All posts by Don Miller

Gift Box

The 2018 Tech Gift Guide

The holidays are upon us already, time for our annual tech gift guide. The pressure is mounting to get that perfect gift that is useful, shows you care and more importantly won’t end up regifted or worse, sitting in a box in the corner of the garage awaiting a future Goodwill run. There are thousands of gadgets out there. If history continues to repeat, most will be lucky to make a future list of novelty flash in the pan gifts of the past. Below is my attempt the cut through the holiday marketing blitz and present items that I think will stand the test of time.

On-Line Back-up Service. At the risk of repeating myself, I am still a fan of backing up all of your computers and devices on-line. It is not the most romantic gift, but you will be a real hero when one of your loved ones’ hard drives crashes or gets an unrecoverable virus. These backup services run quietly in the background whenever you connect to the internet. This link is a review of the top services.

Security Camera. I still keep tabs on my old neighborhood in Seattle via the Nextdoor website. At least once a week, there is a post about packages gone missing, car prowlers or unsavory looking characters knocking on the door. More and more, the postings have Security Camera Appimages attached of the culprits captured by a security camera.
There are many security cameras on the market this year. Arlo’s multi camera offering easily integrates into your home’s wi-fi system and in addition to sending links to captured video triggered by the motion detector, it provides email alerts confirming scheduled arrivals of hired help around the house. This is a big help when I work prevents me from being at the house.
Ring is another company making security camera’s. Their main focus is door mounted cameras that allow you to have 2-way communication with whomever is at the door. Whether you are in the house or off-site.

External Battery. Last year’s list included external batteries too. I repeat it here because these will always be a good stocking stuffer. Especially as our personal devices are more and more integral to our daily lives and stopping to charge them is not always an option. The latest external batteries pack more power in a smaller package. Some features to look for are: capacity of at least 20,000 mAh, multiple charging ports. Built in protection to prevent overcharging and some sort of charge status indicator.

Virtual Assistant. One gift you almost can’t not get this year is a personal virtual assistant like Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s Home. I have seen them being offered at a reduced price or a free gift with purchase of any connected electronic device. These are the brains behind a smart home setup allowing you to control lights, thermostats, door locks, entertainment systems and more and more things everyday. Do your research to make sure that your expected electronics purchases are compatible with whichever assistant you choose.

Meat Thermometer. And one last item from last year’s list that will definitely be thermapenappreciated when summer grilling season comes around again. I love my Classic Thermapen from Thermoworks. It is arguably the best, fastest and most accurate meat thermometer on the market and will be an appreciated companion at the grill.

 

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 splits his time between Atlanta, Ga and Cleveland, Oh. 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.

Downtime Phone

How Much Will Unplanned Downtime Cost Your Business?

Telecom Infrastructure has become more and more critical to doing business. The downtime cost of unexpected network or application failures can have both a direct and far reaching impact on your bottom line and ongoing business operations. There have even been cases where they have caused the affected company to go out of business.

Even with all of the advancements in technology; database, hardware, and software downtime still need to be planned for and mitigated against. The only way to mitigate the risk is to prepare and have the right technology in place to monitor, restore, and restart.

Factors in determining the Cost of Downtime
The first step in mitigating an outage is to determine what an outage costs. This information can assist in preparing the business case for investing in the resources and Downtime Costtechnology that will lessen the impact of an outage on your business. Monetary losses are dependent on various factors such as your revenue model, industry, duration of the outage, the number and types of employees impacted, the time of day, etc. Companies whose revenues are derived from phone sales and support versus those that are based on high level data transactions (i.e. banking and online sales) will experience different levels of impact from a service outage. If either experience an unplanned outage during a peak traffic time, the damage will be more significant.

Cost of Downtime Per Hour
There are many formulas that can assist you in quantifying the financial impact of not being able to do business. Below are a couple calculations to get you started with a ballpark impact cost number:

For companies where revenue is heavily reliant on employee interactions (i.e Phone Sales);
Hourly Downtime Cost = the average amount of sales per hour plus the totaled hourly fixed costs of the employees impacted by the outage.

For transaction based income streams (i.e. Online Sales) the calculation is pretty simple;
Hourly Downtime Costs = Average hourly transaction amount.

These calculations cover either end of the revenue model spectrum. Your business will probably fall somewhere in between so your downtime costs calculation will be a mixture of both formulas.

Remember there are also costs that are not easily quantifiable or attributable to the outage such as reduced productivity for the order fulfillment teams or lost sales due to customers going elsewhere.

Once you have a view into what the cost of downtime per hour is, you can calculate the value of reducing the costs of response and recovery for each application and system. To do this, you need to calculate the cost of downtime per hour. This information will in turn balance your spending to shorten your Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and your Recovery Point Objective (RPO).

Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
RTO is defined as how much time do you need to restore your applications and systems after an interruption. Your RTO is really a measure of how highly available your applications need to be. If your company can survive with and RTO that measures in days instead of seconds, then you can take your time setting up a new server or installing an application. If you need your operations to resume within minutes, this requires more expensive technologies and processes.

Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
RPO is an acceptance of how much data you can afford to lose? Your RPO is the maximum amount of acceptable data loss measured in time. A company’s order entry system might only need to hard copies to cover the fulfillment cycle, allowing for the ability to restore the data manually in the event of a disruption. You need to work with all key stakeholders to determine how much data your company is willing to lose.
In conclusion, calculating the costs of downtime will help to justify a cost-effective solution that can avoid detrimental effects to your business by implementing technological and procedural solutions that can lessen the impact of service outages.

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 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 experience.

IPv6 Consultant

Are You Ready For IPv6

In an earlier blog about 5G, John mentioned that its implementation and widespread adoption would connect more and more “things” to the internet resulting in a whole lot more IP’s being needed. I thought I should follow up on a little information on IPv6 and how to get ready for it.

Your email, internet phone, web surfing, movie streaming and everything else that runs on the internet rely on a networking protocol called IPv4. Simply put, IPv4 provides addresses for internet connected devices so they can find and communicate with each other. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is the group that hands out these addresses handed out the last pool for North America back in April of 2011. The sky is not falling, there are still big blocks of unused IPs in these pools and ISP’s are recycling unused IPS. But soon or rather than later, IPv4 will not support Internet growth.

What is IPv6?

The next generation of internet addressing is IPV6. It main difference from IPV4 is that instead of just 4.3 billion IP’s, IPv6 allows for trillions of trillions of trillions of addresses. That’s a 3 followed by 38 zeros. It should be plenty for generations of internet users to come.

When will the transition to IPv6 occur? How much longer will IPv4 work?

The transition to IPv6 has already begun but will take many years before it is the predominant internet addressing protocol. In the meantime, there is no countdown to the day when IPv4 addresses will stop working. However, an increasing amount of Internet content and applications will be available only at IPv6 addresses. In order to ensure access to these in the future, consumers should ensure that new equipment and software they purchase is IPv6 ready.

What will it take to move to IPv6?

As mentioned earlier, IPv6 is live now and many of the major internet providers already support IPv6 traffic. Websites are getting IPv6 addresses. On the consumer side, Windows, Mac and Linux Operating systems have supported IPv6 for years. Most mobile phones are compatible now too. Routers and Switches, Modems and other networking device makers are implementing too but because these have long operational lives, they aren’t as far along in deployment. You can check manufacturer websites to see if your network devices are compatible. When you are ready to upgrade your IT hardware, compatibility with IPv6 should be a must have. 

 

Here are a couple of links to sites that will give you more information on your current IPV6 status.

What if I decide to stick with IPv4?

At the moment there is little to no pressure to upgrade. Although currently available, IPv6 is a long way from majority acceptance and implementation. IPv4 will work for years to come. The push to IPv6 addressing will probably focus on new technology, the Internet of Things. Due to the limited number of IPv4 addresses remaining for assignment, some new websites and services may only get IPv6 addresses and will not be accessible over IPv4 but they will be few and far between. Even though you may not be converting over anytime soon, you should still make sure that any new IT purchases will support IPv6, just in case.

 

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 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 experience.

 

Call Center Software

Call Center Software – An Overview

Call Center Software is used by businesses to manage and support communication with their customers and vendors. Whether it’s a massive customer service operation with multiple call centers and thousands of agents, or a small mom and pop business where the customer service department is whoever answers the phone, a properly fitted call center software platform can be beneficial. Regardless of the company size the end goal of each customer/vendor communication should be to present a professional image of the brand and effectively assist the customer.

Enterprise level call center software functionality

There is an old adage in the customer service industry that the customer should be able to hear the phone representative smile. That’s right, “hear” them smile. What that means is that the rep’s overall attitude towards the job, the customer and the company can be picked up over the phone. One way to meet this goal is to give them the right tools to do their jobs. That’s where Contact Center Software comes in. Below is a breakdown of some essential tools for both enterprise and Small & Medium Business (SMB) call centers.

Voice

The foundation of a great call canter experience is high grade voice quality. Without that, all of the extra bells and whistles are wasted. Voice quality is a factor of bandwidth, service provider and supporting infrastructure.

Caller information

Call Center SoftwareA personal pet peeve of mine is when I have to repeat my identifying information and why I am calling to each representative that I am forwarded to. Good Contact Center software carries the customer information from one rep to another.

Additionally, agents will shorten call times and provide a more pleasant customer experience by eliminating the repetition of information between subsequent contacts and transferred calls.

By integrating your call center software with your Customer relationship management (CRM) database, simply knowing the number your customer is calling from can bring up information about the customer and prospect data including buying history, support tickets and all previous interactions with your company.

Agent efficiency

Efficient calls are dependent upon the call center’s ability to direct calls to the right representative. Effective call center management applications should include the ability to route calls to the appropriate representative based on various options like language, knowledge, experience, etc. This is accomplished using data from Interactive Voice Response (IVR) capabilities, CRM and other sources to deliver great customer experiences.

IVRs can respond with prerecorded or dynamically generated audio to further engage with the customer and either respond to their inquiry or route their call to the representative who best can.

Often confused with an auto attendant, the purpose of an IVR is to take the customer’s input, process it, and return a result, whereas an auto attendant simply routes calls.

A more comprehensive IVR can even help answer your customer’s inquiries without the need for a representative at all (for example, checking their account balance). They do this by operating on a strategically developed call flow that’s continuously refined based on your customer’s interactions with it. This often means that your customers will receive a faster response and you can reduce the number of representatives required at any given time.

Most call center phone systems and software include some sort of IVR capabilities as a standard feature, allowing you to easily record your own greeting or to choose from prerecorded options.

Metrics, Reporting and Training

In business, it is said that if something is worth doing then it’s also worth measuring. And the best way to improve and optimize the effectiveness of your customer service call center is to collect comprehensive metrics, evaluate them, and adjust your service delivery to meet any changes.

Call center phone systems have the ability to collect these metrics and generate reports on them. This can help you monitor your call center staff’s performance, understand why and when your customers are calling, and better forecast your staffing needs so that you have enough representatives available to manage the call volume but not so many that some are sitting idle.

The metrics that your call center’s phone system’s provide should include a minimum of call volume, call length, call abandonment, hold time, and customer satisfaction for each individual representative and the call center as a whole.

These metrics will help inform any decisions you make, form the basis of employee performance evaluations, and help you to learn from the better representatives to help coach those who may be underperforming. They can also arm you with quantitative justification in case you have to take any unfortunate disciplinary actions.

The Bottom Line

Call center systems and technology can be bought as standalone software, part of your overall phone system service or even as a cloud service. There are plenty of companies lining up to be your Call Center Service Solution provider. Where they differ is in the functionality they offer, how it is implemented and how they support it after the sale. As we here at Teledata Select always say, understand your business first then set up the technology to support and grow with it.

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 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 experience.

Disaster Recovery

Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season

June 1st is here. The official start of Hurricane Season. We have already had a taste of what is to come with tropical storm Alberto. Alberto has left a trail of flood damage across the Eastern United States. The disaster recovery efforts are just starting.

Are you prepared for the storms surely to come?

Once you have an emergency plan put together for you and your family’s physical security, your thoughts should turn to your business. There are two items to consider, business recovery and business continuity,

Business recovery is what happens after the storm. But it is not just about repairing damage and cleaning up from damage caused by the storm, it is also about preparing for it. Have you inventoried all of your business equipment and checked your insurance to make sure it is covered? Insurance plans vary but it is a good start to record Make, Model and Serial number of each piece of equipment. Digital Photos before and after are a quick way to prove any loss. Do you have the original purchase receipts?

When was the last time you backed up your data? Where do you store the backups? Off site, I hope. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to think about online backups so you won’t have to think about backups anymore. When choosing an on-line backup provider, understand that there is a difference between backup for disaster recovery and making previous versions of your data available. The first type is for getting the most recent information that your business was using. The second is for compliance and historical reference.

Assuming everyone is safe and sound after the storm, physical cleanup and repair of your place of business is next. Depending on how widespread the damage is, you may have to wait in line for cleanup help. Do not take any unnecessary risks going into damaged buildings until it has been cleared as structurally safe.

With your offices cleaned up and ready for occupation, recovering your computers and data comes next.

While the physical clean-up is going on is a good time to get in touch with your insurance hurricane damageagent, your service providers and your hardware vendors. They will help you put together a plan to get your data and telecom services back up and running.

The other side of the coin is how do you keep your business going while you are recovering from the affects of the storm? That’s called Business Continuity. This starts with an effort to understand your business and the business processes that keep it going. The challenge is to come up with alternatives to getting the job done or at least just keep it going that don’t include access to your place of business. How will your customers communicate with you? How will you provide services or fulfill orders.

With all the cloud services available today, it can be easy for you and your employees to work remotely. As long as you have an internet connection and a computer, you should be able to keep your business going. Full featured phone services that can be turned up anywhere there is a working internet connection can be supplied by a Cloud Based VoIP service. Cloud based data storage can provide seamless remote access for the operational software your business uses. Beyond the basic Microsoft Office type applications, review the other software that your business uses. Are they available as an internet service?

And finally, have a communication plan. It is a good idea to post to social media when you are back up and running or at least when you plan to be. Depending on the relationship you have with your customers, consider an email letting them know of the situation and how you plan to continue supporting them. Contact your vendors and service providers too. They will probably be eager to help get you up and running again.

Hurricanes are on our mind right now, but being prepared for any business interruption regardless of whether it is natural or man-made can reduce stress when it happens and might just save your 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 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 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 experience.

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.

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.

 

Understanding your IT Infrastructure Options

Following up on the previous blog where we explained what you should know about the costs and capabilities of your IT Systems. This post is a discussion on what you can do with that information.

There are options available to a business owner today that can lower the costs of the IT systems they need to run their business.

On-Site:

The first option is to replace old, outdated equipment. While buying new equipment can incur a large initial expense, the right purchases can save you money over time. Manufacturers are building more efficient hardware these days in power usage and throughput capabilities in a smaller footprint, saving money over time. Plus the extra operational headroom that new hardware will make it easier to meet demand growth and implement new features and functionality.

There is a downside to new equipment. The responsibility of running, securing and maintaining your IT systems will still rest with the business. Is there knowledgeable staff available to make sure best practices are adhered to; i.e. redundancy at all possible points of failure, a data backup plan in place and tested on a regular basis, scheduled hardware maintenance windows and software patching, data access controls per legal requirements.

Co-Location:

Owning and housing your IT department on site is a lot of responsibility and costly. There are a couple of other options to consider. The first is to move your data processing hardware to a co-location datacenter off site. This is a good option for companies that use servers to store and process company data. In a Co-Location (Co-Lo) environment, rack space and network connectivity is leased in a data center. There are many service offerings but the basics are the Co-Lo vendor provides the power, cooling and supporting network infrastructure as well as the staff to support your hardware. There are differing levels of support response times (SLA’s) that are offered depending on your needs. See previous blog.

Using a Co-Lo usually requires that you purchase the hardware. And to meet the Service Level Agreements (SLA’s), the vendor will require that you provide redundant hardware to be onsite, if not in your rack(s). Best practices state that business critical IT systems should have redundancy built in. This should be budgeted for regardless of where your IT systems are hosted.

Another benefit to locating your IT systems off-site is that a good Co-Lo can offer a hardened environment that can better keep your services up and running in case of a service impacting event at your location such as a power outage or natural disaster.

Cloud:

Moving your IT systems to the Cloud is a third option. This is where you contract your computing power needs and services to a Cloud Service. Once SLA’s are agreed to, the cloud service provider is responsible for providing hardware and availability to meet the SLA’s. The business owner only has to worry about having the bandwidth to connect to it and making sure the SLA’s agreements are met.

There are long term financial and operational commitments and impacts to your final decision on how to support your IT requirements. This and the previous post have really only touched the surface of what needs to be considered before making that decision. We can’t stress strongly enough the importance of getting a knowledgeable and experienced resource to assist in your decision.

 

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.

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.

Gift Box

Some Gift Ideas for 2017

Now that I have recovered from the big turkey dinner, I am down to the big job of finding the right gift for each person on my list. Instead of battling the throngs of holiday shoppers, I spent Friday going through the sales fliers and researching what electronics are new, exciting and in demand this year and trying to match them with the right recipient.

I have been spent a good part of the weekend on the web going down one electronic rabbit hole after another. My thoughts on electronics gift giving have changed a little since I started. My philosophy on wish lists is they make gift giving easy for the giver but boring for the receiver once they get over the novelty of getting what they wanted. Save the wrapping paper because no one is going to be surprised. Gift cards are always popular but they pretty much say I care as much for you as I do the mailman.

All that being said, people want stuff. My parents had a rule of thumb. Aside from the obligatory, socks and underwear, we usually got two things from our list and then random stuff that we needed but didn’t know it at the time.  To tell you the truth, I can’t remember many of the gifts I got except for the two McDonald’s gift certificates in our stockings each year and was able to get whatever I wanted with them.

With all that in mind and realizing that things have changed a bit since the days of 25 cent hamburgers, I came up with the ideas below. These are just ideas, TeledataSelect is not compensated for anything on the list below.

We are big proponents of backing up your computers and devices. People have so much of their lives stored digitally these days. Protecting it is easy but it’s also easy to put off until it’s too late. A great gift idea is to get a cloud back up for your family’s computers and devices. This link is a review of the top services.

iPhone data cableOn that same topic, for the active iPhone user, this little gadget will get around Apple’s space limitations to let you take more pictures, load more music and use more apps. Not to mention, easily create backups of your phone.

Another useful gadget to have nearby is an external battery charger to keep all of your devices working even if you forget to charge them up. I keep one in my car and a couple in my backpack. They are cheap and have become almost a commodity item. Stick to the power packs that provide at least 10,000ma. That size can recharge most tablets once and  phones at least 3 times on a single charge.

Is anyone in your household complaining about WiFi deadspots around your home? New WiFi Mesh technology allows you provide full WiFi coverage as far as they can go from the base. Expect to pay $300 to $400 for a good system. Linksys’ Velop and Netgear’s Orbi are getting good reviews.

For the drivers in your family, dashboard video cameras are very popular. dashcamTheir big benefit is in the case of an accident, there is irrefutable evidence as to what actually happened. Otherwise, Safely at your destination, you can rewatch your trip and upload any crazy stuff to YouTube. This link will take you to reviews of the top Dashcams available. 

Relatively new on the tech front are Bluetooth powered tracking tiles. They can be inserted into wallets, hooked onto key chains and attached to luggage tags. If you lose track of anything you attached them to, a phone app will show you where it is via a Bluetooth signal it transmits to any device that is running the app. The technology is relatively new and relies on widespread consumer usage to find anything outside of your current Bluetooth zone. Here is a link to a review of the Bluetooth trackers that are out there at this writing.

thermapenFor the griller in the family, I can personally vouch for the Classic Thermapen from www.Thermoworks.com. It is arguably the best, fastest and most accurate meat thermometer on the market.

I know this seems like a pretty random list of presents that admittedly, I wouldn’t mind getting or giving. My overall goal for holiday giving is to spend my hard earned money on quality gifts that won’t end up re-gifted or in the back of the closet by January.  I hope this helped in at least giving you some ideas.

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.

 

 

 

Cable DSL Fiber

An overview of DSL, Cable and Fiber

There are others, but the most common internet service options available to the average consumer today are cable, DSL and fiber optic. While it’s true that each is capable of providing you with high-speed capabilities, these services are very distinct. Understanding each of their capabilities compared to your needs should be the determining factor in which type of internet access you choose.

DSL:
A Digital Subscriber Line or DSL connection, shares the existing copper wire of your phone line to deliver high speed internet access. Most DSL technologies use asymmetrical data transfer which means that consumers download speeds will be much faster than their upload speeds. While this isn’t an issue for typical web browsing, doing any sort of data transfer that requires substantial upload bandwidth (such as Cloud Computing, offsite backups or video conferencing) will be much slower than fiber or cable. Another criticalDSL factor that will impact your decision to go with DSL is that the distance between your home or office and the provider’s central office has to be less than a mile. The further you are from the main line, the weaker the signal, and the slower the connection. If you are in doubt whether a DSL plan you are considering is enough for upload intensive applications, we recommend looking for upload speeds of at least 1mbps.
As a rule, typical DSL is not as fast as your other options but depending on your usage, it could suit your needs at a lower price than cable or fiber.

Cable:
For business customers, cable internet is often the best internet solution due to its wide Cableavailability and speed compared to DSL. Cable internet service shares the coaxial cable that also provides TV service. In contrast to DSL, the quality of a cable connection does not depend on distance. Unlike DSL, however, your neighbors will be sharing the cable’s overall bandwidth. So depending on how many users are sharing the cable, peak time usage can result in a slower internet experience. The faster speeds of cable are reflected in the price; you should expect to pay more for cable service compared to DSL.

Fiber:
Provided by companies such as AT&T, Qwest and Verizon, fiber optic offers many advantages over conventional copper and cable services. It is able to transmit data much faster over greater distances. Because the cable is smaller in diameter, weighs less and is stronger, it makes an ideal alternative for a wide variety of cabling solutions. Since the conductor is glass and cannot generate electricity, fiber is immune to all sorts of Fiberinterference. This means that it can come in direct contact with high-voltage electrical equipment, power lines and lightning, all while still putting out a superior performance. Fiber optic service is the most expensive of the three options although it is becoming competitive with cable as the technology matures and fiber service becomes more available. That said, fiber is still only available in a few markets, so there is no guarantee that you will be able to find it.

Summary:
For many businesses, simply increasing your current bandwidth can fix day-to-day slow-down issues. But for some, your needs may have exceeded the platform’s capabilities. In that case, an investment in a more robust solution may be required. Assuming all are available, choosing between cable, DSL and fiber depends on your needs and budget. If you have limited bandwidth requirements, DSL is probably the best option. This allows you to use the net at quality speeds without breaking the bank for it. The growing availability of Fiber is providing the fastest possible speeds  to a wider audience then ever before. Cable is a tried and true solution providing super-fast connections at reasonable prices.

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.

Computer Robot

I Thought You’d Never Ask. Whats a Bot?

Internet Bots, What are they really?

The term “bot” comes from the word robot. An Internet bot may also be known as a Web robot or WWW robot. But what do they do really and are they good or bad?

Simply put, An Internet bot, is software that performs automated tasks (scripts) over the Internet. Typically, bots perform tasks that are simple and structurally repetitive, at a much higher rate than would be possible for a human alone. Bots can be used forRobots productive tasks, but they are also frequently used for malicious purposes.

The largest use of bots is in web spidering (web crawler), in which an automated script fetches, analyzes and files information from web servers at many times the speed of a human. More than half of all web traffic is the result of these spider bots. This is how search engines like Google and Yahoo get the information needed to provide results for your search queries.

Chat Bots attempt to provide a lifelike simulation of a human on the other end of your chat session. These are benefiting greatly from the advances in Artificial Intelligence software. These are beneficial in that they can handle a great deal of the level one customer service inquiries a company receives.

RobotMalicious bots are typically involved in identity theft and denial of service attacks. blended threats that come as part virus/worm, part bot and are used in identity theft or to launch denial of service attacks. Especially if multiple bots are coordinated into a botnet, which is a grouping of computers that are all infected with a malicious bot which work together to infect or attack other computers.

Other malicious uses involve bots that harvest email addresses for spam, scrape content or manipulate comments/votes on sites that allow user feedback.
A gray area also exists where bots are used by websites to promote shopping deals. In such cases, a bot will perform much like a search engine spider to index information about products on the Web. Some e-commerce sites take steps to ban shopping bots of this type, while their creators feel that they are simply providing a better service to their own users.

Regardless of their intention, Bots are here to stay and will continue to become more intelligent and impactful. Knowing that they are out there, having good malware/antivirus protection and how they present themselves in your web browsing can limit any negative impact.

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.

Airplane Panel

Flying Without Instruments? A Guest Blog

Airplane
No business should operate without routine IT system “Check Ups.”  This is highly advisable since so many companies are getting mixed results from their Managed Services Providers (“MSP’s”) – and don’t even know it.  Over 80% of the clients ProviDyn added in the past year were unaware of the following “red flags” uncovered by our network engineers during the onboarding process:

#1 – BACK UP & DISASTER RECOVERY FAILURES

Major data loss can threaten the survival of a business. And not having a recent backup can increase vulnerability to ransomware scams.

#2 – SERVERS NOT BEING PACTHED OR MAINTAINED     

This affects system-wide operational performance, user productivity and data security – and pertains to premise-based servers as well as cloud applications.

#3 – LACK OF DOCUMENTATION/BUSINESS CONTINUITY PLANNING

Every organization needs a digital blueprint of all technology assets and relationships spanning hardware, software, cloud services, contracts, licenses, encrypted passwords and network architecture. Having an updated and portable service catalogue is the ultimate business continuity plan. Think of it as a personal medical record for your organization.

Even worse, each onboarding scenario was also lacking a system of verification which suggests a number of companies with professional IT support resources are still “flying without instruments.” All of which puts assets at risk and opens the door for liability including but not limited to performance limitations, data breaches and compliance violations.

Two other trends are rampant in the small and mid-sized business space:

#1 – ONE PERSON AS THE POINT OF CONTACT

Having one person as the point of contact with your MSP – acting as an intermediary, managing all tickets and user support issues is risky. This affects user experience, productivity, morale and may limit the MSP’s ability to get direct visibility into serious system-wide problems brewing beneath the surface.

 #2 – NO INFORMATION LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT POLICY

Design a policy to cover the creation, application, transmission, storage, archival and disposal of data. The benefits are at least two-fold – One: a structured file access routine creates improved work flows for everyone. Two: Since 1 in 5 businesses get hacked into every year, all companies should know what they are trying to protect, understand relevant threats and have standard operating procedures around early detection and response.

For more information on “Check Up” options visit:
www.providyn.com

Jed Fearon
Jed Fearon
Providyn Solution Advisor
Managed IT Services and Cybersecurity
(404) 551-5492
Problem Solver

Is Your Current Telecom Solution Meeting Your Needs

Your company’s telecom solution is an important tool in providing the quality, value and support that customers expect when doing business with you. Is your current service up to this challenge? Here are some points to consider when you start to hear complaints about phone call drops and slow internet access.

Your Current Solution:

Are you experiencing slow internet response, garbled internet phone calls or internet video problems? This can result from more users on your internet connection or an increase in more internet intensive applications being used than were planned for.  The resulting customer and employee frustration can cost your business in sales and reputation.  A good first step is to audit your internet traffic to be sure that unauthorized traffic is not adversely impacting work related traffic, i.e. music or video services not related to work. How old is your network hardware? It may not be able to handle the level of internet traffic that your company is using now, i.e VoIP phone systems, video conferencing, data backups over the Internet and Cloud Computing. A competent IT technician can run the audit and call out ways to take better advantage of the Internet Service you already have.

Sometimes the solution isn’t an internal fix. If you are pushing your internet connection to its limits, increased bandwidth is the next step via a simple call to yourProblem Solver providers customer sales and service department. Before you commit though, service upgrades are always a good opportunity to negotiate better pricing. Check around with other service providers in your area and see what is available that will meet your needs, sometimes at a better price.

One more thing to consider when choosing to go with a new internet provider is the customer service side. Are you currently getting accurate billing? Is their customer service available and helpful? To avoid going from the frying pan into the fire, check around for other provider’s customer service reputation.

Planning your future:

As mentioned above, your company’s growth can have an impact on your internet bandwidth needs. If your marketing department is forecasting more sales, it is time to call a planning session with your management team to plan how the rest of the company will grow to meet the growth. If you’ll need to hire more employees, you’ll need more phones and use more internet bandwidth. Will you be expanding your internet presence through social media marketing, web sales, on-line customer support, etc? The all have bandwidth, hardware and software implications.

Emergency Preparedness:

From the construction crew cutting your communications line to natural disasters as evidenced by the recent hurricanes and wild fires, service outages will impact your business. More so as you get bigger.  By building redundancy into your telecommunications systems, you can limit the short term impact of these outages while you implement your business continuity plan if the outage is long enough. No plan is foolproof but implementing redundant internet connections, on-line back ups, Cloud VoIP,  and other off-site business services you can reduce the risk and limit the impact.

Understanding what your current telecom service agreement promises and making sure you are getting it requires an occasional review. More often if you feel that your internet is slow or erratic. A secondary concern is will your current provider be able to support your growth. That answer requires knowing which providers service your location and meeting with their sales teams. It is a time consuming effort and you’ll get a filtered sales presentation. Your other option is to engage with a Telecom broker that will identify your needs and provide you with a list of providers along with their pricing in a much quicker timeframe.

For more information on what a telecom broker does, here is a link to a blog we wrote a while back regarding the benefits of using as telecom broker.

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.

I Thought You’d Never Ask – What is Omni-Channel Marketing?

Omni-Channel is a marketing strategy describing cross-channel communication tools that companies use to improve their customer’s experience. It includes channels such as physical locations, FAQ webpages, social media, live web chats, mobile applications and telephone communication. The approach has applications in Healthcare, Government, Financial Services, Retail and Telecommunications Industries. Proponents of the model contend that a customer values the ability to be in constant contact with a company through multiple avenues at the same 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 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.

Telephone Poles

In Case Of Disaster, Who Answers The Phone?

With all the interruptions being caused by the recent hurricanes, we wanted to cover a telecom solution that can support your business during and after an event that affects your site(s). The solution could be Hosted VoIP PBX.Flooded Telephone Booth

Hosted VoIP PBX is a software based telecom solution that moves your telephone service to a remote secure data center instead of your office. Hosted VoIP has a lot of advantages over regular phone service or even a premise based VoIP PBX. Some benefits are:

  • It’s a cost-effective way for smaller businesses to get rich VoIP functionality
  • Minimal IT involvement is needed to get it up and running
  • Web based access makes it easy to administer features and manage the system
  • Scales easily as a business grows
  • Easy to set up additional extensions or off-site phones
  • Built in business continuity plan in case of a telecom outage impacting your business site.

The last bullet item is the benefit that we hope we don’t need but are glad we have when we do. In the case where a localized incident impacts your business, i.e. fire, flood, power outage, having a hosted PBX service will allow your Auto Attendant service to keep working. It also allows calls to be forwarded to interim work sites while your usual work location is out of commission. This is all seamless to your customer.

As with any software service, VoIP’s evolution is driven by user needs and technology advancements. It is becoming more reliable and gaining greater acceptance. In fact, phone companies are already taking advantage of the technology to offer cheaper long distance rates.

It is definitely a solution worth looking into so that you are protected against any business impacting incidents.

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.

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.

Hurricane Irma Track

Hurricane Preparedness – Ideas for You

We are based out of Atlanta Ga and watching the tracking maps and predictions for Hurricane Irma closely. We are hoping that Irma loses strength by the time it gets here. Even if it does, there will probably still be a lot of rain with whatever we get.

Atlanta doesn’t have as much concrete to block the rain from soaking in as Huston does but the lower parts of town do flood when the rain gets heavy. Instead of worrying about something that may happen, we are preparing for what could happen.

Time is short if you are in the path of Irma, but if you are, here are a few tips that you can do in the few days left until the storm hits.

Plan on the power going out. Make sure you have flashlights for everyone in your group. A headlamp for everyone is a good idea. Consider collar lights for your pets too. LED lights use less power than the old incandescent bulbs. Make sure you stock up on enough of the right batteries. Purchase a few table top lanterns because they light up a whole room better than a flashlight can.

Stock up on non perishable food. Fill up your propane tanks in case you have an electric stove and/or water heater and want a hot meal. Which reminds me, make sure you know where all your shutoff valves are and the tools you’ll need to turn them off and on with.  Gas, Electric and Water come to mind.

If you are able to stay in place, fill up all as many jugs and bottles as you can find while you have clean water. To avoid having to stand in line for bottled water, get a water purifier similar to this. Split and mark your water jugs for unclean and post purified clean water. You don’t want to make the mistake of putting clean water into a jug that had dirty water in it earlier.

If you are not a camper, now might be a good time to visit your local camping store or online 

Red Cross Shelter

shop. What is camping but trying to live comfortably without all the comforts of home, like a roof, clean water and electricity.

If you have to leave your home, everyone else probably does too. You should have enough tents, sleeping bags and air mattresses for everyone in your group in case hotels and shelters fill up.

Next is a camp stove (and plenty of fuel), pots, plates and flatware. I like my Snow Peak LiteMax Stove because it doesn’t take up much room in my bag. Depending on the size of your group and how mobile you have to be, a bigger stove may serve you better.

Make sure you have enough medicines and toiletry items to last you a couple of weeks. If you have an electric toothbrush, you might want to get a manual one in case you can’t recharge. Grab as many individual wet naps as you can. They are magic when water levels don’t allow for showers.

Do you have a radio? In the age of Pandora and Spotify, many don’t. Don’t count on internet access let alone wi-fi.

Get to know your neighbors. Find out where shelters and aid stations are planned to be set up before you need to go to them. Fill your car with gas. Tune to the news and get out if emergency teams tell you to.

I know it is a little late for this information and probably not expected from a Telecom Broker your safety is more important than your bandwidth.

I am not a spokesman for REI, they were just my go to store for outdoor gear when I lived in Seattle.

Good Luck!!!

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.

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.

Demarcation Point Image

Jargon Busting…What is a demarcation point?

In telephony terms, the demarcation point is where the public telecom services (telephone, cable, fiber, etc) connects with the customer’s on-premise wiring. In most situations, it is the dividing line which determines who is responsible for installation and maintenance of wiring and equipment; the customer/subscriber, or telephone company/provider.

Demarcation ClosetThe Demarcation point is usually in a separate room or closet from the customer’s office space or server/network room to limit the telecom service technician traffic to these areas. At the very least it should be in a locked, limited access location.

It is commonly abbreviated as demarc, DMARC. Some sort of network device, such as a router, switch or patch panel, often serves as the demarcation point.

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.

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.

 

Georgia Relay – Supporting Communication for the Communication Impaired

Teledata Select is spreading the word about the Georgia Replay Project.

Georgia Relay is a FREE public service provided by the State of Georgia to make communicating by telephone easy, accessible and reliable for everyone, including people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deaf-blind or have difficulty speaking.

For more information, Contact Georgia Relay

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.  Contact us for a detailed discussion of your specific business technology needs.

Are You Being Crammed?

The FCC defines Cramming as “the illegal act of placing unauthorized charges on your wireline, wireless, or bundled services telephone bill. The FCC has estimated that cramming has harmed tens of millions of American households”. In the just the years of  2014 and 2015, the FCC, and other federal and state regulators, brought action against the nation’s four largest wireless companies for billing millions of dollars in unauthorized third-party premium text messaging services. These “cramming” cases resulted in a total of $353 million in penalties and restitution.

Cramming is a crime of opportunity. As telecom service bills get more and more detailed and loaded with third party billing, additional fees, taxes and charges, it has become easy to insert unauthorized or unscrupulous charges.

The FCC recommends a detailed review of your monthly bill to make sure that every line item is valid and agreed to by contract.

The FCC has provided an informational web page on how to avoid or at least identify cramming. Linked HERE.

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.  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.

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.

 

contact us

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.

A look at Premise and Hosted PBX Solutions

When it comes to business telecommunications, there can be no doubt that there is a lot of information and many options out there. Figuring out what kind of phone system is right for your business can be difficult and even frustrating. Vendors can’t be counted on to provide unbiased advice as to what solution is best for your situation.

The first decision on the road to an effective and efficient telecom solution is whether to go with a cloud based Hosted IP PBX vs. a premise based phone system. We have put together this objective overview of the pros and cons of each.

Hosted PBX (Hosted VoIP) Systems

With Hosted PBX, the phone system server resides in the provider’s data center instead of your office. Voice and data traffic is routed to the data center over the company’s internet service.

Pros:

  • Cost-effective way for smaller businesses to get rich VoIP functionality
  • Minimal IT involvement needed to install solution
  • Easy, online access to administer features, manage the system, and add/delete users
  • Scales easily in small businesses
  • Easy to set up additional extensions or off-site phones
  • Built in Business Continuity plan in case of telecom outage impacting your business site.

Cons:

  • System improvements and upgrades are performed on the provider’s schedule and may not be available when you want or need them
  • Internet service may need to be expanded to support the increased bandwidth requirements of VOIP.
  • Hosted PBX service is a relatively new industry. Many providers are start ups, so you’ll need to evaluate the risk that they’ll go out of business or consolidate with another vendor

Premise-Based PBX/VoIP Systems
Premise-based PBX and VoIP systems are solutions where the equipment – including phone system servers, cabling and routers, are installed and maintained locally at your company’s place of business.

Pros:

  • Systems and applications can be customized to your business needs and requirements
  • Internal IT staff can make updates and changes to the system on the fly
  • Ongoing Vendor technology updates available to meet emerging business needs

Cons:

  • Upfront capital expenditure can be substantial
  • Added expense of PBX trained IT personnel or professional services for configuration support
  • Repairs, replacement costs, upgrades, and updates can be hefty expenses if not included in a maintenance contract
  • IT Hardware is a depreciating capital investment. Capital that may be better used to generate positive cash flow elsewhere

Knowing the Pros and Cons of a solution doesn’t really help make a decision though. It is important to frame them within the environment that a business exists in. Teledata Select has a process to turn the Pros and Cons into a recommendation for our customers.

The first step is understanding their current telephone system and how is it being used. Number of Users, Bandwidth Usage, Monthly Cost. How well it is meeting the demands of the business.

The next step is understanding what the company wants to get out of the system. What is the company’s growth plan? Are there any new projects planned or in process that will impact their Telecom Systems?

The third step is our analysis of all this information and comparing it against the solutions that are available in the marketplace. Complete with pricing.

Finally, we apply our experience with all the vendors that can supply the needed services to make sure that service after the sale is top notch. Because sometimes the lowest bid will cost you more in time, money and headaches over the long term.

Obviously, this is a high level view of the recommendation process but we wanted to let you see under the covers a little bit to see what Teledata Select does to make sure you are getting the right solution at the right price.

Contact us for a more in-depth discussion of your situation.

SD-WAN, The right solution for you?

We are back from the 2017 Channel Partner Expo and Conference in Las Vegas. Lots of buzz about SD-WAN (Software Defined, Wide Area Networks) and how SD-Wan can effectively replace traditional MPLS networks. Our experience with traditional network solutions is that they can be complex to manage, generally don’t scale quickly and are not always the best value. But we have to work with what’s available. Now there is another option, SD-WAN technology is a rapidly maturing technology that is garnering vendor support from major companies like Cisco, Riverbed and SilverPeak.

 

A few highlight of how SD-WAN can be a good fit.

  • Seamless Failover – SD-WAN can combine 2 or more internet links to create enhanced bandwidth capacity for one or more locations.
  • Rapid Deployment – As a company grows, SD-WAN can be deployed rapidly without the longer install time line typical with MPLS.
  • Lower location costs – By using cloud based network management software, managing networks over multiple locations is much easier.
  • QOS over any network or internet connection – SD-WAN makes it possible to increase performance for mission critical applications like voice and video traffic.
  • Centralized WAN Management – SD-WAN uses cloud based network management software simplifying network management over multiple locations much easier.
  • Firewall & Router – One device can replace a firewall and router.
  • Cloud VPN – Network traffic can be encrypted from the branch site to the headquarters over the public internet.

Based on what we are seeing with the technology, SD-WAN is something worth considering. Especially if you are currently using an MPLS network design. Contact us to discuss how SD-WAN may meet your telecommunication needs.

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.

 

Back To Basics – Your Telecom System

One of Teledata Select’s goals is to be your Telecom IT resource as you make decisions on the future of your  telecommunication service. While we understand that office technology is not your core competency, it is helpful to have a basic understanding of how office telecommunications work in order to understand how to best put it to work for you.  To that end, here is a high level overview on modern office telecom technology.
That was then
We don’t have to go too far back into the good ol’ days to recall when a phone was a phone. Dial a number and the telephone company routed it through their offices based on the digits dialed. This is what is called POTS. Plain Old Telephone Service. A simple and reliable service that powered business (and home) communication for a very long time.  Add an answering machine and a Fax and you were on top of the world.
This is now
It would be an understatement to say that everything changed with the advent of the internet in the mid 90’s. While there are still reasons to have a POTS line, the Internet is really what powers Telecommunication now.
As long as your broadband connection is big enough, it can now effortlessly support phone calls, email, video conferencing, streaming content, messaging, file sharing. secure remote office connections. Bandwidth is only part of the solution though. The hardware and software needs to be in place to reliably, simply and securely support all the services that will use this bandwidth.
For example, making a typical phone call over the internet requires that the voice gets converted to a digital signal that then goes through network routers, switches and various other network devices before getting converted back to sound for the intended receiver. This is basically the same whether it is to call across the office or across the globe. The only real difference is how much hardware the call traverses and how the distance affects the sound quality.
As mentioned above, there are a lot of telecommunications applications available to businesses now. They also use a lot of bandwidth and require hardware sized to support the increased traffic. To support this, a business would need to budget for the initial build out of this infrastructure and the ongoing support and maintenance. The hard part is building scalability and support into the design and budget. An alternative to this build-out effort and expense is to use one of the many vendors that provide off site telecommunications services at a comparatively cheaper cost.
As a Telecom Service broker, Teledata Select has built strong relationships with these vendors and can be your agent in getting your business a telecommunication solution that meets your needs today and into the future. Contact us for more information or a free analysis of your telecom system.

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.

Here are some features that VoIP can bring to your business.

As mentioned in earlier posts, Voice over IP is rapidly becoming a required part of your office phone. Here are some features that VoIP is currently capable of providing:

Attendant – The attendant or sometimes referred to as the virtual assistant initially answers incoming calls with a custom greeting.  From there callers can choose options for departments, extensions or even prerecorded messages depending on how you choose to customize it for your business.  It eliminates the need for a receptionist and makes even the smallest business big.

Extensions – Having multiple extensions allows calls to be routed to people, message extensions, or even mailbox only extensions.  Virtual extensions are extensions that may not have a physical endpoint or phone connected to them but do take calls, like a message extension where callers get to listen to specialized pre-recorded messages and no one actually answers the call.  Calls between extensions, even remote locations are typically free saving call charges for many businesses.

Follow Me –  Also sometimes called Find me – Follow me, a phone call uses a list of numbers to try so that you never miss a call.  Some VoIP systems are becoming so sophisticated that when you’re at your office desk the calls will automatically go there and when you leave will go to your cell phone without you having to do anything.

Inbound Faxing – Faxes can be received by the hosted PBX system and then sent to the user via email, usually as a PDF attachment.  The server detects the inbound fax and will automatically know it is a fax.  Your phone number also becomes your fax number.

Call Recording – Recording a call can be accomplished by the click of a mouse, eliminating the need to have to set up something prior to the need.  Once recorded these messages are stored with specific details for later retrieval.

Music or Message on Hold – MOH offers the professionalism that most businesses strive for.  Using a professional service for recordings can make your messages stand out and deliver new business.

Conference – Built in conference features allow users to join in on a conference call any time without the hassle of having to make specific arrangements in advance.  Whether you want 3, 4 or more callers all together, it’s easy with an included conference.

Call Scheduling – Sometimes referred to as time based routing, call scheduling allows you to set specific call routing rules for certain times, whether that is weekends, nights or holidays.

Call Queue – Allowing calls to wait for an available agent, a call queue is a like a phone waiting room.  Announcements can usually be set to tell a caller their position or wait time.

Administration Control Panel – A web based interface where your system can be configured, user and account information administered, and call detail logs be viewed.  A control panel that is intuitive and user friendly goes a long way in making a complete system usable and a good bargain.

Visual Voicemail – View, play and read your voicemail and fax messages directly in your inbox. Combines Voicemail to Email which allows you to receive voicemails and faxes as email attachments and Voicemail Transcription which sends your voicemails transcribed as emails to your inbox. Faxes are included as PDF attachments.

Call Screening – Require that anonymous callers provide a name before being forwarded to an extension. Call receiver can decide to answer or forward to voicemail.

Third-Party Integrations – Major cloud software tools like Microsoft, Google at Work, Skype, Dropbox, Box, Tenfold, Zendesk, WebEx and more have built and continue to build integrations with business VoIP services to enable them to work together smoothly. Some business VoIP services integrate with customer relationship management (CRM) tools like Salesforce, Act, Zoho, etc. This integration can cause inbound calls to pull up customer records automatically, or let you enter notes during calls. This makes it much easier to log calls with prospects and clients, which leads to better sales processes and higher close rates.

This is a short list. New VoIP features are always on the horizon. Since VoIP is software based, you are only limited by your internet bandwidth and what your VoIP provider offers.

Contact us to learn more about available VoIP features and which ones will benefit your business.

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.

 

 

I thought you’d never ask. What is Network Resilience?

In computer networking terms, resilience is the ability to provide and maintain an acceptable level of service in the face of faults and challenges to normal operation. Threats and challenges to services can range from simple misconfigurations to natural disasters. This includes cyber attacks. The services covered by this definition include, but not limited to,

  • supporting distributed processing
  • supporting network storage
  • maintaining service of communication services such as
    • video conferencing
    • instant messaging
    • online collaboration
  • access to applications and data as needed

Resiliency is not a yes or no measurement. It is a target that is worked towards by means of understanding tolerance for degraded network performance. Then designing solutions and investing capital to implement the solutions.

Keeping your Business up and Running

 

I can’t think of any businesses these days that don’t have some technological footprint. Cloud computing, mobility and consumerization of IT make it affordable for small businesses to deploy systems that were once reserved for large scale enterprise.  With ready access to small business technology, there is also more reliance on these core systems.  Small businesses are also targets of cyber attack because they may be perceived as more vulnerable and less vigilant.  Also, small businesses may be less resilient to business disruption related to systems failure.  To that end, Small Businesses should take every precaution to protect their applications and their data.  They should also properly assess their risks and exposure to ensure their IT budgets are allocated appropriately.

What can small businesses do to make sure their systems support the ongoing operations with minimal interruption? Three words…. Preparation, Preparation, Preparation.

Technology Inventory

A good place to start is to take inventory of your systems and data.  It is good policy to document all of your IT assets including hardware, networking devices, application software and data so you can have a complete view of your IT Systems.  Make sure you include mobile devices, cloud computing or software as a service (SaaS) systems, as well as, custom applications and legacy systems.

Technology Risk Assessment

A technology risk assessment shows where a company is vulnerable to a data breach. It focuses on types of data and how it is accessed, software versions in place and how updates are installed. After taking inventory, evaluation, a report showing the likelihood and impact of any identified risk. This is an important tool in assisting companies in budgeting efforts to lower the impact of an event. A good risk assessment identifies as many possible business impacting events which feeds into the Disaster Recovery and Business Recovery plans.

Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC)

Disaster Recovery is the effort to get a company back to full operations after an incident that fully or partially negatively impacts those operations. Causes can include a power outage, severe weather, cyber attack or data loss. An often overlooked part of a DR plan includes criteria for when to activate it and internal and external communication plans.

BC on the other hand, are the policies and procedure that go into effect after a disaster event is called and carry the business until the DR plan can be worked and normal business operations are restored.

Teledata Select has experience in performing your technical risk assessment and can work work with you to build your DR and BC plans.

Contact us for more information.

I thought You’d Never Ask. What is Unified Communication?

Unified communications (UC) is not necessarily a single product, but a set of products that are interconnected via the intra and internet to provide a consistent unified user interface and user experience. Some of the office communication tools that can be integrated under UC are:

Telecom Service Providers are now providing the infrastructure for UC functionality in the cloud. It is called Unified Communications as a Service. (UcaaS). It eliminates the capital and support costs to a business by providing it as a subscription service. All you need is bandwidth, IP phones and conferencing equipment.

Contact us to see if UC is right for you.

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.

VOIP Phone

I thought you’d never ask. What is Telecommunications?

Teledata Select is in the Telecom business. We help businesses understand their current Telecom usage and future needs, Then we negotiate with the various Telecom service providers to get the business the right Telecom solution at the right price.

Whew! That’s a lot of Telecom. I thought it would be a good idea to define what we mean by the term.

According to Merriam-Websters, Telecommunications is the technology of sending and receiving signals, images, etc., over long distances by telephone, television, satellite, etc. 

That is just a tip of the iceberg on what Telecommunications really is. In reality Telecom encompasses any tool and technology that enables the exchange of information by electronic means and refers to all types of voice, data and video transmission. These transmitting technologies include telephones (wired and wireless), microwave communications, fiber optics, satellites, radio and television broadcasting, the internet and telegraphs.

The technology is changing and changing rapidly. As Telecom Service Consultants, we stay ahead of the changes, evaluate the good from the bad and are in constant contact with the Telecom providers to get you the communication solution(s) in place to support your specific needs at the lowest possible price.

Contact us for more information.

Starting to Consider VoIP? Here is where to begin

Have you been considering upgrading your company’s phone system to the latest and greatest technology, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)? Are you looking to reduce your telecom budget? This post is for you.

First, let’s define what VoIP is.

In its simplest form, VoIP is a method for converting analog audio signals
,like what you hear when you speak on the phone, into digital data that can be transmitted over the Internet and translated back to sound on the receiver’s end.

Main advantages of VoIP

  • VoIP offers long-distance call savings over traditional phone service. By converting a caller’s voice to data and transferring it over the Internet to a VoIP phone on the other end, companies with multiple sites can avoid traditional phone lines and the long-distance charges that come with them. Companies can call to Long Distance non VoIP users for a fraction of a land line cost.
  • VoIP service can be easily and quickly scaled up and down as needs change.
  • Beyond cost savings, VoIP allows for a whole host of functionality beyond phone service. Commonly used VoIP features available today are video conferencing, file sharing, remote offices appearing as local.
  • Competition amongst the various VoIP service providers is strong allowing you to get the best possible deal that meets your needs.
Some Issues with VoIP
Keeping with Teledata Select’s reputation as an unbiased solution provider, it is appropriate to list some of the problems that VoIP users have experienced?
  • As with any new technology, early adopters of VoIP experienced some pain on the cutting edge. Call quality was the main complaint. Over time, bandwidth capacity and call routing efficiencies have increased to where this rarely an issue. Understand your internet usage to determine what you need to have in place to get the professional sounding phone service you deserve.
  • 911 Emergency service was designed long before internet calling was an option. As such, it wasn’t able to provide automated location information when the call comes in from the internet. Much time and money has been invested in meeting the federally mandated requirement to provide 911 services to VoIP users. Some companies have solved this issue better than others so research before signing up.
  •  A current issue with VoIP services is, without proper preparation, a power outage can take down your phone system. A robust battery backup solution can support your telecom services until the power comes back on. VoIP providers also provide a solution that allows calls to be routed to another backup data connection or preset number so calls can still be answered at a  remote call center, voice mail or the companies auto attendant.
  • Another thing to consider is if your premise security monitoring services will work with the VoIP providers you are considering.   Most VoIP providers can supply an ATA (Analog Telephone Adaptor) to support faxing or other devices. However, it is common for a business to still keep one or two basic analog copper phone lines to support old technology and insure a basic telephone service in case of an outage.

 

Teledata Selects has built relationships with the many Business Telecom vendors. We can quickly review your needs and compare them against what is available to negotiate the best price for you. A service that comes at no cost you you!!!

Contact us for more information

 

I thought you’d never ask, What is QOS?

The first in an ongoing  series of jargon busting posts shining light on the meaning behind the tech speak.

QoS

Quality of Service (QoS) for networks is an industry-wide set of standards and mechanisms for ensuring high-quality performance of critical applications. It is focused on using existing resources more efficiently to meet agreed service levels without expanding or over provisioning their networks.

The Windstream Earthlink Merger is Approved

Have you seen the news report that the Windstream and Earthlink merger was approved?    From the press release the merger will leverage both company’s infrastructures to strengthen their competitiveness and provide a better feature set to their customers.

That is all well and good but we have been through mergers before and they can be a very bumpy ride for customers when calling the support desk.    Many times what happens is you call the company only to be transferred to another agent because the agent you called does not have access to your account.   You then get transferred to another agent and you then have to explain your situation again or your call gets dropped and you have to start the entire process over again which really eats into your day.   If your lucky, you will finally get ahold of someone that can help. 

Mergers in Telecom are challenging.   Just recently XO was bought by Verizon Telecom, we also saw Level3 purchase TW Telecom.  Avaya a PBX phone system manufactures filled Chapter 11 bankruptcy and now Windstream merges with Earthlink?   So while the merger sounds good, you need to watch out for the pitfalls and challenges a merger can bring to your day to day telecom account.   It always helps to have a trusted advocate and resource.   

I am confident we’ll see more and more mergers in the coming years especially with premises based PBX phone providers and hosted cloud based VoIP providers.  

 TeleData Select is an independent telecom agent and consulting company based in Atlanta, GA.   WE help companies in three Primary areas:  Finding the best business internet service at the best price, Finding the best VoIP phone service and the third is we project manage everything so our customer do not have to deal with telecom “Stuff”  

 What makes us unique from other companies in the industry is that our 1) Experience allows for an unbiased objective analysis of options. 2) We provide comprehensive telecom bill audits.  3)  Our 7 step quality management process insures that deliverables and timelines are met. 4)  We validate our customer bills to make sure they are compliant with the carrier agreements and most importantly 5)  In the real-world things don’t always work as planned.  Should that happen, our team is always available as your one point of contact to streamline communications among all parties to get you up and running as quickly as possible. 

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.

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