It was a reality check and unfair as it comes. There he was sitting at his $10,000 dollar desk as he expressed his pain. “I need to cut my operating cost because I have no money coming in. What section of the IT can we cut, Tim?” I looked at the marketing guy and thought how would he answer.

The reality check is, Information Technology (IT) is embedded within the operation cost where it is harder to extract out the value, in the form of numbers. I am sure the marking dude can tell me how many leads came in and how many leads became a customer. He would certainly love to point out how the customer acquisition cost decreased over the years. I know he is going to finish me if I attempt to explain 50% of the marketing value came from IT. You cannot blame him as he is only trying to keep his co-worker.

Demonstrating Phone System’s Value

That is how Tim, my colleague, expresses his thoughts and he is 100% right about IT being embedded. For example, a client of mine provides immigration services. He has a phone system. It is clear that the phone system brings value because if he cannot talk to people, then he can’t convert them to customers.

One of the ways to put a value on a phone system is to view the dilemma in the opposite way. That is: How much money does the company lose if the phone system is down? Imagine that the marketing department converts ten leads per day. Not to mention five employees that are costing $1000 per day. We can simply say that losing the phone system will cost the company at least $1000 per day.

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“Sunny, it seems like the government wants you to work from home,” said the big boss. “But I don’t have Internet at home,” replied Sunny. I myself live in New York City, I can say that there are more homeless people who have a smartphone, with internet, than actual food. In fact, there are “LinkNYC” hotspot kiosks located all over Manhattan and the outer boroughs providing free internet. It was designed to replace “pay phone”. About two decades ago, there were phone booths that allowed you to make calls for 25 cents for a few minutes. Now, Link kiosks allow us to make calls, plus provide an internet hotspot, all for free.

Your Carrier Data Limit

Smartphones also can provide hotspots or Wifi connections to a computer to work from home. However, one of the problems with smartphone wifi are the limitations. Most smartphones have a cellular usage cap, or data limit,  from the provider or carrier (eg: AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile). These carriers usually sell limited data plans on a monthly basis.

What makes this a big problem is a computer using a smartphone wifi connection can use the entire month’s capped data within a day. The reason computers use so much data is because of

  • 🎥  videos, streamed from a site like youtube
  • 📁  downloading large data files
  • 📑  3rd party applications running in the background that the user is not aware of

The solution is to minimize streaming video and run some network traffic control software, such as NetBalancer. You can configure NetBalancer to identify which applications can access the internet connection. For example, only allow your email application such as Outlook or Thunderbird. The network control software won’t allow any other applications to use the internet, preventing them from eating up all the data.

Unlimited data or Data Limit by Technology

It is also important to carefully read your unlimited internet package contract.  Carriers usually add some small fine print stating that after exceeding the data limit, they are allowed to push your internet connection to a different wireless technology. Usually, the carrier gives you an LTE connection for the first few gigabytes and then downgrades the internet connection to 3G. The user usually notices it right away because the internet speed is very slow. It is slow enough that using the hotspot is useless because you cannot do anything. Yes, Sunny was not far from the truth that he does not have the internet at home.


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Photo Credit: @LinkNYC twitter account

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