You know that Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) provides a solid communications platform for your business — so solid that you might not think about upgrading. It is true that older versions of CUCM will continue to meet basic business needs for many years. However, organizations that put off upgrades are missing out on numerous financial and operational benefits.
Cisco recently released CUCM 9.0, building upon the voice and video enhancements in version 8.6 with a number of exciting features. If you are several releases behind, you have even more to gain by upgrading. Here are nine factors you should consider:
- Presence. CUCM 9.0 is tightly integrated with Cisco Jabber, a unified communications application that brings together presence, instant messaging (IM), desktop sharing, conferencing and other features into a single, consistent experience across devices. Presence provides a simple way for mobile workers to easily and securely find the right people, to see if and on what device they are available, and to collaborate using their preferred method or device.
- Mobility Features. CUCM 9.0 also provides a consistent mobile experience across both Voice over IP (VoIP) and cellular modes, enabling users to communicate from anywhere and allowing organizations to control telecommunications costs. “Single number reach” improves accessibility and allows organizations to rightsize the number of IP desk phones.
- Simplified Reach-abiliity. The Directory Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) dialing feature in CUCM 9.0 allows users to dial using email addresses, improving productivity by making it easier for users to connect.
- Videoconferencing on the Go. CUCM 9.0 delivers videoconferences over both Wi-Fi and cellular, enabling users to move videoconferencing sessions between mobile and desk phones.
- Advanced Phone Sets. By upgrading from older versions of CUCM, customers can take advantage of Cisco Unified IP Phones with high-resolution color displays and productivity-enhancing features. CUCM 9.0 provides even greater flexibility and choice through interoperability with a variety of third-party endpoints.
- Call Queuing. Native queuing functionality and hunt groups provide more granular control over hold times, announcements, Music on Hold, and other telephony features.
- Platform Enhancements. CUCM 9.0 builds upon Cisco’s virtualization strategy by providing higher density per CUCM virtual machine. It also centralizes software version management and enables remote upgrades.
- Simplified Licensing. Licensing for CUCM 9.0 is based upon user profiles, and license usage and reporting are simplified. The new Enterprise License Manager centralizes license management and provides an at-a-glance view of compliance.
- Continued Product Support. Cisco no longer supports products five years after they reach end of life. Several older versions of CUCM are both end of life and end of support, creating risk for customers that continue to rely upon these products. Customers can eliminate that risk by upgrading to CUCM 9.0 now.
Those are just a few of the features and benefits of CUCM 9.0. With enhanced support for today’s mobile workforce and functionality that improves productivity, collaboration and customer interaction, CUCM 9.0 enables customers to gain competitive advantage while reducing complexity and risk.
Real-World, Nitty Gritty Benefits
The business value of managed services is clear and tangible. It has more to do with real-world benefits than speeds and feeds or code or blinking lights in the data center. In other words, the benefits are business driven, rather than technology driven
Offload Complex & Time-Consuming IT Tasks
Too much of IT is needlessly complex and time-consuming to maintain. Effective managed services can help a CFO drive his or her business forward by offloading tactical, day-to-day tasks from the IT staff and freeing IT’s time for strategic projects that align technology with the organization’s business goals.
Through managed services, CFOs can realize hard dollar savings by avoiding a new hire or not replacing an employee who is leaving the organization. The following links provide more evidence for the value of managed services.
Ten years ago when I talked about security and the risk of being compromised, a lot of my customers would roll their eyes.
“Hey, my organization is too small, too simple. We’re not Microsoft,” they’d say. “Who would want to attack us?”
You can’t find people anymore with that type of reaction. One of the most interesting and useful sets of data on actual breaches comes from Verizon.
You can sign up now to receive the Verizon “2013 data Breach Investigations Report”
The Verizon report, one of the most structured and insightful analyses available, has added data from another 19 breach response organizations. The new organizations are: CERT Insider Threat Center (of Carnegie Mellon University); Consortium for Cybersecurity Action; Danish Ministry of Defence, Center for Cybersecurity; Danish National Police, NITES (National IT Investigation Section); Deloitte; Electricity Sector Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ES-ISAC); European Cyber Crime Center (EC3); G-C Partners, LLC; Guardia Civil (Civil Guard of Spain); Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT); Malaysia Computer Emergency Response Team (MyCERT); CyberSecurity Malaysia; National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC); ThreatSim; and the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT).
Press Release Cerium Express
KENT, WA— March 4, 2013 - Cerium Networks, Inc, a leading integrator of unified communications announced today the launch of Cerium Express; a new business division specifically focused on the needs of small business.
Recognizing that small business sometimes lacks the resources and dedicated staff of their larger counterparts, Cerium Networks developed Cerium Express. "Small and medium-sized businesses in the Puget Sound region could use help in order to stay competitive and thrive." says Cameron DeMile, Managing Director of Cerium Express. "Many look toward unified communication expertise and products to better manage their business, but are short on options. Now, with Cerium Express, these companies can benefit from the best of both worlds: Cerium’s enterprise business experience combined with a dedicated team that understands the needs of small business customers.”
As an Avaya Platinum BusinessPartner, Cerium Networks, and the Cerium Express division, will design and sell Avaya small business, data networking and video communications solutions. Cerium is also authorized to implement and/or maintain these systems to organizations.
Platinum BusinessPartner status is the highest accreditation for an Avaya business partner. It is only awarded to partners who exceed Avaya's demanding assessment criteria across a number of key areas, including technical capability, customer service support, business revenue targets, professional certification and marketing.
DeMile concludes: “Cerium Networks has proved to be more than a match for handling hundreds of complex, business-focused implementations. With over a decade of providing technology solutions to mid-market and enterprise companies, we are looking forward to extending this invaluable experience to our Cerium Express customers to help them achieve their business objectives. "
“We see significant growth opportunities in the small and mid-sized business market, and we applaud Cerium for launching their new division – Cerium Express – to specifically address the needs of this growing segment. Cerium is a valued Avaya Connect partner with a noteworthy track record of delivering unified communications solutions. We look forward to having the new Cerium Express division serving the needs of small and mid-sized businesses and extending Avaya’s communications and collaboration capabilities to this market,” said Karl Soderlund, Vice-President, Americas Channel Sales for Avaya.
Cerium Express plans to focus their attention to the needs of the small business within the greater Puget Sound area in 2013, with plans to extend that support to Portland and other northwest areas in 2014.
The world is quickly evolving, and the influx of modern technology is proof of this. Computers and their devices have become ‘consumerized’; not just machinery to be made use of in the office but a must have for every individual living in the modern world. From iPhones and iPads to tablets and other tech gadgets, the chances are that your employees each own at least one smart device and that they are carrying them to work.
Many organizations in the past few years have felt the pressure being piled onto them by their employees to allow them to use these devices for their work, and many of them finally gave in, because they discovered a secret.
The BYOD revolution is actually good for business! Not only does it largely cut down costs in terms of hardware acquisition and maintenance by the business (the employees use their own devices after all), it also transforms the company’s workforce into a mobile one. The employees can work from anywhere they can carry their devices to (which, quite frankly, is everywhere) leading to enhanced productivity. And the employees are happy too. They can indulge in their iPad addiction while at the same time being productive.
But this does not mean that there are no concerns that come along with this scheme. For one, allowing employees to bring their own devices to work means providing the necessary bandwidth for them to work with these devices, and the bitter truth is these little devices can consume bandwidth at incredible rates. The smarter and faster the device, the more they use. And when you consider that most employees will not just bring only one device to the office, it is scary to realize that the company just might not be able to cope.
The security levels of these devices are not also always sufficient. And furthermore, as safe as they may be, the fact still remains that the more devices on your wireless networks, the more avenues of attack against it.
This does not mean that the scheme should be done away with completely though. Smart companies have devised strategies to maximize on the benefits of this scheme while at the same time reducing the levels of risk associated with it. Some of these strategies are outlined as follows:
- Choice of device
The type of device that the employees can bring to the office should be defined. You can do this too by looking at your employees’ preferences in terms of the devices they bring and running checks on the security and bandwidth requirements to come up with a rule on the type of devices allowed.
- Policies, policies, policies!
Policies on the acceptable use of devices, privacy policies on the kind of activities the IT department is to monitor, policies on the number of devices allowable per individual; such policies are what will keep your company afloat and thriving even as you embrace the revolution.
Take time to come up with clear and comprehensive policies on these areas and communicate the same to your employees. Make sure there is a liability attached to those who disregard and go against such policies. However, make sure that they are flexible enough to adapt to the changing technological environment.
- BYOD management solutions
Invest in solutions such as app development for the different types of devices that will be brought to work, security enhancement, and even training on the use of the newer devices on the market.
With the right approach, a BYOD scheme should be a great blessing to your organization, working to enhance your operations in every way.
The world is becoming increasingly mobile and businesses are feeling the impact. Ten years ago all corporate technology was procured, provisioned, and managed by the IT department. However, as people became more technically savvy and consumer technology companies started to get more competitive with one another, more and more companies are facing the challenge of users who want to bring their own device to work.
Although many organizations do not have formal Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies, consumer technologies are alive and rampant in the workplace. Organizations must respond by making it easy for people to stay in touch on any device and from any location—all while ensuring employees have access to the same corporate enterprise tools and communications experience, regardless of whether they’re working from a home office, airport, hotel, or formal business location. In fact, a recent survey by CIO magazine conducted in July and August, 2011 twenty-four percent of the 476 technology decision-makers surveyed currently encourage employees to buy and bring your own device to use at work (BYOD) while 46 percent will encourage employees to do so in the next 12 to 18 months.
Three great examples of this are the Iphone, which, in less than three years, went mainstream in more than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies; Android business users reached 3 million in less than two years,; and in less than a year, tablets have gone from newbie to necessity among technologists and mainstream buyers alike. Furthermore, more than 3.4 billion mobile apps were downloaded in 2009, a significant number of which were related to business productivity.
The problem is that consumer devices are designed for use outside corporate walls, and work very well in those environments, but not so well in most corporate environments. Putting consumer-grade devices in the enterprise will put a new strain on the device and the supporting infrastructure. Enterprises that are not prepared for the tidal wave of wireless devices massing in the market place will not only fail to realize the benefits of the BYOD revolution, but their networks will be crippled.
A recent ZK Research survey reveals some interesting data points that support the push to BYOD:
- Only 14 percent of workers say they fear new technology. Mobile phones, the Web, and other technology have become integrated into the very fabric of our lives, so the majority of people today have no fear of new technology. In fact, much of the younger generation embraces new technology at a rate far faster than ever before.
- A staggering 49 percent of workers feel that their personal technology is better than what they have in the workplace. This perception will push workers to use consumer technologies faster than before.
- More than half — 54 percent of workers — feel they are more productive with access to home applications, and 83 percent are of the opinion they are more productive than two years ago. It’s difficult to quantify whether consumer devices and applications actually make workers more productive, but most users seem to feel they do. Workers want to be as productive as they can be, and organizations that do not allow the use of consumer technologies can stifle worker productivity.
- On average, workers use four consumer technologies as part of their business toolkit already, so BYOD is well underway. The mix of consumer technologies ranges from file sharing applications, to social networking tools, to smart phones to consumer chat. The current worker toolkit is more diverse and complex than ever before.
Organizations that support their mobile workers on PCs, smart phones, desk phones and tablets will keep costs in check, boost user productivity, deliver a consistent user experience, and maintain a single, manageable corporate identity for all end users. An integrated client can enable single-number reach and identity across all devices, unified voicemail, call hand-off, high-quality video, presence and chat, and integrated call logs and corporate directories. An integrated client also helps organizations effectively manage communications technology, while letting employees work from anywhere. It’s these organizations that understand that the world has gone mobile and that they need to make sure that their network can support it that will realize significant gains in productivity, sales and reduced overhead costs.
The fact that workers are manufacturing their own BYOD programs makes it essential for IT departments to develop their own as soon as possible. The real question is “Is your Organization ready?”