As we continue to usher in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we’re beginning to see a rise in the number of businesses turning to the cloud for data storage, accessing cloud-based business software, such as Google office software, as well as embracing the benefits of telephony services e.g. VOIP.
Sadly, there still exists a digital divide amongst businesses, a divide that hinders their ability to fully utilise the opportunities provided by connectivity solutions. According to research conducted by Xerox, in partnership with World Wide Worx, over 52% of SMEs admit to failing to keep up with technology adoption, while a further 45% acknowledge that they could be doing more. The research surveyed 400 small business owners, revealing that a considerable number of small businesses are still holding on to old technology.
Our focus should be on ensuring that businesses are ready to tackle any challenge they’re faced with and make the most of emerging opportunities that lie in the vast array of connectivity solutions that are on offer, thereby gaining the ability to react swiftly to their respective market changes. This, in essence, defines a “ready business”. Vodacom, in this regard, has an extensive network that spans the South African landscape, which has been developed over the course of 20 years. Vodacom Business has a multitude of solutions through which it connects businesses, whether large or small. The beauty of our offering is that we can offer fixed services and wireless connectivity in addition to our traditional mobile offering. Each with its own set of beneficial attributes.
Having said that, and given the varying sizes of businesses – it’s surprising to find that businesses still rely heavily on selecting a service based solely on the price, as opposed to finding a service that will complement their business, based on their size and needs, ultimately gearing them up for success. When dealing with small businesses, it’s important to realise that without in-house IT experts, businesses can often be left to fend for themselves. The right connectivity solutions have an undeniable ability to enable teams, sites and even branches to distribute easily, without negatively impacting on the ability to collaborate to meet pressing business needs. Not only that but given the extremely competitive business environment, the right connection can either have dire consequences or substantially enhance the organisation’s operations and overall success. Innovation is the driving force behind many of the industries we see today, and it’s important for us to ensure that we’re able to propel this way of conducting business well into the future. Which is why, as part of remaining at the forefront of innovation, Vodacom is looking to offer Pool Data, which is a concept that will appeal to SMEs that have multiple sites.
This solution will see Vodacom take all of the broadband data that a small business has access to and put it into a single pool. This way, should one brand experience high consumption, and the other branch experiences low consumption, we can ensure that they leverage off each other, enabling the business to benefit from the total, overall usage. This does away with the SME having to feel as though they are wasting data due to a particular user or site, that’s not using a lot of data.
Just because a business finds itself in rural South Africa, doesn’t mean they have to be left to their own devices. More so given that we currently have a range of satellite services, which works exceptionally well in rural communities, including schools. Not only that, but businesses can also leverage off copper cable ADSL connectivity, where required. When it comes to small business, however, affordability becomes a big play. We need to realise, however, that SMEs have become the driving force of the economy, and therefore need not skimp on productivity-driving solutions, in the form of affordability, that will give them easy access to the solutions they require.
Plug and play connectivity solutions, in this regard, play a vital role. They essentially allow a small business owner to literally plug in two wires, one into the electrical outlet, and one into the router device. 15 to 20 minutes after plugging in the SIM card, they will be fully connected. It’s important to ensure that, in addition to this, they have uninterrupted access to extensive self-help solutions, to minimise the amount of unnecessary downtime they might experience.
When it comes to connectivity solutions, businesses need to ensure that they have access to super-fast internet access, a flexible choice of multiple service plans, the convenience of a one-stop-shop, as well as the reliability of secure connectivity that is not susceptible to interruptions or theft.
Vodacom’s Broadband Connect Wireless solutions offer business-grade and highspeed broadband connectivity, optimal unified communications and hosted applications such as Office 365 and IP Talk at competitive rates.