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Improving Operations with Better Technology Starts with Your 2023 TCI Planning Session

With budget season here and 2023 right around the corner, now is a great time to start evaluating your office technologies and setting strategic goals.

A TCI Technology & Business Review gets you prepared for the new year, whether you’re connecting a Hybrid Workforce or thinking about Faster Broadband, Online Collaboration, Disaster Recovery, Cloud, or Managed Services.

Not familiar with the latest innovations or apps? We’ll get you up to speed so your business can connect more easily and become more productive than ever.

Schedule your 2023 planning session with TCI today. Contact us at (703) 321-3030 or GetHelp@tcicomm.com.

How Successful SMBs Are Exploiting New Opportunities in the Future of Work

Coming out of the disruption of the past few years, how the world of work is changing is becoming more apparent. Challenges remain, but there are also opportunities for small- and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to set a course for sustained success.

Successful SMBs are adapting to the shifting terrain. A recent SMG Group study reveals two main challenges to navigating ongoing changes and preparing for a prosperous future…

  • There has been a significant power shift from employers to employees. It has, in many ways and many sectors, become a seller’s market for employees’ skills, expertise, and time. As a result, competition between businesses to attract and retain the best people is intense.
  • There is a need for longer-term strategic thinking. Businesses are reviewing the decisions they made to survive during the pandemic. And many are realizing those decisions have led to disjointed technology solutions, overly complex processes, and inefficient systems.

Factors making successful SMBs optimistic about the future…

1. Resilience

Many digital transformation strategies adopted over the past few years were applied reactively and ad hoc. Businesses implemented disjointed technologies, putting multiple systems in place that don’t necessarily play nice with one another. Many of the solutions were needlessly complex and may buckle in a changing environment.

Unified and simplified technologies have played a role in making businesses more resilient. This is particularly true for Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) options. Industry-leading UCaaS systems bring features like advanced messaging, phone, and video together in one app, centralizing and simplifying communication. By bringing internal and external communications together, teammates can collaborate more efficiently and communicate more effectively with customers.

2. Putting People First

As important as technology is, it is simply an enabler. Running a successful business is about people: your employees and your customers.

The SMG report identifies people as a significant priority for businesses that want to future-proof their operations and continue to thrive. Hybrid work, once a rare offering for unusual circumstances, has been fully embraced by both employees and employers: 90% of SMBs that have adopted hybrid work find it valuable. And for job seekers, hybrid work is a significant priority: over 80% of applicants to a well-known job board said they’d feel more loyal to their employers if their work environments were flexible.

When many businesses switched to a digital workplace, much of the focus was on the technology needed to facilitate it, not on the people who would be using that technology. Working remotely exposed significant gaps in the digital employee experience, with some employees feeling they have been left on their own to manage multiple incongruous technologies without timely support.

Simplified UC tools that bring together multiple modes of communication make it easy for people to work together and work flexibly. Collaboration across geographies is faster and easier for employees, ensuring they feel supported no matter where they work. Using centralized, cloud-based tools eliminates the hassle of deploying and managing systems in multiple locations and helps keep your business agile.

3. Getting and Staying Agile

The agility that new technologies provide has proven to be a fundamental enabler of SMB growth. The SMG report shows that 80% of SMBs committed to technology adoption and investment anticipate revenue increases. The reason is simple. Many businesses have discovered that the customer experience is directly correlated to the employee experience. Happy, productive employees have happy, productive interactions with customers. And agility enabled by new technologies is fundamental to employee happiness because it allows them to work effectively from anywhere and still deliver excellent customer service.

Giving employees the ability to quickly adapt to changes like this while still working in a hybrid or remote environment, without struggling with outdated technology, is crucial to an employer’s ability to attract and retain top talent.

Plan Now for a More Prosperous 2023

Let’s talk about your Future of Work. Your local TCI experts are here to help you create an agile, successful work environment. Contact us: (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

Better Business Performance in 2022 Starts with Your TCI Technology Planning Session

With budget season here and 2022 right around the corner, now is a great time to start aligning your office technologies with your strategic business goals.

Don’t let aging or out-of-date technology slow you down…

A TCI Technology & Business Review gets you prepared for the year ahead, whether you’re considering…

  • Cloud, Onsite, and Hybrid Voice Migrations
  • e911 and Mitel-powered HIPAA compliant solutions
  • CRM/customer database integration
  • Managed Services
  • Data Protection
  • Dedicated Space, Infrastructure, Cabling, and Wi-Fi
  • Telecom and Broadband services
  • Meeting and Team Collaboration
  • Call Recording for voice documentation
  • and much more

Not familiar with the latest innovations or apps?

We’ll get you up to speed so your business can connect more easily and become more productive than ever with better tools.

Schedule your 2022 technology planning session with TCI today. Contact us at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

Why it’s Time to Make Your Move to the Cloud

Whether your old phone system can’t be upgraded anymore, or you need to enable remote work, or a new regulatory requirement can’t be supported, at some point you’ll have to hang up your trusted old phones and move to the cloud. Here’s what you can look forward to…

Simplify Communication, Management, and Budgeting

When you combine flexible communications, mobility, and the cloud, borders disappear, barriers collapse, costs drop, and productivity rises. If these sound like the kind of advantages you want to bring to your business, let’s talk about a move to TCI Host, our customized Cloud Voice service.

  • Talk, Chat, Share & Meet – TCI Host offers all the features of advanced on-premises platforms without the hardware and management headaches. Plus, you get the unlimited scalability, seamless mobility, and open integrated technology that you’ve been looking for to bring your business communications and business intelligence together.
  • Any Device. Anywhere. Anytime Communications – TCI Host fits into the way your office team works. Use a desktop phone, smartphone, or softphone on your laptop. Just one phone system supporting your business no matter when and where your team is working – office, home, or branch locations.
  • We deliver & set up everything – Unlike many providers, who will drop-ship phones and expect you to install and configure everything, our certified Cloud Voice experts come to you and set up everything to your specifications. After we install it, we’ll test everything to make sure it all runs smoothly.

With Cloud Voice, your team can deliver an exceptional Customer Experience. More competitive advantages to look forward to…

  • Be more productive – Bring all of your communications tools into one cloud and one application for a seamless experience on any device – anywhere in the world. Easily manage voice, email, and IM from a single screen to reduce management complexity and boost productivity.
  • No hardware, no headaches – Say goodbye to capital expenses, maintenance, and service fees with a hosted business phone system. You get great call quality, industry-leading reliability, and an easy-to-manage phone system with no upfront costs – everything you need for one low monthly price.
  • Free up IT resources – Don’t waste valuable IT resources on aging PBX hardware. With TCI Host, you enjoy new features faster, you can add or remove lines in minutes, and you always stay up to date with automated upgrades.
  • Pay as you grow – Unlike premises-based PBX systems, TCI Host always provides just the right amount of capacity at the right time to ensure you’re paying for only what you need and not a penny more.
  • Keep your business running – TCI’s cloud-based hosting platform can deliver ultra-high reliability and seamless disaster recovery so you always stay connected with colleagues and customers.

TCI can help you migrate to a cloud solution customized for your business needs. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

5 Ways Your Current Phone System Can Limit Your Success

Has your phone system kept pace with the times? More importantly, is it capable of helping you meet tomorrow’s challenges? Here, we outline five attributes you’ll want to consider when you’re thinking about improving your technology.

1. Ability to Add Features and Functionality

Make sure your phone system can keep pace with technological change and has the ability to embrace cloud-based applications and customized solutions as required. Look for these features and attributes:

  • Third-party integrations allow you to take advantage of cloud-based business process applications.
  • Easy & intuitive communications tools that are as simple as consumer apps will speed adoption.
  • Admin portal enables users to make real-time changes to preferences, permissions and groups.
  • Flexible service plans enable users to change service plans in real time as their needs change.

2. Productivity

Is your phone system boosting worker productivity or draining it? Reduce employee frustration and increase productive work time with these features:

  • Find me – Follows employees so they can get the call the first time around, regardless of the device they are using.
  • Presence – Enables employees to see when other co-workers are available, in a meeting, on a call or out of the office.
  • Collaboration tools – Makes it easier to exchange ideas and get work done with video, instant messaging and file and desktop sharing.
  • Application integration – Boosts the power of your CRM by seamlessly integrating calling features, call histories and customer data.

3. Scalability

Nearly every organization can benefit from the agility that comes from aligning its phone system with business needs. Look for these attributes:

  • Plug-and-play – Provides phones that are easy to install without costly upgrades.
  • Flexibility – Easily scales to support both the office and your mobile workforce.
  • Reduced complexity – Avoids complications that add costs and hinder your ability to scale.
  • Intuitive – Supports easy deployment by administrators and enables users to quickly be productive.
  • Simple licensing – Delivers flexible licensing so businesses can scale up or down as their needs change.

4. Mobility

Does your current phone system provide the same easy features and functionality to all staff members, no matter their location or device? If not, consider these capabilities:

  • Mobile applications – Allows personal devices to be integrated with your phone network.
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi/cellular call handover to stay connected everywhere.
  • Collaboration tools – Provides team and video collaboration, instant messaging, and conferencing to facilitate greater collaboration from anywhere.
  • Security – Delivers features that keep voice and signaling safe, even in public hot spots.

5. Your Budget

Consider whether a CapEx or OpEx budgeting approach makes more sense:

  • Purchasing a standalone system can add complexity and require additional staff and time-consuming administration, resulting in greater costs over time.
  • Consider productivity-boosting options to upgrade your system in an easy-to-manage way that frees up IT resources and saves money.
  • Add new capabilities that seamlessly work with your existing system as your business needs change – without having to pay for features you don’t need.
  • If your system needs a complete overhaul, it may be cheaper to move to the cloud.

Communications are vital to your organization’s success. If your current phone system is holding you back, it’s time to discuss an upgrade. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Attention Educators, Government, Non-Profits… Overwhelmed by the Bid Process?
Simplify with our Sourcewell Contract

Your organization needs better technology… now the hard work begins. You face some important decisions:

  • What solution or service are you going to select?
  • How will you evaluate it?
  • How are you going to buy it?

While the bid and procurement process can be complex, time consuming, and overwhelming, your local TCI team helps you tap into Mitel’s national competitively awarded contract with Sourcewell to streamline and simplify purchasing the communication technology solutions your organization needs.

What is Sourcewell and how can the Sourcewell Contract benefit your organization?

Sourcewell – formerly National Joint Powers Alliance – is a service cooperative that provides programs and services to 50,000+ member organizations and agencies.

Sourcewell’s exclusive agreement with Mitel as its telecommunications provider is a multi-year contract allowing the public sector to access better collaboration and communication solutions through contract # 022719-MBS.

Who is eligible?

The contract is available to state, local & tribal government, education agencies including K-12, higher education, public or private, and nonprofits including churches, credit unions, and trade associations.

The advantages of buying through Mitel’s Sourcewell Contract

  • Offers the best value and is competitively bid
  • Streamlines the purchasing process, saving time and money
  • Satisfies the competitive solicitation process
  • Access to volume pricing nationwide

Simplify your procurements and learn more about our Sourcewell co-op purchasing agreement… Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

Stay Energized… 5 Tips to Combat Video Conferencing Fatigue

Many of us are relying on video to stay in touch with friends and colleagues. As a result, we’re spending both work and personal time on camera, and these hours add up fast. It’s no wonder people have come to find video conferences draining.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce video fatigue, while still interacting with team members and getting work done. The five tips below will help recharge your video conferencing batteries…

1. Ask yourself if video is really necessary – If you’re scheduling a meeting, think about how important it is to see the other participants. Client meetings and brainstorming sessions are often better with video, but routine check-ins and status updates may be just as effective with the camera turned off.

2. Be selective about invites – The more people on a video call, the more tiring it can be. There are more faces to watch (and interpret) and it becomes difficult to constantly adjust your attention from one person to another. Staying focused becomes a challenge. To overcome this, carefully review the invite list and limit attendees to only those who need to be there.

3. Use a reliable and secure video conferencing provider – A reliable video conferencing solution reduces worry about potential technical issues. A powerful solution should also include additional features that make video calls more productive and engaging. Some providers include persistent chat logs and file sharing, so you can keep track of important decisions and share information.

4. Schedule breaks between video conference calls – With remote work continuing for many, video conferences aren’t going away. A short break between calls gives you time to stretch, grab a snack and freshen up if you’re feeling drained. A walk outside can also do wonders. It will help you to refocus and gear up for the next call.

5. Leverage other unified communications technology when appropriate – Persistent collaborative workspaces are a unified communications tool that allows team members to work together efficiently and effectively. Colleagues can share files, chat and exchange ideas in real time. You can even create and assign tasks to people, making it easy to track progress on projects and to stay on top of your own to-do list.

Sometimes we just don’t want to be on screen. Remote work and video conferences will be part of our new normal, so take steps now to keep them in check and you energized.

Make sure your video meeting solutions are helping your team meet its potential… Contact TCI today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Stay Competitive… Ensure your Communications System is a Strategic Asset in 2021 & Beyond

Today’s business reality is that you can’t be competitive without a fully optimized communications system. That’s why it’s important to regularly take a hard look at what you have and what you should have.

Many communications system features that may have seemed unnecessary a few years ago are now table stakes. Likewise, features you thought would improve operations may no longer be delivering the benefits they should be providing.

  • Efficiency – Research shows that 85% of small businesses agree that efficient communication between different teams is fundamental to staying ahead of the competition. But a poor technology strategy can have serious repercussions on a business and even affect a company’s ability to compete. For example, inefficient communications can cost upwards of $6,000 per employee per year to a small business, even more for an enterprise.
  • Integration – Systems that aren’t integrated with core applications, like CRM, that don’t provide a single unified view of all communications options and that don’t enable team collaboration, video conferencing and anytime, anywhere access to email, text and chat are no longer adequate.
  • Software Updates – Likewise, systems that offer all those things but are two or three software updates behind are not operating at peak efficiency and may, in fact, be reducing productivity and increasing the IT threat surface.
  • Reassessment – Organizations that don’t view their communications system as a strategic asset, reassess their investments regularly and optimize their systems at every opportunity can find themselves in situations where their communication technology mix does not meet today’s demands.

Keeping pace with ever-changing communications technologies will position your business for success when an unexpected crisis arises.

Schedule a technology consultation or site survey to ensure your Business Communications are ready for 2021. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Need New Technology? Calculate Your End-of-Year Section 179 Deduction for 2020

Time is running out to leverage the Section 179 deduction for this year…

Section 179 of the federal tax code allows businesses to deduct the full purchase or lease price of new technology the first tax year – up to $1,040,000.

Yes, this deduction applies to both leased and purchased equipment. When you buy or lease, you can deduct the full amount on your taxes. When you lease, you pay the monthly lease payments and you still get to deduct the full purchase price on your taxes.

Whether you choose to purchase or lease, you’ll need to put the equipment/software into service by the end of the day December 31, 2020.

Follow this link for more information about Section 179, which includes a savings calculator. Click here.

Then reach out to TCI to discuss new solutions that can help your business get ahead. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Getting More from Your Technology Investments

Staying competitive, taking advantage of opportunities, and saving money do not always require abandoning technologies you already have in favor of a single silver-bullet breakthrough.

TCI can help you optimize your business processes at incremental cost simply by extending your current technologies to achieve transformative results.

  • Take the Cloud, for example… This is now a mainstream technology that includes deployment options that easily combine the benefits of hosted solutions with your existing systems. The Cloud’s inherent flexibility allows you to meet different business needs without force-fitting all of your technology into a single approach that may fall short of expectations.
  • Add collaboration tools to your Cloud Voice and you have Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). It turns out that built-in disaster recovery and business continuity capabilities add even more value to UCaaS.
  • Most businesses rely heavily on wireless networks but tend to “set and forget” them. Our Managed Wireless service ensures your office Wi-Fi can easily adapt to keep up with growing demands.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) is a rapidly emerging technology that you can integrate into established business applications. It can be added to contact centers, for example, to significantly improve your Customer Experience.

Let’s talk about how you can leverage recent innovations with your existing technologies to transform your business. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.