When you’re in business, there’s a lot to be said for working hard – but, there’s even more to be said for working smart. With increased efficiency comes time, money and personnel savings – allowing you to put resources into growing your core business model.
In 2019, working smart almost always means building your business around innovative technology – but where do you begin? Here, we’re outlining 3 IT innovations that could revolutionise the way your business operates…
MPLS stands for ‘Multi-Protocol Label Switching’ – a networking technology that helps you prioritise types of traffic across your IT systems.
So, how does it change the way you do business? Well, to understand exactly what MPLS can offer, it’s useful to get an understanding of how your network operates without an MPLS system. Effectively, when you’re operating a business IT network, you’re sending all your data down one fairly high-capacity route – so, it’s difficult to prioritise data – which can be a problem if certain applications are more important to the running of your business then others.
With an MPLS system, data that travels across your network is labelled – hence the ‘label’ part of the acronym. A tiny data label is applied to the data packets that are produced by your applications, before they’re sorted by an LSR (Label Switch Router) – a network management device that creates efficient routes through your network. By doing so, you can decide which data is most important to your operation – and make sure that it gets there as a priority.
What does this mean to your business though? Well, there’s a world of benefits, including:
Sometimes, you have mission-critical applications that just have to run as quickly as possible. Perhaps this is your customer relationship management tools? Or your accounting software? Perhaps it’s making sure your e-commerce solutions never fail? Whatever your need, MPLS will make sure that the infrastructure that keeps your business running is always ready for action.
A better end-user experience
A better end-user experience means you’re likely to get more from your team in terms of productivity and results. If you’ve got an end-user team that directly connects with customers, you’re also improving interactions with customers too – which is key to making sure you get exceptional reviews and repeat business.
Want to spend less time with network engineers on your site? MPLS is likely to offer exactly this – as it simplifies the way traffic is handled – so faults are easier to spot and remedy when compared to complex network with an array of data all travelling the same routes.
Downtime can cost a business dearly – so if you want to make sure you can operate your business 100% of the time, MPLS is likely to reduce the likelihood of systems failing. Quite simply, MPLS reduces the needs for human ‘hands on’ your systems – and since most network issues come as a result of human-error, this is never a bad thing.
Connecting to new sites and online resources generally requires VPN style ‘tunnels’ to ensure data is transferred quickly and safely. With MPLS this need is removed, as the system will always make sure the most efficient routes are used to carry your data.
If speed, efficiency and reliability sound like they could help your business – then tracking down a good MPLS provider might be the next logical step for you to take.
A ‘Software Defined Wide Area Network’ or SD WAN system is a means of controlling your IT network without having to get directly ‘hands-on’.
That begs the question; is there a problem with getting hands-on with your IT network? Well, no, not really – but unless you’ve got an extensive IT team in-house, it’s probably not something you’re going to be able to do quickly. The thing is, virtually all small businesses now operate with a managed service provider (MSP) at the controls of their computer systems. From a money saving point of view, this is fantastic – but it can sometimes leave you a little short when you need someone onsite, pushing buttons and plugging fault-finding software into your network.
SD WAN does away with the need for this on-site approach. An SD WAN system overlays your network and can communicate with every device – regardless of protocol or manufacturer. As a result, your MSP or central in-house team can virtually manage any eventuality in the time it takes to open a management portal and connect with your network.
SD WAN might weigh in as being a little more costly than the less sophisticated system monitoring software you currently employ – but if you value your uptime as you should, SD WAN represents an opportunity to make sure your business network is always ready for action – even if an engineer is at the other side of the country.
If there’s one place that you’re likely to be able to seriously streamline your workflow, it’s with your telephone system – but to do so you’re going to need to take a fresh look at telephones.
In the past, phones have been a communication device – and nothing more. Now though, they’ve evolved – and they should now be considered an input device from which customers can access a world of possibilities – in much the same way they use their voice assistant.
To jump forward to this kind of interface, you’re going to need a hosted voice phone system – a cloud-based approach to telephony. The good news is, this tech is cost effective – as it relies on your existing IT network, rather than any additional infrastructure.
With a hosted voice system in place, you can start to slice down the amount of communication needed between your customers and your end-users – especially when you start to implement automatic payment systems, voice controlled support/FAQ access and transcription services that will save your staff a huge amount of time recording interactions and follow up requirements in a CRM.
Hosted voice carries an enormous number of options for any size business. Suddenly your phones are no longer the static communication devices they once were – and they bring your business right up to date by offering your customers direct access to your systems – potentially 24 hours a day.