Does technology help you keep a balanced work and personal life?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2009 by VoIP Innovations

The question is, does technology help you keep a balanced work and personal life?  I wanted to write about this topic because I know all of us deal with this dilemma on a daily basis.  I know I do.  How much do we allow work life creep into our personal lives?  Do we allow our employees to telecommute and require them to stay connected 24/7?  Does having this technology give us more freedom or does it handcuff us to work?  Are we able to spend more time with the family being connected 24/7 or does it actually hinder our personal lives? 

Professionals will call on their smartphones to work harder and hopefully gain some freedom, relying more and more on mobile e-mail, integrated calendars and contacts lists while away from the office.  Managed Mobility is the next frontier for professionals, helping us to stay connected all day every day but at what cost?  For me, I love technology and take full advantage of it.  It allows me to leave work early, take a day off, spend time with my family but also be in the know.  I can keep my finger on the pulse of my company and feel comfortable knowing I am not missing anything.  There is a downside to all this connectivity.  For example when you are spending time with your family and your phone is ringing, important emails are coming into your inbox and you slowly get sucked into the black hole.  I don’t know about you but I am willing to deal with the occasional interruption if it means I don’t have to live at the office.  The steady growth of communications technology in our lives has created a “love-hate” relationship with the smart phones and wireless laptops that increasingly blur the lines between the workplace and our personal lives.  Professionals will continue to grapple with achieving a work-life balance.

Does unified communications help to enhance workforce collaboration both in and away from the office?  Another way that makes us pounder the question, does technology help you keep a balanced work and personal life, is the increasing prevalence of voice over IP in the workplace.  These include a single number that reaches you on any device and “rich presence” – enabling individuals to view who is on the network and how best to reach them whether by phone, instant message or e-mail.  Soft phones — IP-based phones that can plug into any IP network — can control costs, particularly in this era of globalization where workers may need to connect from home with their colleagues in other regions of the world.  The term unified communications has made life a bit easier for all of us. 

To sum up this post I would say that technology is ever increasing and as with anything it has its pros and cons but for me the pros far out weigh the cons. 

Sincerely,

Jason Tapolci

VoIPstreet

Is SaaS a fit for the small business market?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on August 25, 2009 by VoIP Innovations

I am truly amazed by the response I received on my previous post, “Is virtualization the future for small business?”  There were some very enlightening responses and it appears that the subject of virtualization is a HOT topic.  Reading all the great posts on my Linkedin Groups it became very apparent that my definition for virtualization was a bit incorrect and that my previous post was really speaking about a SaaS model not virtualization.  Although, virtualization can be defined in a number of ways depending on who you talk to. 

That being said I wanted to focus on the SaaS model in this post and how it has begun to change the landscape or level the playing field for the SOHO and small business markets.  To put some context around the words small business, I define a small business as having less than 50 employees.  There are a number of ways to define the small business sector and I think I will save that discussion for another post. 

I have been in the SMB market all of my career, mostly in the small business sector and have always utilized technologies such as file, web, Exchange, SQL, mail servers, phone systems, ect.  This technology is a must if you want to compete but the capital and human investment was always a hard pill to swallow.  On one hand I knew I needed the technology but on the other hand spending the money was tough when you are bootstrapping your company’s growth. 

In the early stages of a business’s life cycle taking advantage of SaaS models for the above mentioned technologies will significantly decrease your capex.  A SaaS will add to your monthly expenses/overhead but in my opinion that is the lesser of two evils.  For me it was easier in the early days to find hundreds of dollars per month than it was securing tens of thousands of dollars with limited revenue and no POC (proof of concept).  By utilizing these services a business is able to focus and spend its limited resources on acquiring new customers building a revenue stream and developing POC. 

From a purely business owners point of view, I want to be clear that in my opinion it’s always best to have your own equipment.  Let’s face it having your own equipment gives you the most control and freedom.  Let’s also be real and add that what we want and reality are not always the same thing so you have to do what you can to survive.  Let me ask you this question.  What’s more important?   A) having the technology and going out of business?  B) Not having the technology and going out of business? or C: Utilizing a SaaS model to get you in the game and purchase equipment when it makes financial prudent sense?  I would choose C).  I am simply saying that in the early stages of any business a SaaS model can help get you over the hump and give you POC without making a huge capital investment.  

Sincerely,

Jason Tapolci

VoIPstreet

Is Virtualization the future for small businesses?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on August 3, 2009 by VoIP Innovations

Big business technologies have made the jump from enterprise size companies to the SOHO and SMB markets.  What was once only available to larger organizations is now cost effective for smaller companies.  Why is this happening?  The answer is virtualization.  Virtualization is becoming the path of least resistance for the SOHO and SMB markets as well as big business for the providers.  It’s what I call a win-win for both parties. 

Ever since the dawn of virtualization, small businesses have been benefiting by utilizing the technologies that they once could not afford.  The SOHO and SMB markets could not stomach the enormous amounts of capital investment for hardware, software, licenses and people to manage it all.  Now days the SOHO or SMB can purchase everything virtual including storage, exchange, PBX, web/domain and email hosting and more with no capital investment.  These markets can get all the benefits of these technologies with no upfront investment.   

Now there is a downside to virtualization, which is control and long term cost.  You are at the mercy of the provider you choose and the long term cost can be higher than purchasing your own equipment.  This depends on the depreciation schedule a company chooses for their technology.  Most companies depreciate technology over a three year period, which makes virtualization a good cost alternative to purchasing these solutions.   

Some virtualization solutions are more proven than others, such as web, domain and email hosting  I am interested to hear what my reader think about Virtual PBX?  Is this something you would implement in your own business or recommend to your current customer base?  What are your pros and cons?

Jason Tapolci

President

VoIPstreet

www.VoIPstreet.com

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