RuralSourcing: Using Communications to Build Business Where the Grass is Greener

Will “ruralsourcing” take hold on the back roads and country lanes of America? With 60 million people accessible via broadband and often located near a college/university system, it’s more and more likely. The very things that made outsourcing overseas so attractive—lower costs, an  educated workforce and an established technology infrastructure—also exists here in the U.S. That’s why more large, U.S.-based businesses are beginning to turn to small rural companies for back office and other services—a phenomenon that’s been dubbed “ruralsourcing.”

The benefits are numerous: lower costs, shorter supply chains, better data security, intellectual property protection, cultural compatibility and convenient time zones.

Hard numbers on the growth of rural sourcing are difficult to come by, but according to Mary Lacity, professor of information systems at the University of Missouri’s College of Business, the past year or two has seen a spike in demand. Lacity estimates that there are some 20 rural outsourcing providers in the United States pursuing a market of $100 million.

  • Iowa has launched an effort — Off Shore Iowa—to promote the ability of several Iowa communities to provide technologically enhanced administrative back office services.
  • A number of IT services companies, such as The C&L Group (C&L), Rural Sourcing Inc. and Cross USA are specifically focused on developing high-tech hubs in rural areas across the U.S.
  • New numbers out of South Dakota show a boom in sole proprietors.

Small rural businesses looking to capture their share of rural sourcing dollars will do well to pay close attention to the communications capabilities that they have in place. The right communications can help support the efficient, professional business processes desired by outsourcing companies. In particular, consider the following:

Multiple, Incoming Business Lines: You will very likely need to establish multiple, incoming business lines each with its own separate phone number and identity. But you want to be able to manage all of these lines through one system and be able to easily use one set of people resources to manage incoming calls on all the different lines.

Connect Multiple Offices: If you have more than one office location, take advantage of a communications system that lets you have all the offices on one dial plan so everyone is reachable as an extension on the system (not an outside call) and can also share resources such as messaging or a receptionist.

Home Office Workers: It’s very likely you will be “sourcing” business yourself, by taking advantage of home-based workers. With the right communications solution, home-based workers can be just another extension and have access to all of the communications capabilities as if they were working in the office.

Conference Calling: A communications system with a built-in conference bridge gives you the option of instantly setting up conference calls with a few people or a few dozen. It’s a great way to streamline communications with people in a wide range of locations.

Software Options: Different people in your organization are going to have different communications needs, depending on whether they are managers, office workers, home-based employees, frequent travelers, etc. Make sure your communications system gives you options to get the right fit for each type of employee and not have to spend on capabilities that aren’t needed.

Avaya IP Office is an example of a new breed of small business communications system that offers a great option for companies looking to take advantage of the ruralsourcing trend.  What makes Avaya IP Office particularly attractive is that is has an established track record: 30 million users around the world.

For more information on Avaya IP Office 

Advertisements

About Vic Levinson
Telecommunications and IT professional with over 20 years experience in Business Telecommunications. Specializing in voice over IP (VoIP) for business: hosted VoIP, business VoIP phone systems, SIP providers, carriers, T1's - the works. Founded Prime Telecommunications in 1993 and providing business communications solutions. Cloud Applications- everything from hosted network security, hosted Disaster Recovery, hosted printer management, data centers and colocation solutions for businesses.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: