services which it has adopted to improve growth.

Company founder Richard Hoddinott points out that it is only through the use of advanced and interlinked communication channels that Homestraight is able to cater to the needs of its clients and business partners.

Collaborating with consultants who may not be based in the same country, let alone the same office, would be difficult were it not for the various communication platforms that can be constructively employed.

With VoIP, video conferencing and email available to employees, they have all the tools they need to liaise with various agents. This means that the mortgage services have been expanded to include energy efficiency certification and even the inclusion of properties intended for investment purposes both domestically and internationally.

This in turn has led to the company acquiring a client list that includes many who are not actually based in the UK. Communicating with overseas customers is obviously important, so the company has also needed to maintain telephone and even fax services to make sure that employees can be contacted by different available means.
Field Work

The diversification of Homestraight's products has necessarily meant that the business also needed to acquire a greater degree of mobility and flexibility for employees.

The energy efficiency certification process is one of the services which requires the most fieldwork, because it is necessary for staff to thoroughly investigate homes and evaluate matters like insulation and power supply, before providing a thorough report to clients.

The use of tablet computers gives employees the ability to record data and capture images of the properties visited, which can then be sent back to the office via a mobile data connection rather than requiring them to return to the office in between each outing.

Consequently this enables staff to be more efficient and productive when out and about, allowing the business to deal with a greater number of clients and thus secure growth in ways which would not have been possible before the arrival of UC technologies and services.
Cost Cutting

Catering to the needs of customers as far afield as Australia is something that Homestraight has to do on a daily basis and achieving adequate levels of communication across borders and continents used to be an expensive task without the new technology.

Thankfully there are digital UC technologies available which replace antiquated analogue services and allow the company to grow and prosper internationally without having to bear a significant financial burden.

Something as simple as email means that overseas clients can make contact without having to pay a penny, while the more comprehensive communication platforms allow employees to hold business meetings and make presentations without having to leave the UK.

This cuts costs further because there is less need to travel long distances to secure new customers or business partners.

Mobile and remote working is also a potential money saver, since staff and freelance consultants can operate effectively wherever they happen to be. This means the cost of renting office space can be cut while employees can actively participate in everyday operations from any location.
Growth Through Diversification

Although Homestraight has benefited from UC and high-speed network connectivity in recent years, Hoddinott actually attributes its continued success down to the decision to diversify its portfolio of products and services.

This of course only became possible thanks to the increased unity and flexibility of its communication channels, but is in itself an act of hedging which means that the company is not overly reliant on one particular revenue stream for its survival.

Instead it is able to source growth and earn new customers across a wide range of services and even dabble in areas which it previously had little experience. If a venture turns out to be unprofitable then it can be dropped without affecting the overall upward trajectory of the company.

This hydra-style approach to doing business is particularly effective in small and medium-sized enterprises which have become comfortable with their standard area of operation, but need to broaden their horizons if they want to continue to expand.

The lower costs and larger list of capabilities that come with UC allow companies to take risks and even to accept the occasional failure of certain projects without putting the long-term robustness of their balance sheets under pressure.

Through the leverage of sister technologies like cloud computing, Homestraight has gained access to advanced software packages as well as significant processing capacity which is used to turn the raw data it collects into valuable, coherent analysis and can in turn help its clients to pick the best deals.
Growth Goals

Although the example of Homestraight Mortgages may seem appropriate because it is the type of business which heavily relies on IT and communications for most of its services, UC is something that can be applied to companies across a wide spectrum of industries and sectors.

The core, unassailable goal of every business should be to achieve growth, but it is important to take the long view when investing in new technologies and realise that a quick fix for short term expansion might not leave you with those lasting and consequently more valuable rewards.

The only mistake to be made in this respect would be to ignore the need to make changes in the light of evolving technologies and in an economic climate that continues to flounder.

Too many firms are falling by the wayside because of their refusal to accept the need to make changes. With the adoption of unified communications services, it is possible to strengthen and enlarge a business.

This article is supplied by Jamie Garner who works for Daisy Group, a leading provider of unified communications solutions.

Without growth most businesses will either find themselves occupying a stagnant position in the market, or face the prospect of an active decline in revenue which could ultimately lead to total extinction.

The last few years in particular have proved to be very tough for companies of all sizes, with the global recession putting pressure on firms to innovate in order to avoid serious fiscal repercussions.

The diversification of products and services has been key to combating the credit crunch for many businesses in the UK, including Homestraight Mortgages, which has been able to overcome various obstacles thanks to technological advancements and unified communications (UC).

Unified Advantages

Although Homestraight Mortgages only employs five permanent members of staff at the moment, it relies on a network of consultants and advisers in order to offer the broad range of services which it has adopted to improve growth.

Company founder Richard Hoddinott points out that it is only through the use of advanced and interlinked communication channels that Homestraight is able to cater to the needs of its clients and business partners.

Collaborating with consultants who may not be based in the same country, let alone the same office, would be difficult were it not for the various communication platforms that can be constructively employed.

With VoIP, video conferencing and email available to employees, they have all the tools they need to liaise with various agents. This means that the mortgage services have been expanded to include energy efficiency certification and even the inclusion of properties intended for investment purposes both domestically and internationally.

This in turn has led to the company acquiring a client list that includes many who are not actually based in the UK. Communicating with overseas customers is obviously important, so the company has also needed to maintain telephone and even fax services to make sure that employees can be contacted by different available means.

Field Work

The diversification of Homestraight's products has necessarily meant that the business also needed to acquire a greater degree of mobility and flexibility for employees.

The energy efficiency certification process is one of the services which requires the most fieldwork, because it is necessary for staff to thoroughly investigate homes and evaluate matters like insulation and power supply, before providing a thorough report to clients.

The use of tablet computers gives employees the ability to record data and capture images of the properties visited, which can then be sent back to the office via a mobile data connection rather than requiring them to return to the office in between each outing.

Consequently this enables staff to be more efficient and productive when out and about, allowing the business to deal with a greater number of clients and thus secure growth in ways which would not have been possible before the arrival of UC technologies and services.

Cost Cutting

Catering to the needs of customers as far afield as Australia is something that Homestraight has to do on a daily basis and achieving adequate levels of communication across borders and continents used to be an expensive task without the new technology.

Thankfully there are digital UC technologies available which replace antiquated analogue services and allow the company to grow and prosper internationally without having to bear a significant financial burden.

Something as simple as email means that overseas clients can make contact without having to pay a penny, while the more comprehensive communication platforms allow employees to hold business meetings and make presentations without having to leave the UK.

This cuts costs further because there is less need to travel long distances to secure new customers or business partners.

Mobile and remote working is also a potential money saver, since staff and freelance consultants can operate effectively wherever they happen to be. This means the cost of renting office space can be cut while employees can actively participate in everyday operations from any location.

Growth Through Diversification

Although Homestraight has benefited from UC and high-speed network connectivity in recent years, Hoddinott actually attributes its continued success down to the decision to diversify its portfolio of products and services.

This of course only became possible thanks to the increased unity and flexibility of its communication channels, but is in itself an act of hedging which means that the company is not overly reliant on one particular revenue stream for its survival.

Instead it is able to source growth and earn new customers across a wide range of services and even dabble in areas which it previously had little experience. If a venture turns out to be unprofitable then it can be dropped without affecting the overall upward trajectory of the company.

This hydra-style approach to doing business is particularly effective in small and medium-sized enterprises which have become comfortable with their standard area of operation, but need to broaden their horizons if they want to continue to expand.

The lower costs and larger list of capabilities that come with UC allow companies to take risks and even to accept the occasional failure of certain projects without putting the long-term robustness of their balance sheets under pressure.

Through the leverage of sister technologies like cloud computing, Homestraight has gained access to advanced software packages as well as significant processing capacity which is used to turn the raw data it collects into valuable, coherent analysis and can in turn help its clients to pick the best deals.

Growth Goals

Although the example of Homestraight Mortgages may seem appropriate because it is the type of business which heavily relies on IT and communications for most of its services, UC is something that can be applied to companies across a wide spectrum of industries and sectors.

The core, unassailable goal of every business should be to achieve growth, but it is important to take the long view when investing in new technologies and realise that a quick fix for short term expansion might not leave you with those lasting and consequently more valuable rewards.

The only mistake to be made in this respect would be to ignore the need to make changes in the light of evolving technologies and in an economic climate that continues to flounder.

Too many firms are falling by the wayside because of their refusal to accept the need to make changes. With the adoption of unified communications services, it is possible to strengthen and enlarge a business.

This article is supplied by Jamie Garner who works for Daisy Group, a leading provider of unified communications solutions.

This blog is listed under Telecommunications Community

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