Plan for Technology Replacement

By Frank D’Ascenzo

The need to replace your call processing system within a relatively short time frame is a real business challenge. After spending thousands of dollars for your present equipment, and after having made substantial monthly payments over the past five-years, the prospect of no payments can seem too good to be true.

One’s natural reaction may be to stick with what you have and enjoy the “profit” increase when the lease payments end. But, that might be the wrong decision. If you’re interested in helping your business grow, then keeping a system that is five or more years old might not be a wise business decision. Take a moment and ask yourself:

  • Will I miss new business opportunities by not updating to a new system?
  • Will a new system offer improved efficiencies that can reduce my operating costs?
  • Will a new system offer new features that can result in added revenue generation?

These are just a few real-life business questions that you must be asking yourself every year and most certainly every five years.

Technology: Without doubt, computer technology improves every year and therefore substantially over a five-year period. Even if your present system is large enough to handle your present requirements, an adequately sized system may lack some important, desirable new features. Perhaps the greatest challenge in today’s world of computing is that the power of yesterday becomes the weakness of tomorrow. The obsolescence trap is always wide open.

If the call processing system you’re using is over five-years old, it may be technologically obsolete. Even though you may have been purchasing software upgrades for your system over the years, the reality is that every system eventually reaches an optimum upgrade point. This happens when you discover that certain new features are not possible to add or that additional external equipment must be patched-on to incorporate desired features.

Upgrading to a new and technologically current system may be the most cost-effective way to acquire new features and capabilities. A new system platform will incorporate the advanced capabilities you need in the most efficient manner, delivering operational efficiencies that can positively affect your bottom line.

New Features and Services: New and emerging technology usually equates into new or soon to come features or services. While some new features or services might not be of interest to you personally, they might be of the utmost importance to your clients and to the future of your business.

Emerging new features have a way of suddenly becoming necessities due to demand from clients or competitive pressure. This may apply more to the new “hot” services you may be hearing about. Perhaps you have already received inquiries from some of your clients about new communications products, wondering if you offer them or if you can deliver messages to their miniaturized communications devices.

Will an obsolete call processing platform be able to accommodate these new services?  If the feature is even offered by your vendor, then perhaps it will be able to upgrade an older system. However, it will undoubtedly require a substantial investment. Even if you spend the dollars to properly equip your present system, it’s likely that the add-on feature or service is not as operationally transparent as you might like, which means that it may not be as efficient as it should be.

Added Revenues: Taking advantage of new and emerging technology can enable you to attract new clients. Each new client means added revenue. Sticking with an outdated system may seriously affect your ability to grow your business. As new technology emerges, your inability to offer desirable features can put you at a competitive disadvantage.

Clients who can’t get the services they feel they need from you will look elsewhere. Adopting state-of-the-art technology can give you a significant competitive advantage. This means that you can leap ahead of your competitors by embracing a philosophy of planned replacement.

Efficiencies and Growth: Current technology, new features, new services, more potential revenue, and more clients are all advantages of investing in current technology.  But there’s even more to embracing current technology. Specifically, modern technology can significantly enhance your efficiency.

Generally, a modern call processing system will be able to offer you operational efficiencies that will increase productivity. A more efficient system may result in 1) lower labor cost for handling your present clients, 2) more revenue generated from your present client base because your agents are able to provide them with more service in a given time, or 3) the ability to handle more clients with the same number of agents.

Question: Is your present system delivering the operational efficiency you need to meet your business growth goals?

Answer: If your system is over five years old, then it probably is not.

Solution: Don’t make the mistake of becoming complacent. Initial equipment cost, ongoing system upgrade cost, and system replacement planning should be a part of your long-term budgeting and planning for your business.

Conclusion: When you undertake any complex task, having the proper tools available for the job can make the difference between success and failure. Your teleservices business is complex. You have customers to please and employees to manage. You need the best call answering and message processing tools available in order to be successful.

System Replacement Considerations

Keeping your most important business tool, your call processing system, technologically current is an important aspect of the operation of your business. While the concept of spending money to make even more money is not new, it is often difficult to implement. However, once you understand that you are making a continuing investment to improve your business rather than simply “spending money,” you are over the hurdle. Your next task  is to make the best possible system replacement choice. You want to make sure your continuing investment will result in the optimum return on investment for your business.

Here are some questions you should ask when making your new platform selection:

Questions About the Product:

Does the system offer the latest in technology and features?

How well is the system constructed?

What features are of value to you?

Can the system accommodate growth in both features and capacity?

Is it an “open system” that permits connection to other technologies?

Are major capabilities built-in, or are separate components required?

Questions About the Manufacturer:

How well do they support their product?

How often do they have major feature updates?

Can they translate technology into value for your business?

What is the focus of their technical and advisory support?

How often do they evaluate new technologies?

What is their training and continuing support capability?

[From Connection MagazineOctober 2003]