If you are starting up a new business, or simply reassessing the cost of an already existing business, it is important to accurately assess all information technology and telephone requirements. The considerable expense associated with information services is an extremely compelling reason to accurately assess the requirements of your business, however, many business owners struggle to know where to begin.

Number of employees

The first consideration when assessing the IT and telephone requirements of your business is the size of the business itself. The more staff your company employs, the more work terminals and data connections your premises will require. 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, telephone 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. For example, 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. Hence, 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 daily is one of the best ways to assess the total call volume your company deals with. Companies selling a service that requires contact with other firms to place orders and compete for contracts will, naturally, accumulate a much higher phone bill than a small retail firm which only uses the phone to place orders for stock. Additionally, a company designed to accept phone orders may require a high number of phone lines in order to limit queues and allow queries to be answered in a timely manner. It is worth bearing in mind that employees will frequently find the need to make calls to other staff within the company. Whilst this form of communication is not necessarily a problem for small businesses with a low number of departments or premises, it can be a real struggle for companies trying to 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, therefore requiring a greater number of phone lines to be connected to their business. Companies which have their own website may operate most of their customer service online, requiring 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 telephone requirements of your business, giving you a better idea of what is being spent on these vital resources and what can be saved.