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									                                   Using broadband for business advantage
                                  Andre Joubert, MWEB Business General Manager

You’ve weighed up your options, established that you will profit from the cost saving and have decided to adopt
broadband for your small business. Having a high speed, always-on Internet connection is great, but the question
now is how you leverage your broadband connection to make it really work for your business.

The fact is broadband is so much more than just a fast connection. Broadband Internet connectivity is a tool that can
enable your business to be more productive, more effective and therefore more profitable, through access to online
business applications and rich content.

Online business applications
Access to online business applications through an application service provider or ASP is gaining popularity fast. The
term refers to a structure whereby Internet Service Providers (ISPs) develop applications, which are stored on their
servers. Applications are varied and include functions such as accounting, customer relationship management, e-
billing and payroll.

Instead of purchasing an application and loading it onto your own computer, you now access it via the Internet on a
subscription basis and rent it for as long as you need to use it. Your ISP ensures that the applications that you use
are up-to-date, completely secure and have the requisite technical support available.

An example of a tremendously successful ASP service is Internet banking. When you log onto the Web to do your
banking, you are accessing a secure application that resides on your bank’s server.

Knowledge at your fingertips
Besides access to applications, broadband also provides businesses with access to rich content. Knowledge has
become the currency of the 21st century and having access to relevant, accurate and timely information has enabled
many smaller players to compete head-on with big businesses.

Access to valuable content and the tools to make it intelligible is therefore crucial to make good business decisions.

Augmenting your business online
Just as important as your ability to access information online, is that you enable your customer to access information
about your company online. Augmenting your existing business with an online presence should definitely be a priority.

The importance of having a presence on the Web cannot be over-emphasised – if you are not online, the chances are
good that you will lose customers to someone who is. Increasingly, consumers expect businesses – both small and
large – to have a presence on the Internet. Research has also shown that a large percentage of consumers research
goods and services online before making purchases off-line.
Plus, broadband is regarded as the driving force behind the development of the e-commerce market, which is growing
at approximately 25% per annum. Therefore, establishing a presence on the Web should not be done haphazardly
and requires a carefully crafted strategy.

Voice over Internet Protocol
Emphasising the benefits of broadband is not complete without a mention of voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP.
Whilst VoIP is not a new technology, South African legislation prohibited its wide-spread adoption until recently.

VoIP is the technology that allows voice traffic to be transported over any Internet Protocol (IP) network – including the
Internet – and in doing so, bypass the traditional telephone network. VoIP promises businesses greater affordability,
choice and innovation with regard to telecommunications services.

Most people often think of VoIP as Skype, a PC-based VoIP service. However, VoIP can be much more than Skype
calls, which can only be made when a user’s computer is switched on and he/she is logged in to the service.

A business quality VoIP solution, available from an Internet Service Provider, supplies the same telephone service
that businesses are accustomed to, but utilises a different transport medium, namely IP. The key driving force behind
selecting a VoIP solution is cost saving, yet this is entirely dependent on your business’ call usage patterns and

So whether for online business applications, accessing or providing content, or for the cost saving of VoIP, the
benefits of broadband are endless. Unleashing the potential of a broadband solution can transform the way you
conduct business.


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