opinion


The new telecom service model: enabling SME growth and driving efficiencies

Telecoms.com periodically invites expert third parties to share their views on the industry’s most pressing issues. In this piece Andrew Garney of SME website developer BaseKit looks at ways in which telcos can help themselves by helping SMEs overcome their business challenges.

Small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) are the lifeblood of the UK economy. In 2014, they accounted for 99.9 per cent of all private sector businesses and 60 per cent of UK private sector employment. The combined annual turnover of SMEs in 2014 was £1.6 trillion, which equates to 47 per cent of turnover in the private sector, highlighting just how much UK economic growth is tied to the performance of SMEs.

Factors such as greater support from the government, access to investment and new workforces has made setting up a business a much simpler process. These smaller entrants are driving innovation and winning market share from established companies as a result.

Despite the external help on offer, SMEs need to continue being innovative to remain agile and flexible in the constantly shifting business current. This is where the unified services of a telecom provider can help SMEs to drive efficiencies and focus their resources on business growth, rather than going to multiple suppliers for every need.

The telecoms industry as a whole has reacted accordingly and has consolidated its offerings into ‘triple’ or ‘quad’ play services. This refers to the bundling of different services such as telephone line rental, broadband and mobile, into one package. This aggregation of products into one package for small businesses not only allows companies to simplify the process of managing their services and expenditure, but also helps stabilise the infrastructure of their business.

Simplifying the supplier list

Company directors at small businesses are there to provide direction and guidance to enable business growth. Keeping abreast of the supplier lists and managing various contracts should not be consuming their precious time. Research into the management of suppliers revealed that over a third of SME owners were not aware of how many suppliers they used as a company, whilst 50 per cent thought that they would perform better if they did not have to manage external suppliers.

Small businesses require so much more than traditional telecom services to get started. In an increasingly digital age, extra services such as hosting, storage and website creation tools are crucial for small businesses from the outset. An ideal scenario for many small businesses buyers would be to have a consolidated service with all of the above services bundled into one package.

The view from a telco

One leading telecoms vendor addressing this growing need is APAC’s Globe Telecom. Globe is the leading mobile provider in the Philippines, and recognised the level of demand from growing businesses in its local market for a unified solution.

As well as offering traditional broadband, mobile and telephone services, Globe also provided additional mobility, security and cloud services. It recently incorporated web-building services into its existing service portfolio, offering a more complete package for small businesses in the Philippines.

The act of broadening its service range makes Globe a more attractive proposition for those small businesses looking to get their essential services from one source. In industries such as IT, we see managed services companies reselling and integrating existing tech from IT vendors.  So it is inevitable that telecoms businesses who provide a portion of a service already will look to boost the amount of services they offer to attract more business.

Convenience and loyalty

Small businesses will therefore jump on the opportunity to procure converged services from one supplier. It will help to cut admin costs and allow them to focus on growing the business, while impacting the length of time it relies on any one provider. The convenient nature of converged services means that services rarely require intensive management and can roll on beyond existing contracts without further interaction with the vendor.

Telecom service providers who offer a greater variety of services stand a better chance of being chosen and retained long-term by small businesses. There is an opportunity for these providers to become a valued partner to the extent that they seem to be part of the business as they become so ingrained within the buyer’s infrastructure.

The multi-play offering

Telecom providers are no longer restricted to the telecoms business. More and more are offering diverse ranges of products with SME and enterprise in mind. They have reacted to two things; a growing frustration from businesses with the different suppliers that are offering the same things and gap in the market for converged services.

Website building is just one area of growth. With new technology allowing website creation on a variety of different mobile devices, telecoms providers can cater for this across their product range and offer inclusive deals depending on the needs of individual businesses, further cementing their flexibility and reliability as the sole supplier.

 

Andrew GarneyAndrew Garney is Global Partnerships Manager at BaseKit.


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