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Posted on: May 22, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

By: Rebecca Rosen, VP of Marketing

When a small to medium business (SMB) turns to you for a new, cost-effective business phone system, point them to the cloud.  Giving your customer the power to communicate internally and externally on any device, at any time is powerful.  A cloud PBX, quite literally, puts their business success at their fingertips.

All verticals – from retail, and technology, to advertising – benefit from moving to a cloud business phone system.  Cost saving, 24/7 access, reliability, and continual seamless technological advances will keep your customer relevant in their field and you relevant as their communications partner.

Let’s start by defining for your customer what a cloud PBX is and then take them through the top 4 reasons it can change the way they do business.

Cloud PBX by any other name, sounds just as sweet.

Many customers in the SMB market have a vague idea of what “the cloud” is and look to you to navigate the path through the fog.  Sometimes the simplest definition is the best, cloud-based business phone systems are VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) phones that are accessed over the internet and hosted in an off-site data center. Other terms we often hear are hosted PBX, hosted VoIP, and cloud PBX.

Cloud phone systems are not magical nor a silver bullet.  With the right VoIP ready network configurations and planning though, it can give your customer the technology edge they need to take their business to the next level.

4 reasons SMBs thrive in the cloud

  Your clients are changing and growing. With growth comes the need to quickly adapt the way they communicate to meet the needs of their customers.

Here are four reasons the clients you’re talking to already want cloud phone systems; even if they don’t know it yet.

1. SMBs want to save money.

Cloud communications are much more affordable than traditional analog offerings. Your clients will no longer have to pay expensive fees for unlimited local, long distance, and international calls.

Companies that move to the cloud also save money on infrastructure and maintenance costs. As technology evolves and equipment depreciates, on-site business phone systems are not only expensive but also need to be upgraded on a regular basis. An onsite PBX phone system, for example, requires upfront costs for installation, equipment, service arrangements, as well as IT costs for ongoing maintenance and troubleshooting.

However, a cloud communication system is free of these costs because they are hosted by a service provider. Companies can say goodbye to upfront equipment costs as well as hiring in-house IT personnel. What’s more, your clients will also save on monthly phone line charges.

2. Customers want remote control.   

One of the main benefits of having a cloud-based business phone system is that your clients receive remote access. Having remote access is ideal for companies with more than one office location and for those that have remote employees.

Working from home is more common than ever before and a remote workforce requires remote control. With cloud communications, customers can communicate with teams and clients no matter where they are with their IP phone or softphone app. This means that they also have access to critical business software while on the go. With a communications system in the cloud, companies can run operations smoothly while providing a consistent presence regardless of the environment.

3. Businesses want reliable phone systems.

Internet downtime costs SMBs a lot of money and chances are your clients have already experienced an outage or two. With the cloud, businesses don’t have to worry about power outages affecting operations and sales ever again. Cloud-based communications platforms are reliable due to geographic redundancy, having several servers in multiple locations so that even if there’s an issue at a single data center, it won’t impact service. This is important because even if there’s a fire, storm or another disaster, a power outage in your client’s location won’t affect their ability to stay connected to teams and customers.

4. Customers want fully integrated communications systems. 

The cloud makes it simple for clients to pick and choose communications features beyond business phones. Today’s small businesses want all of their tools and communications in one web-based application, which has been shown to help increase business efficiency and productivity.

For example, a fully integrated communications system can combine telephony, UC, collaboration and virtual call center features all in one platform. And the best part is that as new technology emerges, clients don’t have to purchase new software or hardware to keep up with the times. Instead, cloud communication systems can automatically adapt and update.

Demystifying the cloud

Ultimately, relating your customers every day needs to the powerful concepts the cloud can offer will strengthen your relationship.  For some SMBs, moving their phone systems to the cloud will be their first step in moving technologically forward – putting the power for growth in their hands and yours.

Want to learn more about Broadvoice? Click here to see your local Broadvoice channel contacts and learn a bit more about us.

Posted on: May 20, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Remember that song: “One of these things is not like the other? One of these things is just not the same!” We could say this of Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and Auto Attendant. Although sometimes confused for the same thing, there are important differences between Auto Attendant and IVR.

You have by this point in your life called into many an auto attendant, we can be sure of that. It’s when you call into a business or organization and, instead of talking to a live human, you are greeted by an automated voice which provides you with a full menu of options. The automated attendant — also known as a phone tree or auto receptionist — routes calls to a queue or voicemail box. Although to be fair, it can play hold music while it makes the connection.

How does that differ from the IVR? You might think of it as auto attendant 4.0. For one thing, when you reach a business with an IVR, the automated voice quite often sounds better, more true to life. Additionally, you can typically interact with the IVR using either the numbers on your keypad or your voice. You know you’re working with an IVR when it says “press or say 1.” That “say 1” is your cue that there’s voice recognition software at work.

Now, we recognize that those distinctions don’t seem like such a big deal when you’re calling in. You’d probably rather be talking to a human in the first place, so being able to speak instead of press numbers isn’t that big of a step up. OK, but the real difference between auto attendant and IVR isn’t directly experienced so much by the caller as it is by the recipient of the call.

Auto Attendant vs IVR for the Agent

Think of auto attendant as an automated switchboard operator. This feature does help your customer get more efficiently to the individual or department they want to reach. But they don’t provide additional information. The attendant sorts them to the right place based on their keyed responses.

With IVR, the caller may never need to interact with a human. After all, this solution feature can provide information and collect details from the caller, such as case numbers, addresses, birthdates, credit card numbers for over-the-phone payments, and much more. For example, paying by phone at your utility company by entering the numbers of your checking account or credit card. Since the IVR can easily handle automated tasks, your business can free up human agents for more complicated processes.

Another advantage is that the IVR can be scripted to provide information to the caller based upon their responses or particular circumstances at your business. For instance, the messaging a customer might hear while on hold could be customized to reflect the details gained from their menu sequence. Since they are calling in response to X campaign, they would hear messaging related to that campaign while in queue.

IVR solutions can also feature additional add-ons such as:

  • Data-Driven Routing: deliver prioritized calls to the proper destination based upon the customer’s transaction status or account information
  • Post-Call Survey: provide inbound or outbound call surveys to understand the satisfaction of your customers once their call or business transaction is complete.
  • Appointment Reminder/Notify: deliver an automated outbound call to notify the customer about a change in their transaction status change or confirm an upcoming appointment.

Evolve IP’s IVR is delivered through easily customized pre-built scripts that deliver the exact call flows and features you need. Evolve IP’s IVR service also retains the flexibility to be customized for your exact needs. Find out more today!

Posted on: May 2, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

By: Momentum Telecom

What does day two look like after your service is setup?

 

There’s nothing quite like getting a shiny new toy. Whether it comes in the mail or you pick it up at the store, when you set the package on the counter, rip open the box and officially introduce your new treasure to the world.

The experience of a new toy isn’t vastly different from the experience of getting to use new technology. It’s new, fun and if there is some assembly required, there is a reasonable expectation that it includes detailed instructions along with the right tools and access to help, if you need it.

Not having those resources can be the difference between loving your new technology and hating it forever. Unfortunately, in today’s technology space, there is a wide array of companies that put all their efforts into gaining customers, but don’t consider what it’s like to use their products on day 2, let alone day 100 or day 1000.

At Momentum, we pride ourselves on the leading customer experience that starts during the sales processshines throughout implementation and extends beyond onboarding. It’s a holistic white-glove service that begins on the first day you engage with Momentum and lasts your entire customer journey.

We believe any partnership with a technology company should be as good on day one as it is on day 1000, and that’s why on day two we provide and dedicate ourselves to providing our customers with:

Training

Education is essential to a successful UC solution. For this reason, we have a team at Momentum that is entirely dedicated to the training of customers and the creation of useful training and educational materials. We also provide trainers for both on-site and web-based training to  ensure that all users have the access to become knowledgeable on how to take full advantage of the Momentum solution.

Resources

On top of training, we use a blended learning approach that invites users to use Momentum University, which serves as an online knowledge base to help facilitate personal training and ongoing learning. This resource is full of content designed to help users to better understand and utilize Momentum’s leading tools and cloud services, and includes PowerPoint presentations, user guides, quick start guides and training videos.

Support

Momentum Telecom is committed to delivering meaningful value to our customers through a reliable, high-quality and unified user experience. To consistently deliver on this commitment, Momentum uses a dedicated white-glove team solely focused on delivering the best customer experience. Momentum’s support team strives to be providers of knowledge, services and tools that simplify communications and enable business productivity.

Posted on: April 12, 2019 By: CNSG Marketing

By: David Portnowitz of Star2Star

The global communications landscape is changing significantly, with the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) both growing at remarkable rates. If you’re not already familiar, IoT stands for “Internet of Things” and is the industry term for this era’s “smart” devices including smart phones, appliances, cars, and other items we use every day. AI is more widely known, and often characterized as an intelligent robotic persona. With the prevalence of Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant, almost everyone who has ever used a smart device has also experienced AI.

Breaking Down The AI and IoT Trends

In 2015, there were about 15.4 billion connected devices in existence; by 2025, this figure will swell to 75.4 billion. 77 percent of consumers are now using at least one AI-powered device or service. Oftentimes, customers engage with AI without even realizing it.

Related: What You Need To Know About Chatbots

As global communications are changing, contact centers are being forced to keep up with the pace. The contact center, after all, is one of the most important touchpoints for customer communications and businesses are being challenged to update their technologies as well as their customer service strategies.

Related: The Communications B2C Customer Experience

The AI Emergence

AI is being used in a few different ways in the contact center. First and foremost, AI has emerged as a major driving force behind interactive voice response (IVR) systems and chatbots. In the past, automated conversations were very basic. But thanks to AI, bots can expand beyond rudimentary conversations and respond accurately to complex customer queries. For this reason, there is growing interest in using AI-powered bots to provide self-service throughout the day, and after hours.

Related: 3 Key Ways AI Impacts UC

Now, a gap is growing between companies that are actively using AI in the contact center and companies that are not; companies that are using AI can provide much better self-service by reducing on-hold times, lowering costs, and streamlining conversation flows for agents. Companies that refuse to embrace AI will fall farther behind the competition in the coming years. Businesses are therefore strongly advised to work AI into their customer-facing processes.

Related: 10 Reasons Businesses Are Switching To UC Cloud Services

We are also seeing more and more companies deploying AI for intelligent call routing. Routing decisions that used to rely primarily on basic input data (like a customer’s language, location, age, and purchase history) are now being enhanced with real-time intelligence engines. AI can pull data from a wider pool, and combine that information with additional characteristics (like a caller’s mood) to put a customer in touch with the right associate.

Related: UC Solutions For Every Industry

Contact centers, it should be noted, are also using AI to collect real-time threat intelligence, in order to prevent fraud during interactions. Many businesses now use AI in the background to gather data and flag suspicious activities.

The IoT Impact

The IoT, meanwhile, is having a major impact on the way that businesses approach customer service. First and foremost, companies now have access to much more data than they had in the past. Connected endpoints can provide a wealth of information that can be analyzed to better understand the customer experience. Contact centers should have access to this information, in order to provide relevant service.

Related: Key Market Drivers In Cloud Communications

This, of course, also means that agents need to be better prepared to handle technical questions. Many contact centers are now providing additional training for agents, to get them up to speed.  According to one study, 67 percent of respondents said their contact centers trained associates to handle customer interactions differently due to connected/IoT technologies. Twenty-three percent of contact centers, it should be noted, hired associates with different skill sets to support IoT technologies.

Related: Top 10 Technologies That Changed Business Communications

While it’s important to have a working knowledge of IoT and an AI-driven customer service strategy, it’s important to remember the third component to an advanced contact center: A robust unified communications (UC) platform. It all comes together with UC, which can serve as a centralized environment where agents can access incoming messages from any device and leverage the support of AI and IoT services.

 

 

Posted on: February 12, 2019 By: CNSG Marketing

By: Ryan Barbera of Data Canopy

As I have been traveling between the different markets Data Canopy is in around the country, one thing has become increasingly clear to me: Agents are very focused on telecom and UCaaS.  As an alumnus of XO and before that Allegiance, I totally understand the reason behind this. Plainly, it’s easy. Easy for most clients to understand and easier than most technologies to sell – every business must communicate with others! The problem with this is that it leaves half the story untold for the client. The more our team engages with agents and their clients, the more I realize that the value of what we’re doing for the agents is not clear.

Business Today is Hosted

This brief overview is to help you understand why hybrid infrastructure, data center, and multi-cloud solutions are an enhancement (a really big one) to your current offerings and worth taking the time to learn the ropes. Let’s start at the beginning. Circuits and phones are only half of the discussion. While these two pieces are needed by every organization, they speak to one part of a larger discussion. The real question is why do firms need them?  The answer: to do business. Not just to communicate, but to access applications, execute on critical processes, and more. Where does that business live? In the data center or cloud. That’s where you get to have your cake and eat it, too.

Longer Client Retention

While most circuit deals are for a total term of 3 years, most colocation or cloud deals will go for a term of 5-10 years. Why is this? Two reasons:  First, unlike static services, such as connectivity, companies grow their data everyday requiring more services to be subscribed to. This means a growing contract. Secondly, companies never (and I mean never) want to make a change to their core infrastructure so they will do everything they can to make a great partner a partner for life.  Also remember, they still need to get to their stuff, so an SD-Wan, telephony, and connectivity solution is still needed.

Higher MRR Value

One final note, in our discussions with our agents and partners we learned our services bill for anywhere between two to five times what they would be billing for telecom or UCaaS solutions for similar sized companies. Contributing to disparity, the cost of circuits has dropped significantly over the past decade, while the cost of cloud and colocation has remained the same for more than five years and in many cases has actually gone up. Considering the commission is the same or higher, I would say that is a real cake and eat it, too scenario. Make more money, keep your clients longer, and become a more valuable partner. The downside? How are you going to spend all that cash?!

Posted on: February 8, 2019 By: CNSG Marketing

The cloud game is complex, constantly evolving, and competitive. And while it seems like the names AWS and Azure have become almost synonymous with cloud, nearly all cloud pundits agree that the cloud landscape really requires two types of clouds: an Enterprise Cloud, where the applications need to have hardware redundancy, and an Application Cloud, where the applications have redundancy built into them. Hyperscalers like AWS and Azure are focused on application clouds, yet very few companies have the applications to take proper advantage of them.

Meanwhile, platinum-level CNSG Supplier, Expedient, has taken a different path by focusing on its Enterprise Cloud offering, released in late 2018. Built on a full VMware stack of products that simplifies management, monitoring, and support, Expedient Enterprise Cloud delivers a modern API and software-driven architecture that acts similarly to an application cloud while still providing businesses with the hardware redundancy needed while they morph applications to Cloud Native.

And, according to a recent third-party evaluation by Cloud Spectator, Expedient must be doing something right… Its Enterprise Cloud outperformed comparable offerings from leading cloud providers, including AWS and Azure, in nearly all measured categories, including compute, memory and price-to-performance ratio.

 

Download the report to see all the results.

Posted on: October 12, 2018 By: CNSG Marketing

Update Courtesy of Expedient 

For the 11th consecutive year, Channel Futures compiled the MSP 501, a ranking of the world’s top managed services providers. According to Channel Futures, “winners placed in the top 501 because of their forward-thinking business strategies and ability to anticipate and act upon trends in the fast-evolving IT channel market.” In the 2018 MSP 501 ranking, Expedient grabbed the number 7 spot, up three positions from its number 10 ranking in the 2017 MSP 501 list. Last week, Expedient executives accepted their award at the MSP 501 gala, which was part of the 2018 Channel Partners Evolution conference.

“This year’s applicant pool was the largest and most diverse in the history of the survey, and our winners represent the health and progressivity of the managed services market,” Kris Blackmon, Channel Futures content director and editor said in a statement. “They’re growing their revenue, expanding their customer influence and exploring new technology that will propel them for years to come.


Recognition beyond the MSP 501

Without doubt, 2018 has been a special year for Expedient. In addition to being honored as the world’s No. 7 MSP in 2018, Expedient has also been:

Technological Excellence Paired with Specialized Expertise

Powered by world class technology infrastructure and disciplined adherence to proven methodologies, the experts at Expedient provide essential knowledge and insight into critical aspects of customers’ business. For example, Expedient helps customers ensure compliance with several government and industry mandates, such as HIPAA, PCI-DSS, and the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield.  By providing managed services that complement the compliance and security requirements of businesses in a variety of industries, Expedient delivers added value to customers on top of the core Infrastructure as a Service solutions it provides.

Additionally, as a VMware Cloud Verified provider, Expedient offers services based on the most complete VMware-based cloud infrastructure technology available, which provides its customers with the highest level of compatibility, choice and control of VMware’s cloud infrastructure stack.

 

About Expedient

Expedient is a cloud and data center infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provider with local operations in Pittsburgh, PA; Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Cleveland, OH; Columbus, OH; Indianapolis, IN and Memphis, TN. Acknowledged in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Disaster Recovery as a Service and ranked as one of the Top 10 managed services providers worldwide on the Channel Futures MSP 501 list, Expedient’s converged solutions enable clients to focus on strategic business innovation, while the Expedient team handles operation of the information technology needed to support it. Expedient data centers are compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) as well as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Service Organization Control (SOC) reports are published annually for all locations. Learn more at expedient.com.

Posted on: September 17, 2018 By: CNSG Marketing

If you haven’t heard already – CNSG’s The Converged Effect program works to dive deep into the industry-specific challenges our customers face with procuring technology in today’s times. Each month, our VP of Strategy Devin Williams focuses on a particular industry, to deliver industry-specific tools and resources designed to help you with each phase of the sales cycle. Looking to watch the full Construction and Architecture TCE webinar? We’ve got you covered – click here. Let’s take a minute to define the construction industry.

 

What is the Construction Industry?

 

  1. Buildings: The Building construction subset is usually further divided into residential and commercial.
  2. Infrastructure: Infrastructure is often called  heavy civil or heavy engineering that includes large public works, dams, bridges, highways, railways, water or wastewater and utility distribution.
  3. Industrial: Industrial construction includes refineries, process chemical, power generation, mills and manufacturing plants.

 

Macro-Level Construction Industry Trends

 

  • Optimistic outlook for 2018: healthy predicted growth over the next 5 years, but the looming and ongoing trade war has made executives much more cautious than they were just 6 months ago
  • Lack of skilled labor
  • Overall project costs are rising across the industry
  • According to according to Research and Markets, 43% of the industry is planning to increase IT investment in 2018-2019. (In part because executives, even at small firms, are starting to look to technology to solve their skill and labor shortages)
  • To top it off, material costs are rising, even before tariff wars began

 

Construction Industry Tech Trends

 

  • Due to a lot of remote workers and temporary locations, the industry is spending on secure, agile and fast connectivity to support businesses
  • MPLS is getting replaced at a higher than average clip in construction, in part due to the need for agile connectivity. Cost pressure along with SD-WAN’s splash into the market are also drivers for MPLS replacement in construction beyond just business need.
  • Everything is mobile in today’s construction firm; employees, equipment, locations, devices, etc. and in concert with this trend we are seeing more and more firms adopt mobile applications for productivity, safety, operations, building modeling, etc.
  • Firms are looking to data and IoT solutions to reduce operating expenses and bolster margins, especially with so many high cost pieces of equipment
  • There’s growth of connected job sites and wearable technology, that also integrates to construction management software to help monitor and analyze the job site
  • Cloud and HW refresh occurring heavily in the space as companies look to go mobile, support technology driven initiatives

 

Challenge #1: Remote Everything

 

  • Quickly and securely connecting work sites, sometimes rural and short term
  • Securing and monitoring a network with explosive device growth
  • Ensuring proper network capacity and architecture to support remote workers who have large, secured files and mission critical applications they need to access
  • Ensuring proper communication and collaboration between full time, freelance, office and remote employees

 

Solutions for Remote Everything

 

Green Cloud: virtual desktop for those remote and freelance workers and DR to ensure continuity of this remote architecture

Flexential: delivers cloud and compute resources as well as professional services and compliant environments, purpose built to support organizations with remote and edge critical resources

Momentum: they have a purpose built UcaaS and collab solution for the construction industry with use cases specific for your construction clients and their remote workforce needs pre built into the platform

CenturyLink: delivers a cloud based UTM solution so no matter where your people are, their traffic can be protected and secured.  very handy for workers who aren’t in the office

Broad Sky Networks: fleet management and remote connectivity solutions that align perfectly to the construction company needs around remote everything and agile connectivity demands

Comm-Core: as a service physical monitoring and security that can be easily moved from location to location as sites turn up and down.  Helps reduce theft and insurance costs besides peace of mind and site control for management

MetTel: who can deliver unique solutions for remote workplaces; managed wifi, mutli-carrier mobile solutions, IoT platform, fleet management and a really cool mobile SD-WAN kit for quick turn up needs.

 

Challenge #2: Rising Costs

 

  • Trade wars and tariffs make the entire market difficult to predict
  • The void in labor job supply has caused a 4.5% rise in labor cost in the past 2 years alone
  • Key building materials from fencing and forklifts, to raw materials like cement and aluminum had seen huge YoY price jumps BEFORE the tariffs

Companies are looking to new technologies to help combat these rising costs such as:

  • AI/Big Data with IoT
  • Robotics/Automation
  • Cloud Technology
  • BIM (Building Information Modeling)
  • 3D Printing
  • Collaboration

 

Solutions for Rising Costs

 

MetTel again, is a natural fit for numerous use cases which we see in construction. For rising costs, they can provide fleet tracking solutions with consistent savings and sub 12 month ROI.  Or TEM for mobile while consolidating plans all with MDM included

Granite: great play on aggregation + SD-WAN to find awesome connectivity savings while driving better network performance and agility

BCN: your aggregation and cost consolidation play for access and network

CATO: get connectivity, plus sd-wan, plus security at a lower cost than MPLS, which as we mentioned is being replaced left and right in construction

Expedient: for cloud and refresh, has hybrid offerings to right size between cloud and colo for your customers and free cost analysis tools so your customers can forecast savings before they even sign the deal

A new one to the portfolio, Centrics IT: they can deliver 3rd party maintenance contracts at a fraction of the cost of existing maintenance, especially legacy or end of support tech.

And finally, another new addition to the portfolio, Flockgen: they provide waste, energy and utility contract consolidation and replacement.  Similar to the CentricsIT play for replacing maintenance contracts, you can help you customers find savings with those waste, energy and utility providers by simply getting a hold of their current contracts and providing them to Flockgen for analysis.

 

Challenge #3: Lack of IT Resources

 

  • 22% of construction firms task IT activities to non-IT employees
  • Cloud adoption in construction is the highest in any vertical; 5% higher than the next vertical
  • 58% of SMB construction firms rely on mobile devices and apps in the field
  • 1/3rd of construction firms have a mobile strategy in place, while 1/3rd have NO mobile platform at all
  • The industry is experiencing a collision of increased technology investment and reliance, with an understaffed and legacy IT environment.

Some common failings related to this climate:

  • Introducing new and perpetuating old Security risks
  • Failing to meet business agility demands
  • Compromising service performance
  • Reduce or eliminate technology ROI

 

Solutions for Lack of IT Resources

 

There are so many different suppliers in the CNSG portfolio that can help with customers who are understaffed in IT. Some generic examples include:

  • Hosted communications and call center technologies
  • Cloud or managed anything from office 365 and managed workstations to handing off management of entire applications or systems
  • SD-WAN to simplify or completely outsource network management

 

Some specific vendors:

CenturyLink: Security aaS perfect for remote and agile networks but also access and network, cloud, collab technologies in their portfolio, all available as a managed service

MetTel: A great fit for the industry, specifically for lack of IT resources, talk about managed wifi with analytics to deliver connectivity AND visibility, or a complete mobile platform with MDM included

Flexential: provides excellent managed services and professional services and can do so without a reliance on a specific vendor, meaning they can be flexible for your customers’ needs and I love their focus as a company on the edge

CentricsIT: who I brought up previously, their smart hands as a service offering is perfect for customers who have specific one-time project needs like a scramble site issue fix, as well as regular recurring needs that aren’t always easy to forecast such as site turn ups.  remember larger firms can have dozens to hundreds of sites live at any time, all of which temporary and on their own timeline.

TPx: a one stop shop for managed everything; network, security, SD-WAN, cloud, office, etc.

 

 

Be sure to join us on October 3rd, 2pm eastern, for our review of the manufacturing industry on the next Converged Effect Industry Webinar. Get the presentation for this webinar and other great resources on the CNSG Partner Resource Center.

Posted on: September 6, 2018 By: admin

By: Eric Hester, Green Cloud Technologies 

 

Complex IT scenarios used to be the stuff of NASA, militaries and Fortune 500 companies. Small businesses were immune to the complexities of highly available, multi-platform, multi-vendor, compliant, distributed, vulnerable IT systems. Those days are long gone, as we all well know. The complexity of IT was highlighted ironically by the coining of the term “cloud” itself. The “cloud” obscured the complexity of these systems into a generic term meant to say, “a network of systems and platforms maintained outside of one’s own environment” (my off the cuff definition; like many of you, I simply remember drawing clouds in the ‘90s to show complex network designs of which I didn’t want to draw all the components).

 

I am certainly not the first person to expound on the evolution of Information Technology over the last half century, nor do I believe I will be the last. That’s not why I am writing this post. I am writing to provide a case for the modern managed cloud service provider. Business can no longer operate without participating in these complex interconnected systems. However, small businesses have not changed – they do not have the ability to manage this complexity. They are good at what they set out to do with their enterprise, but not necessarily with the IT required to do so. Sure, MSPs of the 2.0 variety exist to fill this need, but they also are not evolved enough.

 

Outsourced IT is not a new concept, but it’s not enough. Outsourced cloud service mediation, outsourced service mobility and agility, outsourced compliance, outsourced security, ubiquitous service access must all be combined into a solution. MSP 1.0 was about turning break fix into opex. MSP 2.0 added consultancy and more services. MSP 3.0 (or what I call managed cloud service providers or MCSPs) must be about making IT disappear into the background.

 

Imagine selling (insert vertical here) as a service. A customer no longer worries about what system they are logging into, what software licenses they are paying for or whose cloud services they are using. They simply consume the services that you, as the MCSP, have selected for their needs. You may be saying, “What does that even mean? What platform(s) are you talking about? What products?” The point isn’t how yet, it is what. Now the time is right for holistic solutions made up of many vendors, products and providers. We need to put the simplification of the cloud drawing over that complexity as well. Modern MSPs or MCSPs must be focused on selling a solution that does not have the customer wondering why AWS is better than Azure or why o365 is better than gSuite, etc. Modern solutions must solve a problem and work in a way agnostic to the underlying components. Customers want to run their business and they WANT to pay you to make IT easier.

 

Services like SD-WAN, DDoS Protection, AI Based IDS/AMP, SaaS utilization management, Identity Management, snapshot recovery, long term archiving, abstractions like published apps or workspace platforms like AirWatch must ALL be managed to differentiate your services and create these solutions. Just as concepts like PSA, RMM, vCIO and QBRs became terms and concepts inherent in MSP 2.0 solutions, so too must these concepts now become second nature.

Posted on: August 30, 2018 By: CNSG Marketing

The #1 competitor to agents selling unified communications is the status quo – customers staying with their current on premise solution. We take a look at three points that you can use in your next discussion on why to migrate to the cloud.

By John Dickson, Momentum Telecom

Many enterprises are facing a key decision: keep their aging, antiquated on-premise solution or embrace the future and move to a hosted solution.

There is a lot of natural hesitancy towards being an early adopter of a technology. Questions like “will this work?”, “how does this help our bottom line” and “is this right decision?” can be heard rattling around the skulls of IT executives from miles away. This is why many offices for companies around the globe, there are arguments being made about hosted or cloud voice solutions and on-premise options.

When that discussion takes place, there are a lot of factors to consider, and each of the following are topics that are important enough that should both be considered and should drive that conversation:

Technology

Can you imagine using a computer from the 1990s to do your work? Or how about using a trusty car phone to make calls while driving into work? If the thought of relying on either of those relics to do business scared you, then you need to ask yourself why you’re relying on today’s work to be done using telephone technology from decades past. Cloud voice has firmly entrenched itself as the technology of tomorrow that is both affordable and available today. Analog and on-premise systems will soon be as rare as a telegraph, and thank goodness you’re not using one of those for your office memos.

Scalability

A traditional on-premise system allows you to have a predetermined maximum number of users, and this model can function well for companies that don’t add or remove users on a regular basis. However, for those enterprises that do add and remove users more often, the moment you pass the available threshold (even if by a single user) you have to upgrade the system and pay for the next maximum number of seats available, even though you won’t be using all of them. The benefit a hosted solution provides is the ability to with a few mere clicks, you can add or remove seat and you only pay for the seats you’re actually using. For companies that are growing or need the ability to scale up or down at a moment’s notice, a hosted solution is much more streamlined and cost friendly.

Cost

Hosted solutions can reduce upfront expenditures such as hardware and save costs in a number of ways; beginning with reducing costly maintenance fees and allowing organizations to pay only for the number of users using the technology. In a very tangible way, hosted solutions provide savings and furthermore, allow enterprises to switch from a capital expenditure to a operational expense.

While your debate doesn’t need to end to with these three topics (it could certainly extend the conversation to include customization, maintenance, disaster recovery, mobility and on and on), but technology, scalability and cost are certainly driving factors that every business needs to consider. And as current trends show, companies that are ready to lead in their industry will continue to pick hosted voice over solutions on-premise options.

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