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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Puking on Seattle: How a happy flight attendant changed my perspective

I am flying home from Seattle.  I spent the day in customer meetings and actually enjoyed the interactions.  For some reason last night my system decided that it was a sick moment and I started puking on Seattle.  I am completely sore and sick as a dog and dreading this flight.  I am not a good puker (Is anyone?) but doing so in tight cramped quarters seems especially daunting.  So I am watching one of the most enthusiastic flight attendants (I think that is the preferred title) I have ever seen.  He is an elderly man from his gray hair
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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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