Enact Chargeback: Become a Telecom Profit Center

Rather than being considered a tax on the corporate budget, work to change the mindset of your organization by becoming a profit center. How do you do this? It’s all about bill chargeback. Don’t let phone bills and related telecom expenses hit the IT budget, let VXTracker allocate telecom costs and related telecom-spend to the correct departments, tenants, and projects. Deliver Better Internal Customer Service Another benefit in IT services chargeback is in making IT staff more customer-oriented. If keeping the customer happy is a high priority, attitudes may shift away from the mindset of being “bugged” by users as
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Prevent Busy Signals

The other day I had to order patches for my son’s Boy Scout Troop. I had the paperwork from the previous order, and went to the web to look for the online ordering portal. There wasn’t one. All I was offered was a toll-free number. I called the number and it was busy. So I called again. This time I got a recording and was asked to leave a message. What? Do these people not want my business? Telephone busy signals are not good. Ever since the invention of the phone, businesses have realized that busy signals are the enemy.
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Make Your Dollars Count: Marketing Analytics Account for Success

“I know at least half of my advertising budget works… …I just don’t know which half.”   Whether it was Henry Ford, John Wanamaker, or someone else who uttered those famous words, for today’s businesses it couldn’t be further from the truth. Long gone are the days of place an ad and hope, or what some in marketing call “spray and pray”. Today, businesses readily have marketing analytics available. They know which half is working. Toll-Free numbers are an important part of many companies’ marketing strategies, but determining who is calling them, and who is taking those calls, is tough.
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Telecom Cost Savings are Within Reach

Calls are cheap, right? With long distance rates in the sub two-cent range, many telecom managers are not concerned with lowering the telecom bill. But cost savings can be achieved because the call is just one piece of the puzzle. Employee Cost Savings Employees are the most expensive part of your business. A mid-level employee may cost $45 per hour loaded with benefits. If that employee is on the phone for an hour unnecessarily, that is lost money. Cut out that wasted hour, and productivity and cost-savings are added back to the bottom-line. When call log reports are distributed, the
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VoIP Perfection: How to Maintain Voice Quality

In this four-part podcast series Doug Tolley and I have discussed VoIP – the fact that it definitely works, and is definitely here to stay. We looked at the three steps to VoIP success and how using the right toolkit can take the guesswork out of delivering quality voice services. We also discussed who is ultimately responsible for VoIP success, or its failures. In this final podcast we take a look at the pinnacle of why we are here. VOICE. We look at VoIP quality and how to maintain voice quality once it is installed and working. With a VoIP
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HABIT 6 Synergize

syn·er·gy: verb \ˈsin-ər-jē\ the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc.; synergism. Said another way “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts”. In my mind I think of a box of Legos – each individual Lego is a pretty amazing invention but taken together you can create almost anything you can imagine. A Team is More Than Great Team Members This past NBA season, everyone expected the Miami Heat to win a third straight World Championship. The combination of the “Big 3”
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Network Performance Monitoring for VoIP Success

In our four-part series on the Avaya Podcast Network with host Mark Fletcher, we discuss steps to VoIP Success. In our  first podcast we came to the conclusion that VoIP works, and is here to stay. We talked about why understanding the communications ecosystem, optimizing its performance, and delivering consistent quality voice services is the foundation for building a strong VoIP implementation. In our second podcast we looked at the three steps to VoIP success, and how using the right toolkit can take the guesswork out of delivering quality voice services. Who is Responsible? Today we talk about network performance
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Three Steps to VoIP Success

My father always says, “Measure twice, cut once.” This is a lot like planning for a VoIP implementation. It’s about taking those extra steps to make sure you are ready to cut. Many organizations go into a VoIP rollout almost blind. Their vendor asks questions like, “How many simultaneous calls do you make? How utilized are your trunks?” Unfortunately, without the right tools it’s impossible to know these answers. Some organizations end up guessing or using a formula based on generalities, based on headcount or something else equally as arbitrary. In Episode 2 of our TechTalk with Mark Fletcher –
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Dollar Photo Club is my New Love

Sometimes something so good comes along I just have to share it with everyone. Dollar Photo Club is that thing. For anyone who has had to search for and purchase stock images you know it can be a confusing process of points and file sizes. Dollar Photo Club has taken the confusion out of the equation and made life so much easier for me. Every Photo is $1 It seems like there must be a catch, but there is not. Every photo is $1. You can use it as many times as you want on things like your web site,
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How to Deliver UC to your Customers: Sell Lync

“Why am I writing about Lync?” you ask? “Because I hate being lied to…”It is probably my least favorite thing in the whole world. Most of you probably feel the same way. But, somewhere along the line, we were all lied to about Unified Communications. UC was supposed to be easier, faster, less expensive, and just as robust as my old copper lines and simple phone system. And along with all those benefits I was supposed to have better communications, because my phone, PC, and mobile devices were all going to interact so seamlessly I would have an amazing “George
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Avaya Tech Talk – VoIP Monitoring with VXSuite

Avaya Tech Talk interviewed Doug Tolley and I about how VXSuite helps partners help their customers with VoIP monitoring. Some of the questions we hear at trade shows and in demos are answered here. Such as: How does the impact of other applications affect voice? How do I know my employees are doing the right things at the right time? I am in telecom. How do I talk to my network team about call issues? If I want to plan for VoIP, how do I know where to start? Most people agree VoIP is here to stay and that it
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Adventures in Marketing: The Video Fail Version

My Monday started out like many Mondays. My boss asked me to provide him with some marketing numbers for our monthly “State of the Company” conference call. I sent him the Google Analytics screenshots he needed and we had a fantastic call. While I was on the call there was a Skype message… [9/8/14, 9:19:07 AM] Laura Petrolino: I have an assignment for you (because I figure you were just sitting around painting your nails or something, so I might as well keep you busy 😉 ). Does she know I sometimes paint my nails on conference calls? What else
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The Idea of AOG. Is it really a bad thing?

I heard an interesting phrase this week at a Customer event I was lucky enough to participate in with one of our partners. One of the people I was chatting with used the phrase AOG, or “Always On Generation” to describe millennials. He aptly described a generation that had never known anything but constant connection – 3G, 4G, LTE, Wi-Fi etc. are all more important to them than almost anything else – and this troubled him. “Short attention spans resulting from quick interactions will be detrimental to focusing on the harder problems and we will probably see a stagnation in many
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Meet the VXSuite Channel Managers at Cloud Partners Show New Orleans

Attending the Cloud Partners Show in New Orleans next month? Join Kurt Karshick and Ron Campbell, our VXSuite Channel Managers as they walk the Cloud Partners Show and check out the latest in cloud offerings. The cloud has changed everything in the channel—business models, sales cycles, the conversation at the point of the customer and the vendors that partners are working with to meet customer demands. All of the modules in VXSuite are available as a cloud service or an on-premises offering. This allows our customers the flexibility of a deployment that fits their needs. VXSuite Wants to Talk! Ron
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VXSuite Accepts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Last week our very own Kurt Karshick, Channel Manager for the East and Central time zones, challenged the entire VXSuite team to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. After I got done cursing his name, I accepted. And what fun it was! ALS Ice Bucket Challenge from Across the US Kurt is in Rochester New York and challenged us from his driveway (where they are not having a drought). Ron is in Wenatchee, Washington and accepted from his lovely grass back yard as did Michael, Toni and Roger, all in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. I am in Southern
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Telemedicine is Changing the Healthcare IT Landscape

Telemedicine is on the rise and having High-Tech ICUs can set your facility apart from the rest. Why is telemedicine on the rise? Enter Medicare Telehealth Parity Act of 2014. A tabled bill in the House of Representatives that would significantly expand instances in which Medicare would reimburse for telemedicine services. This bill is set to “…extend coverage to those living in an MSA of fewer than 50,000 residents after six months, to those in MSAs of between 50,000 and 100,000 people in two years and to any Medicare beneficiary in four years. The bill would also expand telemedicine services
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Big Data is not as important as UCC Analytics

There is a lot of buzz about Big Data. It’s awesome for some applications but sometimes I wonder if Big Data is simply an outgrowth of the fact that we have so much data available to us these days. Like we are finding a way to justify the existence of it all. Finding patterns in massive data sets has tremendous value. But in a practical sense it is often more valuable to drill into the data analytics. This is where UCC Analytics come in. UCC Analytics and Big Data I have a friend suffering from heart disease at a pretty
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What I Learned from Microsoft WPC 2014 in DC

Microsoft wpc was a great show and as a first-timer, what can I say? Microsoft is going after Enterprise Voice (EV) and they’re like a locomotive going full steam ahead. They did this show in style and they took over our nation’s capitol city. This time it’s not about the PBX. It’s about transforming the way company employees communicate – desk phones being replaced with tablets, smartphones extending the experience with Mobile Lync apps all tied together via SDN (Software Defined Networking) – wowser! Trust me, they are studying EVERYONE with a Directory infrastructure that is getting into UC –
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Platte River Technology Showcase – Baseball, Cloud Technology and a Cold One!

Set in the heart of downtown Denver, Coors Field is a fantastic spot to host a technology forum. And to my luck, Platte River Networks held their annual Platte River Technology Showcase at the Coors Field Rooftop last week. It’s the newest hot spot at Coors Field – a perfect mix of seating area and concourse with just enough room to house the booths of the vendors participating in the technology showcase. The goal? Support our partner, meet every person and company, assess their needs, offer a solution, and make new friends. Plus we get to enjoy a great game of
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HABIT #5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

This is the fifth post in our 7 Habits for Highly Successful Communication Managers. As we work to be less reactionary (Habit #1 – Be Proactive), have a clear strategy (Habit #2 – Begin with the End in Mind), and work to prioritize tasks (Habit #3 – Putting First Things First), we must have an overarching goal for everyone to win (Habit #4 – Think Win-Win). From Habit #4, Think Win-Win, we move to Habit #5, Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. According to Steven R. Covey, “Communication is the most important skill in life.” You spend years learning
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VXSuite named finalist in 2014 Stratus Awards

The Business Intelligence Group announced the 2014 winners of the Stratus Awards. The inaugural industry awards competition recognizes those companies innovating in the Cloud and providing innovative offerings that are truly differentiated in the market. VXSuite was a finalist in the awards in the area of Software as a Service. What makes VXSuite unique is its the only product on the market that allows a customer to start with the infrastructure they have and use it to plan a new IP system. Most IT managers believe VoIP will work, but the question many IT departments continue to ask is, “Will
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What’s in a Job Title?

Last week I had lunch at The Cheesecake Factory with one of our VXSuite Channel Partners. After we sat down and ordered she pulled out her business card and passed it across the table to me. I looked at it a bit strangely and I think she sensed my confusion and said, “I thought you might like my card.” To which I replied, “I already have all of your info (heck, we did set up the lunch apt) and we are connected on LinkedIn, so I think I am good.  At this point I sensed that she was expecting my card
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Telarus Partner Summit 2014 Keynote Highlights

Recently I attended the Telarus Partner Summit 2014. It was a great opportunity to learn more about what is going on in the carrier world and network with some terrific partners in the bandwidth channel. Telarus put on an amazing event. There were two amazing keynote speakers: David Arvin and Dale Murphy. One of the highlights was a keynote presentation by David Arvin. He has written a book called “It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You” where he gives advice on how to build your business by building your brand in the social media age. His keynote was
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Why Universal Communication Makes Me Hate Email Less

I use email all day every day. I send hundreds of emails a week. It is a critical part of our business and we couldn’t exist without it. So why do I hate it? I can’t count all the ways, but in summary I think it is because it has turned from a communication tool into a CYA (cover your a**) tool, an “avoid real interaction” tool, an “I’m too busy to function.” tool, and an excuse that makes us feel like we are working, when sometimes we are just avoiding real work. You all know what I mean. We’ve
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Can’t I get a decent phone?

My mother-in-law is a very regal, classy eighty-eight year old lady. She has had her share of health setbacks but overall is doing pretty well – with the exception of her hearing. She has state-of-the art (aka really expensive) hearing aids, yet we can never hear her on the phone. Sometimes it’s because she doesn’t put them in. Other times it’s because we are calling in on my cell phone and I use a headset so somewhere in the mystery of technology the quality isn’t great. But the biggest challenge we have had is finding phones for her condo. Back
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Don’t tell Dad, but I learned something

In honor of Father’s Day on Sunday, our Fun Friday post is about Dad.  Growing up I watched my dad provide for us being a road warrior.   He traveled often and it never bothered me.  It was part of life. I actually enjoyed the exposure to different places and different cultures.  I remember a time when my father had a fairly serious case of insomnia.  In spite of that every time he sat down in one of the chairs in the living room he immediately fell asleep.  After several months of analysis he finally figured out that seat was the
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Habit 4 Think Win Win

This is Habit 4 Think Win Win, the 4th post in our 7 Habits for Highly Successful Communication Managers. As we work to be less reactionary (Habit #1 – Be Proactive) and have a clear strategy (Habit #2 – Begin with the End in Mind) and work to prioritize tasks (Habit #3 – Putting First Things First),we must have an overarching gold for everyone to win. Habit #4 says Think Win-Win. Think Win-Win isn’t about being nice, nor is it a quick-fix technique. It is a character-based code for human interaction and collaboration. Technology for the masses is fascinating. Most of
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