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Strong business internet for professional service firms

Tech Trends · Apr 28, 2020

The term professional services is often used as a catch-all for businesses like accounting, legal, and consulting—and extends to companies like architectural firms and small marketing agencies. On a day-to-day basis, they face vastly different challenges, but they’re united in one key way: the impact of technology—specifically high speed internet—on their business. 

Professional services like law and accounting firms historically haven’t been the fastest to adopt digital technology; while some consulting companies (like IT and marketing agencies) have led the charge when it comes to creating a connected workplace. Regardless, for any professional service, the importance of fast internet and sufficient bandwidth can’t be overstated. The Internet is more than an essential tool, it’s the backbone of any successful small business. 

A reliable connection (or lack thereof) can literally make or break you. In fact, according to a recent study by AppDynamics/Cisco, internet downtime can cost a small business (those with annual revenue of under $50M) up to $8,580 per hour. And, the cost per year for companies facing downtime issues? A staggering average of $163,674. 

At minimum, professional services need a reliable internet connection for email—a massive part of day-to-day communications. From there, it’s vital for more complex systems and cloud-based applications (like Google Drive, Slack, project management tools like Trello or Asana, and CRM or CMS platforms). And, as more and more client and team interactions are taken online—the ability to conduct meetings over video call (leveraging technology like Webex, Zoom, Skype, and Google Meet) becomes increasingly important. 

It’s not just about great upload/download speeds (although that’s important!). Fast reliable internet allows your business systems to function, leading to enhanced productivity, team collaboration, and seamless client experiences.

Internet for your business and your clients 

As a professional services business, there’s no doubt you know you need an internet connection to function. But, you may not have given much thought to selecting a provider. It’s one of those “bare minimum” business decisions that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves.Think about all the areas of your business that rely on a strong internet connection. 

The list is likely extensive, and could include:

  • Email (both internally and client communications)

  • Storing and managing large files (like CAD and BIM  for architectural firms, or HD videos and PSDs for marketing agencies)

  • Cloud-based programs 

      • Salesforce, Zendesk, Hubspot, Sage accounting, and other CRM and customer service software

      • Documents and spreadsheets on Google Drive and Microsoft OneDrive

  • Video calls (for remote employees and client meetings)

  • Overnight data backups

If your professional services company is client-facing and you’re regularly holding meetings in-person, offering WiFi to your guests is important. The same goes for offices with waiting areas for customers. Offering them a separate guest WiFi login makes their experience more productive.

The best internet providers will allow you to create 2 separate Wi-Fi networks for your guests and employees to securely access the internet with gigabit fast speeds.

VOIP Service

Another area where connection comes into play: Voice over Internet Protocol (or VoIP). It uses your existing internet data lines to send audio over the internet. It’s a reliable service, where you get the same features as a traditional landline phone—like call waiting, voicemail, conference calling—using your internet connection. It can also be used for video conferencing and the ability to call an employee’s home computer or mobile phone directly when they’re working remotely.

The impact of reliable high-speed connection

Faster uploads and downloads

Symmetrical upload/download speeds can mean the difference between making that client deadline on-time, or missing it completely. This is especially true for consulting businesses or agencies working on massive design files. Slow, lagging internet can prevent you from providing stellar and timely work to your clients—a huge risk for your business, and one you shouldn’t be willing to take.

Collaboration happens easily

Cloud technology has been a major innovation for enhanced employee (and client) collaboration. Google Docs, for example, allows for real-time edits to documents from multiple contributors simultaneously. Gone are the days of v1, v2, v3, v4…(you get the point). Thanks to cloud applications, collaboration happens easily between remote employees, freelance contractors, and clients. Using video conferencing allows for presentations to clients all over the world, and seamless team meetings regardless of time zone. But, you can’t use the cloud to its full potential if you’re working with a slow internet connection and feedback is delayed.

Staff productivity and morale soars

If you’ve ever experienced internet down time, you know how frustrating it can be—it interrupts the flow of work and impacts your employees’ productivity. A slow internet connection is even linked to a negative emotional state— with employees saying it’s their number one frustration in many offices. Think of how embarrassing it can be when you’re hosting  an important conference call with a client and the internet goes down. That can take a toll on your team’s morale.

Choosing the right internet provider for your business

Get enough speed 

If you and your team regularly deal with large files like video, design, audio, or code— ensure you have the right internet speed in place. If you’re not working with big files, it’s not just about upload and download speeds. You’ll want to have high-speed, reliable internet in place to increase responsiveness of the cloud apps you use daily. Not to mention, employees typically have multiple devices connected to the office WiFi which can slow down the connection, if you don’t have enough bandwidth in place. The right provider will allow you to choose the speeds that best suit your business, while offering unlimited data on a reliable and secure connection.

Have a backup plan

Down time has a lot of down sides. A great way to ensure you won’t risk it is by choosing a provider that offers LTE internet backup and automatic failover. It’s basically a wireless backup solution that makes sure you stay connected in case of any outages.

Choose dedicated support

If you don’t have an in-house IT team, choosing a provider that offers dedicated support is a must. The best provider will give you 24/7 dedicated support for any issues that come up.

Make sure you’re secure

Small businesses face a very real threat when it comes to cybersecurity. Any professional services business has high-value information saved on company computers and servers that hackers could target: employee payroll details, user logins, passwords, and intellectual property. For accountants this can include sensitive tax details, and for law firms may include confidential legal information that needs to stay secure. Threats are growing, with nearly half of all cyber attacks targeting small businesses. Choose a provider that can protect your data from viruses, malware, and other threats with an enterprise grade security solution.

Reliable high-speed internet allows professional services businesses to offer a seamless employee and guest experience, while increasing productivity. You simply can’t risk any down time when so much of your important information lives online. Down time isn’t just frustrating for your team and your clients—it’s costly, and can have a real negative impact on your bottom line and operations.

When it’s functioning, fast, and reliable, you’ll feel unstoppable; you can connect with clients all over the world, share feedback with your team, and conduct efficient meetings in-person and online.

If you’re a small professional service business, you need a simple (and reliable) internet solution. TELUS Workplace as a Service Basic is Canada’s largest and fastest network, with Office Internet, Wi-Fi, security and collaboration solutions with one point of contact to support your small business.

Learn more about TELUS Workplace as a Service Basic, and how it can help your business succeed.

Contact our sales team to set up your free Workplace as a Service consultation and learn more about the TELUS small business plans available.

Authored by:
Matt Wong