In our fast-paced, increasingly technological world, it is becoming more and more important for businesses to ensure that they are as flexible as possible in every area of their work, from their employment policies to their network management.
We at VC4 are of course most interested in how our Inventory & Management System (IMS) can help businesses to achieve flexibility, but this piece will also touch on how technology can be embraced for flexible working, allowing employees all over the world to stay connected with their business, wherever they may be based.
What is flexibility in business terms?
While we all know flexibility is the ability to adapt easily to different scenarios, how exactly can this be applied to modern business?
In a guest blog post for PR In Your Pajamas, co-author of Small Business, BIG Vision Matthew Toren wrote: "I define flexibility in business as the ability for a company to make whatever internal changes are necessary to respond effectively to the changing outward environment, as quickly as possible.
"In other words, you're ready for whatever happens in the market and you're able to turn it into opportunity by adjusting to the new paradigm almost immediately."
Therefore, in the telecoms industry, with ever-changing networks and modes of communication, it is important that firms are as well-equipped as possible to adopt a flexible approach and deal with changes.
One way in which telecom service providers can do this is by embracing VC4's innovative IMS product, which allows employees of such firms to manage changes relating to their networks, meaning they can improve their technical flexibility.
The network planning and change management features of IMS include its ability to copy equipment, carry out overviews of networks, draw up equipment templates and seek out available routes for network connections and customer services.
As all of these functions can be carried out in one single system, problems can be resolved quicker and lead times can potentially be reduced, meaning flexibility can in turn be improved.
However, it is not just the network planning and change management aspects of IMS that can improve a company's flexibility, but also its ability to manage workflow, warehouse operations, spares and even floor plans.
The inventory solution is extremely collaborative, allowing all employees of a firm to access it, meaning they can work in sync to strive towards improving a company's performance.
This multi-user approach and high level of accessibility once again contributes towards a firm's flexibility, as centrally-stored files and data can be found quickly and easily.
It is not only in relation to technology that telecom service providers need to adopt a flexible approach, but also with regard to their employees and the way in which they work on a day-to-day basis.
Although some of the technology a telecom service provider is using may only be able to be accessed in the office or at the company's headquarters, other tasks should be doable from home or another remote location, further improving flexibility.
For instance, field engineers working on site with a tablet, or sales personnel checking the best-selling areas close to the network of the service provider.