Virtual solutions Featured

8:00pm EDT April 25, 2009

In the U.S., there is no longer any doubt about it: we’re in a recession. Because of the economic uncertainty, companies are reassessing processes, slashing superfluous expenses and looking for ways to run leaner and more efficiently.

And, like it or not, every budget expense and line item is vulnerable. Still, some things can’t be cut completely, such as your company’s telecommunications. Your telephone system is vital to day-to-day business. Without it, you’re not in business.

So, while it’s obvious that you need your telephony infrastructure, that doesn’t mean you need the exact infrastructure that’s in place. A great way to capitalize on the current environment, and cut costs while doing so, is by implementing a virtual telephony infrastructure.

According to Monty Ferdowsi, the president of Broadcore, those companies on the cutting edge of technology are the ones who will survive this economic downturn, not those who continue to conduct business as usual.

“When the economy slows down, many companies quickly recover by cutting costs across the board, and then they simply wait for the economy to pick up again,” says Ferdowsi. “In contrast, there are always a few companies that look at an economic downturn as an opportunity to position the company to take advantage of the market when the economy turns around.”

Smart Business spoke with Ferdowsi about virtual telephony infrastructures, how they can save your company money, and how they benefit your staff and your customers.

How can a telephony infrastructure help businesses during the recession?

Today, next generation communications systems offer unique opportunities for companies to capitalize on the slow economy, while retaining their work forces and attracting new talent. For example, a company can retain the services of certain employees at 50 percent capacity by allowing them to work remotely via a business class hosted telephone system. Having part of your staff working from home can offer major cost savings and help you weather this tough economy.

Another example is recruiting new sales associates who are willing to sell your products and services, provided that they are not required to travel. A sales staff that doesn’t come into the office and doesn’t travel across the country on sales calls can save you thousands of dollars a year.

There are many features and capabilities that will allow you to think outside the box. That way, you’re flourishing in this slowed-down economy, while your competitors are floundering.

What virtual communications capabilities are available to companies?

In some extreme cases, companies are being forced to downsize to the bare minimum just to survive. Many of these companies might have to close down their offices, as the office is one of the largest monthly expenses a company has. By working with a hosted communications company, these companies can close down the physical office and implement virtual communications capabilities that allow customers to reach associates working from their home offices. This capability, combined with reducing employees’ hours of work, can truly make the difference between a company closing its doors completely and continuing to move forward until the economy picks up again.

How realistic is it for companies to operate without a physical office?

While some companies must maintain an office space (i.e. retail) to conduct business, there are many professional services (i.e. legal and accounting) that can easily operate in a fully virtualized mode. Today’s advanced communications systems can provide the telephony systems to make this possible. The ability to have virtual telephony infrastructures has only recently become available and accessible to companies. Hosted communications companies are now providing these services with little upfront capital expenditure, so it’s cost effective and offers a great ROI.

How does telecommuting benefit employees and businesses?

The concept of telecommuting has been around for about twenty years, but not too many companies implemented it prior to the year 2000, as it was too complex and expensive. Today, computer and telephony technologies have advanced to the point that telecommuting can be implemented effortlessly.

There are many advantages for both employees and businesses in telecommuting. A company can save money by eliminating the costs associated with office space, furniture, utilities and insurance. Companies can also recruit talent from all over the country by having them work remotely from a home office.

From the employees’ viewpoint, telecommuting allows them to reduce travel to the office. This means no more wasted time spent sitting in traffic, less wear and tear on their vehicles, and the ability to eliminate the cost of child care. Not only that, think of how much more money your employees will save on fuel costs. With a huge emphasis on green initiatives all over the world, telecommuting will certainly help the environment by reducing the usage of gas and the undesired pollution that comes with it.

Monty Ferdowsi is the president of Broadcore. For more information, call (800) 942-4700 or e-mail