For small and medium-sized enterprises wanting to keep overheads in check during another challenging fiscal year for SA, VoIP is king of the cost savers. Photo: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

DURBAN – For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) wanting to keep overheads in check during another challenging fiscal year for South Africa, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is king of the cost savers.

VoIP is unique among cost-cutting measures in that it delivers business efficiencies on top of tremendous telecoms cost savings of some 45 percent. 

Web conferencing expenses, for example, drop by 30 percent following VoIP system implementation, according to one survey of CIOs. 

"With South Africa experiencing a technical recession in 2018 and GDP growth expected to remain less than impressive in 2019, it’s going to be belt-tightening time well into the foreseeable future," said Evan Matthee, CFO (Chief Financial Officer) of Tier One telco, ICTGlobe.

Belt-tightening for the SME could mean letting underperforming staff go, cutting back on non-core services or moving to more reasonably-priced premises. All of these measures could adversely impact productivity. Implementing VoIP voice and data systems over traditional copper wire technology, however, will slash operating costs while boosting SME productivity in unforeseen ways.

Every second counts for the small business owner. Stopping and starting critical business tasks throughout the day to check voicemail, for example, results in an unforgivable 40 percent reduction in SME productivity, according to ITToolbox.com. VoIP systems are renowned for their ability to deliver unparalleled multitasking through unified messaging.

Start-ups need to be especially careful in lean times as they have not yet progressed to the next stage in the business lifecycle. SMEs are fragile, hence the need for incubation, and they should be especially wary of onerous telecoms equipment commitments.

“Cost-cutting needs to be smart with productivity in mind as SMEs could negatively impact future growth with ill-considered belt-tightening not implemented in consultation with an established ICT partner,” concludes Mr Matthee.

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