Making Technology Decisions

Brought to you by the Cisco Innovators Program

Here's a hard truth about business networking technology: It can be complex, take earnest education to master, and be a big investment.

But ignore it at your peril. Every day, more businesses are using networking to gain a competitive advantage. The companies' leaders are the ones who initiate or approve the new technology.

To help you make informed technology decisions that save your company time and money, we've developed three short, concise guides that present the networking technologies most relevant and effective for small businesses:

  1. Ways to Connect Your Business
  2. Ways Your Business Can Communicate Better
  3. How to Secure Your Business

You can read any of these guides in less than 10 minutes. When you do, you can infuse your brain with the same smarts that other small businesses leaders used to achieve results such as these:

Cut Thousands of Dollars in Operating Expenses

A professional services firm that received its phone service as part of its building lease reduced its operating expenses $500 per month by implementing its own business phone system.

A retail business with worldwide sales cut its monthly phone charges 75 percent by switching its traditional phone service to a business-class voice over IP (VoIP) communications system. The new technology produced full ROI in less than a year.

Help Employees Do Their Best Work in Less Time

Efficiency rose dramatically when a services business invested in business-class switches and routers to connect all its locations and employees with one reliable network that is easy to access. Employees now share information, have accelerated processes and decisions, and focus their time on the tasks they are best at. The connections also reduce labor costs, allowing the business to assign some tasks to lower-paid staff.

A time savings of 2 to 3 hours daily was realized by the retail business described above, due to its new system and IP phones that streamline communications with advanced display, automated attendant, and call-routing features, as well as intercom and high-definition (HD) voice.

Managers' productivity skyrocketed in another retail business when it upgraded its network to provide fast and reliable data exchanges, as well as mobile access. Built-in security in the new routers also enables managers to track payroll, unit sales, and dollar sales in real time.

Improve Data Security and Protect the Business

VPN technology protects confidential information that a healthcare clinic sends over the Internet. Frustrated by consumer-class wireless and routing devices that were slow and frequently disabled VPN encryption and access, the medical center upgraded to an efficient business-class network. It now quickly and securely exchanges thousands of patient health records—and shares medical and billing database systems—among its offices, offsite employees, and labs.

When a restaurant added locations, it asked a Cisco Certified Partner for an integrated network. The partner provided a communications system that links all seven restaurants and the company's main computer, uses VPN technology to secure all credit card transactions and cash register transmissions, and complies with data privacy regulations.

Increase the Quality and Efficiency of Customer Service

An importer-distributor created a competitive advantage by responding to customers faster, with current and complete product and order information. It provides superior customer care by investing in a communications network that helps ensure staff are always in touch, with immediate and secure access to real-time data, suppliers, and customers from laptops and wireless phones.

Better customer service, a more effective sales process, and cost savings are the advantages a wholesaler got from its new network. The small company responds to customers much faster than its competitors do, and its use of web meetings doubled its sales closing ratio.

Become a Better Decision Maker in 10 Minutes

You can get smarter about network technology that can improve your business by simply reading one connect, communicate, or secure guide. You'll quickly learn who needs business-class technologies, why (including real ROI examples), how they work, and where to find the resources to apply them.

Most importantly, you'll discover how to make technology decisions that save your company time and money. You can start right now.

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