When it comes to having the right partners and services in place for your business, there is little room for error. Outsourcing operations and employing business systems that help your business perform are consistently more expensive than accomplishing those task in-house. However, many of the advanced and sophisticated platforms and services businesses outsource are simply too cumbersome or highly specialized to be handled by their existing resources. Thus, it seems like these types of outsourced operations will remain a necessary part of doing business. This isn’t anything to lament, however, as even the largest Fortune 500 companies in the world have their own areas where they need to lean on the expertise of outside firms. The key to making these investments have the most positive impact on a bottom line is that they need to be regularly reviewed and thoroughly vetted as to their need, value, and their return. It’s with that in mind that we present to you these business service audits you should conduct for success in 2018 and beyond.
Business Service Audits
To maximize the value of the dollars you invest into work done on your behalf that doesn’t also stay in the hands of your employees, maintaining the highest levels of scrutiny will go a long way. Remember that will all business relationships, you are in trusted partnerships but in the end, you are also the customer. Insist on being treated the way you would have your own customers treated and understand that expecting the best and settling for nothing less thereof is nothing to be ashamed of. Keep that in mind as you run these business audits you should conduct for success in 2018 below.
- Financial Stress Testing No, this isn’t the same things as what we subjected our national financial institutions to following the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, but it’s similar. One of the most critical steps to assessing your business’ health and one that will help you contextually rate other audits as we proceed is knowing how financially fit your company is in the event of hardship or disaster. This exercise simulates the impact that acute strain on your cash flow and fundamental business health to determine if your company is prepared to weather any storm ahead. One major thing to consider before conducting this critical baseline exercise is how your financial stress test is considered as part of your overall Business Continuity Plan, or BCP. Once you have a precise understanding of how a crisis would affect your operations and how a BCP will keep you fully operational during one, you’re well positioned to succeed in 2018 no matter what turbulence may lay ahead.
- Internet Network Audit Let’s face it, nothing happens for a business at an acceptable speed these days when the internet is down. Certainly there are moments when upstream carriers have outages, and for those times we have little recourse. However, more often than not, business experience suboptimal connectivity not as a result of their upstream provider, but rather as a function of their omission of any legitimate network audits. While the above audit is crucial because you’ll need to be able to pay for your services in the long run, the importance of a proper Network Health Check can’t be overstated because you’ll want to ensure the service you are paying for is adequate for your needs. By conducting a comprehensive around-the-clock assessment of how a business uses their network connection, the types of strains that are put on it (video conferencing, streaming, webinar hosting, etc.), and devising a plan to optimize bandwidth to prioritize that use, a company can be confident knowing that they are maximizing the efficacy of their most essential business service.
- Unified Communications Audit Unified Communications (UC) refers to the complete integration of all modern business communications platforms and technologies and is achieved by one of two ways. First is ideal for larger organizations with handsome operations budgets and plenty of in-house telephone engineering staff and it entails building on-site PBX switching and server systems to manage all of a company’s communications. The second and far more popular method is to harness the power of the cloud to unify all of these same systems. A modern hosted business telephone plan will have enterprise-grade features and reliability but will only carry a fraction of the expense of the same system if it’s built on-site. And though users of an on-site PBX option are legitimately hampered with the time and expense it costs to make changes to their system compared to their cloud-based UC competitors, they can still bridge the gap between the two platforms with SIP Trunking. Effectively a hybrid of both systems, SIP Trunking allows you to keep your existing on-site PBX setup but connects to the PSTN (Publicly Switched Telephone Network) over an internet connection to deliver a lower price per minute. For users of a purely cloud-based UC, however, the infinite flexibility of the cloud enables them to integrate all of their other critical business systems including Salesforce CRM software and the increasingly popular collaboration platform, Slack. Additionally, following both a comprehensive financial systems review and a complete assessment of a business’ network health, a business will be poised to make decisions on their UC system needs and expectations better than before embarking on these critical annual review.
Time Is Money
Clearly, time is the most valuable resource that any enterprise can invest. That’s why, though certainly there are other important considerations a company needs to make on a regular basis, these are the most important business audits you should conduct for success in 2018. Fortunately, the resources we’ve included above should get you well on your way to streamlining the process, but we’d be happy to help further, too. Simply reach out to one of our experts in business communications and connections to learn more about how you can harness the power of the cloud to benefit your own organization, today.