In­ter­na­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tion: the chal­lenge for SMBs

It’s a chal­lenge faced by many small-to-medium sized busi­ness own­ers – an em­ployee trav­els abroad, and needs to stay in touch with the of­fice and busi­ness con­tacts on the ground, only re­turn­ing to face a colos­sal mo­bile phone bill writes Alex Blinko.

Business First - - CONTENTS - by Alex Blinko

For many SMBs in to­day’s 24/7 con­nected world travel and com­mu­ni­ca­tion are ab­so­lutely vi­tal. Where a few years ago, voice was the key com­po­nent to stay con­nected in­ter­na­tion­ally, data has now risen to be­come an in­te­gral part of the busi­ness trav­ellers’ ar­se­nal.

Global mo­bile data traf­fic grew 81 per cent in 2013; mak­ing it 18 times larger than all In­ter­net traf­fic in in 2000. A re­cent sur­vey of Aus­tralian busi­ness trav­ellers demon­strated the sig­nif­i­cant growth in re­liance on email, with 54 per cent of businesses sur­veyed us­ing it to stay con­nected while trav­el­ling in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Not sur­pris­ingly, the cost of both data and voice charges are con­tribut­ing to the roam­ing em­ployee’s (and their em­ployer’s) chal­lenge when trav­el­ling or com­mu­ni­cat­ing in­ter­na­tion­ally. And with Aus­tralian businesses trav­el­ling fre­quently – with 65 per cent trav­el­ling to North Amer­ica, 54.9 to Ocea­nia, 67.2 to Europe and 70.7 to East Asia, SMBs are seek­ing a sim­ple and af­ford­able so­lu­tion to man­ag­ing their in­ter­na­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Mit­i­gat­ing the pain points for SMBs - A lo­cal per­spec­tive for in­ter­na­tional busi­ness

Time and money are of­ten the prior- ity of small-to-medium businesses, and with some in­ter­na­tional mo­bile bills top­ping five fig­ures in a sin­gle trip, man­ag­ing or re­duc­ing costs can be a cause of con­cern for the SMB owner or man­ager.

For SMBs open­ing or op­er­at­ing in new mar­kets, find­ing so­lu­tions such as us­ing lo­cal SIM cards present additional chal­lenges over and above cost alone. Us­ing lo­cal SIM cards lim­its us­age to that spe­cific coun­try, and means em­ploy­ees lose the abil­ity to stay con­nected to people try­ing to con­tact them on their ex­ist­ing phone num­ber.

Tru­phone’s patented SIM card al­lows an em­ployee to store up to eight in­ter­na­tional mo­bile num­bers on a sin­gle SIM, from any coun­try in the Tru­phone Zone. This en­ables ‘al­ways-on’ con­nec­tiv­ity, with con­tacts able to reach the em­ployee on a lo­cal num­bers, at lo­cal rates wher­ever they are in the world.

The added value for SMBs is they have a real ‘ in-coun­try pres­ence’ with these lo­cal num­bers be­ing al­ways ac­tive, and pro­vid­ing them a lo­cal point of con­tact – es­sen­tially their own shop-front – in coun­tries where they fre­quently do busi­ness. This can help SMBs level the play­ing field, and re­move some of the bar­ri­ers of do­ing busi­ness in­ter­na­tion­ally.

Shared bun­dles, at home and abroad

An­other chal­lenge for SMBs can be max­imis­ing their com­mu­ni­ca­tions costs across all their em­ploy­ees that travel and com­mu­ni­cate in­ter­na­tion­ally.

SMBs should seek a provider which of­fers shared bun­dles that suit the needs of their en­tire fleet. Our shared global bun­dles have an al­lowance of calls, texts and data that can be used across a num­ber of sub­scribers in 66 coun­tries, and we’ve just re­cently an­nounced the world’s first half a ter­abyte data plan. For SMBs with cost-sav­ings top of mind, this en­ables them to spread the us­age across a num­ber of em­ploy­ees, so if one em­ployee’s us­age is re­duced in a month, this can be utilised by an­other staff mem­ber.

Peace of mind with­out the pol­icy

In an at­tempt to curb in­ter­na­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tions costs, SMBs are also look­ing to pol­icy as a po­ten­tial so­lu­tion. Of­ten poli­cies will limit us­age to Wi-Fi hotspots, or pro­hibit­ing use al­to­gether, how­ever the im­pacts on pro­duc­tiv­ity and stay­ing con­nected whilst abroad are of­ten felt, and for em­ploy­ees trav­el­ling in­ter­na­tion­ally, of­ten such poli­cies are ig­nored.

Re­ly­ing on Wi-Fi can mit­i­gate costs, but the con­ve­nience fac­tor is not al­ways present. Look­ing for di­rec­tions be­tween meet­ings, or need­ing to check emails on the go are po­ten­tial pit­falls of a re­liance on Wi-Fi only.

So if pol­icy or util­is­ing free Wi- Fi is not the an­swer, how do SMBs get peace of mind in man­ag­ing their in­ter­na­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tions with­out lim­it­ing pro­duc­tiv­ity? Share­able in­ter­na­tional plans can re­move the need to curb us­age, and give SMB own­ers and man­agers peace of mind, and con­trol over costs for their em­ploy­ees trav­el­ling in­ter­na­tion­ally.

One thing is clear: Aus­tralian SMBs look­ing to ex­pand or op­er­ate in­ter­na­tion­ally have an in­creas­ing need for af­ford­able in­ter­na­tional mo­bile com­mu­ni­ca­tions. To stay com­pet­i­tive and com­pete on a global stage, SMBs do­ing busi­ness abroad need to en­sure all their staff have ac­cess to seam­less, cost-ef­fec­tive global com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and one that gives them peace of mind in con­trol­ling costs.

Alex Blinko is Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, Tru­phone Aus­tralia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.