World Bank data indicates SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) contribute up to 60% of all employment and 40% of all economic growth in emerging economies. In addition, four out of five new jobs globally will soon be generated by SMEs.

“With SMEs occupying such a pivotal position within developing economies such as ours, are we sure the local business community is doing enough to advise start-ups on the latest digital technologies to power their future growth?” asks Huge Networks commercial director, Rad Jankovic.

Part of the listed Huge Group and now incorporating Otel, Huge Networks is a data service provider and communications company with a two-decade history of rolling-out VoIP and other managed ICT solutions that cut costs and enable growth.

An oft-quoted statistic in the start-up community is that only about a quarter of SA entrepreneurs use the very latest available technology in their early-stage businesses.

“State-of-the-art is perceived as expensive and that’s simply not true with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telecoms systems. In fact, not hosting an SME’s phone system in the Cloud could have dire and expensive consequences later on,” adds Jankovic.

He says SMEs will experience an immediate cost saving of some 45% on per-minute calling costs when making the switch to Internet-based VoIP communications systems enabled by high-speed fibre broadband. There are other advantages as well:

* Most reputable VoIP providers offer budget-friendly prepaid and postpaid billing options that help the small business owner remain on top of telecoms spending.

* VoIP communication systems are today most often paired with soft phone interfaces accessible via fixed and mobile devices. However, for SMEs wanting to make a corporate identity statement with a slick front desk set-up, VoIP offers a ton of affordable phone hardware options.

* VoIP lends itself to affordable scalability. As the business grows, adding new employee work stations to a VoIP-based environment is much easier than having to buy and plug in desk-mounted phone systems and cabling. Further, the new employee can very often get up a VoIP system up and running without expensive specialist IT support.

* For SMEs on a budget, soft phone interfaces mean the latest version of VoIP voice systems is always just a click away, again, without having to call in specialist technicians.

* Thanks to the many value-added call-related services that VoIP enables, SMEs can also punch above their weight by appearing as enterprise-class organisations while still in that crucial early-stage business lifecycle.

* Finally, busy entrepreneurs want to be able to deal with one ICT supplier for all their voice and data needs. Many of SA’s better VoIP providers are now one-stop shops when it comes to additional IT services such as storage, hosting and website building.