ICT solutions like Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and other cost-conscious digital technologies must be declared absolute non-negotiables for immediate implementation across all cash-strapped state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

That’s according to independent telco Otel, a longtime provider of digital voice, data, software and hardware solutions.

“Immediate savings of some 45% are routine, for example, when organisations make the switch to IP-based communication, while productivity improves in leaps and bounds when employees get to grips with state-of-the-art digital workplace tools that enable their potential,” says Rad Jankovic, Otel CEO.

Struggling SOEs needn’t continue to drown in a sea of analogue ineffectiveness. ICT, for example, improves internal communications by automating routine tasks and greatly expanding the communications platforms available to staff, transparency is boosted as easy file sharing becomes commonplace and the organisation begins to interact with stakeholders across the most common digital touchpoints that customers actually use.

Otel’s pronouncement follows Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s highlighting of the current liquidity challenges at SOEs during his recent mini budget speech.

“ICT in general and VoIP in particular has the potential to immediately improve the financial position of SOEs by slashing their costs to communicate,” adds Jankovic.

“When the Minister of Finance says SOEs with a poor financial position pose a fiscal risk, all efforts must be made to restructure for better performance. Part of this restructuring is the restructuring of SOE cost bases by implementing proven ICT technology,” he adds.

VoIP is possibly one of the best examples of a digital technology that delivers the twin benefits of high-functionality and low-cost. From enabling videoconferencing and shared-screen sessions, to its immediate positive bottom line effect, VoIP could easily boost productivity across all struggling SOEs that haven’t yet implemented this technology.

VoIP is a connectivity technology that initially found favour for its ability to drastically cut business voice and data communication costs to the bone. Corporate clients operating in our current tight economic climate of 0.7% growth are initially drawn to VoIP’s promise of bottom line savings. However, it is VoIP’s productivity-boosting benefits that could really turn things around at some of the country’s more lacklustre SOEs.

“Clients always say to us they knew this technology enabled additional voice and data services over and above what they had been used to on copper wire, but they never expected the range of VoIP services that now enables them to be so much more productive. SOEs do incredibly important work – why shouldn’t employees there have access to the very latest and best ICT technology?” asks Jankovic.