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?
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.
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.
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 →
Do we need yet another communications platform in the seemingly crowded Enterprise Communications space? Microsoft has not only answered this question to a resounding YES but they have rapidly become a leader in the Enterprise Unified Communications (UC) space according to the latest Gartner 2012 UC Magic Quadrant. Gartner cites Microsoft as a leader in the Unified Communications space, along with Cisco, Avaya and Siemens. Among the key strengths identified by Gartner’s study on Lync are adoption rates for enterprises ranging from small to large organizations, integration with Skype, and integration with enterprise business processes and applications. Continue reading →