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 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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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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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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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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Tips for Getting the Most from Your Call Accounting System

Dissatisfied with your call accounting system or procedures? You’re not alone. We hear that a lot from users looking to replace their system. We’ve analyzed a number of these cases, and we’re seeing some interesting trends. Here are some suggestions to make sure you’re getting the most from your call accounting system. Ask for Retraining Call your call accounting system vendor and ask for retraining. Upward promotion in the telecom administration track means people frequently “inherit” call accounting systems from the people they replace. Inheritors often haven’t benefited from vendor training, and end up using the system to perpetuate, rather
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How Does Checking Work Email Affect Your Business Efficiency?

During the Cisco Live Empowered Women’s Network session Sunday afternoon, we had a round table discussion about work/life balance—specifically, how often we check work email and how hard it is to unplug. It’s difficult to improve business efficiency when our focus is all over the place. Our session moderator and Cisco Executive, Kim Majerus, posed the question, “How do you unplug?” As we went around the table I was amazed at how many of the women I was seated with just don’t unplug from email. Ever. They check work email all the time. Taking a Break … to Improve Business
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Call Analytics for the Modern Era

Today I did a demo for a potential customer who is using a competitor’s product.  As we discussed their needs, it became easy to see they really knew what they were looking for in a new system; they need call analytics for the modern era. Out with the Old The folks I talked with were tired of antiquated call analytics systems. They were looking for new ways to complete tasks. The key features they wanted were: Directory They loved the idea of being able to put the company directory on the intranet so everyone could access it. Instant Access to
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I Bought a Truck and Learned a Lesson About Business Intelligence Analytics

Sometimes things happen in life that allow my business world and personal world to collide. Recently I was asked by my neighborhood Boy Scout Troop to be the Scoutmaster. I have been a lifelong supporter of the ideals and values that Scouting teaches boys and I am an Eagle Scout. I also have always wanted to get a big truck, and saw this as a perfect convergence of truck-justification and a chance to give something back to the community. The truck-buying journey drilled home a lesson in business intelligence analytics which was unexpected. Luckily my terrific wife also allowed the
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Dimension Data Takes Employee Training to a Whole NEW Dimension!

We are lucky enough to work with some amazing partners. Recently one of our partners, Dimension Data, invited us into their elite training facility to work with their sales and engineering staff. What an amazing experience. As if running a multi billion-dollar organization with locations and staff spread out world-wide isn’t stressful enough, imagine employee training for such a massive operation. Think about the trouble of trying to bring a group of internationally based consultants, architects and managers together. It’s no easy task! The employees we’re talking about are folks with major account and/or unique practice responsibilities ranging from hosted
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Fighting the Dangers of Sitting All Day

I am fortunate to have built a successful technology business in a home-office environment. It offers plenty of freedoms that not everyone can boast about—not the least of which is that my commute involves grabbing a cup of coffee in my own kitchen. No cars, no highways, no crazy drivers. But I’ve realized lately the dangers of sitting all day might counteract some of those great benefits. In truth, 30 years of sitting at my desk for several hours a day has taken its toll on my health. These days, with the Internet, email and telephone as our primary method
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Communications Monitoring, IT software, and the Question “What Do You Do?”

Communications Monitoring, IT software, and the Question “What Do You Do?” Recently I attended a rock climbing competition for my son, and as you do at these events, I met family members of the kids on his team. In these conversations, it invariably comes to the, “What do you do for a living?” question. Sometimes I answer with the easy out, “I sell IT software.” I might go out on a limb and mention “communications monitoring.” But it’s really more than that. I am the Vice President of Marketing for LVM, Inc. While I am not one for fancy job
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What is VXDash? Business Analytics Software That Works for You

VXDash was created because our operations team was fielding requests from partners who wanted to massage data in unique ways. The resulting business analytics software brings the ability to include any data we are collecting and build an operational view that works for the individual user. In our individual applications we have siloed information, and building custom reports can be time-consuming. By introducing VXDash, we have eliminated the need for our technical resources to build custom reports. We can teach an analyst level position how to use our business analytics software to create the reports they will find most useful
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Technology Upgrade – a Necessity of Life

It all started with the Domino’s 30 minutes or less or it’s free guarantee, dry shampoo, instant coffee, and virtual thank you cards. Today we even have tiny buttons we place around the house and tap when we run out of a certain product and, voila! The product is delivered to our doorsteps. We live in an instant gratification, fast-moving world. Every time Apple releases a new iPhone, we run to our wireless carrier to get an upgrade. A new fad diet is released and we all jump to try and lose 30 pounds overnight. We all want to get
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Life Without Lync

My morning was crazy. I had backed up plumbing in the house and the dog threw up on the carpet—all before 6 a.m.! Then when I finally make it to my desk for my morning conference call, Lync wasn’t working. I recently upgraded from a MacBook Pro to an iMac with a 1 TB flash hard drive. Ahh, life is good. Except when it’s not. Like today when no one in my company could get on our call. Was it my new computer?  I had to start from scratch and download every program, add-on and plug-in one at a time.
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Mobility on My Terms

Unified Communications means lots of different things to different people. Some think of it as getting their voice mails as text messages. Others think it’s dual ringing their desk and cell phone. For me this week it was taken to a new level. I was scheduled for a conference call and was told the agenda was to discuss our Partner Marketing Program. I figured this was easy enough. I do a couple of these a week, last typically 20 minutes, and consist of me walking the partner through the marketing guide and answering some questions. At the same time, we
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Switching to VoIP is Not Easy on the Telecom Manager

Are you a conductor, an engineer, or a passenger on the fast-moving train called VoIP? Switching to VoIP is not easy. On a train, the conductor is responsible for operational and safety duties that do not involve actual operation of the train. Whereas an engineer is a person who operates the train. If we move this into the Communications world and you’re the Telecom Manager, you are like the conductor because you are responsible for the quality of the voice calls, but you don’t actually operate the network the calls traverse. This makes switching to VoIP even more challenging. The
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A New Phone System from Above can Bring Reliable Phone Service

Last week one of our customers called into the support number. He told us the C suite just purchased a new IP phone system, and he needed to make sure it meets business requirements and delivers promised cost savings. He was frustrated because while the dinosaur of a PBX he has now is old, it works. Both internal and external customers are happy because it provides consistent, reliable phone service. There aren’t any bells and whistles, but like the lights in the office, it comes on every day. So now he has to get all new vendors and figure out
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The Right Tools Make Switching to VoIP Easy!

You’re the IT Manager. It’s a big job. Servers, routers, and firewalls, budget cuts and smaller staff.  And then the CEO tells you they have just purchased a new IP phone system and you find yourself switching to VoIP. The sales manager is excited about the unified communications YOU will provide her team. Or maybe the CIO heard about Microsoft Lync and is thinking about using it for IM and presence. Where do you begin? Can your network handle the additional traffic? Is that traffic any different from the email, web and other application traffic that exists now? When it
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What Great Leaders Can Learn From Abraham Lincoln

Well, it’s the start of 2015. You’ve probably already had your fill of ‘predictions’ and ‘resolutions’ posts. Fear not, what I want to write about today, what I want to get everyone thinking about, is pretty basic. Aspiring to be great leaders. How is being a great leader basic, you might be saying? It’s basic, because it’s your launch point. It’s the foundation upon everything else you do for the next 365’ish days should be built. But don’t take my word for it. Take Abraham Lincoln’s. A Leadership History Lesson I should start with the fact that I am very
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The Last Laps of 2015: Part 4 – Declutter!

Welcome to our fourth installment of our Last Laps Until 2015 series, some quick and easy tips to help you declutter. So far this month, we’ve looked at strategic scheduling, how to pay it back and pay it forward, and we discussed the value in expanding your horizons. As we’ve mentioned before, we’ve had great response from our team members to these posts, and are sharing them with all of our staff, encouraging them to participate. I hope you’ve been doing the same with yours. Some of the things we have done during these exercises should have had a positive
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The Last Laps Until 2015: Part 3 – Expand Your Horizons

So far this month, we’ve shared with you two of our special, Last Laps Until 2015 series. We began on December 2nd with The Last Laps Until 2015: Part 1 – Strategic Scheduling. And we talked last week about the power of paying it forward and back, with The Last Laps Until 2015: Part 2 – At VXSuite, We Pay it Back and Pay it Forward. We’ve had great response from our team members to these posts! As we’ve mentioned we are sharing them with all of our staff, encouraging them to participate. I hope you’ve been doing the same
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The Last Laps Until 2015: Part 2 – At VXSuite, We Pay it Back and Pay it Forward

Last week we shared with you the first in a ‘wrap up the year’ series we’re doing here on the VXSuite blog. We’re also sharing these posts internally, and encouraging all our staff members to ‘play along’ as well, hoping to inspire a super strong end to 2014, and an anticipatory start to 2015. Our last post in this series talked about how important strategic scheduling is when wrapping up such a festive, busy month. Today’s instalment, with roughly three weeks left in 2014, is in the true spirit of the holiday season. It is about gratitude and giving back.
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Microsoft Lync and Skype: What’s in a Name?

Recently Microsoft announced that Microsoft Lync and Skype will become one. Starting in 2015, Lync, their Enterprise phone system and collaboration engine included in Office 365, will be rebranded as Skype for Business. What many people don’t know is that the idea of Microsoft Lync and Skype joining forces has been cooking for a while. Microsoft’s acquisition of Skype in May of 2011 started them down this path several years ago—though the development teams for Microsoft Lync and Skype have been combined for several years — what was telling was how the Lync development team integrated into the Skype team
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The Last Laps Until 2015: Part 1 – Strategic Scheduling

There are only a few weeks left until 2015 dawns, and those weeks are going to be busy: Shopping, get-togethers, wrapping up work projects and planning, maybe even travelling as people see family over the holidays. Here at VXSuite, we wanted to help maximize your efforts for a strong finish to 2014, and help you start 2015’s race with a bang! Today’s post is the first in a weekly series that will run until the end of the year. We hope you enjoy them. Strategic Scheduling It is vital that you be strategic about how you spend your time and
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Habit #7 Sharpen the Saw – part 2

Yesterday, we took a look at Stephen Covey’s Habit #7—Sharpening the Saw. We explored how important exercise is for not only your own personal health, but also how it impacts the overall wellbeing of your company, and your staff members. Physical activity gets the blood flowing and the brain activated, but what about when that brain is just dead tired? What if you’ve simply hit the wall. That’s where some mental recharging becomes crucial. Mental recharging is critical to any busy executive or manager. This is another area where just shutting out the office is not nearly good enough. You
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Habit #7 Sharpen the Saw

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Ferris Bueller, 1986 According to Stephen Covey, “Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal…” Sharpen The Saw for many stressed out managers means simply taking time away from work to rest and recharge their batteries. But this is not the intent of Stephen Covey’s seventh habit, because each of his habits build upon each other to create a transformational and permanent change in how we function. Step one
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