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Posted on: September 9, 2019 By: Lauren Epperly

Business communication case study: MyEyeDr.

Founded in 2001 by a group of optometrists executing a high-growth-through-acquisition strategy, MyEyeDr. is a network of more than 400 local, well respected practices in 11 states and the District of Columbia. The 10,000-plus employee company offers eye-care services and a wide variety of prescription eyewear and contact lenses. By using innovative technology and empowering its doctors to do what they love, the company is championing a new path for vision care.

“As a longstanding customer, we have a deep level of trust in Vonage®, not only as our business communications provider, but as a partner that is equally focused on creating a better and more personalized experience for our patients.”

Alex Healey, Director of IT, MyEyeDr.

Background

When joining the MyEyeDr. family, the majority of the company’s optometry-practice acquisitions typically lack the business communications infrastructure that supports both the organization’s signature level of customer service and its post-acquisition integration model’s under-90-day cutover time. The eye-care provider needed to avoid the traditionally excessive construction costs and setbacks associated with a new addition (e.g., the frequent 6- to 12-month delays created when pairing a new location’s pre-existing T1 line with a new fiber-optic network connection), reuse their pre-existing broadband connections without exacerbating packet loss or downtime, empower their acquisitions to engage with in-person and call-in patients in a HIPAA and PCI-compliant manner, and more.

Challenge

To provide a scalable, standardized, healthcare-tailored unified communications solution, MyEyeDr. needed a communications partner who could lay a foundation that would foster the company’s ongoing growth, seamlessly deploy a better, cloud-based communications solution as the company acquires optometry practices, maintain a positive brand transition for loyal patients, and supply the process-driven expertise that would help the vision-care network’s assimilation cycles go smoothly.

Solution

MyEyeDr. chose Vonage for its enterprise-grade unified communications as a service (UCaaS) platform, advanced call center technology, award-winning SD-WAN product, and proven success in deploying thousands of cloud seats for rapidly expanding organizations. The future-proofed solution enabled the company to bolster owner trust and confidence before, during, and after acquisition talks, support efficient call flow and voice prioritization, enhance the quality of patient interactions, avoid delays of revenue, support regulatory compliance, maximize uptime reliability, and realize a 28-percent reduction in support tickets between 2016 and 2018.

Results

Creating an Unsurpassed Patient Experience
The Vonage Enterprise UCaaS platform facilitates MyEyeDr.’s nimble, rapid-growth business model by freeing the company from having to accommodate the legacy technology of each new location (e.g., adding new fiber-optic network connections, etc.), providing each addition an encrypted, private MPLS network solution for enhanced productivity, regulatory compliance, and real-time collaboration (which has directly contributed to a 98-percent post-acquisition talent-retention rate), creating a consistent, seamless experience for all patients, no matter which location they visit or call center they reach, ensuring business continuity by automatically rerouting calls to a predetermined backup number in the event of a loss of power or internet connection, and more.

Freeing In-Store Associates to Focus on In-Store Traffic
Vonage Call Center gives MyEyeDr. the ability to successfully optimize pre-existing broadband connections, minimize on-hold times, optimize the call center experience for its patients, maximize the in-person customer service experience for its visitors, and prepare itself to deploy a communications platform as a service (CPaaS) solution with APIs. During peak periods of in-store traffic, the solution’s automatic call distribution (ACD) functionality promotes a positive patient experience by intelligently rerouting calls to a MyEyeDr. call center, offering call-back options, and encouraging online-booking alternatives, while its interactive voice response (IVR) system provides a voice-driven menu that offers callers streamlined pathways to the live agents who can serve them best.

Getting All Calls Answered and All Appointments Set
By managing critical quality of service across all locations and pinpointing bandwidth utilization problems, Vonage’s SD-WAN solution, SmartWAN, ensures MyEyeDr. can prioritize voice traffic, rely on real-time stateful failover capability (i.e., in the event of a carrier’s disconnection, all calls are diverted to a secondary carrier—in real time—so the appointment-driven organization can maintain an exceptional level of uptime and 24/7 availability to its patients), elastically increase its network capacity, and more.

Posted on: September 5, 2019 By: Lauren Epperly

Your guide to understanding UC white-glove service

“White-glove” means marked by special care or attention1 . Companies often throw this term around, but rarely take the time to explain what it means for their company. And with good reason. White-glove service can vary from a range of meanings from something slapped on marketing materials to the company’s very heartbeat.

But when does our white-glove service begin? Our simple answer is: from the very beginning.

The moment you speak with a Momentum representative, your white-glove experience starts and this continues throughout the sales process, implementation, training and ongoing support.

The experience’s first phase, the sales process, is uniquely highlighted by three characteristics:

Engagement

Our sales process includes input from our sales management, solution design engineers (SDEs), operations, engineering and (most importantly) you! We do this because we value creating getting the right solution that works for your enterprise. All of these parties add a particular value to creating a solution that allows Momentum to achieve the optimal proposal to take each and every organization to the next level.

Data Collection

The Momentum team takes the time to ask and discover what the enterprise actually needs and what they want. On top of that, learning about the business processes and current network configurations helps create a solid understanding of the company’s network, processes and IT challenges.

Design

Once we have engaged with the customer and collected data on their company’s needs and configurations, our team turns to our innovative product line to collaboratively build a customized and truly comprehensive communications solution designed to work for your company’s needs.

Posted on: September 4, 2019 By: Lauren Epperly

Technology requirements of mid-market organizations (ranging from 1K to 5K users) are becoming increasingly complex. The potential of digital transformation to redefine business models and customer experiences is gaining the attention of smaller enterprises. More specifically, companies are looking to enhance collaboration among remote workers and dispersed teams, quickly add locations and users and streamline infrastructure.

UCaaS solutions that bundle basic collaboration with additional functionality such as perimeter security and the SD-WAN flexibility can help businesses address these challenges and boost competitive advantage. Historically, however, the needs of mid-sized businesses have been overlooked. Providers have focused instead on plug-and-play solutions for small businesses at the low end, and on resource-intensive sophisticated solutions for the high end. In the process, mid-sized companies have been limited to generic, cookie-cutter solutions.

A recent white paper by Frost & Sullivan concludes that this landscape is changing.

In response to market demand and increased competition, providers are bringing a wide range of robust solutions to market, giving mid-sized enterprises unprecedented options. According to the Frost & Sullivan report, emerging capabilities include:

  • Advanced collaboration functionality that includes multimedia conferencing, content sharing, instant messaging and presence and mobility
  • Integrated UCaaS and contact center as a service (CCaaS)
  • Greater service reliability and stronger SLAs
  • Improved security posture and compliance to regulatory requirements
  • Enhanced service provider implementation and support, specifically in the areas of assessment, professional and managed services
  • Flexible APIs and greater third-party software interoperability, enabling true customization and tighter multi-vendor integration
  • Broader selection of communications endpoints, including desktop and DECT phones, conferencing devices, headsets, PC and mobile soft clients

So the good news is that mid-market enterprises now have more choices than ever when it comes to UCaaS functionality. The challenge now, of course, becomes making the right choice.

One potential pitfall is to select an overly complex solution that requires extensive internal resources to manage. Focusing solely on price, meanwhile, can have the same result, since bare-bones functionality typically requires greater oversight. These poor choices, meanwhile, can result from a lack of understanding of available options, or of the potential of available functionality.

In other words, customers often don’t know what they don’t know about UCaaS

Mid-sized businesses that have tested the waters of UCaaS can be particularly susceptible to this trap. Buyers whose experience has been limited to sub-optimal technology are likely to have a low bar of expectations. If the tools work at a basic level, the thinking goes, that’s about all you can hope for. The idea that the tools might work much, much better doesn’t seem realistic.

In today’s environment of rapid technology innovation, that mindset can result in significant missed opportunities to leverage UCaaS to reduce costs, streamline operations and enhance collaboration across the enterprise. To avoid the trap, businesses exploring UCaaS options should take a rigorous due diligence approach with potential providers. Specifically, they should demand that technology partners invest the time and resources to assess and truly understand business issues and priorities.

Based on that understanding, providers can better explain – and customers can better understand – the art of the possible with today’s UCaaS solutions.

 

Posted on: By: Lauren Epperly

In this two-part blog, we will explore and define Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO). In part one, we will examine RTO (Recovery Time Objective).

What is RTO and RPO?

Recovery Time Objective and Recovery Point Objective may sound alike, but they are entirely different metrics in disaster recovery and business continuity management.

Calculating your RTO and RPO allows you to plan accordingly with the proper resources, before you need them. In this blog post, we will examine RTO and clear up any confusion.

RTO: Recovery Time Objective

RTO dictates how quickly your infrastructure needs to be back online after a disaster. Sometimes, we use RTO to define the maximum downtime a company can handle and maintain business continuity. This is often a target time set for services restoration after a disaster. For example, a Recovery Time Objective of two hours aims to have all servers with that RTO back up and running within two hours of service disruption notification.

In the case of a healthcare organization for example, they might ask themselves the following questions when determining RTO for their applications and data:

  • For hosted email servers: How long can we go without accessing our email without impacting the business?
  • For patient record storage: How quickly do we need to provide access to patient records to maintain compliance?
  • Operational applications: Which servers are critical to business operation? How quickly do we need each restored before serious impact to the business?

Depending on your business requirements, you may need better RTO for certain data and applications. With lowered RTO comes an increase in cost, though. Companies must balance downtime with business impact to ensure the RTO is appropriate. Whatever RTO you choose, it should be cost-effective for your organization.

Whether you need geographic redundancy, virtual backups, or a combination of the two, Data Canopy can help you develop the plan that keeps your business running when disaster strikes.

Ensure mission critical data is secure and available in the event of an emergency with a disaster recovery plan and solution designed for your business. Data Canopy offers geographical redundancy from data centers nationwide, full encryption and corruption detection capabilities, and virtual server backups for seamless fail-over in the event of an outage.

Posted on: August 26, 2019 By: Lauren Epperly

If delivering extraordinary digital customer service were as simple as following a formula, everyone would be doing it. But not everyone is. In fact, 89% of tweets from customers to businesses still go unanswered, and poor customer service is one of the main reasons for customer churn.

Clearly there’s plenty of room for improvement in customer service. Let’s make it simple: Great digital customer service depends on a combination of the best software and the right soft skills. It’s all about a combination investment into software and into employees.

Delivering exemplary digital customer service — which increases loyalty, sales, and ROI — means integrating trusted, powerful digital customer service software and then training your staff to take full advantage of the technology.

The right software is a key asset…

Today’s digital customers are more impatient than ever, so customer service on social media must move at the speed of now. When most customers are expecting a response in under an hour, agents really must be on point. This is where digital customer service software comes in. Trying to maintain an active brand presence on social media without the right software is like trying to build a house without nails.

Businesses know digital customer service integration is a necessity, but don’t always understand what they’re looking for in a software solution. There are plenty of options to consider, so it helps to do some research first.

It’s also very important to define exactly what your needs and expectations are. A solution that can quickly scale along with peak usage times and company growth will be invaluable over the long term.

No matter how big your business, there are fundamental points you should identify before committing to a vendor. Here are some of the key features for any digital customer service software:

  • Powerful CRM: The right CRM tool will tell you more about each customer, gathering valuable information from across digital channels into a constantly growing database. With more info about each customer, agents can offer more tailored service.
  • Intelligent Routing: Routing each customer to the best agent based on the nature of the query and previously collected CRM data helps agents create human connections while providing more efficient service over the long term. Set the parameters that best suit your needs and get started.
  • Chatbot Builder: Customers are increasingly demanding chatbots. Why not give the people what they want? The best digital customer service software provides a simple-to-use chatbot solution that you easily can build according to your specifications.

Once you’ve got the best digital customer service software for the size of your company and the needs of your customers, there’s an important second step to take. You’ve got to make sure your agents are properly trained on the new software, so they can take full advantage of its capabilities to serve customers with greater efficiency and with greater results.

…but soft skills are invaluable

Bearing in mind the essential soft skills for customer service agents will help you hire the best agents for the job and then train them more effectively. Here are some of the key skills that all customer service agents should have. Any customer service agent training should focus first on these:

  • Empathy: This trait is invaluable in customer service. Great service is empathetic because it values each customer as an individual, making them feel appreciated, which in turn inspires loyalty.
  • Knowing how to humanize communication: Customers want to talk to humans, not robots. This means that all customer communication should be human-centric. Make use of the spontaneity and quirks of real communication — things that chatbots just can’t replicate.
  • Using data to provide better service: Powerful CRM gives agents invaluable data about each customer, and it’s important that they are properly trained to make the best use of it. Personalize service by knowing more about each customer and using this data to make real connections.

We believe that the future of customer service is powered by humans helped by call center software.

Posted on: August 21, 2019 By: Lauren Epperly

 

In a market where SOC-as-a-Service can be purchased at “significant cost savings,” and where a la carte SOC services allow customers to order their security solutions piecemeal, one must wonder what is most important: the effectiveness of a SOC in protecting a company’s data and assets, or whatever cost savings and convenience it might offer? SOC services that cater to providing the latter do so at their clients’ peril, pretending that a two thousand-dollar SOC can somehow provide relevant detection and response capabilities to protect millions of dollars in data assets.

 

Unfortunately, the real cost of inadequate cyber security is not often realized until disaster strikes.

 

Truth or consequences

Learning the truth before a breach occurs will prevent the unpleasant consequences that will surely follow. Although a very low price is the first indication that a SOC doesn’t take security seriously, it is not the only one, finding a SOC that can deliver on its promises requires some insight into their operation.

A fair list of questions one should ask about their current, or prospective, SOC includes the following: Does my SOC provider have experienced analysts, who understand the data they’re looking at and turn it into actionable tasks? Are they tiered to escalate threats as needed (tier 1 – 4), or does one group do it all? Does anyone in the SOC have offensive experience?

Does my SOC provider optimize my monitoring or just does what I tell him? Is my SOC provider bringing in value or just an outsourced staff augmentation?

How many alerts did I receive from my SOC vendor in the past month? How many real cyber incidents has my SOC vendor taken part in for other clients? What were the outcomes? Does my SOC have true incident response capabilities (real experienced IR personnel with actual hacking background) or do they wait till damage is done before acting?

The biggest question – is my SOC provider giving me a fancy Help desk or a professional Security operations center??

These questions represent the bare minimum a SOC must do, if they are going to safeguard their clients’ data, networks, and reputation. You’re guaranteed that any service provider who balks at any of these questions will be paralyzed in the face of even a minor incident, not to mention a serious attack.

 

Inadequate protection worse than none at all

Every SOC claims they can protect their clients from cyber threats. Some can, but most can’t, and the cost of those broken promises can be truly devastating. The damage of having a false sense of security should not be underestimated, nothing is more devastating and frustrating to a company than learning that the measures they took for security have turned out to be empty of content and redundant when push came to shove.

It’s a frustrating challenge, understanding who’s selling you buzz words and who actually has capabilities, but it is a challenge companies and management must take upon themselves as those responsible at the end of the day.

The regulators and legislators are 40 thousand feet up high, talking about general problems and generic solutions that in most cases don’t really guide companies as much as they force them to take misguided actions in IT and Cyber security.

It is up to organizations, large and small, to ask their vendors the hard questions, demand experienced services and field proven solutions, to no longer except buzz words and fancy terms for a commodity price and paint over the Cyber risks.

If someone were to offer you full health insurance for the entire family for 5$ a month, you wouldn’t consider it, knowing that there has to be a catch, understanding that there is no possible way you’re getting any value for that 5$. You would ask to see what is covered? who is liable? who is behind the company and so on….

So why is it when someone offers you an expert team of cyber analysts to work 24/7/365 including Incident response teams and various expert services, all for a few hundred dollars a month – that makes sense? Ask the same questions you would any other vendor who is offering an unrealistic proposition, see how the answers blow you away.

The best security advice? You don’t have to decide to have visibility and response capabilities, but if you do, make sure you buy capabilities and not buzz words.

At some point in time, you’re going to need that service you’ve been paying for, don’t wait for that day to find out what it really is you’ve bought.

 

 

Real defense requires an understanding of offense

With cyber criminals gaining access to over 200,000 confidential records per hour, only SOCs that are geared up for real life incidents can overcome the cyber challenges of today. Defending clients’ valuable resources against the technologically advanced hackers of today, demands that a SOC maintains an offensive posture on all fronts, strategically seeking out both vulnerabilities and exploits.

But at the very least it requires that those designing, operating and responding in the SOC, either have offensive experience or are being guided by those who do.

 

Tools of the trade

The majority of SOC providers offer little more than a patchwork of security products, accompanied by consumer-grade customer support (a low-level Help desk). Moreover, most have never met a seen a real hack, let alone participated in a real one (defensive or offensive). By contrast, a world-class SOC combines the following tools into a comprehensive security solution that becomes a core component in the client’s organization.

  • Multi-layer Monitoring: Monitoring means more than relaying alerts to the client. It involves a comprehensive, multi-layered monitoring center, with Tier 1 – Tier 4 alerts prioritization. It’s about knowing what to monitor (where to look) and what not to! Understanding how to separate the relevant from the noise is a challenge that requires experience and it is key to having an efficient monitoring center.
  • Proactive Services: From basic hunting actions in the network to simply being updated on IOCs and taking day to day actions as required in a live and active SOC. Constantly questioning and investigating the traffic is the only possible way to stay in the game.
  • Expert Response Team: A diverse team of highly-trained cyber-security professionals tap decades of combined experience to keep clients protected, around the clock, from threats internal and external to the organization.
  • Advanced Forensics: The SOC team brings cutting-edge forensics capabilities and technologies to bear against every threat, to include high-level digital forensics, server and network forensics, and the latest investigative tools.
  • Cyber Intelligence: To beat a hacker, you have to think like one. Effective protection of high-value client assets requires monitoring of Dark Web platforms to identify emerging threats that may involve the client – right down to cyber threats that may target a high-profile official.
  • Secure Remote Connection: Secure remote interfacing with the client’s existing system reduces impact on their operations, and ensures that all gateways, networks, servers, and data stores are constantly monitored by trained security experts.

 

The price of protection

In today’s ever-evolving world of cybercrime, threats come in a variety of guises. From threats as subtle as phishing emails and Trojan viruses, to full-frontal infiltration and service denial attacks, many companies are just one click away from disaster. Whether the motive for an attack is ideological, for personal profit, or for revenge, the outcome is the same – loss of data, loss of capital, and possibly loss of the company’s position in the market.

Companies hiding behind the “we are not a real target – who would want to attack us” simply do not understand the way the attackers work. Over 90% of attacks are absolutely random, the attackers attack vulnerabilities, weaknesses in technology or processes, not caring at all who or what the organization behind it really is or does.

More often than not, they have no idea who it is they are attacking. They don’t see the company behind the platform until they have already engaged in the attack. You may think you are not a target but unfortunately – attackers do not share your opinion.

The question isn’t whether or not a company will become the target of an attack – because sooner or later, they will. No, the question that should be on every CIO and CEO’s mind is whether they want to pay the price for a setting up a professional Managed SOC that can secure their digital assets, or do they want to pay the absolutely ludicrous price that comes with a data breach.

Posted on: August 15, 2019 By: Lauren Epperly

If you boiled down the concept of digital transformation to a single word, it would be “application.” The goals of digital business include adding functionality, improving operational efficiencies and enhancing the customer experience. To meet any of these goals, you have to add or enhance existing applications.

Applications provide the interface between customers and businesses. If they perform poorly, issue error messages or force users to wait too long for services, they create a negative impression of the company. Therefore, digital strategies should set application performance and usability as a priority. For that to happen, you must deal with these common roadblocks:

  • Aging, inflexible legacy infrastructure
  • Complex IT architecture
  • Data and application security

Failure to address these roadblocks results in underperforming, unsafe environments that frustrate users and complicate the life of administrators.

Aging, Inflexible Infrastructure

As organizations add more applications to automate processes and enhance usability, data traffic increases substantially. Some originates within the network while a lot more flows in from a growing number of devices – smartphones, tablets, social media applications and in some cases purpose-built industrial devices.

The Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G will create even more data through sensors and trackers deployed in a variety of settings, from smart buildings to smart cities to vast, distributed industrial environments where equipment and people are monitored around the clock.

Legacy networks cannot handle the added demands of digital strategies, creating a serious obstacle. Companies need intelligent, adaptive networks to transport data between billions of devices, edge sites, data centers and cloud environments worldwide. Otherwise, they cannot accommodate traffic fluctuations or an unexpectedly large boost in demand.

In recent years, companies have experienced downtime as a result of the “Reddit hug of death,” a phenomenon that floods a website with so much traffic that it crashes. Here’s what happens: A company or product gets highlighted on Reddit, bringing attention to it. Reddit users then flock to the company’s website, overwhelming it with traffic beyond capacity, effectively shutting down online business. What starts out as a positive quickly turns into a negative for the company. Similarly, multiple theater websites’ order systems went down after the tickets for Avengers: Endgame went on sale.

These incidents are avoidable with an adaptive infrastructure that dials up resources when needed. As such, a business experiencing the “Reddit hug” or a similar phenomenon doesn’t get hobbled by its own success. Adaptive networks provide the flexibility, control and automation to provide the necessary availability and responsiveness to scaling needs. In the digital economy, organizations simply cannot afford downtime, especially in verticals such as finance, retail, healthcare and communications, which rely heavily on the network.

Complex IT Architecture

Another roadblock businesses face on the path to digital business is complexity. Largely driven by cost, companies are making important decisions about which applications move to which clouds. Certain applications run better – and are more affordable – in one cloud than another.

This explains why enterprises on average use five clouds, according to RightScale’s 2018 State of the Cloud Report. Cloud adoption among enterprises has risen to 96%, and 81% have a multi-cloud strategy, the report says.

Multi-cloud environments, mixing public and private clouds, can create challenges such as figuring out which application to run in which cloud based on data-transfer needs, security and other factors. Think of an application that handles medical records. Because of the sensitivity of the data, all information has to be archived and transmitted in compliance with privacy regulations. If housed in a cloud environment, this data should be in a private cloud with the proper security controls in place. If the data has to travel between multiple locations, you want dedicated, private connections that keep it out of the public internet, where the chance of security is higher.

Beside the complexity of managing multiple clouds, businesses increasingly operate in a continuous integration, continuous delivery mode as new features are constantly added to applications. At the same time, new architectures are being introduced to support emerging technologies and operating systems are being updated all the time.

All of these factors ensure environments are dynamic, not static, which adds management complexity. So while the flexibility and scalability of multi-cloud environments are welcome attributes, organizations need well-defined strategies and capable tools to secure and manage their environments in a simplified way.

Data And Application Security

Another obstacle to digital strategies is the need to secure more endpoints and applications. Securing the perimeter is no longer enough because mobility and IoT are making the network ubiquitous. Virtualized network security services and load balancing are replacing perimeter-based security.

In the near future, autonomous cars will generate several terabytes of data each day while smart cities are collecting data from digital street signs and traffic lights to communicate with vehicles and a control center. Securing all this data as it travels back and forth isn’t easy but it must be done. Here, too, the answer is in the network you choose. Networks must have built-in security to securely recognize and prioritize application data.

Since you can’t put a firewall on every smartphone and source of data, the data must be secured as it travels on the network, with monitoring and analytics that constantly improves through the use of machine learning.

For instance, an intelligent network can identify a command and control (C2) center that is communicating with compromised machines around the world. If the C2 center isn’t a recognizable data center, it is possibly operating a botnet getting ready for a distributed denial of service (DDoS) or other type of cyber attack. The network can detect and block the C2 servers to stop such attacks earlier and faster than a perimeter-based approach.

Removing Obstacles

Removing the obstacles to digital strategies isn’t impossible but requires a lot of planning and proper execution. Businesses should look for experienced partners that deliver a secure, flexible network as well as consulting services and expertise to draw up and achieve their digital goals. With these elements in place, organizations can better position themselves to run the applications that open the path to a successful digital future.

Looking to take the next steps in your digital business journey? See how CenturyLink can help your company innovate faster.

Learn More

Posted on: August 13, 2019 By: Lauren Epperly

The High Cost of Business Mobility: IT

July 24, 2019

 

The benefits for business of a connected, mobile workforce are enormous. Those benefits are primarily centered around increased capabilities and efficiencies for workers in the field, be they field service or salespeople, and along with the increases in capabilities and efficiencies comes the implied promise of increased profitability.

What Happened to Mobility’s Bottom Line?

That implied promise of increased profitability leaves many businesses scratching their collective head, however, when the bottom line is analyzed: The anticipated ROI on their mobility initiatives often just isn’t there, despite the increased productivity of the mobile workforce.

There are a few different reasons why a company might discover that their mobility ROI is not what they expected — they don’t know how to properly manage their mobile accounts to get the lowest rates possible, for example, which is a case that’s up front and easy to understand. But there’s another factor impacting mobility ROI that’s somewhat less obvious: The high support costs that can often come with a business mobility implementation.

Actually managing a mobility implementation is a many-faceted task: The devices must be ordered and properly provisioned, for example, and then distributed to the appropriate users, who will need to be trained on company-specific applications for the device. And once in the hands of users, support issues will inevitably arise — the user dropped the phone in the pool, or they forgot a password, or any of a long list of other things that can (and do) go wrong with mobile devices.

The Problem of IT and Mobile Device Support

The trouble is that all of these tasks, including mobile help desk support, are typically pushed onto the IT department to deal with. The IT department will do its best to keep up with this new workload that’s been added to all of the other things they need to do, of course, and when the help desk line rings because someone needs a password reset on their mobile device, IT will answer the call.

But therein lie some of the hidden support costs that are helping to drain ROI from business mobility initiatives. IT professionals are typically trained and skilled at their work — and compensated accordingly. The median salary for a Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) network engineer in the U.S. is north of $70,000 annually, for example — and yet, it’s not uncommon in many companies to find these highly-trained, highly-paid IT personnel providing help desk-style support to mobile phone users.

IT is Great — at IT

Very obviously, there are better uses of time for these professionals — maintaining critical IT infrastructure, for example. To exacerbate the problem, although an IT professional is likely to be highly trained at network maintenance, for example, they are equally likely to be untrained in any substantive way on the very mobile devices for which they’re now tasked with providing end user support. Because they’re untrained, the support outcomes might not be as successful as they should be, or else they take longer to resolve than they would in the hands of a support specialist who was actually trained on the mobile devices being fielded.

That combination of highly-paid staff spending inordinate amounts of time to do something for which they’re not properly trained is a leading contributor to lower-than-expected ROI on mobile implementations — and it’s especially pernicious, because it can be very hard to detect at an executive level that this is where mobility is bleeding dollars away from the company.

The Right Tool for the Mobile Support Job

Fortunately, there’s a solution that both eases the headaches of IT and cuts costs while doing it. Wireless Watchdogs’ managed mobility solution (MMS)  manages the entire mobile lifecycle, from planning and provisioning to help desk support to device retirement, and takes the burdens and the costs away from busy IT departments — and helps our clients truly capitalize on the promise of ROI that’s inherent to mobility. If you’d like to learn more, request a demo today and start earning the ROI you truly deserve:

REQUEST A DEMO

Posted on: August 12, 2019 By: Lauren Epperly

New commissionable products and services, more account managers and new sales tools to enhance our partners’ success.
By Lisa Heritage McLin – August 6, 2019

 

Delivering Fanatical Experience for our partners is the foundation of Rackspace’s Channel strategy, and that means we’re always working on improvements and upgrades to better serve you.

As we head deeper into the second half of 2019, I’m excited to share the innovative new resources we’ve been developing and invite you to join us. Leverage our brand to build yours!

First, a little kudos. The Rackspace Partner Network is currently experiencing approximately 10 percent quarter-over-quarter growth. This is thanks to the dedication of our entire team, but also the strategic work of Michael Stephens, who joined Rackspace in 2016. He has driven hyper growth through the agent community ever since then and will now serve as our Agent Channel Chief.

At the same time, we’ve also boosted the number of partner account managers across the U.S. and added an enterprise account team. These additions allow Rackspace to be more proactive and closer to our partners’ prospects and customers. We’ve also added new commissionable products and created new enablement resources to help you serve customers. Read on to learn more:

New commissions

Managed VMware Cloud on AWS is now a commissionable product. This unique cloud solution is a hybrid platform that offers access to public and private cloud, with the ability to shift workloads seamlessly between them. Companies can quickly add capacity to a new project or move workloads hosted on dedicated hardware to the cloud.

We also now offer commission for Rackspace Professional Services engagements. As customers seek more bespoke cloud expertise, Professional Services has become one of the fastest growing areas of our business.

[Read more: How to Get the IT Services You Need (Without Paying for the Ones You Don’t)]

Technical workshops

In response to partner demand, we’ve created Technical Partner Workshops, which will serve partners who support technology and product integration solutions for their customers’ digital transformation strategies. The workshops will be led by Rackspace Solution Architect Paul Croteau, who brings 25 years of experience in engineering, sales, technical training and account management to the task. Paul will help our partner solution engineering organizations find the best fit cloud transformation opportunities for their customers.

All Clouds Guide 

What if you could ask your customers a series of questions, then immediately get a customized cloud solution based on their answers?

We’ve got an app for that.

Our new All Cloud Guide is a sales tool that helps our partners quickly and accurately identify a customer’s needs, then get recommended cloud infrastructures choices based on those needs. Available as both a web and mobile app, the All Clouds Guide will recommend one or a combination of five infrastructure types: public cloud, private cloud, bare metal, server virtualization and colocation.

A sophisticated algorithm drives the All Cloud Guide, analyzing each answer by leveraging Rackspace’s two decades of experience. Quick, targeted videos offer support every step of the way, including:

  • Learn: “Why This Question?” videos will help our partners understand the importance of each particular question and the best way to explain how knowing this information will help navigate them to a “best fit” infrastructure.
  • Sell: Partners are walked through two main sets of questions, Business Background and Technical Deep Dive, to create an All Clouds Guide Workload report for their end client.
  • Share: The guide delivers its recommendation in real time, allowing you to immediately share with your customer on screen, via email, with a printout or PDF. Our partners can submit their workload report to Rackspace for fast follow up from our industry-leading experts.
  • Track: Keep up with all sales activity for your organization in easy-to-view lists and dashboards.

Want to learn more? Please visit the Rackspace Partner Network homepage. Already a partner? Reach out to your partner account manager or email raxpartnerhelp@rackspace.com.

Posted on: July 29, 2019 By: Carolyn Kuczynski

Every day, your employees log onto your network to accomplish their jobs.

To know whether your network performs at a level that helps them innovate and grow your business—rather than impede employees’ progress—ask these four questions and consider these recommendations to improve efficiency.

Building a better business network

1. What is the size of your IT staff? Is it a small team or is IT non-existent?

Many businesses today rely on lean IT teams to manage their business networks. Others are forced to manage without an IT team, instead relying on employees without IT expertise to be “jacks of all trades,” or to depend on the services of IT vendors and consultants.

Facing a range of day-to-day user, hardware, software, and support issues, small IT teams often lack the time to keep up with long-term IT planning. They are too busy supporting the operational needs of the business.

Outsourcing day-to-day network management to a service provider that offers scale, expertise, infrastructure and dedicated customer service ensures that the expertise and assistance your business needs is always at hand. You gain 24/7 access to network management experts while freeing up your internal IT budget and staff to help your company grow.

2. Is your business network reliable enough to serve both employees and clients?

Inadequate bandwidth, high latency, downtime, and overloaded networks can frustrate both employees and clients. Without a reliable, fast network, employees can’t get their jobs done. Without reliable, fast access to your website, applications or digital platforms, clients could abandon your business for the competition—and may never return. Partnering with an experienced network services provider will offer your business:

• A secure and high-performing Internet connection backed by 24/7 monitoring and management to help ensure your staff remains productive and your customers have easy access to your digital properties.

• A reliable wide-area network (WAN) to connect all company locations across a single network.

• A scalable solution that enables you to rapidly add bandwidth to support your company needs.

3. Is your business network adequately protected against security threats?

Beyond time and money, data breaches, viruses, and denial-of-service attacks shake client confidence and hurt the reputation of your business. Even fortune 500 companies with large IT staffs have not been immune to security breaches.

Outsourcing end-to-end network security services to an experienced provider takes security headaches out of your hands. For example, a managed unified threat management solution is an attractive option that can integrate a range of security capabilities, including an advanced firewall, antivirus/antispam tools, and other vulnerability management capabilities.

4. Are network maintenance issues forcing your IT staff to be reactive rather than proactive?

If your IT staff spends the majority of its time dealing with day-to-day operations and maintenance, it has little time left to focus on the kind of long-term network planning that drives innovation and competitive differentiation.

By offloading day-to-day network duties to an experienced provider of managed network services, you’re able to free up your in-house IT staff to work on more strategic initiatives. In return, you can also leverage the scale, expertise, infrastructure, and 24/7 monitoring and customer service support systems that a managed services provider offers.

Creating a business network to support innovation

By asking these four crucial questions before implementing a business network and by taking advantage of the expertise of an experienced provider of managed network services has to offer, your business can enjoy many benefits. To learn more, read this Q&A with FRONTEO COO David Wilner and CMO David Ahrens, discussing how their network boosts business performance.

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