The Lack of Video Call Etiquette

What happened to reading the newspaper on the toilet? These days it seems people just cannot even pause electronic communications while they are in the bathroom. It’s sad we even need to talk about this, but unfortunately….we do. According to a 2012 survey about video call etiquette, holding a work-related video call from the bathroom was considered OK by 13 percent of American adults. What? From the bathroom? I wouldn’t even make a phone call, let alone a video call. Apparently I am not alone in my frustration. According to a recent global etiquette survey sponsored by Intel, over 90
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Circuit Monitoring at Your Fingertips

Now You, The End User Can Conduct Your Own Circuit Monitoring Do you wish you had the ability to understand everything going on within your unified communication ecosystem? Do you imagine a world where you could look at a simple dashboard and get a clear understanding of the status of each circuit in your network? Now with Telarus circuit monitoring you can do just that. What Are the Requirements for Circuit Monitoring? Your circuit needs to be sourced through Telarus. Only static IP addresses can be tested. An email address needs to be provided to receive circuit monitoring alert notifications.
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VXSuite Top Three Blogs of 2015

I’d like to say I thought to myself, “Self, you know what would be a killer idea? Dig into Google Analytics to see what the most popular blog posts on VXSuite were for 2015, and then write a post on it for the end of the year,” but it wasn’t my idea at all. I stole this killer idea from Laura Petrolino of Arment Dietrich. She did it for the awesome blog, Spin Sucks. So I copied her idea. But unlike Laura, who didn’t find any of her posts in the top three Spin Sucks blogs of 2015, I fared
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It is Time to Stop Resisting Hosted Voice

Is the transition from on-premises phone systems to hosted voice really any different than that of DOS to Windows? Early in my career, I worked as an IT Consultant.  I recall an assignment for a law firm to transition them from WordPerfect for DOS to WordPerfect for Windows. Now some of you understand how I just dated myself, and some do not have any idea why I mistyped Word as WordPerfect.  That being said, WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS was extremely popular with legal secretaries, transcriptionists, and anyone who produced significant amounts of documents. As I started my project, I sat
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Five Steps to a Successful Telecom Broker Business

Being an entrepreneur, business owner, telecom broker, speaker, and author, I’ve had plenty of chances to make mistakes—some large, some small. Over time, I’ve learned what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t. The funny thing is, however, that the recipe for success, or at least the strategy behind it, changes. What I did in 2002 wouldn’t necessarily work today, and vice versa. Interesting point, right? Well, this got me thinking: What would I do if I could be a telecom broker and start a cloud brokerage agency, today, knowing what I know now? After much thought (and recent experiences with
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Partner Spotlight on Jack Knocke

At six feet, two inches, Jack Knocke is easy to spot in a crowd. I first met him last March in Las Vegas at the Channel Partners show. I knew he’d be attending the event, but at such a large show, I didn’t think I’d see him. Walking the show Sunday night I spotted a well-dressed, tall man across the aisle. With a friendly smile we greeted each other and, when I saw his name tag, I broke out laughing—he was right….find each other, we did! Jack makes a living helping VARs and MSPs fine-tune their businesses. Many leave 30
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Don’t be Scared of Migrating to Skype for Business

Three steps to prepare for a Skype for Business migration There are plenty of things to be scared of this Halloween, such as an army of polyester “Elsa” clones, oddly themed food (spaghetti and eyeballs, anyone?!), or the dreaded “gummy tummy.” But one thing that shouldn’t be sending chills up your spine is the idea of ditching your organization’s current unified communications (UC) solution and migrating to Skype for Business. While there are some key points to keep in mind when executing the transition, migrating to Skype for Business comes down to one word: Preparation. When you think of it
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Partner Spotlight on Adam Edwards

I first met Adam Edwards, co-founder of Telarus, when we shared the same hallways in the Centennial Plaza. Our VXSuite offices were located on the same floor as Telarus and he always gave a smile and friendly greeting when we passed. Since we were all in the same building it was easy to mention, in passing, our VXMadness event and introduce him to the idea of attending and sponsoring. We would update him on new registrations and other sponsors. He loved the idea and has attended VXMadness both years. He is such a fan, in fact, that he and co-founder
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Network Readiness in 2015

Dimension Data, VXSuite partner and one of the largest networking companies in the world, recently released their 2015 Network Barometer Report, gauging the network readiness of today’s businesses. They concluded that investing in maturing your organization’s network performance monitoring, support, and management systems is the most effective way to improve the network’s ability to support the business. They found processes, rather than refreshing technology simply for the sake of avoiding obsolescence, would prove network readiness and net winners in the end. Keep it Until it Breaks It makes sense to “sweat” assets longer, as long as the risks are known
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Why Transparency is Important in a Cloud Broker Relationship

Today’s cloud broker is different from the cloud broker of yesterday. The term “broker” has a negative connotation because people associate it with someone only concerned with price. The new role is expanded because the cloud broker becomes a cloud aggregator. While they may provide a cost analysis of services, they also save the buyer time by conducting research on their behalf. Some also act as intermediaries for contract negotiations. They act as a consultant who understands the needs of the business in relation to their business goals. Tech Target defines a cloud broker as, “A third-party individual or business
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Partner Spotlight with Mike Hanks

I first met Mike Hanks when I worked for one of our VXSuite partners, CONNECTIONS. Owner Jon Giberson knew Mike from his days at another call accounting competitor. When I began work for VXSuite I became the channel manager for Continuant and had the pleasure of working with Mike. Our first meeting was over eight years ago. Fast forward to now and we were able to reconnect last March at VXMadness 2.0. Mike is quiet and thoughtful. He participated at our board of directors meeting in place of another board member who couldn’t attend. He has great insight into his
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Telarus Acquires VXSuite

A letter to VXSuite Partners from Roger Blohm, President Helping our partners build their best brand has always been a top priority at LVM, Inc. I hope this is evidenced by the top-notch products we have built for you to sell to your customers, the white-labeling of those products, the marketing assistance, and more. During  the past 18 months, we have sought venture capital funds to help grow the business and, because of these conversations, we have decided to join Telarus. Telarus acquires VXSuite products, partners, and customers. I wanted to take a moment to explain how this came about
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Why Network Readiness Can Save a VoIP Implementation

Performing a network readiness assessment before implementing a Voice over IP (VoIP) system is an important first step to ensuring a positive quality of experience. There are three steps to VoIP success, the first of which is to test for network readiness. Planning for a VoIP implementation relies on the IT manager taking extra steps to make sure the network can handle the increased traffic. Typically, partners, and hosted providers ask questions such as: How many simultaneous calls do you make? How utilized are your trunks? Will you be running voice and video or just one? Are there other network
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When Technology Fails

My daily life is filled with technology. Some days it works and other days I experience technology fails. My iPhone 6 Plus (if I had to do it again I would buy the regular 6) wakes me up in the morning and I use its Bluetooth to connect music in the car while I drive my son to school. At my desk, I am surrounded by three computers, a laser printer, a scanner, and a DVR. I use Skype for Business (Lync) for my phone system, video conferencing, and instant messaging. Typically I am happy with the technology in my
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The 7 Habits Recap

We are speeding toward the fourth quarter and managers at all levels are wondering if the company will reach its 2015 goals. To better understand where you are—and what you need to do in the fourth quarter—ask yourself these questions: What are the year-to-date numbers and what is in the funnel for the last part of 2015? Will you reach your sales goals? What projects did you commit to finishing in 2015 that might slip into 2016? What relationships did you commit to develop that have been put on the back-burner? What strategic initiatives have you committed to starting that
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Telecom Glossary of Terms

These days a telecom glossary is necessary to keep track of the growing number of phrases, acronyms, and idioms of the telecom world. They resemble an alphabet soup—messier than most people can handle. Keeping up with all of the new terms can be difficult, if not impossible, especially without a telecom glossary or reference of some type. One of the resources we use is Newton’s Telecom Dictionary. Harry Newton, former publisher of Teleconnect and six other monthly magazines for the telecommunications industry, has compiled an amazing reference for all things telecom. What? Buy a Telecom Reference Book? As the Amazon.com
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Six Lync Issues to be Aware of in Competitive Situations

At VXMadness 2.0 we had a lively Lync panel discussion with experts in Lync and Skype for Business implementations. They took questions from the audience and offered advice and suggestions. Amy Freeman, owner of Global Communications, LLC, asked a question about Lync issues. She was concerned about competing against other phone system vendors and wanted to know what limitations Lync has that they will encounter. Because Microsoft owns the desktop, they have the advantage for that user. Office applications dominate most organizations, and users are comfortable navigating these programs. Adding IM, presence, and screen share features inside Office applications they
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Rise of the Cloud Broker

Recently I attended Cisco Live, the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, and presented a keynote presentation at the Telarus Partner Summit. The title of my presentation was “Becoming a Cloud Broker.” I was surprised to learn there was a similar class at all three events. The Telarus Partner Summit hosts a more traditional carrier and bandwidth agent representative who are attending a master agency’s partner show. Cisco Live was filled with technology companies, and Cisco partners. The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference was filled with their best partners selling servers, windows, licenses, and now Azure and Office 365. While the audiences varied,
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Skype for Business vs Lync vs Skype

Skype for Business vs Lync can make anyone’s head spin.  We have had several customers and partners ask, “What is the difference between Skype for Business, Skype, and Lync?” Skype for Business vs Lync It’s not Skype for Business vs Lync, but rather Lync becomes Skype for Business. We still hear the Lync name, though, because the Office 365 rollout is not yet complete. Once all users are upgraded to the Skype for Business platform, that will fade into history. When Microsoft bought Skype in 2011, it had many in the tech world shaking their heads and asking, “Why?” Paying
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Partner Spotlight with Pat Galvin

I first met Pat Galvin over the phone in my role of channel manager. I called on him to introduce myself and learn more about his business. I remember him as warm and easy-to-talk to from the very beginning. Fast forward five years and we were able to reconnect last March at VXMadness 2.0. Pat is warm, inviting and super insightful. He always had great input in our panel discussions and we could count on him for thought-provoking questions about industry trends. He believes his customer are his biggest advocates. They become salespeople in their own community. And this is
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Voice Quality Monitoring 101

Proactively monitoring every VoIP call allows the telecom manager to solve customer call service problems with more efficiency and improve high-end service selling capabilities. Using a proven voice quality monitoring tool, or engaging with a partner who offers one, is the best way to ensure success. Partners who monitor the network provide an added service to their customers. Using a vendor-neutral third-party voice quality monitoring tool provides insight into where issues are occurring. Voice Quality Culprits A quality issue for a given endpoint could be a PC issue, a data network issue, a voice routing issue, a Windows server oriented
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Why Value Added Resellers Should be Reselling Telecom Services

Traditional value added resellers (VARs) have historically shied away from reselling telecom services. They have resisted the headaches and bad reputation that can come with failed installations, outages, and poor performance. This is understandable, but having the bandwidth conversation can be a powerful and profitable conversation and by avoiding this critical component you are missing out on a chance to control more of the customer’s wallet share. Resellers who are asking these questions will discover more opportunities inside their customer:      Have you run a bandwidth utilization report to see how much bandwidth and how many trunks you are using and
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Partner Spotlight: How a Standing Desk Helped a VXSuite Partner Fight Fatigue

Back at the end of May VXSuite partner Jon Giberson of CONNECTIONS shared with us his experiment to try a standing desk to fight constant headaches, fatigue, and back pain. He discovered the idea of using a standing desk when he read an article detailing the medical hazards of sitting at a desk all day. He asked his personal physician if sitting all day might be affecting his health and, if so, if he had any suggestions to help his fatigue. His physician  said anytime you are sedentary, your body is not working as hard. He suggested a couple tools
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Quality of Experience Necessary for Controlling the UC Outcome

Voice is now running on a data network that, in many cases, the telecom manager has no control over that network. There is an inherent technical complexity of VoIP and allowing a mission critical application (voice) to reside on the data network can be disastrous. Ensuring excellent quality of experience is dependent on the communications ecosystem and how well it is managed. VoIP was supposed to be easier, cheaper, and deliver more features, but for many it seems harder, more expensive and these features seem impossible to control. A few years ago the technologist’s world was much easier. It was
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Hey IT folks – It’s time to Dress to Impress

During the summer months I live in shorts, t-shirts and flip flops – when I am at the beach or realizing on the weekend. Heck, living in Southern California that is pretty much the uniform. But sometimes the need to dress to impress trumps the casual So Cal style. Over the past few weeks I have attended Cisco Live in San Diego and the International Avaya User’s Group show in Denver and I was shocked at the attire and overall appearance of attendees. At both shows was the attire was overly casual. The IT world has always been one where
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Unified Communications Devices a Huge Opportunity for VARs and MSPs

Our society is obsessed with being connected. Unified communications devices are changing the way we go about our daily lives. Gone are the days of waiting to hear back in a day or two from colleagues and business partners. Today’s workers expect an instant response. Users are constantly on their phones. A recent study published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions found female college students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their cell phones, while male students report spending nearly eight. The study also found that about 60 percent of study participants think they may be addicted
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Why a Managed Service Provider Will Beat Out the Agent in the Long Run

Recently, Doug Tolley and VXSuite partner Greg Plum of Plum UC participated in a podcast titled, “Partner Adoption of Converged Bundles and Billing.” The event was hosted by Dan Baldwin, executive director of the Telecom Association. Dan quickly jumped into a series of questions to get to the heart of the VXSuite and Plum UC stories. They talked about the shift from being simply a telecom services agent to a managed service provider. Plum UC provides partners and their customers with a comprehensive platform of unified communications and conferencing and collaboration solutions. They are also a Telarus partner and work
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Rude Passengers Take the Fun Out of Travel

People never cease to amaze me. After a successful International Avaya Users Group (IAUG) trade show in Denver I was traveling home with my father, who happens to be a business partner. We were at the ticket counter checking our bags in the Denver airport and decided to inquire about upgrading to first class. The counter attendant said she had two seats left. Because we were having to check the booth and our bags, the price to upgrade would be nominal because bags are free on first class. We were in! Incompetence? As she was working to get things completed
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What Makes a High Performing Team

I was recently in a meeting of a group of CEOs and we were collaborating and discussing employees, teamwork, and the attributes of a high performing team. During this meeting, the moderator asked everyone to take a few minutes and recall the best team they had ever worked with in their careers. They asked what made it this high performing team the “best” team ever. This may sound trite or convenient, but as I reflected I realized the best team I had ever worked with was the team I work with now at LVM. As I thought about what makes
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The Fallacy of “Do More With Less”

I often hear managers of teams or companies that are talking about profit recovery, turnaround, changing culture etc. talk about the ways that they are going to change. During these discussions in management meetings I almost invariably hear a manager say “we are going to do more with less.” This comment by its very nature is problematic. First, if our employees work hard, are skilled, and have proper instruction there is no way they can do more with less. Unless we are going to train them better, give them new systems or tools that make them more productive, or make
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