Consumerise the enterprise

The ways in which consumers can easily access services have much to teach those offering services to small business owners and users. The fact is that efforts to deliver advanced services to the smallest companies – of which there are millions – need to address key considerations such as the ease with which they can be purchased. Micro and SoHo business users need to buy services and packages as easily as consumer customers. Operators can and must remove the hurdles that hold back this market from developing and adopting useful, profitable services. It’s simply unrealistic to expect a small business of, say five users, to go through the same processes as one with 150. Find out how this can change.

In many respects, micro and SoHo businesses have much in common with households. There will be several people, who share common needs and for whom it may be convenient to provide a unified service that delivers key functions, while presenting a single bill. Each individual may need their own number but they may also want to be reachable through a single access identity.

The similarities are not only clear in terms of functionality. They may also be apparent through a desire to have a single bill, that addresses the group, not just the individual. While it’s important for each member to know what they have spent, it’s also important to know the collective expenditure too.

The thing is though, it’s still hard for such small companies to obtain services. The smallest businesses have hurdles to jump in order to obtain credit, to create an account and so on. Even something as simple as buying services in the first place for a small group can present obstacles. The advantages of having a single account for a group are many; until now, it’s been hard to secure them in practice.

However, that appears set to change. At the MVNOs’ World Congress in Amsterdam, we saw a number of operators and MVNOs talking clearly about the need to make the purchase of services for small businesses more akin to a simple consumer transaction. One innovative operator has introduced a complete online shop that automates the whole process, an important step forward in enabling even the smallest businesses to secure enterprise-class services but through the same steps that a consumer may have to take.

This represents a new phenomenon: ‘consumerising’ the enterprise. It’s all about enabling small businesses to buy specialised group-based call management services with the same convenience that exists in the enterprise domain. Dipper in Norway and now ergo in the UK are leading these initiatives. They understand how difficult it has been for the smallest business users to obtain services, such as mobile unified communications, that can help them meet business productivity and connectivity goals.

These innovative service providers are removing the barriers that confront small business owners from accessing services that are available to their larger cousins. It’s an important step forward and will help to democratise access to advanced business services, while addressing the needs of a market that has long been neglected.

Even more intriguingly, these same companies have noted the similarities between small businesses and households and have started to consider how group call management services can also be delivered to household and family units, providing classic business features like a single main number, simple hunt groups, multi device approaches, individual numbers, allied to processes such as single bill, free calls between group members and so on.

Not only do we expect to see ‘consumerisation’ of the enterprise, we can also anticipate movements to enterprise the consumer. If you want to find out how, talk to us!

B2B Services, Enterprise Services, Unified Communications, SME Services, SME Focus, SME Market, Dipper, MVNO, Mobile Unified Communications, MVNOs World Congress, ergo

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