Weather Woes Are No Big Deal with VoIP

shutterstock_123866842As chaotic winter weather spreads across the nation, faulty communications systems will begin to show their flaws. Ice on lines and equipment will quickly cause failures, especially where older systems are in use. The result is frequently a telecom outage that brings down company operations, interrupts sales, and frustrates customers. The financial damage can be significant and long-term. Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is a solution that works in all weather conditions and helps workers stay connected even if they cannot make it to the office.

Stable and Dependable

VoIP does not rely on old telephone lines or antiquated hardware. Since this technology functions over the Internet, all that it needs to run is a working Internet connection for both inbound and outbound calls. As bad weather takes down telephone lines or causes major accidents that often damage telephone poles and boxes, the VoIP connection will continue quietly performing in support of the business’s infrastructure and customer needs.

Preventing Safety and Productivity Issues

In a weather emergency, getting to the office can be nearly impossible or at least inadvisable. In the past, snow and ice have crippled transportation across entire cities and states. Roads have been shut down to everyone with the exception of emergency workers. How can a business continue to operate when key employees cannot make it to work?

The answer is VoIP. Using this powerful tool, employees can access all of the features they would normally have at their desks from the comfort (and safety) of their own homes. They can continue to be productive while both the company and worker preserve income. Keeping workers safe and productive is good for both morale and business.

VoIP is the answer to many businesses’ requirements and questions. As the topic of winter weather becomes top of mind, preventing outages and protecting workers is an important mission. Preserve revenue and keep the proverbial doors open this frosty season by transitioning from old landlines and private branch exchange setups to this much more flexible and resilient tool.

ROI Networks Is Ready to Rock and Roll at #CPExpo Las Vegas

ROI Networks Vegas
2015 was a big year for ROI Networks: We released our much-anticipated ROIngage product, an advanced, first-of-its-kind cloud offering. Not to mention, we made the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing private companies and were honored by CIOReview as one of the 20 Most Promising Avaya Solution Providers.

There’s no better way to celebrate it all than by heading to “The King” of industry events: Channel Partners!

The show is about to get “All Shook Up” in Las Vegas, and we’d love to meet with you at the event. Please reach out to cnoblitt@roinetworks.com to set up time with the ROI team.

How Big Data Offers Value to Businesses

shutterstock_134175617The Internet has created a massive ongoing flow of information which can be collected, analyzed, and used to gain competitive advantages and increase business intelligence. Known as “big data,” this informational flow can have a major impact on essential business functions related to customers and products, and on companies themselves.

Big Data and Customers

Big data can be used as a tool for better serving customers and expanding the reach of a business. It helps companies improve their relevance in their respective marketplaces, allowing them to more carefully and precisely target market segments and customer bases with highly evolved strategies. Big data also generates extensive insights into the effectiveness of service delivery models, allowing businesses to make changes to better serve their existing client bases.

Perhaps most importantly, big data also helps companies understand customer purchasing behaviors. Collecting and harvesting information from big data sources provides real-time insights into issues that impact customer behavior and the factors that make it more or less likely that they will choose a particular company, product, or service provider.

Finally, big data can reveal opportunities to move into new markets, or expand a company’s reach in its current markets. Data analysis can help companies identify patterns that suggest new potential sources of revenue — and that’s something every business can benefit from.

Big Data and Products

Big data presents incredible opportunities for companies to personalize their products. Using the data collected during the purchase life cycle can shed light on trends, information, and opportunities that allow businesses to provide a more intimate, customized customer experience, which can lead to improved brand loyalty.

The collection and analysis of data also allows enterprises to improve their service delivery models. Data analytics has created new ways of understanding and adapting to customer needs. For example, airlines like Emirates, Qantas, Delta, British Airways, and others use big data to help passengers with allergies and medical conditions have a more comfortable in-flight experience. Data analytics is also being used to customize loyalty program platforms, using important occasions like customer birthdays to offer incentives and special rates on services.

The launch of a new product is a major event for a business, and big data helps companies track consumer response. This strategy is frequently used in the automotive industry, where car manufacturers use the insights generated by data to make improvements to future models.

Big Data and Businesses

Data analytics can also help companies improve and streamline important decision making processes, including human resource management and the reduction of risks. More and more companies are also using data to better understand employee behavior in the workplace, boosting the efficiency of the internal work flow and helping improve communications between disparate departments and teams.

Big data also helps companies monitor the performance initiatives of their competitors and formulate timely responses to hedge against the possibility of losing ground in market share. It allows companies to counteract advantages gained by competitors, providing a big boost to the bottom line.

[Infographic] The Cloud: Gateway to Mobility and SMB Success

The cloud has transformed and enabled businesses of all kinds, but it has truly placed opportunity — and mobility — within reach for SMBs, in particular. Here’s how.

Gateway-to-Mobility-and-SMB-Success

Click below to embed the above image into your website

Boosting the Remote Workforce Using Video Conferencing

shutterstock_183272411Cube farms and huge worker facilities are declining in number, thanks to the myriad of tools available for remote workers. Video conferencing is a highly effective communication tool that offers an endless array of benefits to both employees and their companies. Businesses are saving time and money and improving the quality of their workers’ lives across the globe. Here are a few of the ways that this communication method is making its mark on organizations.

Improved Employee Engagement

At times it may be challenging for a remote worker to truly feel that he or she is part of the bigger picture. In addition to geographical separation, the lack of face-to-face connection can make team cohesion quite difficult. Video conferencing is an effective way to visually communicate, helping workers feel more connected and integral to their team and organization.

Getting the Entire Message

Nonverbal communication is easier to interpret in a traditional workplace. Remote workers can miss out on nonverbal cues and have a tough time understanding the meaning of what is being conveyed. Video conferencing fills the gap for teleworkers, allowing them to see their colleagues and pick up on the nuances of facial expressions, body language, and vocal tone. Team bonds are stronger and employees have better rapport and relationships with one another as a result.

Global Thinking

Video conferencing makes people around the globe completely available to one another, and offers work opportunities to individuals who may not otherwise have them. Work can be done from anywhere in the world. A coworker on a different continent is just a screen away using a simple piece of software and a compatible camera. Video has also provided businesses with a more robust candidate pool since staffers have more flexibility than in past employment models.

Staying Current

In the past, companies relied upon town hall meetings and paper memos to deliver vital information. If an employee was not on-site, he or she missed out on the communication. Using video conferencing tools, both in-house and remote workers can be included in the message at the same time. Feedback and open dialogue are efficient and constructive since attendance is comprehensive. Everyone is informed and kept current and no one is left feeling excluded.

Team and Interdepartmental Collaboration

Possibly the most impressive benefit of video conferencing is its ability to improve collaboration. Geographically dispersed teams now have the ability to talk in real-time, brainstorming and problem solving just as effectively as a group located in the same room. This method is significantly faster than chat or email correspondence for reviewing materials simultaneously or making group decisions. Deadlines are more attainable when dialogue is open and bi-directional.

In addition, holding team members accountable for their contributions (or lack thereof) is easier when using video. If a team member is absent, it’s more promptly noticed over video than it would be over IM, text or email.

Video conferencing is an incredible asset to a company whose workers are remote or geographically distributed. Companies choosing to implement this tool will experience boosts in productivity and cost savings, as well as better team cohesion and improved collaboration.

Eliminate Guesswork from the Cloud Computing Budget

shutterstock_266449112While cloud computing offers major advantages to businesses of all shapes and sizes, it also comes with potential pitfalls, especially in terms of cost predictability. Billing can be complex, and IT services can take a big bite out of a company’s budget. However, there are some proven strategies for managing and reducing IT costs that businesses can use to eliminate guesswork from the cost equation.

No More Surprises on Cloud Computing Bills

Many companies, particularly those that use hybrid cloud models, face complex and sometimes overwhelming bills that can be difficult to understand. One of the problems is that prevailing billing models are geared more towards the needs of vendors and service providers than customers. This can make it difficult for businesses to interpret the sea of technical information that bills contain.

However, new tools are emerging that help companies track their cloud usage with more precision and predictability. Add-on billing features, offered by a growing number of vendors, offer much more transparency and help companies identify costs that were previously buried in the fine print.

Neutralize the Effect of Shadow IT

Shadow IT is a term used to describe computing functions, including both software and hardware, that are not directly approved for employee use by the company’s tech team. A recent Cloud Security Alliance study found that 72% of IT managers are unaware of the sheer number of shadow IT hardware and software applications being used within the enterprise. The ongoing use of such applications can bloat the business’s cloud costs, since the data generated by such functions impacts storage requirements.

Bimodal IT offers an effective solution. The bimodal model splits network monitoring into two groups: one that supervises existing systems, and another that watches the cloud, preventing connected users from importing hardware or software that circumvents the company’s IT department.

Get Rid of Services that Aren’t Necessary

One of the cloud’s biggest benefits is that it allows companies to get up and running with new software and features in a matter of minutes. However, in many cases, there is no ongoing need for such software or features, yet they linger on the company’s cloud bill despite a downturn in usage.

Two strategies can be used to eliminate these unnecessary costs. The first is to perform regular audits to see if a particular application or feature is still needed; if it’s not, it can be cut. Alternately, companies can take advantage of volume price points that deliver reduced overall costs when services are purchased as part of a package. Either way, the business won’t be stuck paying for services or features it doesn’t need, and that is the most important rule of thumb for keeping cloud costs as low as possible.