The Kitchener-Waterloo region has given birth to some of Canada’s best-known technology success stories, and now a local radio station is offering some of the best advice for how technology can help small businesses grow.
Airing on Sundays at noon, the Business to Business Show, hosted by Ian McLean and Greg Durocher, has been a fixture on 570 News for some time. Since early last month, however, the show has been featuring special guests from Allstream – including a kick-off with president Dean Prevost – that explore IT-related subjects that matter to its audience of SMBs throughout the region.
In the episode that aired Sept. 2, the hosts interviewed Todd Ramsey, Allstream’s director of sales, central region, who covered a wide range of topics under the theme of “how does technology help me grow my business?” Among the takeaways:
- Expand your staff without adding branch offices: While traditional growth for SMBs meant buying or leasing additional space as they moved into new markets, Ramsey pointed out that collaboration tools have matured to the point where a managing a more virtual workforce is easier and more cost-effective than ever before. “You (once) needed four walls, a hard network, phone lines, tools that a person had to go into an office to access. With the dramatic change in technology, those rules have been thrown out the window,” he said. “An individual with a mobile device, an Internet connection and a soft phone or IP phone, can be working anywhere and driving efficiency for an organization.”
- Upgrade to the latest and greatest, painlessly: Most SMBs may struggle to understand the definition of cloud computing, let alone its value, but Ramsey articulated it in a more straightforward way: “Say you wanted to roll out an upgrade to an office application, something like Microsoft Outlook,” he said. “That would have consumed enormous amounts of resources internally. The same thing could be done in a cloud environment at a provider’s location without the added cost of maintenance and really utilizing the economies of scale.” That rapid provisioning means the business’s compute resources can grow as the rest of the business does.
- Become the company customers can trust: When IT systems shut down, workers are sometimes left with little to do – and customers sometimes chose to find a more reliable business. Ramsey suggested the key to mastering disaster recovery and business continuity is to think about your needs both today and in the long term. Part of that involves pinpointing what “disaster” means for a particular SMB. “If you lost access to your database for 20 or 30 minutes is that really critical?” he asked. For a bank or retailer, the answer is probably yes. Proactively preventing that from happening could mean the difference between customers sticking with you or shopping around for an alternative.
Todd’s interview on the Business to Business Show will replay each Sunday this month at noon, or you can download a podcast of the episode to listen at any time. We’ll offer more details on upcoming episodes with Allsteam guests on 570 News as they get scheduled.