Last week, I had an opportunity to attend an event for small and medium-sized businesses. It was an amazing experience. The business leaders there shared a passion for their solutions and a desire to take their companies to the next level and “make it big”. In a technology-enabled world, the features and functionalities of a product or service typically do not provide a sustainable competitive advantage. It’s certainly possible to grow a company if planned well. So why do only a few small businesses succeed in “making it big”? What differentiates companies and how do certain small companies become large enterprises?
The answer lies in understanding the end-customer behavior of such businesses. Typically, small companies expand based on their initial customers, who become their “brand ambassadors”. This is especially true with social media. Typical buying behavior no longer depends only on a supplier’s marketing activity. It’s largely driven by word-of-mouth from happy or unhappy customers.
Total Customer Experience
Customers engage your business at multiple touchpoints – far more than ever before. And in the end, the total customer experiences across those touchpoints makes them happy or unhappy (Figure 1).
Figure 1 – Connecting the customer journey
The “Total Customer Experience” for a particular customer becomes Read More »
Tags: Cisco Unified Contact Center, collaboration, contact center, customer collaboration, midsize business, omnichannel, small business, smb
The World energy demand will be 41% higher in 2035 with India and China accounting for half the growth.
The development of renewable energy sources ranks as a key responsibility for the top economies in the world. India, as one of the top 5 emitters of greenhouse gasses, has prioritized the development of renewable energy resources.
Read More on how this Indian agency deployed a network that promotes energy conservation below.
Read More »
Tags: Cisco, Green, innovation, midmarket, midsize business, network, renewable energy, security, small business, technology, unified communications
The Internet of Everything will connect 50 billion things by 2020.
Your midsize business needs to stay ahead of potential security risks.
Are you ready?
Previously, I wrote about the importance of driving success for midsize businesses. Today I am focusing on security and BYOD for midsize companies.
Are you fully aware of all of the people and devices on your network? Has your business begun implementing BYOD? Read More »
Tags: byod, byod security, Internet of Everything, IoE, midsize business, midsize business solutions, security
I’m happy to announce a new resource for companies with 100-1,000 employees: the Cisco Midsize Business Solutions website. Built for midsize IT and business leaders, it discusses current market influences and top challenges with insights on how to address them. With solutions, case studies, videos, and tools, it provides these leaders with the information they need to grow their business.
One of the top focus areas on the website is the infrastructure. A strong IT infrastructure is important to the success of any business. The infrastructure is how we get the applications we need to do our jobs. It’s how we collaborate with our co-workers, partners, and customers. It’s how we access the data we need when and where we need it. When it comes to midsized businesses, it’s the key to growth. Read More »
Tags: business leaders, infrastructure, IT, midsize business, midsize business solutions, Solutions
Here are some helpful tips for choosing the right network technical support plan that can save you time, money and customers.
As a business owner, your top priorities are to grow your business, increase your employees’ efficiency, and serve your customers better. On top of that, small and medium-sized businesses like yours are looking to leverage a sophisticated IT network without dedicated or limited IT staff to support these goals. If this sounds like your business, you understand how increasingly reliant your company has become on your network.
As you realize the impact your network has on your success, you may also recognize the need to maintain the health of your network so that it’s always on and available for employees to connect, collaborate, and communicate with colleagues and customers alike. Network downtime can cost your business plenty in decreased productivity, tarnished reputation, and lost revenue. According to Infonetics Research, unplanned network downtime costs companies an average of 3.6% of their revenue every year. And this doesn’t even include potential damage to your reputation. In addition, dealing with unplanned IT network problems can also be very demanding on your IT staff, and time consuming.
There is a solution: If you want to reduce business-halting network downtime and stop reactively responding to IT network problems, consider purchasing a technical support plan or services from your solution provider, which can help you save time and money. A support plan gives you access to expert technical support engineers who can quickly resolve network issues, minimizing the time your network is down. Faster problem resolution and a more stable network also means your employees can stay productive. Finally, services offered by your solution provider may include additional services such as ongoing remote monitoring for proactive network management, helping to anticipate issues before they affect your business.
So before you make your decision regarding the plan that’s right for you, consider these factors when deciding which support plan best meets your needs.
- Technical support. For companies looking to support new technologies while saving time and money on ongoing maintenance, a technical support plan may be the solution. These plans often provide such features as phone and online support, software updates, and hardware replacement if needed, like the Cisco Small Business Support Service. Some technical support plans like Cisco SMARTnet also offer more direct, anytime (24×7) access to support engineers to quickly resolve any network issues that may occur. Talk to your Cisco partner who can help to evaluate your current and near-future needs and determine which option is best for you.
- Proactive IT service. Like large businesses, many smaller companies rely heavily on their network as a strategic advantage to serve customers, suppliers, and vendors around-the-clock—the network is their business. However, these companies often don’t have the in-house IT resources necessary to implement new technologies, let alone provide round-the-clock monitoring and rapid resolution should a problem arise. If this sounds familiar, your company would benefit from working with a managed service provider who offers more comprehensive services—one that provides real-time monitoring and alerting, troubleshooting, performance optimization, and routine maintenance.
Want to learn more about how a consulting firm benefited from Smart Services? Read this case study
Whether your company has 15 employees or 600, a support contract and your partner’s services can help ensure the reliability and security of your network so you can focus on your core business. To find a partner who can guide you, visit the Cisco partner locator
What features do you look for when evaluating support plans?
Tags: managed services, midsize business, service contract, small business, support plan