As economic conditions gradually improve, North American companies are starting to recover their confidence, and are looking beyond mere survival. A recent survey by KPMG focusing on mergers and acquisitions demonstrated cautious optimism, with 21 per cent of companies planning to initiate at least one acquisition this year, and 16 per cent planning for at least two.
The survey outlines a number of criteria that companies would seek before feeling confident enough to initiate an acquisition. The single most important factor, according to 38% of respondents, was a well-executed integration plan, and it is in this respect that cloud-based phone service can provide significant benefits during the often-frenzied transition process.
Importance of Reliability and Continuity
During a merger or acquisition, reliability and continuity of communications are key. Onsite systems cannot provide the same level of redundancy as a cloud-based service because they are by nature confined to a single physical location. Cloud-base phone service offers a continent-wide network of independent data centers, delivering redundancy improved by orders of magnitude. If your company has a legacy communications system, and is on the verge of becoming an acquirer (or acquire-e), try to position the move to the cloud underway now.
Merging Multiple Locations
What about a scenario in which the company has multiple physical locations, all of which must be merged into a unified service plan under a new corporate umbrella? Cloud-based providers use the concept of “locations,” and each account can have multiple locations under it. All extensions within the account can directly call each other, with no need to dial outside numbers and no long-distance costs. Physical location becomes irrelevant under such a scheme; the service sees all extensions as “belonging” to the same entity. Managers can then view and control all extensions from a single, intuitive web portal.
Staff may also change roles as part of a merger or acquisition, or even shift from one physical location to another. During that transition time, client service must continue to operate in a responsive manner, and call queues are an excellent tool. These structures allow managers to assign any number of agents – again, regardless of their physical location – to a given queue, such as Sales, Support or Billing. If an agent in the queue isn’t available during the transition period, the call will roll to alternative agents, with options to continue ringing into different queues or even to outside devices such as smartphones.
Streamline Processes Post Merger
Looking ahead to the period immediately after a transition, it is often the case that new management searches for ways to streamline company processes and workflow. Cloud-based service offers a solution set that can be closely tailored to the industry or niche in question. The KPMG survey reveals that some of the primary targets for acquisition include companies in the technology, media and healthcare. Taking these verticals as examples, cloud-based phone service provides direct smartphone integration, for technology professionals who are rarely tied to a desk, offer on-demand, large-scale conference call solutions for media companies discussing PR strategies with clients and allow for HIPAA-automatic compliant call recordings at healthcare offices.
Growth-oriented companies know that there are already enough moving pieces to worry about in an acquisition or merger. Ensuring that communications systems are built for the company’s needs – both immediate and foreseeable – is just good business.
By Adam Simpson
Adam is the CEO and co-founder of Easy office Phone where he oversees the creation of new sales channels including a North American Dealer Program, plays a leading role in software development, manages the company’s network infrastructure, and builds dedicated teams of sales, support and engineering staff. Under Simpson’s leadership, Easy Office Phone has grown rapidly and steadily into a highly respected provider of Hosted PBX service to clients throughout Canada and North America since its launch in 2005.