Remote working is often a concept that has been hijacked in recent years to mean working from home. And whilst that is true and there are many benefits to being able to provide a remote working solution for those staff members, often the root cause of where it all started from is overlooked.

Remote working actually dates back almost a century and can be found in the days of travelling salespeople. This people would often be on the road for long periods of time travelling up and down the country in the days when everything took longer. Communication was done by telegraph and by mail, to ensure the team was processing orders as quickly as possible.

Fast forward to today when field sales teams are still in abundance but the speed of communication and being able to process information and instructions has significantly increased. The tools which the teams use today need greater flexibility.

Imagine a theoretical but fairly typical day for these people.

5 am                Drive to Networking event

7am                 Networking event

9.30am            First face to face meeting of the day

10.30am          Catch up on emails

11am               Second client in the same area

12.30pm          Lunch

1pm                 Drive to next meeting

2pm                 Third client meeting

3pm                 Drive Home

4.30pm            Catch up on emails and process orders from the day

Now timings aside this does make up the general day of most people who work in sales, from your 1-man bands to your big corporates. The hardest part of these type of days is being able to process information and respond to people during the day the more productive and successful the day the more a sales person can feel like the end of the day just drags on. Likewise, the flexibility to respond to changes to the day and still maintain productivity can be restrictive.

Let’s say the second meeting was cancelled and was rearranged for another day. If you used a UC tool that second meeting could be done over the internet of a video conference and the presentation being delivered in that capacity. This would reduce costs of travel and travel time for the rearranged appointment and still gives you valuable facetime with the prospect.

Now that’s just looking at it from a micro level reaction. Now imagine if all of those meetings were done via video conference, without the need for the prospect needing to download software. The time squandered travelling from one location would be cut down as well as the cost of each journey. The day will end up looking more like this:

5 am                Drive to Networking event

7am                 Networking event

9.30am            First Video conference of the day

10.30am          Catch up on emails

11am               Second Video conference of the day

12.30pm          Lunch

1pm                 Third Video conference of the day

2.15pm            Fourth Video conference of the day

3.30pm            Fifth Video conference of the day     

4.30pm            Catch up on emails and process orders from the day

The ability to reduce wasted travel time and then the cost of travel from your business could have significant impacts on your bottom line both in terms of reducing expenses but by also improving the productivity of your salesperson’s time. Put that into play as an exercise for one day a week for the calendar year and the impact could be as follows:

Assuming the following:

Salesperson has 4 weeks holiday.

48 working weeks in the year

Average daily travel cost £25

Additional 2 sales meetings

  1. Just using these numbers, we can see that we can save the business £1,200 in travel costs. And we can have 96 additional sales meetings.
  • Using some standard sales conversion figures. Say we converted 30% of all meetings and the average sale value was £10,000 per year. That would equate to an additional £288,000 of lost revenue under the traditional salesman routine.

Now whilst the figures are theoretical these processes can be adapted to every organisation. Ignoring lost revenue surely the savings in travel cost are worth considering for a small business, particularly if you look at the current cost of your phone bill. Most telecoms supply costs about £20 – £30 per user per month (including broadband). Most Unified Communications solution would push the worst-case scenario to £35 per User per month. This marginal increased cost would be offset against savings of approximately £100 a month.

So, an increase in existing costs or probably £5 per user with savings of £100 a month per salesperson. And that’s before you consider increased productivity and the impact on sale revenue.

Worth considering?

If you’d like to find out more please get in touch with chris@edisonnetworks.net for a free consultation and we can work with you to show the financial impact on your organisation

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Organisational behaviour varies on an individual basis and creates individual barriers to adoption of new technology.

 A bit too much jargon in there which might confuse some, but in essence we are saying that whether a person chooses to use new technology comes down to their individual working practices.

These practices can be defined by a number of factors and in this blog,  we try and explain some of the contributing factors that make it hard for businesses to bring in technology like Unified Communications.

  1. Age      Often overlooked when people are looking at new technology is the age of the individuals using it. We often forget that the workforce is made up of different generations and some of what the youngest employees take for granted has only been in existence in the last 10 years. Employees who are nearing retirement age at 65 today will have seen the biggest disruption to their working practices and often will embed themselves into technology that enable them to do their job, although that phrase is consistent with every age group

But consider the fact that most 65-year olds saw computers and landline telephones as the new technology they adopted. This became their bread and butter. As such they’ve struggled with mobile phones, Smart Phones, and WhatsApp. They often take comfort in desktop technology like PCs and deskphones.

Compare that with Millennials, who were brought up using software through a variety of different devices from watches through to smart phones.

Whilst these differences in age and use of technology aren’t critical it plays a defining role in how each of those age groups chooses to communicate, how they absorb information and how they feedback. And this is where we see the success or failure of adopting new technology. Spending time making individuals feel comfortable using technology often produces greater success. This can often mean seeding the technology over time to change those working practices. Giving people everything straight away can often create its own barriers.

  • Industry          There are some industries where the need to change to Unified Communications is just not worthwhile the exercise. Particularly in the manufacturing industry the majority of the employees probably don’t engage in two-way communication to do their job. That is not to say that technology hasn’t changed their job and the way they receive instructions has probably become digital either through tablets or other devices. Primarily it is a one-way instruction with an acknowledgement by return. The need is often just not there.
  • Job Role          Similarly there are job roles that don’t naturally involve elements like video conferencing and online presentations. As a tendency these are primarily use by Sales, Marketing and IT teams. Teams like Finance and Operations have less external requirement for these tools and as such they are unlikely to be used often.
  • Working Environment           As the workplace changes so does the working requirements on the Users. With increasing frequency businesses are now enabling staff to work flexibly and/or work remotely. Where staff are more centralised to offices adoption on wider departments is less likely. However, in environments where there is more remote working there is a greater need to use the tools Unified Communications can offer to enable a more constructive, collaborative environment.

There are other influences that can affect an individual’s behaviours, but these tend to be more about the individual and their personal desires; an early adopter of new technology can be any age. The ones we have listed tend to be the generic influences that a business can change.

We’ve worked with businesses to phase in new technology, a gradual more organic adoption, often working with Change teams to implement strategies for adoption and engagement.

If you’d like to know more about how we can help you, feel free to get in touch with chris@edisonnetworks.net

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The world is changing.

The ways we work today will be gone tomorrow.

Communication services will be at the heart of how we make this change and when.

The rate of change however will vary because businesses and their employees are creatures of habit, and as the saying goes old habits die hard.

Emails first came into circulation during the 1960s and 70s. By 2000 it could be argued that everybody had an email address. Emails should have been the death of the fax machine, and yet when I founded Edison in 2013 we were still having conversations with customers about a fax line.

Several factors contributed to that, and primarily the speed of broadband and the processing power of computers were the factors that held back the transition. And yet even today I still find people with business cards that have fax numbers on them and when asked if they actually use it then response comes back that yeah every so often with a particular supplier / customer that still wants to work that way.

In the same vein VoIP technology has been readily available about the last 20 years and yet the rate of adoption has only really started to happen in the last 8 years. Again, the critical restrictions on this growth were from the poor broadband speeds. Providers like Gamma started offering work arounds that while effective were certainly expensive for the end customer. And yet for the most part broadband speeds are acceptable today, why are there still so many providers tied to fixed landline solutions?

Because despite where we are today, early adopters got burned by fancy new technology and will never consider using it again, and others have been scared off by the stories they have heard. And this even though for most businesses today it would provide the significantly cheaper solution.

So where does this leave Unified Communications and why should businesses even care about moving to this new technology even though they might have only just switched to VoIp?

Put simply the world has changed. Decision making within businesses have changed. Employee behaviour has changed. Unified Communications hasn’t been driven by the providers; they’ve been driven by the Users.

To start off with I think it’s important to understand what Unified Communications is before we go any further, because knowing what it is might go some way to explaining why business should look at this product seriously.

Unified Communications is nothing new, it is an evolution. An evolution of several products that have merged into a single solution. For many years now services like Powwownow (audio conferencing), GoToMeeting (presentation and slideshare conferencing) and Zoom (video conferencing) have been common place, perhaps not under their current brands but definitely in one form or another. At the same time various businesses use a form of chat or collaboration solution like Slack, Yammer or Teams. The biggest change driver being WhatsApp in this space.

Unified Communications is the amalgamation of all of these into a single solution often with a VoIP telecoms solution as the front end. The idea being that why have a series of different licences with different providers and different management and control sites.

Most businesses today are using more than one of these solutions and more often than not, they either are unaware of what their staff are using, or they have no control over what their staff are using.

For years technology used to drive change and yet today change is being driven by the demand of the users. Technology used to lead the way and wait for the user to catch up. Today the user is demanding the change and waiting for technology to catch up.

But as a conclusion to this particular blog and referencing the earlier examples I provided; Users behaviours are not identical. User behaviour varies across age groups, generations, industry, demographic and the individual appetite of the end user. Just because a business has certain tools available might make very little impact on whether an individual user will actually use the solution to its fullest capacity.

A business needs to understand how their staff are working and then define how they want them to work. Then and only then work with suppliers in how to bring about that change. At that is where Edison Networks come in. We provide consultation services for business to help them transition to a new way of work.

If you’d like to know more about how we can help you, feel free to get in touch with chris@edisonnetworks.net

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