Many businesses have backup and disaster recovery plans in place. But more often than not, those traditional strategies aren’t enough to keep you protected from data and financial loss. An intelligent business continuity plan will help prevent catastrophic losses in the face of disruption.… Read More
How are your goals for 2018 shaping up? Is creating a more positive customer experience part of your list of things to develop? If so, you’re in line with many other organizations looking to improve the customer experience. One of the focal points for these enhancements is to reduce the burden customer experience improvement can place on an organization, without sacrificing the gains. Your contact center can help achieve this goal.
Integrated workforce automation isn’t just a catchphrase anymore. Automation is improving the way we communicate with customers and cater to their needs. This comes in the way of integrated voice recording technology and many other technological advances, giving users a boost on workforce optimization related to the contact center.
There is a lot of talk about disaster recovery, especially given the vulnerabilities related to cyberattacks. However, your contact center can go down for any reason — not just because of cybercriminal activity. Your contact center needs to be up and running all the time, regardless of what’s going on in your region (e.g., natural disasters), which is why your disaster recovery strategy has to be on point. This often includes making sure your contact center can be transferred to a geographically disparate region when emergencies happen.
Many strategies regarding the contact center will branch out into other channels, making the situation somewhat more complex. By bringing in user-friendly tools that are available to everyone from agents to administrators, you can consolidate your efforts and create a streamlined process. This is especially useful for organizations that have had issues with cluttered and confusing desktops. Seeking out solutions that provide more context and clarity will improve the communication process.
How documented and extensive are your open interfaces? This is an area that requires some flexibility so that you can tune your solutions perfectly to fit your needs. Making these changes is crucial now as there are always new tools popping up, and you need the flexibility to easily integrate functions such as automation to improve your contact center.
At Copper State Communications, we specialize in making sure our clients have the business telecommunications and IT tools they need to thrive. From voice services to wireless connectivity and colocation to managed IT solutions, we’ve got the tools you need to find success in 2018. With more than three decades of experience, you can count on our experts to deliver the value you require for all your communications needs.
New research from 451 Group indicates the market is lacking server administrators, but IT personnel remain resistant to the types of processes, such as automation and orchestration, that could help close the gap in skills. Nearly two-thirds of respondents in a survey of 525 IT and server decision makers across the globe said that recruiting for roles in both traditional servers and converged infrastructure reveals candidates that don’t have the necessary skills.
Breaking Out of a Manual Model
The gap in talent needed to administer server configuration and maintenance comes into focus in organizations that are resistant to automation, with many enterprises reluctant to break out of an IT model in which processes are done manually. The study results also reveal respondents’ failure to implement the automation and orchestration that would diminish the need for multiple server administrators in a single IT department.
Many server administrators reporting from enterprises are not familiar with the orchestration tools that could automate their server processes. Christian Perry, lead analyst at 451 Research says that in many enterprises, large IT teams are split and the IT needs of each line of business are managed in silos.
The reason for not accessing and utilizing orchestration tools may come down to automation and the need to thoroughly analyze the tasks involved, then orchestrate them into a workflow. It can be time-consuming in the beginning, and have a steep learning curve.
Drivers of the Shortage
The survey found that key drivers for the shortage in server administrators included business growth and IT organizational changes. In addition, concerns continue over the cost of long-term public cloud use, so some CIOs are investing in the preservation and even expansion of servers to support their requirements. 451 Research expects the trend to gather strength as the general cloud migration will lead to fewer server administrators in the market.
Meanwhile, enterprises should be investing in automation, which can reduce tasks and IT administration by eliminating errors and inconsistencies. DevOps is a good place to start, where an enterprise can see the benefits of a consistent and automated process and the cost and efficiency gains that come with a streamlined deployment.
Copper State Communications offers a full suite of solutions to businesses, including phone systems, cabling, voice, data, cloud, and managed services. Copper State Communications is your ideal partner, with a 99 percent customer satisfaction rate and dedicated, high-touch ongoing support. Contact us today to learn more.
When you were a lean start-up, it was easy to do everything with your small staff, with each of you wearing multiple hats and learning to do a variety of tasks. As you grow, you can remain lean through a variety of cost reduction techniques.
Identifying the right cost reduction measures may take some careful consideration. In most cases, however, one or more of these four areas will yield measurable results and give you room to invest in growth:
Outsourcing: One major area that prevents the healthy growth of small- to mid-size businesses is the desire to keep everything in-house. It seems cost-effective, it feels more secure, and it’s the way you’ve always done it. Consider this, however: when you hire out a segment of your tasks, you free yourself up to run your business and strategize about your company’s future.
Bookkeeping, payroll, and accounting are some of the first areas companies choose to outsource. After all, it takes a lot of time and effort to keep good records and track all the ways your decisions impact your finances. Also, as your business grows, you may find that hiring an accounting firm to do a few hours of work each week is much more cost effective than hiring a dedicated accountant full time.
Process improvement: Many companies get bogged down with the concept of “that’s how we’ve always done it.” Don’t fall into this trap. You should always be on the lookout for ways to streamline your processes. Otherwise, you’ll hire more staff than you need and productivity will suffer.
Automation: This goes hand-in-hand with process improvement. Whether you’re purchasing SaaS solutions or simply fixing your existing system to eliminate double entries, there are opportunities for automating business processes that result in a cost reduction. Keep these considerations in mind as you automate:
- Know your business needs before you begin shopping for a software solution. Otherwise, it’s easy to get distracted by flashy options and buy something more expensive than you need.
- Find out if you can negotiate costs. Your provider may be able to reduce your monthly bill, depending on how often you expect to use the software.
- Less may be more. For each application you add to your environment, you’re going to add complexity, too. Start with simple tools that meet your needs and then you can decide later if you need the flashy options, too.
Energy costs: This means more than turning down the thermostat in the winter and asking everyone to bring a sweater. Consider switching your sales team’s fleet to cars with better gas mileage. You can also implement the use of video conferencing or webcasts to cut down on travel that occurs solely for staff meetings.
Want to learn more about cost reduction techniques for your company? Talk with our consultants at Copper State Communications for a comprehensive consideration of the costs of your technology services and innovative ways to reduce them with our full suite of solutions.
CIOs are constantly under pressure to meet management goals for faster and more accurate delivery of services. No one wants to be left behind, and IT automation promises to be the hope for improved efficiencies and the reduction of costs.
Why not just automate everything to cover all bases? If a task occurs infrequently during the year, the investment for acquiring and managing that task wouldn’t be worth it. First on the list of priorities should be areas that can significantly reduce manual labor, improve quality, fill in the deficiencies, and simplify complex procedures.
It can be overwhelming for an IT automation team to decide where to start. The road to automation will be long and winding but the basic players – people, processes, and machines – should be given priority.
IT automation frees people from repetitious manual work and minimizes the chance of human error. This doesn’t mean, however, that human intervention will be completely eliminated in an automated environment. People still prevail over machines and in this sense, people are a priority in any IT automation initiative.
Clear and open communication among all human stakeholders right from the start of the automation process is paramount. The various teams must work hand-in-hand during the planning, transition, and implementation stages. It is worth noting that each stakeholder will have different goals in mind. For example, stockholders may want a healthier bottom line, the production team an increase in output, the quality control team zero deficiencies, and the IT department a sustainable system. By communicating and collaborating, stakeholders can put together a cohesive process that includes the perspectives of all parties involved.
Prioritizing processes for IT automation is not an easy task. The general business goal of automation focuses on efficiency and reliability without negatively impacting quality and safety. The specifics boil down to the reduction of labor-intensive, time-consuming, and repetitive tasks such as configurations and patching. It may also include frequently occurring problems such as network slowdown and poor CPU utilization.
The processes that need to be given priority will depend on the type, size, and goals of the business. In any case, the resulting automated design should be modular and scalable to allow for easy expansion or downgrading. The chosen processes for automation should also help in increasing output, capacity, and accuracy, and shorten the time needed to complete tasks.
Human beings are better at non-mechanical tasks, but machines can more accurately perform volumes of iterative and boring mechanical steps over and over again where humans would be prone to make mistakes. For example, people sitting for hours in front of multiple computer terminals staring at thousands of statistics watching for any abnormality can get physically and mentally exhausted, which can affect the quality of their work.
Machines form part of the overall IT infrastructure. Developing standard interfaces among machines within the infrastructure can create an ideal framework that is flexible and collaborative so that different groups are interconnected, share information, and work in harmony for success.
An IT automation project can be daunting, especially when faced with a cluttered framework, legacy systems, heterogeneous teams, and different processes. With adequate planning, prioritization, integration, and standardization, automation should be headed for smooth implementation. To learn more about how we can help with your IT automation, contact us at Copper State Communications today.
Companies are feeling the pinch of their present networking resources. While private wide area network (WAN) technologies such as Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) help make networks more responsive and less complex, they are associated with expensive contracts and long provisioning times. Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) is another solution that is less costly than MPLS, but its performance can fluctuate depending on location, time of day, or the choice of service provider.
Industry experts believe that Software-Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) technology is a less expensive choice that gives the same level of control, reliability, and performance that MPLS provides. One area of a company’s networking architecture that is ripe for SD-WAN adoption is the WAN. A software-defined network (SDN) can enable businesses to reap the benefits of reduced costs and the ability to optimize the WAN in a cloud environment through virtualization.
Automatic and Fast Provisioning
Instead of complicated routing, business policies are automatically converted into WAN configuration and harmonized on network devices in powerful, yet simple, traffic patterns. This automated process minimizes the need for manual intervention. The system is also capable of detecting any changes in network topology, automatically updating it if necessary to optimize future orchestration.
Network Resources Can Be Reallocated in Real Time
Traffic bottlenecks happen around network congestion points. A common consequence of network congestion is degraded application performance. In a traditional WAN environment, the implementation of changes or updates needs to be accomplished in milliseconds to prevent disruption. This function is done automatically in an SD-WAN environment, so that even end users are unaware of the impact on their application usage.
Smart Pathway Control
This benefit of SD-WAN provides intelligent path control by steering traffic based on application. This capability can be centrally controlled while feeding it out to all SD-WAN devices across the network. Policies can be based on a number of variables, such as application profiles, IP addresses, time of day, port number, or quality of service (QoS) markings.
Conventional WAN solutions manage security through multiple appliances at individual branch offices. This means different filtering and anti-malware services at different locations. An SD-WAN solution can integrate all these functions at one control point while remotely providing full security for every branch and device located at different places and time zones.
Dynamic Bandwidth Allocation
Bandwidth allocation is managed on-demand to meet the sudden surge or abrupt fall of application bandwidth requirements. For example, when a user initiates a voice session and later adds video that requires more bandwidth, the SD-WAN dynamically adjusts the bandwidth allocation to ensure that QoS is not diminished.
CIOs, IT managers, and other IT stewards are provided a convenient tool to watch over WAN performance, especially for crucial business applications and attempts to breach security. Software-defined WAN technology provides end-to-end monitoring, application statistics, and traffic flow analytics that are critical for strategic decision making and don’t break the bank.
SD-WAN is gaining interest among businesses that seek alternatives to investing in expensive computer infrastructure and enterprise applications. The right SD-WAN solution is one that contributes to successful cloud migration. It gives enterprises the guarantee to maximize application performance and improve security at a fraction of traditional WAN cost.
If you’re ready to embrace SD-WAN, contact us at Copper State Communications for a no obligation consultation session.
Most businesses are aware of the ways in which Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) can help save money. The ability to reduce complexity and costs are the most common reasons for adopting “voice in the cloud,” but they aren’t the only benefits offered by this powerful telecommunications technology.
Here are five additional VoIP advantages.
VoIP and business continuity go hand in hand. The voice system is located in the cloud so a business can continue its communications even in the event of a crisis. It’s central to Disaster Recovery plans and ensures business as usual.
VoIP has a number of features that simplify operations and streamline the path of calls to the desired destinations without hassle. Calls can be sent directly to remote employees’ mobile devices, enhancing the quality of customer service and significantly improving response time.
Most businesses aim to grow and expand. But if a business is using obsolete technology, its telecommunications may be limited. With VoIP, a company can scale up or down as needed, with very little investment. As long as enough Internet bandwidth is available, VoIP has the flexibility to support companies of any size. And, whether a company is a startup or a major enterprise, there are packages available to meet its unique requirements.
Configuring the VoIP system is as easy as logging on to a web portal and toggling switches or updating settings. Management can be done remotely, and hosting may be provided by the vendor or performed by the company. In either case, managing communications is simple and efficient. Changes can be made rapidly, without waiting for an expensive technician to visit the facility.
Use Rich Media
Phone calling is only one piece of the telecommunications puzzle. Employees communicate with customers and one another through instant messaging, text, video and phone conferencing, and more. VoIP can handle these enhanced services seamlessly and offer better convenience and customer satisfaction.
VoIP systems offer a myriad of benefits, financial and otherwise. A cloud-based voice system makes it easy to improve operations, satisfy customers, increase revenue, boost employee productivity, and much, much more.