VoIP & UC BLOG


Managing Today’s Complex UC Environments

As more and more organizations transition to next generation communication networks, they are quickly finding out that today’s networks are becoming more and more complex.  Today’s UC networks are built off of a multi-vendor architecture and enables multimodal communications that can be accessed from anywhere, corporate LAN, home network, mobile network or even public WiFi.  In addition to the various access methods, the users can choose the device or devices that they want to use to communicate with, hard phones, PC’s, Mobiles etc..  All this flexibility causes organizations to loose visibility into the network(s) to pinpoint where quality issues may be occurring which makes it harder for them to manage and ensure quality of service.

 

Many organizations today already have tools to help them manage their network and quality of service, but most solutions require the user, the operator, and the engineer to access several different screens or facilities to obtain data, and then remember those data points and mentally connect the dots to gain the real picture of what’s happening. When diagnosing quality and performance issues, it’s imperative to have visibility over the path of the call or session – for instance, you need to see how the application is traversing the network and what are the chokepoints or bottlenecks within the network.  Also, you need to understand if there are problematic routers, switches, and gateways that are critical to the delivery of that service.

 

The recently announced ReliaTel Visual360 addresses the challenges that organizations are having today managing their UC infrastructure.  It is a revolutionary new way for operations groups to visualize real-time unified communications quality, performance, and service level analytics, all correlated with operational network performance and the underlying transport layer throughout the unified communications environment.  It enables operations teams to visualize the relationships and dependencies between devices, applications and network segments involved in the critical application path of UC and collaboration sessions, and easily pinpoint the origins of quality degradation occurring when it comes to UC and collaboration applications.

 

To see how using ReliaTel Visual360 can proactively monitor and manage today’s complex UC environments to ensure your UC QoE, QoS, and service levels, click here.


How to Compare and Select a UC Managed Service Provider

The shift from traditional telephony platforms to Unified Communications (UC) has put organizations in more of a consumption model, which is causing a shift in how UC is supported.  The concept of a call server or PBX is really going away, as all the functions of a UC environment – voice, video and collaboration – are more and more distributed.  This trend causes server monitoring and availability to be de-emphasized.  It is Service Monitoring and Service Availability that is now of the highest importance in a UC ecosystem.  This is prompting many businesses to seek a UC Managed Service Provider (MSP), whether that’s a Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) provider hosting the entire solution, or an MSP that monitors the organization’s on-premise UC technologies through remote management services.  In either case, choosing the right managed services provider and program can be daunting.


Tone Software works with Managed Service Providers around the world, as well as the enterprise users they support, and we’ve gained valuable experience on the best practices out there. When evaluating a Managed Service Provider (MSP), it is important to understand how they manage the services they are providing and the visibility they have into your organizations infrastructure to ensure your UC Quality of Experience (QoE) and Quality of Service (QoS).   Do they pro-actively manage the UC service levels or are they reactive?  Do they provide a client portal with Dashboards and Reporting to keep their clients informed of their UC service levels?

  

For more about how to choose a Managed Service Provider, attend Tone’s IAUG Session 302: Managed  Services Matchup – Monday June 15, 2:15PM at IAUG Converge 2015 Conference in Denver.  For info click here.


To see how MSP’s using ReliaTel can proactively monitor and manage today’s complex UC environments to ensure your UC QoE, QoS, and service levels, click here.


MSPs and UCaaS Providers Face Key Challenge – Capacity Planning

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) Providers offer a lifeline for their clients, delivering unified communications and network management that ensures organizations can function and conduct business.  So, what is the most challenging aspect of ensuring communications service levels across clients’ ecosystems?  Many MSPs and UCaaS providers tell us they are continuously seeking better ways to perform Capacity Planning to ensure their clients have sufficient resources, quality, and the service levels necessary to support critical communications during fluctuations and peaks in business activity.

The recently released ReliaTel Version 4.5.0 provides key functionality that can address the need for better Capacity Planning, providing advanced Performance and Capacity reporting for Cisco Route Groups, including bi-directional call totals, simultaneous usage and Cisco specific utilization metrics on a per Route Group basis. Using these analytics, MSPs and UCaaS providers gain powerful visibility into peak busy hours, bi-directionally, to ensure their clients have enough voice pathways to run their business.  In addition, the advanced ReliaTel 4.5.0 capacity reporting can be scheduled, and periodically provided to clients as a value-add service that can drive higher revenue for the provider, while also ensuring clients never experience resource shortages that impede and impact unified communications and collaboration.  Check out more information about the ReliaTel 4.5.0 capabilities for MSPs and UCaaS providers here.


Improving Managed Services Delivery Processes through Proactive Management

Xerox Business Services, LLC (Xerox) provides IT Outsourcing (ITO) managed services for everything from data centers to desktops to networks to voice to midrange mainframes for Fortune 500 companies. As clients increasingly turned to Xerox Services for help in implementing and managing VoIP, UC, and converged voice networks, John Truetken, Director of Network Architecture for Xerox ITO knew significant changes in their manual support model would be needed if they were to successfully expand their voice management services to meet their clients’ changing technology environments.  John identified the ReliaTel VoIP and UC Management solution from Tone Software as a technology that would move the Xerox Services voice services business forward.

After deploying ReliaTel as a proactive monitoring and management tool, John’s team expanded their visibility into their clients’ voice network performance and capacity trends, as well as any developing issues within the clients’ environment. ReliaTel provides a central management solution across the Xerox Services clients’ voice environments, with extensive alarming and notification capabilities that keep the Xerox Services team informed with essential diagnostic data needed to intercept and resolve issues before they become serious user-reported problems.

Beyond proactive monitoring, John noted additional benefits they’ve realized from the ReliaTel voice traffic reporting and capacity trending reports. Using ReliaTel, client performance and traffic data is automatically collected and stored, and client-specific traffic and capacity planning reports are automatically generated for the Xerox Services team and their clients. As a result, the team now has the key trending data needed to determine how busy client systems are, the rate of growth in voice traffic, and what the client’s future capacity needs will be.

Overall, from a Xerox Services cost perspective, John reports ReliaTel has improved their service delivery processes, and has reduced their costs of service delivery.

Read the entire Xerox ReliaTel Case Study at:  Xerox IT Outsourcing Moves Managed Services Business Forward with Reliatel

Get more info on ReliaTel for Managed Service Providers 


The Importance of Communications and Operational Continuity

As the effects of Superstorm Sandy are still being felt all over the East Coast, I can’t help but reflect on the importance of Communications especially during times of disaster. Business Continuity requires visibility, availability, reliability and redundancy to ensure the entire organization is kept well informed during emergencies.  Are remote locations healthy and available or are services potentially degrading to prevent remote employees from being productive? When the business must reprioritize functions between different geographic territories, are the communications networks successful in handling the increased workload for service quality and throughput?
Continue reading