If you are starting up a new business, or are simply reassessing the cost of an already existing business, it's important to accurately assess the information technology and telephony requirements of the business. The considerable expense associated with the information services is an extremely compelling reason to accurately assess the requirements of your business, though many simply do not know where to begin.
Number of employees
The first consideration when assessing the IT and telephony requirements of your business is the size of the business itself. The more staff your company employs, the more work terminals your premises will require, and with this, the greater number of data connections that will be required. Internet service providers will usually provide your business with a single network connection, which is then distributed to each workstation via the network system of the business. The number of network connections coming into your business is not itself important; the network bandwidth is the most important property to pay attention to when assessing your data provision, since it is directly related to the connection speed, and the charge incurred will be based on network bandwidth rather than the physical number of connections. The number of phone lines, however, may vary, since each phone call will require its own dedicated line. For this reason, the telephony charges must be assessed per line, assuming that each employee has at least one line of their own.
Nature of data utilised
The data requirements of your business depend largely on the nature of the data with which your business deals. A company which sells services or products online will obviously use much less data than one dedicated to providing a web hosting or video streaming service, for example, and so the precise type of data being transmitted must be accounted for when assessing the network requirements of a business.
Number of calls
Counting the number of calls each of your employees make on a daily basis is one of the best ways to assess the total call volume your company deals with. Companies which sell a service and must contact other firms to put in orders and compete for contracts will rack up a much greater phone bill than small retail firms which use the phone only to place orders for stock. As well as this, a company which is designed to accept phone orders may require a number of phone lines in order to keep queues down and to keep queries being answered in a timely manner. As well as calls from external sources, it is worth bearing in mind that employees will frequently find the need to make calls to other staff within the company. This is not so much of a problem for a small business with perhaps two departments or premises, but in businesses which maintain a multitude of depots, retail outlets, or departments within one building, the cost of facilitating a large volume of internal calls can soon add up, and should therefore be factored into any business assessment.
Method of customer service
Your company's chosen method of customer service is an obvious factor in the amount and type of data your company will use most. Small-to-medium businesses may rely heavily on telephone-based customer service, and so require a greater number of phone lines to be connected to their business. Companies which have their own website may well operate the majority of their customer service online, and so are more likely to require a larger network bandwidth in order to meet the demands of their associated online community. It is also possible, rather than tailoring your data connections to the type of customer service provided, to tailor your customer service to the type of network connection which is most readily available, and most cost efficient in your business.
Whether you're starting up a new business, or simply trying to save some money within an existing one, taking stock of the data requirements of your business is a great place to start. The information provided above should act as a platform from which you will be able to fully and accurately assess the IT and telephony requirements of your business, and so will give you a better idea of what is being spent on these vital resources, and what can be saved.