Business Process Re-engineering is a branch of management studies that looks at how the operational processes of a business can be re-designed to improve business performance. In today’s telephony market we grow accustomed to the recurring questions concerning telephone tariffs or cost of a phone system and maintenance. However, the savings achievable by rethinking existing business processes are usually far greater than any discounted call-tariffs can ever achieve and VoIP technology can contribute significantly.

Telecommunication and phone system networks have always played an important role in BPR as they are a key enabler for a company to modify the existing way of working, collaborating and transferring information.

As a salesperson, it is key to understand the real cost drivers behind the operations of a business and the factors affecting business profitability. These forces can swing a client’s decision-making process in favour of a specific provider and enable the sales team to build a value proposition that is unique and more compelling than any competitors.

Let’s look at the factors that a telephone system can influence in order to increase business profitability:

1. use of Time
2. use of People’s Skills
3. use of Resources
4. serving existing Customers
5. acquiring new Customers
6. sharing of Information
7. sharing of Corporate Values

1. The use of Time Where employees work faster and phone operators manage calls quicker, the efficiency of a business improves too. There is more to it though: routing calls within remote offices using a unified communication platform, for example, means that employees can connect with each other faster and customers can receive timely pre-sales and after-sales services.

2. The use of People’s Skills Skills-based call routing enables a company to maximise the use of its best resource: people. Therefore calls can be routed within the company to the right person who can deal with the enquiry best, based on their competences, skills and technical background.

3. The use of Resources Call-centre operators, receptionists, telephone lines, phones, faxes and printers whose behaviour and use can be streamlined to eliminate surplus resources.

4. Serving existing Customers How many times is a customer kept needlessly on hold for too long and how many customers does a company lose simply because they are not given the right attention in a timely fashion? This, in the long run, reflects negatively on the company’s brand, culture and customer service.

5. Acquiring new Customers With a new generation telephone system even a small business can run telemarketing or fax marketing campaigns with a very limited budget. Furthermore, by integrating the phone system with a CRM platform the sales process can be managed more actively, providing real-time statistics on how the sales team is performing.

6. Sharing of Information The old ‘status lamp’ in many IP phones were a green colour meant that someone was available (NB: even if not physically at the desk) or red meant he/she was in a meeting, is being replaced with advanced systems providing much more meaningful information. Employees can now see if people are really available to take calls and in case they are not why they are unavailable (i.e. on a meeting, at lunch, out to see a client) or what is the best way of contacting them (switchboard, direct number, mobile phone, email).

7. Sharing of Corporate Values Giving access to a higher degree of information within a company enables employees to develop a sense of ‘togetherness’ that helps an organisation operate as one team. Imagine the time when an employee in Edinburgh had to dial their ‘020’ number only to speak to their colleagues in London. That did nothing to help cohesiveness. Now employees in different hemispheres of the globe can talk to each other for free at a click of a mouse or simply see if they have gone to work that day or not, exactly as if they were in the same office.

It is worth noting that as part of any larger BPR exercise, the introduction of a new phone system for a company should help reduce the number of redundant business processes rather than increase the efficiency of processes that do not add any value to the business. In this regard, all objections brought forward against common BPR strategies still hold true