How virtual solutions can help you reduce costs and increase efficiency Featured

5:00pm EDT July 5, 2011
How virtual solutions can help you reduce costs and increase efficiency

More and more companies are using network-based or cloud-based “virtual” solutions to lower cost and increase efficiency within their telecommunications environments.

“When you are dealing with limitations in hardware, software or staff, cloud-based virtual solutions can do in minutes what takes hardware and software solutions months and millions of dollars to pull off,” says Elan Crane, vice president of systems and virtual solutions at Simplify Inc. “The right team of engineers and integrators will strategize, design, prove concept, build, test and implement new systems or augment existing systems. Very few advisers in this space have been providing virtual solutions for more than a few months or years, and still fewer have ongoing innovation and strong support.”

Smart Business learned more from Crane about why virtual solutions are important, and in what situations they can help your business.

What telecommunications challenges are enterprises facing today?

At the end of the day, enterprises are faced with managing today’s processes and demands. They are doing more with less, listening to everyone else’s great ideas, then being left with the question,  ‘How do I even begin to stay competitive, grow functionality, ensure redundancy, and make my vision for a better company become a reality?’ Before most can even answer that question, a new fire  pulls  them away once again.

You need resources, you need budget, you need a proven trusted adviser to simply get your ideas for improvement properly vetted out so you will have the ability to say ‘Yes, we can do that for you.’ Of course you want to; so does everyone else.

There are three key components that give a company the ability to stay competitive and stimulate growth.

  • Resources
  • Budget
  • Ideas

A strong presence in each of these three components is essential to thrive in today’s environment. However, it seems that constraints on resources and budget create headaches so strong that new ideas get continually buried under the rubble of day-to-day operations, making solid initiatives seem more elusive.

What are some of these telecommunications headaches and how can companies avoid them?

Every company has its own set of unique headaches. Today’s technology executives must juggle:

  • Doing more with less
  • Ensuring best practice approaches
  • Cutting costs
  • Technology limitations
  • Accountability

The big question now is not ‘How can I create a headache-free environment?’ The real question companies should be asking is ‘How can I utilize existing resources to equip the company assets with the solutions that drive revenue while staying within budget, thus minimizing headaches?’ This is where virtual solutions really shine.

How can virtual solutions help alleviate some of these issues?

Things have changed in the world of telecommunications. I’m not saying put all your headaches in the ‘cloud,’ then everything will be better. Even the cloud, as good as it can be, has many thunderstorms in it. For example, if the network infrastructure reaching your cloud is not properly designed and deployed, customers will consistently suffer trying to reach your applications. It’s critical you have an accountable, trusted adviser for carrier services as well as to ensure the cloud solution, network and existing systems all work well together with appropriate business continuity.

It’s more than just creating a headache-free environment. It’s equipping company assets with resources to drive revenue without bloating your budget or head count. Virtual solutions help put you in control. What if you could whiteboard a list of solutions with proven expertise detailing your company’s pain points and opportunities? What if, after the team agrees on what’s best for your business, the group of experts created custom solutions to your problems within days? Imagine tools immediately providing results you thought impossible to purchase or build yourself.

Virtual solutions allow you to solve problems while complementing the elements in your existing infrastructure that still work well. They allow you to fill the technology gaps with someone else who takes responsibility, maintains accountability and creates those tools for you to control.

How do virtual solutions work?

Network-based, virtual solutions can replace the need for new hardware or costly hardware upgrades, offering immediate and long-term savings of capital expenses, operating expenses, equipment maintenance and education. A customized, ‘in-the-cloud’ solution allows you to quickly implement enhancements to your infrastructure, be it your voice communications network, your core servers/applications, or simply gaining control over outsourcing initiatives. A good virtual solutions team will take the time on the front end to listen, collaborate and understand your unique goals before providing you with a customized toolset that turns ideas into concrete reality.

For similar services, you could expect to be hit with hundreds of consulting hour charges that only yield a limited option set to almost meet your needs, leaving you with a large capital expense and increased operational expenses to accommodate the ongoing costs. At Simplify, our customers have been able to leverage their commodity costs to avoid the up-front charges most competitors just can’t get away from. While the buzz around cloud-based, virtual solutions is relatively new, they aren’t new to us. We have been providing highly scalable, on demand, unique virtual solutions for more than 10 years simply as a value add.

Elan Crane is vice president of systems and virtual solutions for Simplify Inc. Reach him at or (281) 465-6007.