Cloud

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER A CLOUD PHONE SYSTEM

(Republished with permission from Mitel)

Your phone system plays a critical role in your business operations and in your company’s success. But with more employees working from home and on the go, increasingly global markets and ever-changing customer demands, today’s workforce requires decision makers to think beyond the traditional phone systems of days past. The modern workplace requires a complete communications and collaboration system that not only lets employees interact with ease, but also empowers IT teams to easily manage and adapt to an evolving business environment.

 
Why Cloud Communications?
Chances are, you’re already using cloud technology in other aspects of your business. G Suite by Google Cloud®, Microsoft Office 365® and Dropbox® are just some examples of cloud-based applications. The cloud simply refers to software and services that are hosted by the provider and run on the Internet instead of equipment housed in your building. Since the documents, emails, photos and other software that live in the cloud are available from any device with a secure Internet connection, users can access the information and services from anywhere.

 
Cloud vs. Onsite: Considerations and Benefits
When it comes to communications, a cloud-based phone service offers unique benefits a traditional on-site phone system cannot. Let’s take a quick look at how these two deployment models differ:

On-Site Phone System

You fully own and operate the solution
You are responsible for overall maintenance, upgrades, reliability and security
Typically acquired as an upfront purchase and accounted for as …

7 REASONS CIOS AND CTOS ARE INTERESTED IN UCAAS

What’s next for CIOs and CTOs? A move beyond the “information” and “technology” responsibilities of their roles, it seems. According to analyst firm Gartner, driving business growth is now a top priority, even as these executives remain focused on the digital transformations of their organizations.

Business growth, though, is dependent upon the ability to innovate and pivot in a fast-moving competitive landscape. As CIOs and CTOs evaluate how to manage disruption and change, they’re turning to Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS). Here’s why…

 
How UCaaS Helps Organizations Innovate and Pivot

Business Model Change – A key challenge for CIOs and CTOs in delivering growth is supporting business model change. According to Gartner’s annual CIO Agenda survey, 49% say their organizations have already experienced a change in their business model. This trend appears likely to continue. In Gartner’s CEO Perspective survey, 63 percent of respondents said they plan to shift their business model by 2020. To support this vision, CIOs and CTOs must identify and guide specific initiatives that “change business models and drive consumer engagement, product management, and technology,” Gartner says.
Return on innovation – While support for digital transformation is high, CTOs still must show a return on investment. Cloud communications lowers the total cost of ownership, of course, but it also facilitates innovation, which in turn leads to growth. For example, UCaaS allows dispersed teams to assemble and collaborate with ease, thus breaking down internal silos. Meanwhile, …

What are the Advantages – and Potential Risks of UCaaS?

What are the Advantages of UCaaS?
When UCaaS technologies were first introduced, small businesses were the first adopters. This makes sense since smaller companies typically have less staff and limited resources to maintain and support on-premises communications. Over time, larger companies have begun to see the advantages of streamlining their UC services and supporting multiple locations, including global communications. However, avoiding the capital expenditures and operational costs of on-premises UC remains the primary advantage of UCaaS. Shared cloud call centers cost less than installing the infrastructure for a full PBX service.

Additionally, you don’t have to worry about outdated equipment as your business grows. When a feature gets outdated, the UCaaS provider is responsible for replacing it. Maintenance issues are also handled by the vendor, so you save on hiring IT specialists. Finally, UCaaS can be customized for your business needs, allowing you to choose the amount of service that fits your company, scaling up or down as things change.

In addition to lower costs, other benefits include:

Better disaster recovery – Disaster recovery capabilities are one of the most persuasive reasons to consider UCaaS. Think about the importance of uninterrupted communications to your business. While large companies can build redundancy into their systems, this can be cost-prohibitive for smaller enterprises or those with tight budgets. Because it’s cloud based, UCaaS users have access to communications from any location, eliminating the need for redundancy.
Rapid service deployment – On-premise solutions can take …

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN UC AND UCAAS?

UCaaS is a delivery model in which a variety of communication and collaboration applications and services—all of the regular integrated apps associated with UC—are outsourced to a third-party vendor and delivered over an IP network, most often the Internet. So, the main difference between standard UC and UCaaS is that the latter offers UC as a hosted service, which usually provides higher levels of availability, flexibility and scalability and greater cost savings (most UCaaS users invest to avoid the capital and operational expenditures of deploying UC on their own).

You’ve probably heard the phrase “everything is going to the cloud,” which refers to a global trend towards cloud-based services, also known as digital transformation. Well, UCaaS is part of this transformation. UCaaS is not a single service, but rather a variety of communication applications and services using cloud-based software services to store and transmit information. The “UC” refers to the communications channels we use every day, while the “aaS” simply refers to “as a service,” such as “software as a service (SaaS).”

 
Why is Now the Best Time to Invest?
According to research firm MarketsandMarkets’ comprehensive 2013-2018 UCaaS report, 2018 represented the beginning of the technology’s widespread adoption. The report describes UCaaS as “a rapidly growing market” that is generating a lot of interest, and “one of the key enabling factors that will drive the market for unified communication.” All in all, the UCaaS market was projected to grow from its current …

10 REASONS COMPANIES ARE MOVING COMMUNICATIONS TO THE CLOUD

There’s a lot of buzz around the cloud these days and cloud communications is no exception. But buzz isn’t always an indicator of a business case for technology purchases. Smart businesses are asking what’s driving the rush to the cloud—and they’re getting solid answers. So why are so many businesses moving communications to the cloud today? Here are 10 real-world reasons:

Cost

Predictable monthly costs. This may seem like old news, but many companies don’t realize just how much they can save by moving their communications to the cloud. By hosting a phone system over the Internet, businesses are charged on an “as needed” basis, paying only for what they use. That makes cloud-based communication systems especially cost-effective for small businesses—eliminating the need to pay for the installation and maintenance of a traditional phone system.

 

Management

Outsource IT support to the provider. The management of an on-site solution can be very expensive. Because of the complexity of today’s communications systems, it can often take an entire IT department to manage. Cloud-based communications can help alleviate the burden by eliminating maintenance, IT work load and some of the more costly internal infrastructure, including servers and storage systems.

 

Scalability

Scale up or down based on users. Anyone who has moved or expanded an on-site phone system knows just how difficult it can be. Whether a business is growing, moving or sizing down, the cloud provides the flexibility and scalability the business needs now and in the …

ANSWERS TO YOUR TOP 7 QUESTIONS ABOUT MIGRATING FROM SHORETEL TO MITEL CONNECT

When you tell me that ShoreTel has reached the end-of-life, what does that really mean?

Mitel acquired ShoreTel in 2017. The Connect platform changed in brand name only. The ShoreTel technology underpins the Mitel Connect platform, which is now called Mitel MiVoice Connect. Mitel announced the end-of-life of the ShoreTel 14.2 software and all previous software releases. And, while ShoreTel 14.2 will still be supported through December 2019, all future bug fixes will be rolled into Connect releases. Support for software updates/bug fixes will no longer be provided for ShoreTel 14.2 beginning 2020.

 

What are the requirements for us to upgrade to Connect?

While there are not many “requirements” for upgrading to Connect, there are some infrastructure requirements that should be noted:

Must be on ShoreTel version 14.x
If you are using Enterprise Contact Center, you will need the 8.x or 9.x versions to upgrade to Connect Contact Center
Mobility needs to be on 8.x
64bit Windows is required
VMWare ESXi 6 or 6.5 is needed if you are looking to utilize any of the virtual switches and appliances
30 GB HDD available is a minimum

 

Will we be able to use the same desktop handsets?

All handsets continue to be supported on Connect Premise. Only the 400 series handsets are supported on the Connect Cloud. With Connect, the EdgeGateway will replace the VPN Concentrator. The phones from the VPN concentrator will not work with the EdgeGateway.  Only the 400 …

Should You Use an MSP For Your IT Solutions?

The managed services business model is booming as more and more businesses partner with providers for their IT solutions. The MSP market is forecasted to grow from $152.45 billion in 2017 to $257.85 billion by 2022, and is expected to continue to grow steadily beyond that point. But while widespread adoption is a nice endorsement, the fact that everyone’s doing it isn’t exactly the best basis for making a business decision.

We’ve written about the benefits your business can reap from using managed IT services before — with talking points like predictable monthly costs, better security practices, and faster responses for improved technology uptimes, it’s hard for us to not get carried away. But what makes MSPs really stand out? Why should you take the leap and use managed IT services?

 
More Business Partner than Tech Desk
While managed services providers can certainly fix your computer when it breaks, their capabilities are above and beyond the purview of technical support services. A good MSP works with you and your business to understand your practices and goals, then strategizes to ensure that everything they do helps to achieve those goals. All at once, they are technicians, data security specialists, technology advisors, industry experts, troubleshooters, hardware installers, and more. The break/fix model of IT is obsolete, replaced by the holistic approach of MSPs.

 
Expertise for Any Level of Service
Shifting the responsibility for commodity IT services – that is, services like email, web, and file serving which work more or …

5 Ways Better Internet Service can Boost Your Bottom Line

We’ve all felt the frustration of a poor internet connection: web pages not loading, important files refusing to upload, emails and messages not sending. For businesses, these problems are more than frustrating; they cost time and money. While you may think that putting up with internet service that slows you down helps to save money, a better network and faster connection not only improves productivity, but can actually open the door to money-making solutions.
1. Leverage the Cloud for your Business
In their annual State of the Cloud survey, RightScale found in 2017 that over 95% of their respondents were already using the cloud for their business processes. And while the cloud offers businesses benefits such as reduced hardware maintenance, reduced IT spending, and more agile applications and processes, effective use of the cloud requires a reliable and fast internet connection. Migrating to the cloud has become easier and cheaper in the past year, and with its potential for increased savings and security, it makes more sense than ever to incorporate a cloud strategy into your business.
2. Go Further with VoIP
Making communication easier, faster, and cheaper is a surefire way to boost productivity and revenue. Switching your phone system to VoIP does all that and more: with lower trunking and long-distance costs and better scalability, VoIP systems cost less than traditional landline phones. In addition, VoIP systems offer a whole host of features that improve workers’ quality of life, such as mobility, conferencing, and integration with other communication tools as well …

How Big Data Solutions are Driving Business

Big Data: it’s useful, it’s interesting, it’s a little unnerving, and it’s here to stay. Companies large and small are leveraging Big Data in many different aspects of their business practices, and to great effect. But like with all new technologies and tools, data solutions require knowledge and a careful touch before employing them. Here are a few ways that Big Data is being used for business success:
Reduced Expenses
Big Data, or the information gathered from people about their demographics, habits, relationships, and more, can give great insight into how businesses can streamline their practices to best suit their employees and customers. With the ability to analyze what outfits people are sharing on social media and blogging platforms, clothing companies can predict demand for specific trends and accessories, and therefore can produce and ship the optimal amount for sales to their stores. The doors have been blown off of the accuracy and application of predictive analytics, and now it’s up to companies to utilize data solutions in new and creative ways.
Improved Innovation
These same predictive analytics allow companies to innovate like never before. Both producers of goods and service providers can brainstorm new offerings with unprecedented information about what their consumers want, need, and buy. Big Data applications can include risk analysis, market research, budgeting and planning, and beyond, allowing business decisions to be guided by information from the very people they want to target.
Customer Relationships
Of course, when business goals are informed by …

5 Benefits of Managed IT Services

With technology pervading every aspect of most industries, it’s more critical than ever to keep everything working the way it should. But sometimes the staff, resources, knowledge, and time you have just isn’t enough to keep up with the IT demands of a tech-driven workplace. IT solutions by managed service providers (MSPs) are an increasingly popular option for businesses of all sizes. Here are some reasons why:
1. Cost
One of the most visible benefits of a managed IT service is the cost. Most managed service providers operate on a monthly subscription, giving businesses a reliable expenditure and an easily measurable return on investment. This regular cost comes with many benefits that would be prohibitively expensive with an in-house IT specialist or department, such as 24-hour monitoring and fast response times, and because MSPs provide IT solutions to a number of different clients, they have the resources to hire more technicians and specialists than a single company does. Because of this, businesses that utilize managed IT services get more for their spend.
2. Knowledge
In addition to more people responding to work orders and doing installations, having access to more technicians means that businesses have a gigantic body of knowledge about the world of information technology. IT departments can get bogged down by the day-to-day, such as fixing broken devices, troubleshooting software issues, and doing basic maintenance, causing strategic technology goals and learning to fall by the wayside. Technicians at MSPs are out in the …