Your Business Telecommunications Inspection Checklist

How effective is your workplace’s communications equipment? In this day and age, people expect businesses to connect immediately with their clients, and even the slightest outage can set productivity back. Whether your office holds five employees, fifty, or more, it’s important to maintain your telecommunications and Internet functionality at optimal levels. You may have hired an outside firm to set you up, or maybe you plan to staff a team for daily troubleshooting. Either way, you may wish to regularly check your equipment for preventative maintenance.

IT Checklist

What needs to be inspected to ensure quality communication? Here’s a short list to assist you in regular check-ups of your equipment.

Telephones

1) If you rely on a multi-line phone system for your office, make sure all the lines work. Seriously, there’s always the possibility somebody could work in his office and wonder why his line doesn’t light up. Especially if you bring new people into the fold, test lines and make sure clients can get through to anybody on staff.

2) Speaking of hiring newcomers, don’t forget to make changes to your automated directory to reflect new hires and remove people no longer working at the office. Make sure everybody has recorded an away message where applicable, and that emergency numbers are directed to the correct people.

3) If you are set up to have your business line forward to your mobile phone or email, test it regularly. You don’t want to miss an important call while you’re out of the office.

Computer

1) Update anti-virus software programs on all computers as needed. Sometimes it doesn’t take much for a rogue virus to cause problems for everybody.

2) Test connections and servers periodically to ensure the Internet works quickly for everybody. There’s nothing more irritating than slow page loads when you’re trying to get work done.

3) Test e-mail filters to make sure all spam messages are held at bay. Also check to see that messages you would typically whitelist aren’t being sent to your junk folders.

It is always a good idea to look at your business telecommunications from the point of view of a potential client. Take the time to test phone calls and e-mails into the system, and listen for any anomalies with the voice directory or voice mail. Listen, too, for interference over the phone line and send test e-mails to yourself and note how quickly they get to your inbox. Inspect your equipment with regularity and you are less likely to have problems, particularly with clients.

T1 Lines – Why Your Business May Need One

While you may know what a T1 or T3 line is, not every business owner knows what the everyday uses are for this technology. In this article we will discuss real-world issues within different industries that a T1/T3/OC-3 line is effective for the everyday business. Hopefully this will help you better understand the practical uses for these lines and help you make a better informed decision on your future data/voice line leasing.

Point of Sale Transactions

In the retail, restaurant, and hospitality environment amongst others, the point of sale transaction is considered probably the most vital moment between customer and business. It signals the success of a sale, the precise point where a business moves forward with profitable revenue. It is during this moment in time, a reliable method of transacting that sale is an absolute necessity.

Even more importantly is how these point of sale transactions are made these days. Debit, credit, and payroll cards make up the majority of the sales and all require a method to transmit the financial data to complete the transaction.

A T1 or T3 line is important for POS due not only to the capability to have multiple ports for simultaneous sales registers, but due to the reliability. Reliability is crucial and these lines, when properly leased from the proper Tier One carriers, typically offer 99.9% up-time. DSL lines, some advertised cheap shady lines, or oversold burstable lines (sometimes even sold as T1).

Take note, some smaller mom and pop establishments have been known to use dial-up still. You most definitely will recall if you were transacting at such an establishment had you ever been forced to wait 5 minutes to complete your purchase. T1, T3, and OC-3 lines run many times faster and are far more reliable, period.

Office and Retail Communications

Other than point of sale transactions, many times these same businesses will also require Internet access for desktop computers as well as voice communications for phones lines. Due to the “integrated” option with these lines, a business can have their checkout stand, office computer, and phone lines all run from the same line.

In other case scenarios, a business may be a call center or a business that has more than one office or cubicle. In these everyday scenarios the lines will be used for either 24 phone lines via a T1, or a variable split for Internet and business phones. Larger businesses and enterprises will more than likely deploy a T3, OC-3, but can end up needing even more phone lines and/or bandwidth depending on employee size. In large capacity cases solutions may include OC-12, OC-48, and OC-192 circuits.

Banks and Government

Lately, a newer business telecommunications product has come into play called MPLS, an improved alternative to VPN. While many businesses wanting private data transfers in between their branches utilize MPLS, this is not the case for highly sensitive information that banks, financial institutions, or government agencies.

Point to point T1 lines become necessary for absolute network security. What makes this the most secure connection is that the line or lines are physically run from location A to location B. MPLS is a cloud based solution that has high security, but in some certain instances, it is the need for the highest secure Extranet that is of the most importance. Information to pass through these lines can be client’s social security numbers, customer account numbers, or even military war plans to government officials. Other common terms for a point-to-point can be PTP, P2P, or what is called a dedicated line. These kind of lines can be extremely expensive, but to the institutions and agencies involved, are worth every penny.

While we did not cover every use for a T1 line, this should give you a better idea as to how a T1 line can come into play for your business. Other uses gaining popularity or are already there would be server hosting, videoconferencing, business VoIP, public Wi-Fi access (coffee shops, airports, etc.), streaming security cameras, and more.

Market Research – A Key Business Strategy Tool

Market research is very important for any company which values their customers; their product research as well as continued development. This can be described as any kind of structured effort to accumulate specifics for the different markets or consumers’ practices. It could be asserted that this is an essential component for any business strategy. However, this term must not be mixed up with marketing research, as this is something entirely different.

Market research is actually the key aspect to secure advantage over the competition. This practice will provide vital information in order to identify and evaluate the market requirements, competition and size. These are all factors essential for product development and developing a strategy which benefits both the consumers and the company. Becoming familiar with the most effective methodologies and practices in the market will be essential to develop a great product.

In order to get the most from this business strategy, it is very important for you to implement the best methods which are confirmed by scientific studies and research. Implementing these practices could guarantee you the absolute best results for your business. Whether it is a pharmaceutical business, telecommunications, biotechnology or manufacturing industry, efficient marketing techniques and brand management will be the key for success.

Besides that, consulting experts on development and research will prove to be important when it comes to gaining a competitive advantage. It is possible to improvise your merchandise depending on the research results and avert virtually any market downfalls. Carrying out your own research might be high-risk, since you will not have the know-how to assess and compare the different marketing strategies.

A product launch needs to be in accordance with informative data. Give some thought to what your competition have tried out before and determine if similar principles could be integrated in your kind of business. There are experts who can guide you to develop successful marketing campaigns and also identify your prospective market that will help to guarantee business success.