Category Archives: Your Single Source Solution

Telecom Broker Considerations

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Telecom Broker

Businesses have more options than ever when it comes to choosing a Telecom Broker.  Here are some things to consider when making a decision that can achieve optimal performance and best value for your situation.

Experience:

  • How many years of experience does your Telecom Broker have working withTelecom Broker Service customers and suppliers?
  • With all the rapid changes in Telecom, how does your Telecom Broker stay informed with the latest technology and options available?
  • If your business has multiple locations or international offices, does your Telecom Broker have the resources and experience in working with multi-site companies?

Right Provider – Right Solution – Right Price

  • Can your Telecom Broker offer you real time price comparisons between service providers to make sure you are getting the best price?
  • Is your Telecom Broker able to provide you with bids from multiple vendors that include wholesale options?
  • Does your Telecom Broker have the experience to review telecom service contracts and identify any services that may need changing?

Value

  • Will your Telecom Broker manage telecom installs, and do they have a support or project manager to assist?
  • What type of resources are available from your Telecom Broker to assist your business when a telecom outage happens?
  • As the market place changes, will your Telecom Broker be proactive in updating you of the latest telecom mergers, changes and acquisitions that may affect your business?

There are a lot of Telecom Brokers out there competing for your business. By keeping these considerations in mind, you can be assured that you will be going into your broker selection process with the right questions that will assure you make the right choice.

 

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

Moving Your Business

Telecom Considerations Before Moving Your Business

Moving your business to a new location (or opening a new location) can be an exciting experience. Before you make that final commitment, it is important to consider how your telecom services may be impacted. Many leases are signed without realizing the effects this can have on their telecom spend, and the services they will need to support their business.

Before you sign the lease, consider the following:

  • Current internet bandwidth:  Is your current Internet service supporting usage? Before you move, determine your current and future telecom needs.
  • Carrier availability:  Your existing or preferred carrier, service and product of choice may not be available at your new location. We can provide this information quickly to help you make an educated decision.
  • Determine Pricing:  Depending on who the underlying carrier is, costs will vary. A great price or the same price isn’t always guaranteed when moving. Let us assess to provide an accurate cost summary.Moving Your Business
  • Termination and Change Fees:  Not all carriers will move your services without charging ETF’s (early termination fees). Investigating other carriers servicing the area may result in better service at a lower price, negating these costs.
  • Construction Costs:  A construction effort may be required to get the contracted services to your office incurring additional costs, even in areas where services are already available. Make sure you know going in what that could look like.
  • Timeframe: Timeframes to install service can go past 120 days. Make sure you are looking at your options well in advance.
  • Cutover:  Tight planning and coordination with your IT Department, Service Providers and Building managers is critical to a smooth cutover to the new location. Make sure the new systems are thoroughly tested before you go “Live” in the new location. Resolving issues after you go live is exponentially more costly and impactful that before you are relying on them.
  • Disconnects:  Don’t forget to cancel your services and return any leased hardware after your new services are up and running. We can guide you on how to do so.

If you are considering moving, Teledata Select, can provide you with the proper paperwork and help coordinate your move. Reach out to me and let’s weigh your options.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system

Telecom Solution

Poking Around Your Telecom Closet

If you have started to rethink your company’s telecom solution, you probably already know that there are a lot of telecom solutions to consider. All claiming to offer better, more reliable service at a lower cost than what you have now. But what do you really need and who can best provide it? We have been in the telecom industry for over 15 years and have seen a lot of cool stuff come and a lot of not as cool as advertised stuff go.

No company is the same but we have learned that there are some basic commonalities that should be considered when considering a telecom upgrade.

The first question to ask is how do you communicate with your customers, suppliers and employees? Go take a look at your data closet to see all the equipment you have supporting your telecom capabilities. You might even see some stuff that you don’t even know what it does.

Telecom ClosetDo you still have landline telephone services? Sending/receiving faxes? What are your monthly telephone costs? How much internet traffic are you using? Are you hosting a website? Do you use any communication services such as teleconferencing, chat and VoIP.

Understanding where you are at and where you want to be is the first step in getting the right telecom services you need.  With this knowledge, you can take the first step in figuring how much internet bandwidth is available to your work site(s) to meet the need. Are the providers cost effective and reliable?  You should also find out where you are at in your telecom contract. You might be at a point where you can renegotiate your internet costs.

A close second to bandwidth are what telecom tools and services do you need and which are available to support your location(s). This is where understanding your business needs really comes in. What services are out there that can support your business plans now and into the future? Do you need to keep services in house or should you subscribe to services in the cloud at a lower price? Services such as VoIP, On-Line backups, contact centers in the cloud and so many more.

We understand that there are a lot of decisions to make along the road to modernizing and simplifying your telecommunications decisions. The first step down this path is understanding where you are today and moving in the direction of where you want to be.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

Don MillerDon Miller is a PMP certified Project Manager located in Charlotte, NC. He has come to Teledata Select via Seattle, New York and Washington DC. His experience running small to multi-million dollar projects in the Banking, Software, Telecommunications and Insurance Industries across the US has given him a wide range of business and technical experience.

Customer Service Team

Questions To Ask When Reviewing A Cloud Based Contact Center Solution

In a previous blog article, we stated that it might be a good time to consider moving your Contact Center to the Cloud. This post is going a step further and provide you with a few questions to ask prospective contact center cloud suppliers.

  1. Unified Platform
    Does their contact center solution manage the end-to-end user experience?
    Does it consolidate your infrastructure and connectivity into one.
  2. MultiChannel/Omnichannel
    What communication methods are supported and are they integrated?
    How easily can their system make changes to the call routing setup?
  3. Scalability and Reliability
    Does their platform have a published uptime guarantee?
    What is the fail over and redundancy features, any options for SD-WAN?
  4. Cloud Expertise
    Is their solution 100% cloud-focused?
    How long have they been in business?
  5. Support
    How much experience does their support team have in implementation and best practices?  Do they come on site to train my users on the system?
  6. Maturity
    How many companies have adopted their solution and who are they?
    Can they provide references?
  7. Scalability
    How many agents can you support across all customers?
    How many interactions are supported at a time?

We hope these questions will help you move in the right direction as you decide if a cloud contact center is for you.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides voice, data, mobile and cloud business solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact the TeleData Select team at 404-257-1502 or CONTACT US  for via email for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of upgrading to a new cloud based contact center.

Cost Cutting Sign

Cost Containment Can Lower Your Telecom Expenses

For too long, we have watched companies scale back critical segments of their businesses.   From employee head counts and marketing budgets to mission critical customer service functions, all have been impacted.   However, as the economy continues to improve, we are seeing more and more companies starting to move back into growth mode. They are reviewing their telecom services as they relate to security, compliance, internet speeds, VoIP phone systems and more. 

 The smart ones are looking at their services with an eye for value and quality. Which ones are worth their cost and which ones are wasting money. They are wise to look for ways to reduce your operating costs, especially costs that are not advancing your business goals.

A good place to start looking for wasted money, is your telecom bill. Let’s face it:  phone and telecom bills are loaded with carrier cost recover fees and no-published fees like FCC, USLC, E911, FLSC charges and who knows what else.  Did you ever wonder what all these fees are for?  Some other items to watch out for are automatic renewals.  

Additionally, if your business has multiple locations with numerous phone lines, faxes, modems, fire and security alarm lines, you may no longer know what exactly you are getting billed for. You might even be able to just cancel some non-necessary telecom lines to reduce your overall telecom costs. 

Your first step to saving money is to perform a Cost Containment Audit. The audit will review all of your telecom bills, looking for overcharges and unused services to uncover wasted dollars. You owe it to your company’s bottom line to look at all expenses. 

Teledata Select offers a complimentary Cost Containment Audit of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses.

Bill Consolidation

Bill Consolidation Makes It Look Easy

As explained in a previous blog, there are a lot of benefits to using an Aggregator. A benefit worth delving deeper into is Telecom Bill Consolidation.

Instead of receiving a bill for each service you have contracted, consolidation combines them into one bill reflecting all of your telecom services. The goal is to receive as few bills as possible.

Having fewer bills to pay is just the beginning of billing consolidation benefits. Additionally you get:

  • Easier tracking of the services you have contracted. This really shines when you are managing multiple locations.
  • Lower administration costs. Receiving, Verifying and paying your accounts payable canBill Consolidation be a full time job, especially as your business grows. The accounting industry rule of thumb is that it costs $11 to process each bill.
  • Less time processing and more time analyzing. Your bills reflect the costs of doing business. Making sure you are not paying for what you don’t need is a critical and on-going effort.

There are two types of Bill Consolidation solutions. Aggregators lease circuits from the big network companies like ATT, Verizon and Sprint. They then add services and features to support the everchanging technology needs of today’s businesses. By bundling everything together, they can generate one simplified bill.

The other option is a consolidation service. These companies have set up relationships with service providers to receive your bills where they are combined and forwarded on to you in a simplified easy to read layout. 

Every company is different in how they meet their telecom needs and how they are paid for. You’ll need to review all of your options against what you need. Then, compare the related costs and benefits of each. There is a lot of knowledge and experience needed to get the right services at the lowest price. A Telecom Broker specializes in all of these tasks and can save a lot of time and money over doing it yourself.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

Don MillerDon Miller is a PMP certified Project Manager located in Charlotte, NC. He has come to Teledata Select via Seattle, New York and Washington DC. His experience running small to multi-million dollar projects in the Banking, Software, Telecommunications and Insurance Industries across the US has given him a wide range of business and technical experience.

 

Telecom Broker

Is 2018 your year to use a Telecom Broker?

From faster bandwidth to more useful technology, there are many sources for the telecom services your company needs to succeed.

One of them is via a Telecom Aggregator; Granite, Birch and Fusion are some of the names of companies that lease bandwidth. They then bundle this bandwidth with telecom services such as VoIP, Cloud Services, video Conferencing, etc. A result is that there is a lot of competition for your telecom budget dollars.

This is where a Telecom Broker comes in. A telecom broker represents a company in their search for the right services at the highest quality for the lowest price possible. They gather your requirements and meet with all the aggregators that can meet them. They collect all the bids and make a recommendation based on their knowledge of the company, the industry and the market. that we are experts at simplifying your telecom solutions so you can focus on your business. You don’t have to find and meet with Service providers, review their proposals and compare them by doing a cost/value analysis. You don’t have to keep up with the latest technologies with an eye for how they provide value to you. Teledata Select does all of that leg work for you.

A benefit of using a Telecom Broker is that our goal is to simplify your telecom solutions so you can focus on your business. You don’t have to find and meet with Service providers, review their proposals and compare them by doing a cost/value analysis. You don’t have to keep up with the latest technologies with an eye for how they provide value to you. Teledata Select does all of that leg work for you.

Once a service is agreed upon. Teledata Select manages the full install and turn up. We’ll get you and your staff the training you’ll need to make the most of your new technology.

We’re are also just a phone call away in case you need help with a user questions, service issues and even billing questions. In fact, using an aggregator simplifies your billing because you’ll only get one bill for all the services you use.

In closing, as an experienced Telecom Broker, We use our knowledge and experience of the industry to make sure that the telecom solution you select provides the best possible service at the lowest possible price.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

Don MillerDon Miller is a PMP certified Project Manager located in Greenville, SC. He has come to Teledata Select via Seattle, New York and Washington DC. His experience running small to multi-million dollar projects in the Banking, Software, Telecommunications and Insurance Industries across the US has given him a wide range of business experience.

 

Internet Service Providers

New Year Resolutions for your Customer Service?

The New Year Celebrations have come and gone and the holiday decorations stored away for another year, it’s time to get on with business in 2018. Now is as good a time as any to sit down with your employees and staff to refocus their efforts to match up with your company’s charter.

I am not talking about just hanging a freshened up charter statement on the wall. This is about looking through the proverbial suggestion box and really reading the ideas with a view of how they match up with your company’s goals. Meet with the staff who are working your front lines and listen to what they are saying; the good, the bad and the ugly. Maybe answer a few customer service calls yourself.Customer Service Team

It is important to remember that call quality reflects on your company. If you are using VoIP, does it sound like your call center is halfway across the globe? Are voice or video calls choppy and garbled? If so, it might be time to upgrade your internet connection. Maybe there is better high speed internet services available to your locations.

Get to know your customers and how they are interacting with you. Are there any services and tools that can help you support your customers. The buzzword of the day is Omni-Channel Marketing. This allows customers to get in touch with you by whatever electronic means they have available to them. Consider things that will make your employees’ jobs easier? Find out how they feel about the tools they now have. What’s working, what’s wasting their time?

Are there any new tools or services out there that you can add to your sales offering that will be a demonstrable value-add for your customers? For example, Nexmo is a company that provides software to enable chat with your customer service team within your website. Just a warning, weigh the benefits of offering a useful product versus the risk that it is not fully baked. Do your research.

Look at what your competition is doing. It might be time to make sure your marketing strategy highlights why you are the better choice. Find out from your sales people what they are seeing out in the market by way of competition, customer needs and product trends.

Where is your company’s data stored? Is it stored securely and is it backed up? Check into backup services providers that can save your data off site. Microsoft Skydrive, Amazon Web Services and Google Drive are three big name data backup providers. If you already have a service, it’s always best to test that you can get the data back.

No one can really predict what 2018 will bring. If you keep your eyes and ears open to what is going on around you, the opportunities that present themselves will never be too far out of reach.

Happy New Year!!!

 

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

Don MillerDon Miller is a PMP certified Project Manager located in Greenville, SC. He has come to Teledata Select via Seattle, New York and Washington DC. His experience running small to multi-million dollar projects in the Banking, Software, Telecommunications and Insurance Industries across the US has given him a wide range of business experience.

Handshake

The Benefits of a Telecom Aggregator

The telecom industry changes rapidly, in both the technology available and the costs to get and use it. It is hard for a small business to stay competitive if it is not keeping up with the technology available to it. That is where a Telecom Aggregator comes in.

Broker HandsTelecom Aggregators have established agreements with the local telecom service providers to resell their services. Typically, Aggregators can offer these services at a discount.

Aggregators are the single point of contact for all the services that they have resold. This allows for a simpler customer service experience when questions arise or services need to be changed.

The benefit becomes most apparent when a company with multiple locations gets bills and communication from multiple service providers.
Some of the benefits that Telecom Aggregators can provide are:

  • A single source for access to the best rates and service offerings for Data, Voice T1, PRI, POTS (Plain Old Telephone Lines), MPLS, Private line and wireless.
  • Provides cost saving alternatives for 800 inbound and International long distance.
  • Takes responsibility for verifying that bills are accurate and meet contractual obligations.
  • Delivers a comprehensive portfolio of service solutions to streamline costs.
  • Assembles, manages and seamlessly integrates multiple network providers into a single customer solution.
  • Provides carrier portfolio and solution expertise to address clients evolving growth initiatives.
  • Customizes telecom expense reporting for multi-locations.
  • Allows invoices to be paid by parent or individual sub-location.
  • Provides on One call for support and trouble resolution.
  • Improves overall support and simplify the customer experience.

In short, Telecom Aggregators shoulder the burden of negotiating with the service providers before the sale, managing the service installation(s) and handling customer service interactions after the sale. A good Telecom Aggregator provides a dedicated team that can handle any and all issues for all voice, data and cloud services.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

 

SD-WAN Logo

What are SD-WAN Benefits

The number of implementations of SD-WAN is growing by leaps and bounds. According to Gartner, spending on SD-WAN products will rise from the $129 million spent in 2016 to $1.24 billion in 2020. It is really only recently that it has crossed over into a widely accepted solution for WAN management, especially in the small and medium sized business market. We are getting a lot of questions about so I thought I would provide a non technical overview of what it is and why you might want it.

Before we get too far into the benefits, let’s define SD-WAN. Software-Defined WAN is a technology that distributes network traffic across traffic between the main office, branch/home offices and data center sites. It uses networking concepts that have been used to manage Datacenter Traffic to automatically determine the most effective way to route the traffic across Wide Area Networks.

SD-WAN Map

 

The main goal of SD-WAN technology is to deliver a secure reliable WAN connection with as much software-based technology as possible. This can be used to deliver basic WAN connectivity, or it can be used for premium business services such as VPN, WAN optimization, and applications delivery control.

I see four benefits to why a customer might want to implement SD WAN

  1. Lower cost for more bandwidth – If you have an MPLS implementation, you know that you are locked into a single provider for all of your endpoints that have top speed limits. On the other hand, SD-WAN is provider agnostic. It allows for multiple cheaper broadband connections of whatever type is available. The multiple conenctions can be blended to provide higher bandwidth.
  2. Provide backup internet connection in the event the primary internet circuit does down – The World’s Busiest Airport, Hartsfield Jackson, had a major power outage effecting thousands of people during the busiest travel time of the year. The first thing that I thought of was where was their backup power? Didn’t they have emergency generators and power coming from two sources.
    By implementing an SD WAN solution – this would provide an alternative pathway to keep their internet service working in the event of an outage. However, it is important to note that you should consider two diverse carrier or telecom provider pathways. Best practices for reliable uptime state that there should be at least 2 separate internet connections from different providers over separate pathways.
  1. Reduce costs by adding a backup disaster option – Not all that long ago, true QoS (Quality of service) for Voice over Internet telephone service, Telecom providers would recommend using a Managed Network to Network circuit called MPLS to connect your VoIP voice services. However, with the internet getting better and latency being reduced, many carriers are now OK with almost true QoS by using SD-WAN. By using two internet service providers plugged into an SD-WAN device, the voice and data packets are carried over the carrier with the least latency. Kind of like driving down the interstate highway using switching lanes to the least congested lane. By canceling out the managed circuit from a VoIP provider, you could potentially offset the cost of a second internet circuit and implement SD-WAN while still providing QoS.
  1. Peace of mind – Most of us would be OK if we lost our phone service for a while, but not so happy about losing an internet connection. I remember not so long ago, it was worth it to pay the $20.00 a month at a Starbucks to use their internet service. The same with airports and hotels. Luckily, those days are gone but our need to be on a good internet is greater than ever. A redundant internet connection is a core benefit for SD-WAN and removes the uncertainty of the impact of a single provider’s internet service going out.

Although a newer technology, SD-WAN has been living up to its billing as a tool that can provide greater business capabilities at a lower cost. Reviewing how SD-WAN benefits can support your business is worth your time.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

 

baby NY and Father Time

Looking back on Technology

While walking the aisles of Best Buy the other day, I got to thinking about how far technology has come in my life time. It is said that the cell phone in your pocket has 1000’s of times more computing power than the computer that got the Apollo 11 to the moon and back. I thought it would be fun to see how much 2017 technology used by us consumers has changed over the years.  

Computers:

Dual Floppy Disk Drives were how we shared information before the internet and computer viruses. At 1.44 megabytes, they wouldn’t come close to being able to store a single picture from your phone, a single MP3 song or the average Kindle Book.

Old Desktop PC        Tablet Computer

Phones:

When a phone was just a phone but one of the coolest things you thought you would ever see.

Old Brick Phone               iPhone X    

Cable TV:

Unless you count a younger sibling that you could order around, the first cable box didn’t have a remote and needed a clear channel 2 or 3 to work on.

Old Cable Box       Cable Channel Lineup Screen             

Video Rental:

Remember “Be Kind, Rewind”?

Blockbuster Sign    Netflix Home Screen

Video Gaming:

It would be an interesting test to see how long the original game of pong would keep a gamer’s attention today…..

    Modern Gamer Setup 

Watches:

Its amazing how a smart watch went from Nerd to Hip!

Calculator Watch    Smart Watch        

 

Sure, I still don’t have flying car in my garage but we definitely have come a long way in a very short time. The really impressive thing about these advancements is that with all of these giant step advancements, the prices continues to fall making them available to wider and wider audiences. This pushes demand for more and more technology that makes people’s lives better and look forward to using.

We look forward to updating this post next year to see how the photos above will change and what photos we use that we can’t even imagine now. Have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2018.

 

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via This Link to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John HaganJohn Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

Crowded Office

Getting To Simple, Aggregating your Telecom Service.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with the owners of companies with multiple locations. They were looking for a way to consolidate all of their telecom bills into one easy to manage invoice. By the end of the discussion, I realized that they were really looking for a simpler way to manage their Telecom services; Consolidation of multiple invoices, reduce overall cost, receive better service and support when ordering or downsizing telecom services and have just one company to call that can handle all their needs.

Studies have shown that over 60% of companies with multiple locations are unaware of their exact communication cost. The bills can vary in format depending on vendor and location. Billing ConsolidationSome can contain hundreds of pages. To add further complexity, monthly invoices can have different rates plans, contract terms and details of charges that are very difficult to review.

If it gets done at all, reviewing and insuring that telecom bills are correct is a time consuming task for a company’s IT and Accounts Payable teams.

So what’s the answer? More and more companies are hiring an aggregator service to manage their telecom vendors. An aggregator becomes the single face to a customer to all of their telecom suppliers. They combine invoices, insure their accuracy and manage the resolution of any discrepancy. They’ll manage any service changes that the company has requested.

There are many Aggregating services out there. Before selecting one, ask the following questions:

  1. Can I have one bill for all of my telecom services?
  2. Is your service compatible with my accounting software?
  3. How many telecom carriers can you consolidate onto one invoice?
  4. Do you have a dedicated project manager or one point of contact?
  5. Which vendors do you have experience with and how long have you been in business?
  6. Can you absorb my existing contracts or I do not have to pay early termination for conversion?
  7. Do you have an easy to use invoice and can you show me an example?
  8. When I have an issue or need support, who do I call?

In conclusion, the right aggregator is a good solution for many telecom users, be they companies with multiple locations or even a single location with multiple vendors. The important thing is hiring the right aggregator.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

 

Austin Mural

We are at the Channel Partners Evolution Conference

Channel Partners Evolution Logo

Hello from the Great State of Texas, Austin in particular. We are here for the 2017 Channel Partners Evolution Conference. The theme this year is about how solution providers must evolve to meet the changing needs of the end customers. There will be presentations of the latest technology offerings, innovative business strategies, speakers from the industry and more. Agents, VARs, MSPs, integrators and consultants will converge to meet vendors with state-of-the-art services and partner programs, network with peers and take in a new slate of educational programming.

It will be a busy couple of days but don’t doubt that we won’t be taking in some of that famous Texas BBQ that we have been hearing so much about.

Follow us on twitter as we update you on the comings and goings.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

TEM Image

Saving Money Using Telecom Expense Management

The goal of Telecom Expense Management’s (TEM) is to ensure that you are getting the best value for your telecom solution and your billing is accurate. A good TEM starts byCost Graph building an accurate real time IT inventory, gathering all of your telecom bills and looking for overcharges through a telecom audit. The audit includes searching for contract violations, optimizing your telecom environment to save money, and negotiating with your telecom vendors to get a better deal.

Here are three different takes on how to estimate the ROI on TEM ROI:

  1. The AOTMP group is a global leader in providing telecom management best practices and industry standards for organizations and the vendors who support them. Their research shows on average, fixed TEM programs generate 7.7% in annual savings and mobile programs achieve 9.4%.
  2. Blue Hill Research is an independent research and advisory services group specializing in the enterprise technology market. They state that “Successful Telecom Lifecycle Managers can reduce direct communications costs by 15% or more while simultaneously reducing in-house labor to process invoices.”
  3. The Technology Expense Management Industry Association (TEMIA) reports that initial hard-dollar savings can be as high as 15%, while cost avoidance against future spend can drive that number upwards of 30%.

Telecom Expense Management ROI

According to TEMIA, companies wanting to track ROI and build a business case for a TEM program should address changes across four main categories:

  1. Telecom Savings – resulting from fixing billing errors, reducing spend
  2. Labor Efficiencies – reallocating resources to higher IT functions in light of automation, consolidation and help desk resources
  3. Indirect Savings – comes from improved policies, workflows, and decision making
  4. Security Compliance – enhancements and increased adherence to mobile policies resulting in decreased risks and costs associated with security breach

All the evidence points to that by implementing a Telecom Expense Management process. You are most likely spending more than they should on your Communication Expenses.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

Don MillerDon Miller is a PMP certified Project Manager located in Greenville, SC. He has come to Teledata Select via Seattle, New York and Washington DC. His experience running small to multi-million dollar projects in the Banking, Software, Telecommunications and Insurance Industries across the US has given him a wide range of business experience.

Getting to Know The Birch Fusion Merger

NEW YORK, NY — August 28, 2017 — Fusion (NASDAQ: FSNN), a leading cloud services provider, announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Cloud and Business Services customers, operations and infrastructure of privately-held Birch Communications, which represents the majority of Birch’s current revenues. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2017, subject to customary approvals and closing conditions.

Another Telecom Services Merger was announced last week. This time, it is two major Birch Logoplayers in the Cloud Services space. If you are a current or prospective customer of either, should you be concerned?

At the moment, No. It is still early. Usually, at this stage in a merger, there aren’t even any plans in place to merge operations. Many times, the merging companies continue to run as separate entities long after the merger completes. But that doesn’t mean, you shouldn’t start paying attention.

Some things to ask about are if there will be changes to Customer Service, availableFusion Logo features, pricing and/or contracts. Have you made any contacts with employees that may not be there when the merger is done? That is a lot of information to seek out. This would be a good point for you to contact your Telecom Broker. They should be tracking the merger effort and subsequent impacts to the customer base and have the latest news outside of what the PR Department puts out.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

Don MillerDon Miller is a PMP certified Project Manager located in Greenville, SC. He has come to Teledata Select via Seattle, New York and Washington DC. His experience running small to multi-million dollar projects in the Banking, Software, Telecommunications and Insurance Industries across the US has given him a wide range of business experience.

Broker Hands

9 Top Reasons To Use A Telecom Broker

A Telecom Broker is a person that acts as an agent to a Business, Non-Profit or Government Entity that is looking to change, upgrade or streamline their telecommunications service(s). The following nine items describe what a Telecom Broker can do for you.

  1. Multiple Carrier Options: There are numerous telecom providers out there and they all want your business, whether they deserve it or not. A good Telecom Broker will learn how your business uses telecommunications and represent you to all the vendors that they know can meet your needs. You get to deal with just the broker rather all of the sales people from all the companies that may or may not be able to meet your needs. A good broker will have contacts with many carriers and vendors which means he or she can quickly acquire quotes and information without you having to request it yourself.
  2. More Expertise: A typical telecommunications company can have as much as 50% sales staff turnover each year and end up hiring inexperienced sales people to fill positions. Telecom Brokers have had years of experience working with various telecom companies, they understand technology and are able to compare company A with company B.
  3. Satisfaction: Telecom Brokers long term success is dependent on the ongoing satisfaction of their customers. Each month, Telecom Brokers get paid a small (residual) commission to manage the telecommunication service of their customers. This ensures that Telecom Brokers/Consultants continue to provide clients with exceptional customer service for years.
  4. Vendor Access: The Telecom Broker works with the vendors everyday and has the contacts and back channel communication lines that are built over years of working with them. This knowledge can speed
  5. Industry Knowledge: Some telecom providers provide great pricing, but they take forever to install the services, others have poor billing or are unorganized. Good Telecom Brokers can explain the good and bad of each carrier and what to expect.
  6. No Sales Quotas: Many telecom providers put their sales people under unrealistic sales quotas and end up with pushy unprofessional sales staff and high turnover. Telecom Brokers have a vested interest in a customer’s long term success, helping customers make informed educated decisions without the need of sales quotas.
  7. Single Point of Contact: After the contract is signed, the real work begins; site visits, running cabling, hardware installs, training and vendor coordination all take time, effort and company resources. A good broker will shoulder the overall project management, escalate, troubleshoot or get resolutions resolved much faster than if you were dealing directly with a telecom provider
  8. Consolidation: Many companies with multiple locations and difference providers get multiple bills and need help consolidating services. Good Telecom Brokers understand “Telecom Aggregation” consolidating multiple services on one bill and providing a “one stop shopping” model that saves time and money.
  9. Pricing and Support: In some cases Telecom Brokers have access to better rates than their customers might get by going directly to the telecom company. In fact, many Telecom companies, in an effort to reduce costs, have reduced their sales staffs and only work with “indirect” or Telecom Brokers.

In short, a Broker uses their knowledge and experience of the industry to make sure that the telecom solution selected provides the best possible service at the lowest possible price.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas. His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses. Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services. The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

Project Task Check List

Managing your Telecom changes

The decision to switch your Telecom Provider or modify your existing telecom solution is a big one. It will impact your employees and your customers, not to mention your business. Your Telecom Consultant should insure that your install results in a positive impact.

Teledata Select’s executive team has taken their 40+ years of combined Telecom experience and built a repeatable process to deliver Telecom solutions that meet both a customer’s needs and expectations.

Regardless of the size or complexity of your company, our process sticks to a tried and true framework that consistently provides successful results. Teledata Select’s process starts by understanding what Telecom services you currently have and how you use them. We also take the time to understand your growth plans so that we can create a design that grows rather than needs to be replaced.

We submit the design to the Telecom Service Providers for quote and discuss the resulting proposals with our customer. This is where we weigh their delivery timeframe, service quality and after sale support reputation against the proposal costs and make unbiased recommendations on whom to go with.

Once a decision is made, Teledata Select will remain the single point of contact during the solution implementation process. We’ll focus on having a smooth installation and turn-up and work with the various vendors to make sure your users get the appropriate training and support.

After Go-Live, Teledata Select will continue to be your single Point Of Contact to get vendor support and resolve any issues with your Telecom Solution.

This is just a high level view of our Methodology. There are a lot of details behind the curtains but we wanted to give you some insight on the process that we follow when you come to us for help with your Telecom needs.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call us at 404-257-1502 to discuss your current Telecom Service Solution and what you would like to get out of it. Or send us a note via  Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

Don Miller is a PMP certified Project Manager located in Greenville, SC. He has come to Teledata Select via Seattle, New York and Washington DC. His experience running small to multi-million dollar projects in the Banking, Software, Telecommunications and Insurance Industries across the US has given him a wide range of business experience.

 

Telecom Bill Image

Getting to Know Your Telecom Bill

Teledata Select is expert in reviewing business telecom expenses with an eye for finding inefficiencies, errors and opportunities for cost savings. After all these years of reviewing phone bills, we still shake our head in bemusement at the myriad of fees, taxes and service charges that hide in plain site on a phone bill. By hiding in plain sight, I mean all of those cryptic charges that add up to a big chunk of your bill every month.

For this blog entry, I wanted to take some time to explain what some of these charges are.

There is no standard bill format among the Service Providers. But they all contain federal, state and local regulatory taxes and fees that are  passed along to the consumer.  Additionally there are Telco imposed fees and surcharges that may or may not be passed on to the customer. The latter depends on how your contract is written.

  • A Federal Excise Tax, currently at 3 percent, is charged on your telephone local service charges.
  • Depending on where you live, taxes may be imposed by state, local, and municipal governments on your phone service.
  • Emergency 911 Access is a fee imposed to help pay for the technology needed to help local governments pay for emergency services such as fire and rescue.
  • Local telephone companies are allowed to bill customers for a portion of what it costs to provide access to their local networks. These charges are not a government charge or tax. The maximum allowable access charges per telephone line are set by the FCC, but local telephone companies are free to charge less, or even nothing at all.
  • Access charges for additional lines at the same residence may be higher than charges for the primary line. These charges may be described on your bill as “Federal Access Charge,” “Customer or Subscriber Line Charge,” “Interstate Access Charge,” or the like. State public service commissions regulate access charges for intrastate (within a state) calls. However, the fee is regulated and capped by the FCC. It is not a tax or a fee charged by the government. The money received from the subscriber line charge goes directly to local telephone companies.
  • All telecommunications service providers must contribute to the “Federal Universal Service Fund”, which helps people in rural and high-cost areas, and income-eligible consumers, get access to telecommunications services at reasonable rates. The FCC does not require this charge to be passed on to you, but service providers are allowed to do so.  These charges usually appear as a percentage of your phone bill.
  • A “Federal Universal Service Fee” line item may appear on your telephone bill when your service provider chooses to recover their USF contributions from the customer. Companies cannot collect an amount that exceeds the percentage of their own contributions to the USF.
  • Local Number Portability– For keeping your current local telephone numbers when switching from one service provider to another at the same location. Fees may vary by company; some may not charge any fees. These fees are not taxes.
  • Telecommunications Relay Service– To help pay for relay services that transmit and translate calls for people with hearing or speech disabilities.

These are the most common line items you’ll find on your bill. We would love to know if you are seeing additional fees on your bill.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to identify errors and find opportunities for savings, better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling. Call me at 404-257-1502 to discuss the SLA’s you have with your service provider. Or send us a note via  Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultant located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas.  His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses.  Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services.  The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

SLA’s and You

Recently, I have heard from several customers asking about the SLA’s (Service Level Agreement) available with Business Class Coax Internet services.  I thought that if a few people were asking, many more are probably at least wondering. This week’s post is an overview of SLA’s and how they affect your business.

Let’s start by defining what a Service Level Agreement is.  Wikipedia’s definition is as good as any that I have seen….”an official commitment that prevails between a service provider and a client. Particular aspects of the service – quality, availability, responsibilities – are  agreed between the service provider and the service user”. Internet Service Providers and Telcos will commonly include SLAs within the terms of their business level contracts with customers in order to define the level(s) of service being sold in plain language terms. In the Telecommunication Services world, an SLA will typically have quantifiable levels of service in:

  • Uptime or Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF)
  • Scheduled Downtime i.e. Maintenance Windows
  • Unscheduled Downtime or Mean Time To Repair or Mean Time To Recovery (MTTR)
  • Identifying which party is responsible for reporting faults or paying fees
  • Responsibility for various data rates, throughput, jitter; or similar measurable details.

Most Service Providers will provide tiered Service Level Agreements. Designated by terms such as; Good, Better and Best or Bronze, Silver and Gold. The different tiers come at different costs. Your job as customer is to determine what the cost of not meeting an SLA is to your company and choose the related SLA Tier to cover that need.

When it is deemed that an SLA level has not been met, the remediation terms of the contract kick in.  These terms usually include some sort of financial compensation and/or service credit. Sadly, the ease of getting compensation depends on the quality of the Service Provider and the ability to provide clear metrics regarding the service issue.

Your best bet is to choose a reliable carrier, build redundancy and backups into the Telecom Solutions you control and understand the financial impacts of a service outage or degradation.

You can call Teledata Select at 404-257-1502 to discuss the SLA’s you have with your service provider. Or send us a note via  Contact us to start a no obligation discussion of your specific business technology needs.

 

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consultancy located in Atlanta, Ga serving customers throughout the US and overseas.  His company provides business solutions for voice, data, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses.  Contact John or their team for a complimentary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for communication services.  The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system. They also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling.

Why You Should Use A Telecom Billing Consultant

Telecom expenses tend to be quite substantial for some companies, and chances are good that you are being overcharged for telecom services. A telecom billing consultant acts as a liaison between you and your chosen carrier. By using a billing consultant to ferret out billing mistakes and underutilized services and bandwidth, your company can save money, increase your profit margins and also budget for telecom expenses more efficiently. Below are a number of ways that a telecom consultant will help you realize your goal.

Telecom Audit
Simply put, A telecom audit is an examination of the organization’s telecommunication expenses. If you are looking to save money on your expenses, the best place to start is by performing an audit. During the audit, the consultant is looking to see where there are potential savings for your company. The consultants compare your local telephone bills, wireless services, long distance invoices, internet, and the myriad of taxes, fees and surcharges that come with every bill against your contract and government fee schedules. They will also identify cases of phone abuse and billing errors. Their findings allow the company to request bill refunds as well as create a telecom budget based on actual costs.

Telecom Contract Negotiation
It can be a struggle to understand the terms and conditions of a contract when companies are just getting into telecom equipment and services contacts. Contracts can be filled with telecom world jargon that the managers do not understand. This leads to a lack of understanding of how the contracts affect their real monthly expenses. A telecom consultant plays a valuable role in the negotiations by acting as an interpreter helping managers understand the contract and its implications before committing to it.

Telecom Project Manager
When a company is looking to make substantial changes to their telecom services, it is always a wise decision to hire an expert in the field. This is because the decisions that will be made in the transition period will affect the company for years to come. A telecom consultant brings their unique knowledge of the industry, years of expertise and leadership to the table. Armed with these, they can comfortably steer the project in the right direction.

Coming up with a procurement policy
Employees will always want the latest when it comes to technology. With technology always changing and advancements being made within a short span of time, a clear hardware lifecycle plan and procurement policy are necessary. A consultant can help you identify what you really need and avoid flash in the pan technology expenses. They will review your current procurement policy and help you identify any areas for improvement.

For most companies, the bottom line is to make profits, but expenses will always reduce the profit margins. Telecom expenses are quite substantial in all companies today and they need to be controlled. Using a telecom billing consultant is the first step to increasing profits.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to find opportunities for savings. better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling.  Contact us for a detailed discussion of your specific business technology needs.

Announcement: TeleData Select Partners with Nexmo

Sample Live Chat Window

Teledata Select is excited to announce that we have partnered with Vonage to offer their Nexmo service. Nexmo provides cloud based communication application program interfaces (API) to let other people and businesses integrate various forms of personalized communications, such as messaging, into their own applications.

Nexmo services are used by Uber, AirBnB, Alibaba, Snapchat, Expedia, KLM and others to provide:

  • Alert notifications
  • Realtime Chat via an App or webpage
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Mobile coupons and marketing promotions

Nexmo is a low cost solution that can help you add that extra layer of customer service and interaction that might just be the next step for your company. Contact Us to get more information on what value Nexmo can add to you business.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to find opportunities for savings. better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling.  Contact us for a detailed discussion of your specific business technology needs.

My Experience with ATT Gig Fiber to my home

As a Telecom Broker and Consultant, I am always looking for better, faster, less expensive options for my customers as it relates to high speed internet, voice and hosted VoIP phone solutions. I remember when one T-1 with 768K of internet and 12 voice lines from XO Communications was $1.169.00 per month for a business customer. Now that same service can be had for around $300 or less per month.

I sometimes forget that I am a customer too. Each month I spend over $440.00 for Cell phone, TV and Internet to my home. When I received my last bill from ATT, I decided to check out ATT’s the NEW Gig Fiber service available in my neighborhood.  Like many of my customers, the thought of Gig fiber speeds was enticing and the price was about the same or slightly less than I am paying today. At my house, we use as much bandwidth as we can get so I was eager to take advantage of the speeds Gig Fiber can offer. I decided to make the upgrade.

When it came time to install my ATT Gig Fiber services, I was determined to make sure the Fiber was “home run” to my modem which needed to run thru the attic. I helped the ATT tech run the Fiber Optic Cable thru my attic which involved inhaling insulation, dust and who knows what all. By the time we finished, I was filthy and drenched in sweat from the sauna that is my attic in the Georgia heat.

So now our Fiber is installed and guess what?  There doesn’t seem to be a noticeable difference between ATT U-verse and the ATT Gig Fiber. I asked my wife if she noticed a difference and she said “No”.   What is up with that?  Don’t they advertise Gig Speeds? Well yes but this is consumer level service. It is shared with your neighbors does not come with an SLA (Service Level Agreement) meaning the speed can vary.

How Fast is Fast Enough?

In addition to the advertised bandwidth from the provider, the capabilities of your home/office equipment that can limit the internet speeds you experience. Every piece of your network can have an impact on what internet speeds you’ll experience. Can your computer’s wireless card handle the speed? Are your switches and/or routers able to pass thru the extra speed?   Check these before you run your speed test to get bragging rights on how fast your internet speed is.

Would I upgrade my home to Gig Fiber again, knowing that I’ll probably only get a few Mbps of extra speed? Probably not.

On the other hand, if it is your business that needs a faster internet connection, make sure you evaluate a true “business class” internet connection that comes with an SLA.  You may pay more for a business class fiber connection, but by understanding your bandwidth needs, you won’t have to pay for more than you need. Or better yet, renegotiate your current agreement with a faster speed for less than your paying today.

Call us today and we’d be happy to share our stories with you in how we help many different sized businesses reduce their costs while getting more services.  Plus, we will take the hassle out of switching services providers. High Speed Internet, Business Phone System and Project management is what we help our customers do at TeleData Select.

 

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to find opportunities for savings. better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling.  Contact us for a detailed discussion of your specific business technology needs.
Customer Service Solutions

Clarifying Your Business’s Technical Needs

Following up on last week’s post regarding a review of your telecom solution, this week we’ll go into detail on what a review involves.

My experience is in Project Management of large Fortune 100 company infrastructure deployments supporting network and software requirements. That focus word there is requirements. My project budgets were often in the $5 to $10 million range. In that range, there is no return policy. When that invoice is fulfilled, you own the hardware and software regardless of whether it meets your needs or not. We always started by defining the problem we were trying to solve and what needs we were trying to fulfill. From that, we would build a requirements list and work with the vendors to create an overall solution.

Understanding exactly what the business needs are is one of the hardest things to define. Sometimes what a user thinks they want, can be much different from what they actually need. What engineering understands the request to be may be filtered through a history of bias for and against a technical solution.

A good Systems and Business Analyst can clear the fog and confusion. The analyst function is to understand the user’s work flow and get to the bottom of what they really need to do their job. The user requirements are then converted to technical requirements that are used by engineering to develop a solution that will meet the user requirements. That solution than goes out to vendors for bidding. Finance should definitely be involved in the process so they can make sure the expected costs are known ahead of time.

I am the first to admit that Fortune 100 companies have those job roles fulfilled in spades. It is uncommon that smaller companies have the skills on-site that can do all this work. It is common to contract analysts, project managers and engineers to fill the gap. The caveat is to make sure that you hire independent resources that won’t push you towards one solution or another based on their biases and partnerships.

Teledata Select offers a whole range of services that will help you meet your business goals. Starting with a complimentary review of your current telecommunication bills to find opportunities for savings. better service and more functionality. We also offer project management for new service implementation and infrastructure installs, including fiber and low voltage cabling.  Contact us for a detailed discussion of your specific business technology needs.

Time to Review Your Telecom Provider?

It may be past time to update the old adage that the only constant in IT is change. It seems now that the only constant in IT is faster and faster change. It can be a struggle to make sure that your technology is supporting your business and not a burden to it. If you feel like your current service has not kept up with your business needs, it may be time to consider a change or upgrade. This blog post discusses things to consider when that time comes.

The first step to understanding where your technology is in need of a refresh is to do an audit of what you have and how you use it. This will show where you have opportunities for improvement and will guide your discussions with service providers.

Provider Reliability & Service

It’s a rare business anymore that can operate on just a couple of landlines and a fax machine. The foundation of business today is its connection to the outside world. High speed internet is now a core requirement. There are a lot of companies that can provide high speed internet. Items to consider are:

  • What data speeds are available and how much do they cost?
  • What services do the various telecom companies provide to your location(s).
  • The statistics of their uptime reliability over time.
  • What is the provider’s reputation for customer service after the sale?
  • Compare the Service Level Agreements (SLAs) outlining the services to be provided, metrics to be used to measure compliance and remediation if the agreed service levels are not met?

Scalability – Contract Terms

Many businesses are faced with near and long term changes in their telecommunications needs and usage.

  • How does your current or planned telecommunications systems support variable or changing usage patterns?
  • Does your current or planned telecommunications systems easily support a physical relocation of your business?
  • The internet has become critical in accessing business applications and data. Which service providers can upgrade your team’s web based tools within days or hours?
  • In most cases, a business can reduce costs by signing a long term agreement. However, do the constraints and obligations of the long term agreement negate the cost savings?
  • Is it worth the extra savings to sign a three year agreement?

Billing and Support

Beyond pricing, there are differences between the Telecommunications providers in how they handle the customer relationship after the sale.

  • What is the Carrier’s reputation for billing accuracy?
  • How quickly are billing questions answered and resolved?
  • How does the Carrier respond to user support questions and comments?
  • In the case where SLA’s are not met. You will need to compare the costs of managing service issues and determine if you want to work to resolve those issues yourself, or have it done for you. If you do choose to do it yourself, will you have the information and resources needed to resolve the issue quickly and expeditiously?

In the end, the deciding factor really is how each provider can resolve the gaps uncovered during the audit discussed above and for how much. When choosing a telecom company, being able to compare their offerings against each other and against your needs is paramount. Teledata Select has history with many service providers and can assist you in the decision and negotiation processes. Contact us to learn more about our experience in these situations.

TeleData Select is an independent Telecom Broker founded in Atlanta, GA in 2006 with a single concept in mind: finding the Right Provider, Right Solution and Right Price for our customers — regardless of the telecom communication carrier. As technology changes, our team keeps up with the latest telecom options and service providers so we can truly be an agnostic resource that customers can count on for unbiased advice.

 

Telecom Aggregation and Consolidated Billing Solutions

We can consolidate all of your Telecom Products and services, regardless of the carrier or business location, on one easy to understand bill. This benefits you in the following ways:

  • You need call only one telephone number to upgrade or modify your service. We manage the communications with the multiple telecom sales agents.
  • Invoices can be made available in paper, email, CD or a customized online portal.
  • When it comes time to review your Carrier service and options, we have a large portfolio of carriers we work with and the expertise to address the impact of evolving growth patterns.
  • Invoices can be paid by parent or individual sub-location.
  • Customers can assign specific ledger numbers to each sub-location to assist customers with cost allocation.
  • We are your one call for support and trouble resolution for all of your business locations.

A one carrier integration approach can match underlying carrier strengths with client’s needs to customize the most advanced, cost-effective and productive solutions for each customer and office location. All services can be delivered on one bill with a dedicated team handling all service related issues.

Teledata Select can help provide the guidance you need to ensure that you are getting the Right Telecom Service at the Right Price. Contact us TeleData Select for a complementary audit or review of your current telecom services.

TeleData Select is an independent Telecom Broker founded in Atlanta, GA in 2006 with a single concept in mind: finding the Right Provider, Right Solution and Right Price for our customers — regardless of the telecom communication carrier. As technology changes, our team keeps up with the latest telecom options and service providers so we can truly be an agnostic resource that customers can count on for unbiased advice.

Protecting Your Data

An old saying in the IT world is “No one needs a backup….. until they do”. One of the worst feelings you will experience in these data driven times is the moment you realize that you have lost your data, either by human error or hardware failure. A close second is the increasing panic over the next few hours as your realize that the data is gone, gone and gone. At best, it can be manually re-entered at a huge cost of money and time. Not to mention, what is going to happen when you hit the send button on that email explaining the situation to your boss and/or customers?

The only real solution is to implement and TEST data backup policies and procedures.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, any plan should begin with a thorough understanding of what you have now. In the case of backups, this includes…

  • The type of data you have.  Personally Identifiable Information (PII), (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA), and other types that have strict regulations on how they are stored and accessed.
  • How often does the data change?
  • What are the legal requirements for keeping old versions
  • Who has access to the data?
  • How much data do you have?
  • Where does the data reside, individual computer hard drives, central server, cloud, etc.?

Once you have that in hand you can start designing your data protection solution.

If you decide on an in-house back up solution, where will you store your back ups? (hint, off-site). Is your data in a central repository or disseminated across multiple computers? Windows and Mac OS have a cloud backup feature built in, You’ll need to purchase storage space in their cloud for each computer though and check legal requirements and restrictions based on the type of data backed up. There are additional data backup software vendors out there in case the the built-in backup solutions don’t meet your needs.

If you have a co-location set up (leased space in an external datacenter), check with the provider to understand what back up services they provide or if that responsibility and required software, hardware and back up processing resides with you.

If you are using a Cloud service for your data storage, make sure you understand the backup services they provide. Also, insure that the data handling they provide do not go against laws and regulations for your type of data, i.e. encryption, chain of custody records, security, etc.

And finally, make sure that the data you are backing up can be retrieved and restored in a timely manner. Most companies do restore test as soon as they start a new backup routine and at least once a year after that. Keep in mind that some backup systems are extremely particular in what they will restore to. It is best to do a restore test in the case where device backed up has a hardware, or firmware change.

I know that this is a lot to think about for something that no one wants to think about and I have only scratched the surface. But this truly is one of the most important parts of your business plan. Teledata Select can help provide the guidance you need to protect your business. Contact us for an in depth discussion.

TeleData Select is an independent Telecom Broker founded in Atlanta, GA in 2006 with a single concept in mind: finding the Right Provider, Right Solution and Right Price for our customers — regardless of the telecom communication carrier. As technology changes, our team keeps up with the latest telecom options and service providers so we can truly be an agnostic resource that customers can count on for unbiased advice.

 

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Getting to know your IT systems

Technology changes so quickly these days. Vendors are always touting the new and shiny technology they are selling while reporting that technology that was cutting edge just last year is now old and clunky. Before you get talked into a new technology, you should understand where your IT Systems are first so that you can weigh your options against a knowledgeable baseline.

Some of the easiest data points to gather are your network usage. There are plenty of tools available that will tell you how much data you are transferring over your network and over your internet connection. You can also tell when your peak data usage occurs and what web sites are being contacted.

A little more difficult to quantify is the financial costs supporting the IT infrastructure your company is using. How difficult depends on the granularity to which your finance department tracks IT costs.

For example, there is a financial cost if you host your own IT infrastructure on site. The space it takes up, the power it uses and the impact to your Air Conditioning bill from keeping your equipment at a safe operating temperature all have financial impact. This requires a detailed analysis of the cost per square foot for your real estate. It requires research to see how much power your hardware uses and how much heat each device produces needing additional AC power.

The initial purchase price of the hardware is a capital expenditure. This also includes

A typical small business data closet

the cabling and racks needed to install the servers and network equipment. PO’s and invoices should go through accounting and should be readily available.

There are also the ongoing operational costs, beyond space, power and cooling mentioned above. These are the costs of keeping your IT systems up, running and secure; ongoing vendor support and maintenance fees, IT department costs and software licenses.

Finally, there are the intangible costs of your technology systems. This is a comparison of how much benefit your technology brings to your company’s bottom line compared to how much it is costing. To be honest, this is next to impossible to quantify but in a holistic sense you should be able to see how much your Sales, Fulfillment and Customer Service Teams are using the technology tools to do their jobs. Ask them.

With all this information, you will better be able to see where your IT gaps are and where you are doing just fine. This will allow you to be in the driver’s seat when the vendors come calling with the latest and greatest.

Up next. Is out-sourcing your IT infrastructure for you?

TeleData Select is an independent Telecom Broker founded in Atlanta, GA in 2006 with a single concept in mind: finding the Right Provider, Right Solution and Right Price for our customers — regardless of the telecom communication carrier. As technology changes, our team keeps up with the latest telecom options and service providers so we can truly be an agnostic resource that customers can count on for unbiased advice.

I Thought You’d Never Ask – What’s the difference between Modems and Routers?

This jargon buster blog takes it down to the basics of small business telecommunications, the Modem and Router. These backbones of your internet experience sit quietly under your desk or in a corner of the house connecting you to the outside world (at least electronically).

A router and modem are two very different devices, though many Internet Providers are now offering a combined modem and router unit.

A router is a device that connects two or more networks and forwards traffic between them. Your home network and the Internet, via a modem, is a simple example.

The modem (modulator-demodulator) converts (modulates) digital information on one network into a signal for transmission over your ISP’s infrastructure and then another modem on the receiving network converts (demodulates) it back. The goal is to produce a signal that can be transmitted easily and decoded to reproduce the original digital data.

 

There are many types of modems out there, the most common are the ones used for typical home/ small business internet access. Usually connecting to their Internet Provider’s Cable or DSL service.

So why bother to understand the difference? Because that understanding can lead to better decisions, like buying your own modem so you can stop paying $10 a month or more to rent one from your ISP.

 

Contact Teledata Select for more information.

7 steps to a Quality Telecom Install, Migration or Upgrade

 

Just wanted to let you know that we are delighted with the new Broadview phone system. Working with you, Yana and the support group at Broadview, the system has been configured with exactly the functionally we were hoping for at both out locations, Norcross GA and Dobbins”     Mike McCarthy, President Pirtech

Thanks Mike!!! We always appreciate such nice testimonials from our customers. We’ll continue to fine tune our systems to insure all current and future customer are this happy. Below is just an example of what is necessary to insure customer installs are hassle free with minimal interruption.

Our quality management process is very important when changing telecom providers or purchasing new telecom services.

  1. Order Processing – It is very important to review service contracts from telecom providers to insure accuracy. In most cases, you can have the telecom provider modify the terms of the contracts to better serve your needs, the customer.
  2. Coordination – Any change in telecom services always involves working  with many different parties. It’s important to have someone project manage the effort and  communicate with all the parties associated with the install to insure that timely and accurate information is communicated for hassle free installs and a smooth transition.
  3. Changes – During any install or upgrade, changes may take place just prior to the install. Its important that you have a project manager to assist with contacting all necessary parties with the updates.
  4. Training – Telecom changes can be difficult unless a good training plan is in place before any work commences. Make sure training begins before installation starts and after with a refresher hands-on training session.
  5. Disconnects – Be in contact with your old provider. It used to be that when you switched to a new service provider, your last bill date would automatically be the date your telephone number changed to the new provider.  However, many telecom providers require you to contact them to let them know you switched providers.  Make sure you submit notice to the previous carrier, in writing, when billing should stop.
  6. Post Install Support – With any change in telecom services, after the install you may need to make changes or adjustments based on actual usage. The new provider should have assigned a primary point of contact to support you after the install to insure needed changes are performed quickly and accurately.
  7. Billing – Make sure you have someone you can communicate directly with if you have billing questions. Your new billing statement will be formatted differently. It may have fees pertaining to set up and conversion fees. You should always check your bill, but it is especially important to make sure the first ones contains everything you agreed on and nothing  you didn’t.

 

Contact us for more information on our 7 step Quality Management Process that insures our customer’s installs are delivered on time while meeting expectations down to the last detail.

Additionally, Contact us for a complementary telecom audit to make sure you’re getting the best value for your communication services.  The savings you receive could offset the cost of purchasing a new Hosted or Premise VoIP phone system.

 

John Hagan is President of TeleData Select, a Telecommunications Consulting Firm located in Atlanta, GA serving customers throughout the US and overseas.  His company provides business solutions for voice, internet, mobile and cloud solutions for both large and small businesses.

 

 

Why Use a Telecom Broker?

At Teledata Select, in addition to being Telecom Brokers, we are Telecommunications Consultants.

Business owners and managers know they need to choose components that will give them the results they need, while staying within the organization’s budget. We work with companies to help them choose the right technology for their needs and budget. We also assist companies in getting the Telecommunications equipment they need to make the best use of the technology. This includes machines and computer hardware used for voice, video and data transmission.

As an Independent Telecom Service Broker, we offer the following:

  • Multiple Carrier Options: Would you like to deal with one person for all you communication services, rather than dealing with a sales person from each company? Teledata Select has contacts with many carriers and vendors which means we can quickly acquire quotes and information without you requesting it yourself. A big time saver, especially when evaluating multiple locations and offers from vendors.
  • Satisfaction: Our long term success is dependent on the ongoing satisfaction of our customers.  Each month, Teledata Select gets paid a small (residual) commission to manage the telecommunication service of their customers. This ensures that we continue to provide clients with exceptional customer service for years.
  • Transparency:  Some telecom providers provide great pricing, but they take what feels like forever to install the services, others have poor billing and are unorganized. We can explain the good and bad of each carrier and what to expect based on real life experience.
  • No Sales Quotas: Many telecom providers put their sales people under unrealistic sales quotas and end up with pushy unprofessional sales staff and high turnover. As mentioned, we have a vested interest in a customer’s long term success. We help customers make informed educated decisions without the need of sales quotas.
  • Single Point of Contact: When you need help with billing or service issues, often your sales person is no longer available to be your advocate for resolution. You now have no one to call for help and are left calling the company’s 800 number which can be frustrating and downright time consuming. We have ongoing relationships with the service providers and can escalate, troubleshoot and get issues resolved much faster through our channels then the average customer.
  • Consolidation: Many companies with multiple locations and different providers get multiple bills. Service consolidation will alleviate the accounting and support headaches of this situation Teledata Select understands “Telecom Aggregation”. That’s the consolidation of multiple services on one bill and providing a “one stop shopping” model that saves you time and money.
  • Pricing and Support: In an effort to reduce costs, many Telecom companies reduced their sales staffs and only work with Telecom Brokers. This allows us to offer services from a wider range of providers than a small business may have access to. More competition means lower costs and better service for you.

The technology around telecommunications is changing and changing rapidly. Business owners have better things to do than try to keep up with them. At no cost to you, we can review your current telecom service and be your representative in getting you the best possible telecom service at the lowest possible cost.

 

Contact Us

 

Don Miller is the Program Manager for TeleData Select. TeleData Select is an independent Telecom Broker and Consultant based in Atlanta, GA representing just about every telecom provider across the US and abroad. We understand the pitfalls customers make in “going it alone” and dealing directly with telecom providers. Our industry knowledge along with having “seen it all” allows us to provide customers unbiased quality solutions for Voice, Data Mobile and Cloud Solutions. Contact TeleData Select today for a complementary telecom audit, we may find ways to reduce your telecom costs between 20-70% and enjoy an overall better experience as well as time savings.

Lessons Learned

Recently, I purchased a home theater receiver that can send a second different source signal to speakers wired to another room.   The goal was to allow my family to enjoy a surround sound movie in the main room and I can listen to music on the deck. The only other requirement I had was that it comes with a good phone app that would allow me to control everything remotely.

I did a lot of research and spoke to a lot of salespeople before I purchased a receiver with the specs that matched my needs. I won’t name the brand here because it didn’t match up to the marketing.

My friend Don offered to be my second pair of eyes to see if I was missing something in the online install manual.  Deep in the tiny print, we found that the signal that we wanted to send to the second room wasn’t supported. After reading related blogs and visiting more sales people, we finally returned the receiver and purchased one that did work.

Looking back on the effort, it dawned on me that this experience was not much different from the companies that we work with to get the right telecommunication system installed and working for their business. It is not their day job and rarely a core competency. I could have saved a lot of time and effort by leveraging a professional installer to get this working for me.

We recognize the challenges of finding the best options for business phone system and it can be confusing.  At TeleData Select we pride ourselves in helping our customers sort thru all the different options available for business telephone systems.

Press this link for Contact Information

 

 

The Next Big Thing is Already Here.

Businesses now have the ability to merge all or most of their telecom tools under one overarching system to increase efficiency and lower costs.

This is termed Unified Communications (UC). It’s defined as the integration of the equipment, software and services tools that help people exchange ideas and do their jobs more effectively. It includes E-mail, Internet, Video Conferencing, Telephones, Cloud Computing and other tools that businesses are already using. A good UC implementation makes it easy to support new technologies and growth.

Contact Teledata Select for more information on how consolidating all of your telecommunication needs under the Unified Communications Platform can help you realize its benefits.

http://teledataselect.com/contact-us/

So Many Choices

I found myself roaming the aisles of the local Staples Office Supply store yesterday. When I came upon the phone aisle, I was immediately reminded that all of the options and features available to small and medium sized businesses can be overwhelming. Finding the right phone system to meet your needs is a big job. We can help you understand your telecom needs for today and tomorrow, source and install the solution. 

Click the link below for more info on how…..

Next Generation Phone Service

Reflecting on the Avaya Bankruptcy

At TeleData Select, we have been watching the news about Avaya’s bankruptcy declaration last week. We have read through the press release and the resulting commentary from technology and financial news analysts.

Avaya explains that In addition to the global economic downturn in 2008 and the industry’s commoditization of telecommunication devices, the past decade has seen a core change in how consumers finance their telecom needs. Instead of the upfront purchasing of telecom hardware and software, the trend is to the more flexible, and harder to plan for, software as a service subscription model.

Avaya feels that they have successfully evolved into a software and services-led business. The bankruptcy is the last step to removing barriers to future success.

We wish them the best.

The situation does put a fine point on the financial impact of changes in technology and the importance of building flexibility into the office technology design.

We at Teledata Select have put together a guide to help businesses identify their needs when changing their telecom systems…..

5 Things a Business Should Consider When Making a Telecom Change/

Research-Source-Deploy & Save

When was the last time you reviewed your business Telecom cost?     We recently did a telecom audit for a customer and discovered they were paying for a 10Meg  Fiber circuit they were not even using.  Let us provide your company a complimentary telecom audit and analysis today!  http://teledataselect.com/products-and-services/#telecom-expense-management

 

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