Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How Bandwidth Fosters Productivity Improvement

More bandwidth may well be one of your fastest and lowest cost solutions to improve employee productivity. By optimizing your LAN and WAN bandwidth to the pace of your business activity, you can remove a big stumbling block to performance improvement and even increase profits.

Something as mundane as telephone and computer networking seems at least one step removed from how well people perform on the job. But is it? Thinking about how fast and efficiently things get done, it seems logical that anything that creates wait time is going to hurt productivity.

A perfect example is someone researching information on the Web. If system response is sluggish, the researcher has to wait for pages to display and files to download. What's more insidious is that there may be no workaround to Internet access that varies in response time. If you know that it will take five minutes for a large file to download, then you might launch the process and work on something else in the meantime. But if your bandwidth varies so much that one time the information is available in 15 seconds and the next time it is 2 minutes, the tendency is to wait for the result. After all, you might not have time to get anything else going.

Another example is the response time for credit and debit card verification in grocery stores and retailers. There's not much you can do while waiting for approval. The clerk and the customer just stand there. If the system responds in a few seconds, fine. But what if it is a minute or more? Multiply that by the number of customers in line times the number of stations and you can see how much time is wasted on waiting. To keep customers from getting totally frustrated, perhaps deciding to shop elsewhere, you may have to open additional cash register stations with additional clerks. That's money down the drain if you could avoid the problem by switching from dial-up or slow DSL to T1 or higher line bandwidth.

It's not just the monthly cost of the bandwidth contract. You need to figure out what it costs directly in additional head count and indirectly in customer satisfaction to know if higher bandwidth is an expense or a cost reduction.

Telephone networks are subject to the same productivity restrictions. An extreme example is when a sales person needs to make a customer call and can't get an outside line. Minutes spent waiting instead of selling is truly money down the drain. A more subtle example is the call setup time in call centers. The difference between T1 PRI trunk lines with their superior signaling performance and standard T1 or analog trunks may amount to less than a second per call, but multiply that by the number of operators and the number of calls each and the erosion of productivity adds up over the course of a month.

Think of bandwidth as a limiting factor in employee performance. If network response is ten or a hundred times as fast as the servers can respond it doesn't help to add more. If you have more outside phone lines than employees, how will twice as many help? But if you have less of a resource than needed, people wait. You pay for that wait time. Eliminate the wait and you'll likely find that productivity will increase automatically.

Is restricted bandwidth costing your company money? Discover how little it costs now to speed things up for higher profits. Check current bandwidth prices for voice and data service now.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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