Unified Communication made better by Office 365. Is this the gateway to True Collaboration?

Unified communication is what I strive for. I believe Microsoft Lync is transforming enterprise communication. Of the Fortune 100, 90 are already using Microsoft Lync, as are 70 percent of all Fortune 500 companies. According to Nemertes, Microsoft Lync is now equal to Avaya in terms of mind-share for companies looking for a new IP telephony platform. Lync is here to stay and is gaining market share. Most companies that utilize Lync initially use the IM and Presence functionality. A big factor in this is that Office 365 is driving people to the cloud for their mission critical desktop applications. To
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Information Overload?

How am I supposed to find the time in a day to read every blog I’ve subscribed to? Respond to every email I receive? Crack open the book I’ve been meaning to start – let alone finish? So many of us are in a constant state of “busy.” It seems more and more these days I am suffering from information overload. I can’t focus on a project because I am being pinged from every different direction. I try to close email for an hour but then my phone rings or I receive a text message. Inconvenient Reporting leads to Information
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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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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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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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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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When Voicemail to Email Goes Wrong

I had to laugh when one of my friends sent me a copy of a voicemail to email she received. She was on vacation but she knew that she received a voicemail because it’s showing up on her phone as an email. In these days of Universal Communication, there are lots of ways for people to get in touch with you and for you to reply to them. There’s email, desk phone, soft phone, cell phone, voicemail, IM, text and more. But sometimes that technology doesn’t work as expected. She said she “thinks” this is from a colleague who is
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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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Get Out of the House – How to Ensure Work from Home Success

My vacation last week was awesome. I traveled to Yosemite for three days and then spent two days white water rafting with 27 people from my son’s Boy Scout troop. But, coming back to reality is always tough. And this week has proved especially busy, so when I looked at my calendar Wednesday morning and saw that I had a lunch meeting out of the office with a new partner my initial reaction was, “Oh no, I can’t afford two hours out of my day for this.” But I really wanted to cultivate this new partnership and it’s hard to
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Reflect, Reset, React – What does Microsoft Lync mean to a traditional telecom dealer?

I am lucky in my job because I get to meet with dozens to hundreds of telecom dealers each year discussing how they are moving their businesses forward.  These meetings are always fascinating and often enlightening.  Today one of the primary questions almost all of them are asking is: What does Microsoft Lync mean to me?  It is a fair question after all; Microsoft has been promising to win the Unified Communication game for years and, according to most accounts, has failed miserably so far.  That being said, it is almost universally agreed that this industry is at a major
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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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The Revolution of Mobility – part 3

Continued from Part 1 and Part 2 which can be found here. At this moment, the evolutionary convergence of cell phone, pager and pocket PC had reached fruition and the smartphone stepped onto the empty plane of possibilities. Customers now carried with them, at all times, a portable mini-pc with twenty-four hour network connectivity. The advent of the app made it possible to deliver products and services directly to the user, wherever they were and whenever they wanted. Information from the world-wide web, coupled with social media, which forever altered the way we communicate, was made all the more potent
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There’s an App for That: 5 Apps to make my life easier, cleaner and more aware

In my ongoing quest to make my life easier I have scoured the internet and the app store – or been bopped over the head by friends – in search of apps to make my life easier. Here are my 5 for a Fun Friday before Memorial Day Weekend.  #1 – Tracking Mileage Recommended Apps: Mileage Log+, MileIQ, Triplog, Track My Mileage Of course, we finished our tax return in the 11th hour. Typical procrastinator. Part of the delay was due to the re-creation of 2013 data, such as mileage. Luckily, our friend Keith Hollingsworth suggested that we use an
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The Revolution of Mobility – Part 2

Over time the beeper I carried grew in size and functionality, but I still could not use it to make a call. For that I had a cell phone, and for organizational data I maintained a palm pilot. Overall, I had three devices serving three entirely different functions that made my belt something Batman would have been impressed with, but overall, communication at the workplace leaned on the same two work horses, email and the desk phone. Yet, something was shifting and shifting seismically. There was a steady convergence of technologies… the pager, cell phone and pocket PC were all
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The coolest things I saw at my first Cisco Live 2014

I am flying back from my first experience with Cisco Live 2014. I really enjoyed the experience and, like them or hate them, Cisco knows how to turn out a crowd. With 20,000 plus people navigating the 4 or 5 venues, they owned San Francisco – and that is hard to do. I have always really enjoyed companies who can launch an idea and back it up with strategy and focus, and Cisco brought both. They had a team of people who all bought into the vision – from John Chambers, CEO, on down.  We were able to participate in the new
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Revolution of Mobility – part I

The warmth is sweltering and embracing.  It is the summer of 1996 on Wall Street in New York City and I just departed the cool comfort of the office to wade in the sauna of a City summer decked out in the standard garb of the stock broking district, a suit and tie.  Its lunch time and my colleagues and I merge seamlessly in the crowd of suits.  A unified mass of discomfort lunging forward in wave upon wave of humanity with but one singular purpose, sustenance. In a New York minute we are planted at a table, food at
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Five BIG Reasons for Call Accounting

Today our blog was submitted by Andy Wolf, Telecom Manger at Linfield College in McMinnville, OR. Phone calls and long distance have become so inexpensive these days, I often hear people say “Why use call accounting?” and “we can’t justify the expense of call accounting when the call cost is so cheap!”  From my perspective, there are five BIG reasons. And I mean a Big-Five-Fingered-Open-Handed-Slap-to-the-forehead, “why didn’t I think of that”; number of reasons.  Let’s have look:  OVERALL ACCOUNTABILITY – If you don’t track usage, there will be no red flags for abuse.  While the overall cost of phone calls
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IAUG Converge 2014 Trade Show Recap

Last week we were exhibiting and presenting at IAUG’s Converge 2014 (#CONVERGE2014). Converge has a tradition of offering high quality content and training to Avaya end users. The buzz on the show floor and in the classes was about usability and enabling Avaya users to deliver better customer experiences. From finding the right headset for your contact center agents (we liked the Jabra MOTION™ Office) to ensuring call quality would enhance, not detract from, the users’ experience (check out our own VXPulse here). It seems like all the signs we saw talked about UC and customer experience. The energy at
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Trade show Follow Up – I Just Had A Hot Bath, Now What?

Yesterday we talked about the hot bath effect. You know, when you take that nice relaxing bath, maybe with a glass of wine and bubbles and you feel awesome? It feels great while you are in it, but then you have to get up, dry off, and figure out what’s next. Sometimes people attend a trade show, conference, or networking event and have that same exact problem – they get home and then have no idea what to do next or what they should expect. We were talking last week to some of our friends who happen to be end
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Unfriend Facebook? It is so 2012!

What happened?  I was such a Facebook fan.  There was the “courting stage” where I migrating my social media life from MySpace to Facebook.  With Facebook, I was just happy to open up a user’s page without music blasting over my laptop speakers.  So long MySpace.  Then the “I can’t believe who I can connect with” stage as I re-connected with friends from childhood.  Next was the “let’s share how cool my life is” stage.  Now, as I have gotten older, I have realized how uncool I really am.  My life isn’t all that interesting that I need to share
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HABIT #3 – Putting First Things First – Make sure you prioritize tasks

I love to watch M*A*S*H. One common scene in M*A*SH was triage. The doctors and nurses would quickly assess the wounded soldiers and rank them based on the severity of their injuries; life threatening, critical, stable, or minor. Those classifications would determine the order the soldiers were brought to the operating room.  It was interesting to note that often the soldier that was making the most noise wasn’t necessarily the soldier that had the life-threatening injuries. While our daily tasks aren’t comparable to soldiers on a battlefield, the concept of quickly doing a triage on the tasks that make up
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VXPulse free from Heartbleed Bug

Many of you may have read about the Heartbleed Bug (http://heartbleed.com ).  This is a serious vulnerability in the Open SSL software library that has the potential to expose information stored in memory of servers using unpatched versions of the software.  After an internal review, we can report that we do not utilize the Open SSL software in our VXPulse software solution. We understand the importance of system security for ourselves, our Partners, and their Customers.  If you have any questions about this or any other security related issue as it relates to the VXSuite software solutions you can contact
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UC Strategy – Habit #2, Begin with the End in Mind

So to dovetail into Habit #1, Be Proactive, you need to know where you are going or you will never be able to be strategic – you will spend all day every day putting out fires and dealing with what comes up never moving toward an overall UC Strategy. If you do end up accomplishing something strategic, it will have been because of luck and not because of pre-planning. The Cheshire Cat said it best when he was talking with Alice in Wonderland. ALICE: “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?” CHESHIRE CAT: “That
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