A big factor for business growth, for any sized company, is enabling employees to be as productive and responsive as possible.

Previously, only large organisations had the purchasing power to get new technology which would improve communication and workplace efficiency.

With 2020 around the corner, how can SME’s remain competitive during tough times considering they do not have deep pockets to fork out for the latest voice technologies?

According to Warren Bonheim, MD of telecoms and ICT provider Zinia: “The days of having massive budgets for the latest voice technologies are over. The evolution of technology, based on open industry standards along with increased marketplace competition now gives SME’s access to all kinds of enterprise grade communications technologies.

“There is an extensive and exciting array of communications products and applications such as email, video conferencing, mobility, voice and surveillance available now for SME’s to achieve even greater sales success,” says Bonheim.

Unified communications (UC) is one such technology advancement which can help improve the way SMEs handle their operations, with respect to how employees go about their day-to-day activities and how the company interacts, services and builds its brand with the outside world.

Bonheim explains that UC has a number of benefits to an SME, one of which is to give the perception that they are a much larger organisation. This perception helps them to be more competitive in the marketplace to gain new customers and achieve business success.

To date UC solutions have not been affordable for the SME.

Bonheim explains: “A UC solution simply refers to placing all communications under one ‘umbrella’, basically combining analogue and IP networks, thereby streamlining all in and outbound communication.

“By integrating voice (IP and analogue), data, video and mobility into one voice solution, SMEs can provide superior communication and similar service levels offered by the biggest companies in South Africa.

“The benefits of voice technologies like UC are business-changing, from cost benefits, increased productivity/efficiency, greater flexibility, better decision making, improved workplace communication and improved customer service to the business.”

By giving employees the ability to communicate easily, anytime from anywhere, the business can respond quicker to customers, get things done faster with colleagues and ultimately drive revenues.

He adds that Zinia has announced an affordable range of IP-PBXs and IP phones with powerful unified communication features that are very easy to use and manage.

“These award-winning IP PBXs offer an advanced set of features with no licensing fees, upgrade fees or costs per features which is what makes them so affordable,” Bonheim adds.