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A White Paper Study
Unified Communications [³UC´] solutions are, without a doubt, beneficial to business. UC, defined as ³communications integrated to optimize business processes´ represents communication capabilities like integrated messaging including text, presence, video conferencing, call control, and even cheap toll calling and the ability to integrate decentralized and mobile offices and workers. A subset to UC, Voice over Internet Protocol or IP Telephony is technology taking your typical phone calls and delivering them via the Internet rather than depending on the traditional telephone network. Though the technology is proven and the benefits significant and tangible, Small/Medium Businesses [SMBs] are rarely equipped to execute such solutions. The SMB market, defined in 2005 as a company with less than 500 employees, represents 99.9% of the 25.8 million businesses in the United States.1 Such businesses simply lack the money and IT staff to evaluate, purchase and implement the types of equipment and services that are inherent in modern VoIP solutions. Because of such, 70% of SMBs indicate that they would prefer a hosted solution to a premise-based one. 2 Businesses, as a whole have been slow to incorporate UC components as compared to consumers. The most common reasons cited for such a disparity have been ³poor marketing and a lack of education.´3 This is particularly acute in the SMB market, where there is a lack of awareness and confidence in VoIP, a barrier to entry because of higher price points for the equipment necessary to implement such solutions, and a general lack of convenient distribution for SMBs to acquire the needed technology.4 SMBs, which make up the vast majority of businesses, would utilize UC solutions, but for the following reasons:
Stuart Basefsky and Sean Sweeney, Employment Relations in SMEs: The United States, Cornell School of Industrial and Labor Relations.
Colin Beasty, SMBs Dial Up VoIP, December 7, 2005, Destination CRM.com, http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/CRM-News/Daily-News/SMBs-Dial-Up-VoIP-42360.aspx Christopher Musico, VoIP Penetration Steadily Increases, May 28, 2009, Destination CRM.com, http://www.destinationcrm.com/Articles/CRM-News/Daily-News/VoIP-Penetration-Steadily-Increases-53940.aspx David H. Yedwab, 2008, The Year for SMP VoIP, February 22, 2008, TMC.net. http://smart-datacenters.tmcnet.com/topics/trends/articles/21411-2008-year-smb-voip.htm
y y y y y
The inability to technically implement and support such solutions Poor marketing and lack of education Lack of confidence in the technology (and one might surmise, the provider) High cost of entry Lack of a convenient and cost effective product distribution system
One would think that if a company could conquer these challenges, it would be an overwhelming success. The overarching question is why hasn¶t this happened?
What In It For the SMBs? A recent study suggested that the average SMB could be wasting $524,469 annually as a result of communications difficulties, well defined as latency and barriers surrounding everyday business process and collaboration.5 Ignoring these problems leads to higher operating costs, unsatisfied clients, and competitive disadvantages.6 As a further complication, this business market is changing ± over half of the study¶s SMB respondents consider themselves as ³mobile workers.´ 7 As a result, one might conclude that effective communication and collaboration would be of paramount importance, yet fragmented communication systems become the foremost barrier to assisting these workers and their companies.8 In fact, the study identified five main pain points that interrupt and prevent effective communication. 1. Inefficient Coordination. Companies have (a) difficulty in organizing communication among team members, affecting the ability to respond quickly to time sensitive customer requests and (b) time efficiency wasted in attempting to coordinate intra-team communication. 2. Waiting for Information. The delay in waiting for requests and responses for information from others is a big time waster and negatively affects critical business processes. 3. Unwanted Communication. A real time drain, unwanted communication, from low-priority calls to voice mail creates distractions and disrupts workflow, leading to lower productivity and missed deadlines.
SIS International Research, SMB Communications Pain Study White Paper: Uncovering the hidden cost of communication barriers and latency. March 10, 2009. http://www.marketintelligences.com/industrial-b2bjournal/2009/3/10/smb-communications-pain-study-white-paper-uncovering-the-hid.html
Id. Id. Id.
4. Customer Complaints. The inability of clients to reach the right person in a timely manner not only negatively affects the business client relationship, but also leads to a loss of productivity. 5. Barriers to Collaboration. The ability to set up collaboration sessions is not only frustrating, but also represents a real productivity loss. This is even more acute when applicable to the vast numbers of mobile workers.9 Therefore, greater worker productivity, a better client experience, and real dollar savings await the SMB that wades into the UC waters. But enterprise-sized companies have spent billions of dollars and countless man-hours reaching for the benefits of UC. The cost of implementing a solution can easily be assumed by such organizations which are rich in manpower and able to more easily bear the cost. In contrast, while SMBs might identify with the problems that this SIS study detailed, they have been unable or unwilling to attempt any resolutions because of simple technical inability or financial cost. Besides, most SMB owners or managers are simply too busy performing the primary functions of the business to worry too much about UC, VoIP or any other alphabet soup solution.
So What is UC Anyway? So what makes UC something that SMBs should care about? While defined above, UC has become the latest technology buzzword and all the tech companies have jumped on the bandwagon. Why not? CIO¶s are seeing documentable and significant increases in worker productivity and a strong ROI within a year of implementation of such a system.10 Benefits such as quicker response to sales leads and a streamlined sales process, increased productivity through real time interaction and employee mobility, and an increase in collaboration and idea-sharing make UC adoption seem like an easy decision.11 But what does UC mean in the ³real world,´ away from technical jargon and hyperbole? Here¶s a case study that illustrates the power of UC in an SMB world. Kroma Makeup went from using plain old telephone service lines supplemented by cable Internet access to running all its voice, data and Internet traffic over an integrated T-1, saving money and using unified communications to improve sales. The Maitland, Fla.-based company has expanded its consulting business by using video conferencing to advise clients on what shades of cosmetics they need and it has improved its batting average converting prospects into customers using
Id. CIO s jump on the UC Bandwagon, Communication News, June 2008. http://www.comnews.com/features/2008_june/0608_trends.aspx
Web conferencing to weed out unlikely buyers and focus on hot prospects, says Kroma CEO Chris Tillett. Communications costs have dropped from $12 per day per POTS line plus cable modem access to $60 per month for the T-1 service that carries all of the firm's traffic. Because the gear used is more consolidated, power costs have dipped 10% as well. The company used to mail out brochures and free samples to people who expressed an interest in retailing its custom, natural cosmetics. That cost $4,000 to $10,000 per month with just one in 10 prospects ever filing an order. Now the company walks prospects through the product line via a 15-minute WebEx conference, during which they hear the business pitch as well as learn about technical aspects of the products themselves, Tillett says. The give and take at these meetings provides Tillett a much better sense of how serious the retailers are in selling Kroma products. Those who seem serious prove it by paying $20 to have a sample kit shipped to them, he says, and the company keeps much fewer printed brochures on hand as well. Tillett's wife, Lee, conducts virtual consultations with individuals who use Kroma products via video over WebEx. For example, she can look at a client's images and determine what color foundation makeup they need. She can also teach makeup lessons the same way, expanding the client base she can readily address. Kroma installed a Cisco UC 520 system that blends call processing, voice mail, auto attendant and remote monitoring. It also includes a firewall/VPN, wireless access point and an eight-port power over Ethernet switch. Workers use both IP Communicator softphones as well as Cisco IP handsets to make calls. With the gear, Tillet has configured voice mail to be sent to his e-mail account so he can pull it up and listen to it from his iPhone or anyplace he can access the Internet. With IP Communicator, Tillett can receive calls wherever he is connected to the Internet via a single phone number. The company uses Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) trunking from its carrier Flowroute to receive inbound calls to the Kroma IP phone system, and it is a beta customer of Skype for SIP, using the service to make outbound calls, Tillett says. 12
The above illustration details a small business that takes the technological leap via a capital expenditure for equipment and a willingness to spend more money on experts to help them set it up. The solution that Kroma chose is simply not a system that the business owner can set up themselves. The Cisco solution illustrated is described as a system that a ³reasonably skilled administrator or VARs will be able to get running quickly.´13 So what can a small or medium sized business do if it lacks the technological capability and can¶t afford to go out and hire it?
Tim Greene, Unified Communications making a cosmetics firm look good, NetworkWorld. December 17, 2009. http://www.networkworld.com/news/2009/121709-kroma-makeup-uc.html Product Analysis: Cisco Small Business Communication System, Network Computing, August 10, 2007. http://www.networkcomputing.com/wireless/product-analysis-cisco-small-business-communications-system.php
Tomorrow¶s Forecast: Clouds The concept of cloud computing ± hardware, software, and other IT needs supplied via the Internet on a subscription basis ± is quickly becoming the technology that is allowing SMBs to finally adopt IP Telephony. 14 The theory of cloud computing (also commonly known as ³hosted services´ or ³Software as a Service´ ± SaaS´) has been around in telecom for decades, but it was known by a completely different name ± Centrex. Centrex was invented in the mid-1960s to replace large PBX systems.15 The phone company used its own central office equipment to switch calls instead of a premise-based PBX to the job.16 Because there was a limited need for telecom equipment on site and literally no need for a company to have its own telecommunications expertise, Centrex was the one of the first enumerations of cloud computing.17 With a low capex requirement, Centrex was greatly scalable, had a low risk of ownership because obsolescence was the problem of the phone company provider, and allowed the business enterprise to link separate locations easily.18 The problems with Centrex are that there has always been a cost question (Centrex has been traditionally distance-from-the-Central Office oriented) and a lack of control as the feature capabilities are determined by the phone company and the state regulators.19 Today¶s new cloud computing takes the inherent advantages of Centrex, maximizes them, and virtually eliminates the disadvantages. Most of all, a VoIP solution is cheaper in and of itself as compared to traditional Centrex and offers much greater user flexibility.20 This has led Central Office-based Centrex services, in a ³can¶t beat them, join them´ move, to rebrand and restyle itself as ³IP Centrex,´ with the service no
Jack Zubarev, Helping Small Business Use the Cloud, Sept 2, 2010, Forbes.com. http://www.forbes.com/2010/09/01/software-small-business-technology-parallels.html?partner=telecom_newsletter
Centrex , Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centrex Id.
The Cloud Today, Conversif.com. January 23, 2010. http://thecloudtoday.blogspot.com/2010/01/cloud-computingcentrex-they-both-star.html Chapter 4: Voice Communications Systems: PBX, ACD, Centrex, and KTS, Doktertomi.com, April 19, 2008. http://www.doktertomi.com/2008/04/19/chapter-4-voice-communications-systems-pbx-acd-centrex-and-kts-page-nine/ Id.
Phil Hochmuth, VoIP converts say good riddance to Centrex, ComputerWorld, September 20, 2006. http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9003487/VoIP_converts_say_good_riddance_to_Centrex
longer geographically based in a telecom switching center, but rather in a computer data center.21 Beyond historical Centrex comparisons, cloud telephony has advantages over the traditional standard of premise based phone equipment as well, whether it is a PBX or KTS. The idea of a personalized, customized telephone switchboard in the sky sounds almost heaven-sent. In many ways, it is. Cloud telephony offers tremendous advantages for SMBs: (a) lower opex as they don¶t demand a lot of user attention or resource and they don¶t need a dedicated IT specialist to set up and maintain it and (b) lower capex because the amount of equipment needed is limited and therefore very little capital outlay is necessary.22 So what could UC, in the form of cloud telephony, do for the typical SMB? Imagine the common small or medium sized business. Maybe they bought a key system or a small PBX a number of years ago. They probably haven¶t given this telecom vehicle a great deal of thought since shortly after the day it was installed. The chosen system might have been ³feature-rich´ when the company purchased it, but they probably use a fraction of the capabilities now because either no one remembers what the system will do, or if they know, they don¶t know how to get it to do it. With a cloud-based, UC solution [³CBUCS´] the most obvious advantage would be that the SMB would actually be receiving a tangible return on its investment. Advanced feature functionality, such as find-me/follow-me, mobility, presence, uniform messaging, collaboration, cost effective networking of geographically-disparate offices and click-tocall (or email or IM) is easily provided. As pointed out previously, such a solution would not become obsolete or be subject to ³rip-and-replace´ because the technology is in the cloud, or ³behind the curtain,´ and therefore the responsibility of the provider who bears all such risk. Quite honestly, there is little equipment for the user to replace anyway. Finally, set up would be simple and maintenance even easier. Even more telling, full utilization of the service would be ensured by a cloud-based UC solution because the leaned provider delivers the services that the customer actually needs. For the SMB user, such advanced telecom technology becomes, like flipping a switch or turning on a tap, a utility. Or to coin a phrase, telecom technology implemented via a cloud-based UC solution represents, for the SMB, a ³technutility.´
Matthew Nickasch, Strategize 2009: Hosted and Cloud Telephony, NetworkWorld, January 12, 2009. http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/37159 Cloud Telephony: The Battle Over SMBs, Heavy Reading. http://www.heavyreading.com/entvoip/details.asp?sku_id=2485&skuitem_itemid=1226&promo_code=&aff_code=&next _url=%2Fentvoip%2Fsearch%2Easp%3F
Marketing Technutility to SMBs Approximately 12% of small businesses and 24% of medium-sized businesses currently use software as a service.23 However, this number is growing quickly as SMBs, ³companies with less-complex IT needs, legacy applications, and less IT support than larger enterprises are happy to hand over delivery and operation of IT to third parties, freeing SMBs to focus on running their business.´24 In fact, companies with fewer than 250 employees are more than twice as likely as larger companies to adopt subscription or on-demand technology services.25 This is a huge consideration rate, and the actual quantity of businesses moving this direction is especially large when one considers the sheer number of SMBs. So the question of the hour is naturally how any company that sells UC services present its product to the SMB marketplace? It¶s quite a challenge. SMBs are all around us, but this market is extremely fractured and direct marketing to them is very difficult ± there are so many of them that it gives them a ³can¶t see the forest for the all the trees´ characteristic. Even though the SMB is prevalent, they are widely dispersed and the technological concept is new so they don¶t have an established buying pattern. To be successful, technology marketers will have to segment the SMB marketplace, using a myriad of distribution channels including ³feet on the street,´ value added resellers, outbound telemarketing, and online portals.26 Nevertheless, there are some possibilities for selling the idea of technutility that CBUCs provide:
A. The traditional telecom service providers. Eighty percent of SMBs purchase Internet access and 65% purchase local and long-distance telephone service from cable and telephone network companies.27 The majority of these customers is satisfied with this arrangement and is more likely than not to buy advanced services from them.28 Surely, this is an obvious edge to the service
Susan J. Campbell, Cloud Hosting Market Expected to Expand as SMBs Look to SaaS Solutions, Hostway, September 7, 2010. http://www.tmcnet.com/channels/cloud-hosting/articles/100048-cloud-hosting-market-expected-expand-assmbs-look.htm Stuart Taylor, Andy Young, and James Macaulay, Small Business Ride The Cloud: SMB Cloud Watch U. S. Survey Results. Cisco (whitepaper). February, 2010. http://www.cisco.com/web/about/ac79/docs/pov/SMB_Cloud_Watch_FINAL_FINAL_021810.pdf
25 24 23
Michele Pelino, Five Keys To SMB Telecom Service Marketing Success, Forrester Research, August 30, 2007. http://www.forrester.com/rb/Research/five_keys_to_smb_telecom_service_marketing/q/id/43025/t/2
Id. Small Business Ride the Cloud, at page 8.
providers and those companies that provide outsourced services to them. However, for a new company providing CBUCS, the market is quickly approaching a saturation point because most telecom service providers already have arrangements to provide their own ³home-grown´ services or have made arrangements to offload the provisions to these services to other outside firms. Quite simply the large players stifle smaller companies to enter the market by their greater scale, resources, and price flexibility.29 B. Selling through value added resellers (VARs). ³Feet on the street´ is important in any sales effort and IT service VARs are already out there.30 But, like any salesperson, VARs are interested, first and foremost, in prospects and customers that offer economy of scale ± accounts that offer the most money. In contrast, the fragmented SMB marketplace is full of ³a whole bunch of small´ accounts and therefore has been largely ignored by VARs. However, this trend is shifting as the SMB market awakens. Eighty percent of small IT VARs have already sold a VoIP solution and practically every VAR has an interest in this marketplace.31 The challenge with VARs, and for that matter, any independent company that is working in agency, is that you can never be certain of their allegiance. C. Build your own sales force. Independent sales agents, like VARs, can be a cost effective method to getting a product to the street.32 This cost savings comes with a cost ± you lose a good deal of control over the agent, you can never gain unwavering allegiance, and if you terminate their contract, they might take your clients with them. 33 Building your own sales force obviously overcomes these shortcomings ± but at a price. Hiring, training, and equipping your sales force
Nathan Eddy, Telecom Service Providers Emerge as Key SMB Cloud Players, eWeek.com, September 24, 2010. http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Midmarket/Telecom-Service-Providers-Emerge-as-Key-SMB-Cloud-Players-275241/ Alan Earls, Are value-added resellers (VARs) and SMBs best friend? SearchSMBStorage.com, July 12, 2010. http://searchsmbstorage.techtarget.com/news/article/0,289142,sid188_gci1515544,00.html Small IT VARS Interested in VoIP, SMB Nation Survey Says, ChannelPartnersConference.com, June 16, 2010. http://www.channelpartnersconference.com/hotnews/small-it-vars-voip-smb-nation.html
Selling By Independent Agents, Marketing Resources. http://www.bizmove.com/marketing/m2w.htm Id.
costs time and money. If they fail to produce, it hurts your business in two ways ± lost revenue inherent in their failure and the cost of having to start over with someone else. Of course, there are a number of different ³varieties´ of a sales force, from the ³freemium´ model (where you give product away in order to cross- or up-sales later), no-touch self-service (think simple website commerce), light-touch, inside sales (add a inside rep to answer question), high-touch, inside sales (outbound telemarketing, technical support, multiple calls), and finally field sales reps (and possibly field sales engineers in support).34 The more complex the model, the more expensive it is, with the field sales force being exponentially the most expensive. 35 If the objective is a low cost of acquisition, putting together your own sales force may not offer the most cost or time effective method. D. Establish technology franchises. When most people say the word ³franchise,´ they think ³fast food.´ No doubt, most of the burger joints you pass every day are franchises. The model is widespread because it provides common name recognition among the franchisees, is based on a proven idea, combines and centralizes marketing, provides bulk purchasing power, and supplies standardized (and proven) training and management. 36 Franchising usually gives exclusive territory rights and might even present easier financing possibilities. 37 Of course, there are downsides to franchising ± higher possible costs, business restrictions, not to mention that the franchisor could go out of business or that the product or service could get a bad reputation.38 Of course, this is not to mention the fact that franchising entails a contractual relationship between parties that are not typically in equal bargaining position.39
David Skok, How Sales Complexity Impacts Your Startup s Viability, forEntrepreneurs.com, April 1, 2010. http://www.forentrepreneurs.com/sales-complexity/
Advantages and disadvantages of franchises, Small Business Bible. http://www.smallbusinessbible.org/advantages&disadvantages.html
Buy a Franchise, BusinessLink. http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?itemId=1073791408&type=RESOURCES
Id. Advantages and disadvantages Id.
Franchising is a popular business model ± in practically everything but technology. There are a number of wireless telecom franchises,40 computer and IT maintenance franchises, and Internet provider franchises.41 But, there are few, if any CBUCS-type franchises. The reason is simple. Until now, the technology was such that you had to have very specialized knowledge to market the technological product. Quite simply, you had to be technically inclined and IT trained, therefore not just anyone could do it. However, this has now changed. With a high-tech service being supported by the cloudowner franchiser, why couldn¶t the field-sales-franchisee be turned loose to do the street pounding sales portion of the business? The model seems to fit perfectly of the idea of a ³man/woman and his/her briefcase;´ an individual who would be the face of the technology company to local businesses and who would own and build a business that would create a continuing and important revenue stream for the franchiser and franchisee. If a CBUCS provider were to franchise the model, what would the average franchisee look like? A study has shown that folks who own franchises are typically between 35 and 55 years old, be college educated, have some financial ability to purchase the franchise but might require some outside financing, and becoming from a career in middle to upper corporate management where stress, career uncertainty, and lack of advancement has led them to go out on their own.42 As the franchisor, the CBUCS provider would obviously provide all the technical know-how, craft a cogent value message that franchisee¶s could utilize, but most importantly, listen to the field franchisees and build the business together.43
For Entrepreneurs Franchise Opportunities Telecom Franchises, Gaebler.com. http://www.gaebler.com/TelecomFranchises.htm Computer, Internet, and Technology Franchise Opportunities, Franchise Leader. http://www.franchiseleader.com/franchise-industry.asp?fcId=6 Ken Hollowell, Who Is the Ideal Franchisee, kenhollowell.com, http://www.kenhollowell.com/articles/WHO%20IS%20THE%20IDEAL%20FRANCHISEE.pdf
Michael Hemenway, Qualities to Look for in a Franchisor, http://www.evancarmichael.com/Franchises/654/Qualitiesto-Look-for-in-a-Franchisor.html
An Undiscovered Country In 1962, Wal-Mart opened its first store and initially expanded methodically by utilizing its distribution channel and rural area dominance.44 It has risen from this humble beginning to be the largest company in the world.45 A quarter of all Americans live in rural areas.46 While SMBs have generally missed the VoIP revolution, rural SMBs have been categorically ignored as they use far less technology than their urban counterparts do. 47 A full 68% of rural businesses still use analog telephone lines, which is 30% more than urban businesses.48 One problem with rural business obtaining CBUCS-type services has been the lack of broadband, a necessary requisite. However, this obstacle is being overcome ± the overall rural penetration rate for broadband is now 75%.49 Therefore, for the nascent CBUCS provider, secondary markets which are represented by more rural America, symbolize a possible, less-competitive yet viable market. By selling in this ³undiscovered country,´ a new provider could gain a foothold in the marketplace using this ³hit-them-where-theyain¶t´ strategy.
Utilization of Social Networks Networking is not new, in fact, the precursors to what we consider social networks began in the late 1800s.50 It was then that sociologists began to note that interaction between individuals was greater in ramified, loosely-knit networks rather than formal groups.51
Kenneth Stone, Impact of the Wal-Mart Phenomenon on Rural Communities, Iowa State University - Increasing Understanding of Public Problems and Policies - 1997, Farm Foundation, Chicago, IL. http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/faculty/stone/10yrstudy.pdf
Global 500, Fortune, May, 2010.
Advancing Rural America, United States Small Business Administration. http://www.sba.gov/advo/research/rural_sb.html Rural SMBs get VoIP Shaft, Infixion Media, quoting a Yankee Group study VoIP to SMBs or Risk Irrelevance. http://export.imix.co.za/node/51087
RLECs Must Have a Plan to Introduce
ComScore: Rural Broadband Penetration Rate Growing, FierceTelecom. August 20, 2009. http://www.fiercetelecom.com/story/comscore-rural-broadband-penetration-rate-growing/2009-08-20
Social Networking, Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_network Id.
In 2008, 79 million people used a social networking website at least once a month and the number is climbing, the vast majority of users are ³spectators,´ who do not create content, but instead consume it.53 The rise of social media has led to a sea change in marketing and advertising, as companies adapt from mass marketing strategies to being adept at ³conversations´ in smaller, niche and people-centric activities.54
Selling using social media is different because it is not a ³traditional´ selling medium. This explains why it doesn¶t work when someone directly pitches their product to members of their social network.55 It always feels heavy-handed. That is so because they are using traditional sales methodology in a non-traditional setting ± almost always a disaster. The social media is a listening platform, not a selling platform.56 It should be used to engage people, grow your network, and give generously.57 Because social networking is a completely different kind of forum, it demands a completely different kind of sales process, one which is much more passive and dependent on the prospect¶s knowledge of the product or service to be practically equal to that of the salesperson.58 In many ways, it resembles a retail model where the idea is to entice the customer into the store and then to help meet their needs via a sales clerk.59 It is easy to see that if social media marketing was incorporated into the sales process of CBUCS, an effective store-front (now known as a website) would be necessary, that the pervasive attitude would be to educate the prospect, and the relationship between the sales force and prospect would be personal. It is not hard to imagine that in this methodology, the concept of traditional, strict geographic territories for sales people or franchisees would become anachronistic.
eMarketer: U.S. Social Network Users to Grow By 44% by 2013, Online Daily Media, February 17, 2009. http://www.mediapost.com/publications/?fa=Articles.showArticle&art_aid=100485
Matthew Ingram, On Social Networks, Most Still Just Like to Watch, quoting a research from Forrester Research, Gigaom, September 28, 2010. http://gigaom.com/2010/09/28/on-social-networks-most-still-just-like-to-watch/ Mike Laurie, How Social Media Has Changed Us, Mashable. http://mashable.com/2010/01/07/social-media-changedus/ Selling With Social Media. Can You Sell Products Using Social Media Networks, SenseAble Selling, January 30, 2010. http://senseableselling.com/selling-with-social-media/
56 55 54
Id. Id. Selling With Social Media, Id. Id.
Conclusion SMBs offer a huge opportunity for purveyors of the latest telecommunications technology. Such businesses are just now awakening to the benefits that this technology can bring. A cloud-based offering, delivering the technology from a centralized location that is staffed with technical expertise, is perfect for companies wishing to reap the promised cost savings and efficiencies without the huge cost expenditures or time and manpower necessities. However, SMBs demand that these advantages be brought to them in a way that makes it simple or familiar, after all, they have a business to run and that business isn¶t managing their technology. Quite literally, SMBs are desirous that this technology be comparable to any commonly used utility. Therefore, such a solution must possess ³technutility.´ Even though the telecom marketplace is filled with giant, well-known companies, a new enterprise could conceptually become a significant business by offering these technologically advanced products and services via a franchise business model, a concept that is celebrated in other industries but not technology. Perhaps too a viable strategy for a brand new CBUCS provider would be to target more rural areas, using local agents or franchisees ± individuals or companies who have obtained local visibility. It is also possible that a combination of social networking and direct selling would establish a new business paradigm is in order. As part of this model, the use of social networking would dictate that this new-millennial-type business model would be truly service-oriented, customerfocused, geographically unbounded, yet personal in nature.
About this White Paper:
Technutility is a telecom and technology consultancy Headquarters: Atlanta, GA Author: Michael A. LeBrun, firstname.lastname@example.org October 1, 2010
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