One often overlooked method of communicating between different departments is PC2PC through a website. A few powerful software applications enable midsized and large businesses that allow several people from different departments, or parts of the world, to work together on a single project.
However, this is one powerful tool that can be revamped to allow small businesses interact between departments, and with clients to improve efficiency, profits, and customer service.
Many small businesses limit themselves to live customer service scripts and chat rooms on their websites, or worse, forums and blogs. This is such a limited use of the website as a communication tool.
The first thing that business needs to do is rethink their ideas of the Internet as a sales tool. Instead, it can be used as a PC2PC tool, as powerful as ‘go to my PC’ and ten times as secure as any PC2PC software.
One often overlooked aspect is databases. It is possible to link a database to a private website. This will allow users the ability to work on the same project – without risking the integrity of the company’s security system.
A web based database can allow users to FTP upload unlimited files onto the web server, and then allow another person to download the file to a PC half way around the world. This keeps the customer, or hacker, out of the company’s network. However, this only works if the web based system is completely independent of the company’s network.
There are several IM programs that can be used by small companies. I prefer www.V3chat.com. This company has several secure software packages that can be revamped to meet anyone’s system including IM and chat software. The benefit of this company’s software is that it works ‘stand alone’ or in combination with a forum, blog, content management system.
Several companies with large transfers of paper are starting to use content management systems. While I do not suggest trusting a free software package like mambo, I do feel that some of the free content management systems can be revamped to serve smaller businesses well.
Even something like mambo, combined with V3chat’s IM program, can turn a website into a powerful ‘meeting’ and document exchange tool.
The most important thing is to hire a professional to do this. There are freelance web programmers who are familiar with these systems and can make a mini-version of a system that a large business would pay $50 000 to $1m for.
The short sighted look is to believe that if you do not buy the complete professional package, than the power of the Internet is beyond your company’s reach.
In today’s world progress and profit is all about communication. A powerful content management system, database program, and IM, combined with a VoIP system that will allow you customer to step into the project and actually see every part, individually or as a whole – is far more powerful and cost effective than flying ten people to a single office and trying to cram everything into a single presentation.
When it comes to today’s technology, don’t think big – think smart.