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Use Stickers to sell many years from now

When you sell a company something, will they still remember you 10 years from now? Is your contact still working there?

Chances are the answer is No.

Quick tip: when you sell any hardware, put a sticker with your company logo, address and a slogan on the back or bottom of the hardware. When someone picks up that old, broken phone a few years from now they will immediately see whom to contact for an upgrade or when requiring service.

Avaya introduces new 911 VoIP solution

Avaya introcudes a solution today designed to address the urgent need to upgrade outdated 911 systems. Avaya Public Safety Communications Solutions enable 911 centers to adopt the advanced communications technologies required to handle the growing number and types of communications coming from consumer technologies and streamline processes for faster, more effective responses to emergency calls. Avaya Public Safety Communications help ensure that a call for help will be answered – even in the face of broad scale environmental disasters. Continue reading Avaya introduces new 911 VoIP solution

How Interdependence can Boost Revenue during Slow Economy

Many solution providers like vars seem to struggle to keep up their revenue as their clients have less money to spend. This probably also goes for other types of business to business companies. What I hear often from vars is that their customers are postponing the so needed upgrade of their outdated phone system for example.

As revenue from the existing client base is going down, I see two obvious options:

  1. Grow your client base
  2. Find an alternative way to present your solution so that it makes financial sense to the current customer base

The first point, finding new clients, sounds pretty obvious but may be hard to accomplish as your fellow solution providers are trying to do the same. It is still very much worth the effort but you have to really come up with a unique selling point to distinct yourself from the competition.

The second point may seem even harder at first. When the capital expense of a new PBX phone system for example does not fit their budget, make it fit. Perhaps the customer is using an old technology and by presenting a phone system that can save them money on their telecom usage expense, it can suddenly start to make sense to upgrade. For example what if you present a VoIP based solution as SIP Trunking, if they had analogue phone lines until now this may be a significant cost saver. If they don’t have the capital, it may even still make financial sense to lease.

 

What does this have to do with Interdependence versus Independence?

It does not necessarily have anything to do with it but it may make things easier. Independence may be something that many business owners are actively perusing: becoming as independent as possible so that they have total control over their own business. They may fail to see the mutual benefit of interdependence.

Patrick Oborn, co-founder of Telarus, has written a great article about interdependence versus independence in regards to master agents. As we work with a lot of var partners, we found this to be an inspirational article and decided to show what interdependence can do for our var partners.

When a solution provider partners with a master agent, the relationship can only be truly successful if it is of mutual benefit. As with any relationship it is a two way street. Thus comes Interdependence, growing your business by growing each other’s business.

 

The relationship we are aiming for with our var partners is one of interdependense. We as carrier services consultants come across customers that have just ordered a new PRI circuit and they need a new PBX. Guess what, our var partner gets the opportunity. And that goes the other way as well: when our var partner has a client in need of a new T1 line, or any other carrier circuit – guess who he refers them to?

Besides sharing and referring leads between the interdependent companies (in this case the solution provider var and the carrier services consultant), the involved parties also grow their value proposition to the customer by offering a more complete solution. By partnering with a master agent, the var partner is able to offer carrier services without the hassle of dealing with all the carriers. The var partner grows their revenue this way, and he may be able to justify the new equipment purchase for his customer by comparing overall cost. The carrier consultant can even help by offering a circuit with a vendor that will amortize the equipment cost, so that there is less capital expense. And we as carrier services consultants are happy as well because this brings us more revenue.

 
True Interdependence is vital for a successful  business partnership, don’t shy away from it.

If you want to learn more about our carrier services or our var partner program, how to set up such an interdependent relationship etc. feel free to contact us.

Avaya Named Most Ethical Company Again

Avaya named most ethicalAvaya has been named to World’s Most Ethical Companies list for 2008 by The Ethisphere Institute. This marks the second consecutive year Avaya has been named to the annual listing which was initiated in 2007.
 
Ethisphere a think-tank dedicated to the research and promotion of profitable best practices in global governance, business ethics, compliance and corporate responsibility revealed the award at the Ethisphere and Forbes joint-conference, "Driving Profit through Ethical Leadership," held on June 3rd. The list of World’s Most Ethical companies will also be featured in the Q2 issue of Ethisphere Magazine.
 
Avaya was also named to Ethisphere Institute’s Best Overall Government Contractors Ethics Program earlier this year, ranking seventh out of more than 1000 companies analyzed by the Institute. 

"Adherence to the highest ethical standards is a key factor in Avaya’s core values," said Peter Liria, director, global ethics and compliance program, Avaya. "We communicate this with each employee on a regular basis – regardless of their title and role. It’s an honor to be recognized for our commitment for the second year in a row."

Researchers and analysts reviewed thousands of companies on six continents to determine the finalists using a rigorous, multi-step evaluation process. The 2008 World’s Most Ethical Companies methodology committee is comprised of leading attorneys, government officials, professors and leaders who care about ethical and honest business practices.
 
"We applaud Avaya. Avaya is among the companies honored this year because they have developed impressive and meaningful ethical business practices, making them true standouts within their industries," said Alexander Brigham, executive director of Ethisphere Institute.

"They go well beyond legal minimums, opting instead to bring about innovative ideas that contribute to the public well being. By their actions, they are forcing their competitors to follow suit, or fall behind and truly embodying the notion that ethical business practices are more profitable in the long run." 
 
Ethisphere analysts reviewed codes of ethics, litigation and regulatory infraction histories; evaluated investment in innovation and sustainable business practices; looked at companies’ activities to improve corporate citizenship; studied nominations from senior executives, industry peers, suppliers and customers; and worked with consumer action groups for feedback and rating.
 
The day-long conference, which featured Forbes editors and executives from world-renowned corporations, universities and ethics organizations, focused on ethical culture and leadership and highlighted companies’ experiences and ethical challenges, provided advice on preparing for ethical dilemmas and gave viewpoints from an investor’s perspective. The conference culminated with recognizing Ethisphere Magazine’s 2008 World’s Most Ethical Companies at an evening awards dinner.
 
About Avaya
Avaya delivers Intelligent Communications solutions that help companies transform their businesses to achieve marketplace advantage. More than one million businesses worldwide, including more than 90 percent of the FORTUNE 500®, use Avaya solutions for IP telephony, unified communications, contact centers and communications-enabled business processes. Avaya Global Services provide comprehensive service and support for companies, small to large. For more information, visit the Avaya Web site at http://www.avaya.com.
 
About Ethisphere Institute
The research-based Ethisphere Institute and associated membership group, the Ethisphere Council, are supported by more than 100 institutions and corporations, including Thomson West, the Practising Law Institute, the National Association of Corporate Directors, the Global Reporting Initiative, Corpedia and dozens of others.  The Institute is dedicated to the research, creation, and sharing of best practices in ethics, compliance, and corporate governance among its membership companies. It also focuses on the development and advancement of individuals on its membership council through increased efficiency, innovation, tools, mentoring, advice, and unique career opportunities. Ethisphere Magazine is the quarterly publication of the Institute. More information on membership can be found at http://www.ethisphere.com.
 
The Ethisphere Institute publishes the globally-recognized annual World Most Ethical Companies Ranking™ as well as the Government Contractor Ethics Program Ranking™ and the upcoming Global Anti-Corruption Quotient.

Automated Voice Response Savings

Nortel has set up new self-service voice capabilities for Nestlé Nespresso, the worldwide pioneer in premium portioned coffee and one of the fastest growing operating units of the Nestlé Group. By means of these new self-service voice capabilities, Nespresso is able to reduce customer waiting times and cut annual Customer Relationship Center costs by up to 16 percent. Customer Relationship Center is the name Nespresso uses for its contact center.

With Nortel’s automated speech recognition technology, Nespresso can now offer its customers faster response to their inquiries through an easy-to-use service hotline. Instead of being placed on hold to wait for the next available coffee specialist, customers can complete either all or part of their order through voice prompts. This results in reduced waiting times and leads to enhanced customer satisfaction. The voice system is multilingual in German, French and Italian and allows Nespresso to cut contact center costs by completing more calls with the same number of agents.

"At Nespresso, we aim for the highest quality in everything we do and part of that strategy is to ensure our customers can address their concerns and place their orders as fast and efficiently as possible. Our coffee specialists in the Relationship Centre in Sion handle more than 300,000 calls a year," said Marc-Alain Dubois, market director Switzerland, Nespresso. "With the new Nortel solution we can offer our customers a comprehensive personal service without long wait times even in peak periods. That is an important factor in driving the success of the Nespresso brand."

"Nortel has worked with Nespresso to meet its communications needs for many years, and again they turned to us when they were looking to increase productivity at their Customer Relationship Center and reduce operating costs," says Thomas Marfurt, country manager, Nortel Switzerland. "With Nortel´s self-service, voice response technology, we were able to design new communications capabilities for Nespresso that could be easily incorporated into their existing technologies to help them meet huge call volumes without employing more coffee specialist agents."

Nespresso has initially launched the new self-service voice capabilities for its 180-agent Customer Relationship Center near Lausanne, Switzerland, where nearly two-thirds of the incoming calls are answered in German, about one-third in French and the rest in Italian. The center relies on Nortel’s Media Processing Server (MPS) 500 speech recognition platform with high reliability through instantaneous back if any component fails. The system also uses Nortel Communication Server (CS) 1000 with intelligent, automatic routing to the most appropriate agent through Nortel’s Contact Center solution. Extension of the system to a number of additional international Customer Relationship Centers is currently being planned.

Nespresso has had a Nortel voice solution with over 300 TDM and VoIP phones in use for several years.

About Nestlé Nespresso SA
Nestlé Nespresso SA, the worldwide pioneer and market leader in highest-quality premium portioned coffee, introduced consumers to the very highest quality Grands Crus to be enjoyed in the comfort of their own homes, as well as to be savoured at locations outside the home, such as gourmet restaurants, upscale hotels, luxury outlets and offices. What transpired was the creation of the unique Nespresso trilogy, a unique combination of the world’s highest-quality Grands Crus coffees, smart and stylish coffee machines and exceptional customer service. The culmination of these three elements came to be known as the Nespresso Ultimate Coffee Experience. Headquartered in Paudex, Switzerland with more than 2,500 employees, Nestlé Nespresso SA sells products in more than 50 countries directly to its customers and at the end of 2007 operated more than 117 prestigious boutiques in key cities around the world. For the second year in a row, it was named the fastest growing company within the Nestlé Group and one of its "billionaire brands", having achieved a growth rate of more than 40 percent in 2007. For more information, visit
www.nespresso.com**.

About Nortel
Nortel is a recognized leader in delivering communications capabilities that make the promise of Business Made Simple a reality for our customers. Our next-generation technologies, for both service provider and enterprise networks, support multimedia and business-critical applications. Nortel’s technologies are designed to help eliminate today’s barriers to efficiency, speed and performance by simplifying networks and connecting people to the information they need, when they need it. Nortel does business in more than 150 countries around the world. For more information, visit Nortel on the Web at
www.nortel.com. For the latest Nortel news, visit www.nortel.com/news.

MegaPath Wireless Broadband expansion

megapathMegaPath announced the expansion of its MegaPath Wireless Broadband, providing customers with Wireless Back-up capabilities in the event of a network outage, as well as a Quick Start option that enables customers to leverage the wireless network while awaiting their physical broadband network to be provisioned.

“Just as we are seeing enormous growth in wireless applications for consumers, businesses are also beginning to see the value that enterprise-class wireless services can add to their wide area networks,” said Michael Suby, Research Program Director at Stratecast. “Whether it’s providing low cost high-speed access where broadband is not available or providing back up to T1 connections, Wireless Broadband can help distributed businesses save money, increase reliability and improve the performance and flexibility their data communications networks.”

MegaPath Wireless Broadband builds on the company’s comprehensive terrestrial footprint to deliver virtually 100 percent nationwide coverage, allowing customers to provide all locations with secure Internet access and data communications from a single vendor. Available since early 2007, MegaPath Wireless Broadband already enables dozens of enterprise customers to augment their MegaPath DSL and Cable broadband services with secure wireless network and Internet access.

“When we needed a cost-effective access solution that would support all of our locations, even the most rural, we turned to MegaPath because we knew that they had the ability to deliver high-speed, high quality, secure communications nationwide,” said Alan LaBatte, Vice President of Information Systems at Uno’s Chicago Grill. “The new MegaPath Wireless Broadband service provides leading wireless access without the cost of satellite equipment or the bandwidth constraints of Frame Relay. Because this service is powered by MegaPath, we know that all of our data communications are PCI compliant, which is a huge benefit for our restaurants.”

MegaPath provides customers with a fully managed solution that increases employee productivity while decreasing IT management overhead. Deployed to more than 300 locations nationwide, MegaPath Wireless Broadband is ideal for organizations, such as retail franchises with rural locations that do not qualify for DSL or Cable or as a Quick Start solution for customers awaiting deployment of their primary broadband connection. In addition, MegaPath is offering the service as a fully redundant Wireless Back-up access service for existing T1, DSL, or cable service customers, providing a high-speed, high-availability solution to ensure continuous uptime even when terrestrial services experience disruptions. “MegaPath has built a reputation for providing customers with enterprise performance and functionality at a fraction of the cost, and MegaPath Wireless Broadband is our latest offering to provide customers with the access and security they need to support their businesses, regardless of location,” said James Cragg, President and COO at MegaPath. “Most organizations have never had the option to leverage wireless communications for their business applications, and MegaPath is continuing to lead the industry by delivering this innovative service to help them make their businesses more productive and competitive.”

Qwest sells Verizon Wireless services

Qwest Communications International Inc. (NYSE: Q) and Verizon Wireless have signed a 5-year agreement for Qwest to market and sell Verizon Wireless service beginning this summer. Financial terms of the agreement are not being disclosed.

Under the agreement, Qwest customers will have access to the full line of Verizon Wireless handsets, smartphones and BlackBerry devices, as well as high-speed broadband wireless services for e-mail, Internet access and multimedia services. Residential customers will be able to choose

Covad acquisition Completed

Platinum Equity has completed the acquisition of Covad Communications Group on april 15th. The total value of the transaction is approximately $470 million. The acquisition was a public-to-private transaction in which an affiliate of Platinum Equity acquired all outstanding shares of Covad stock for $1.02 per share in cash. The company previously traded on the American Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol DVW.

Mitel gets Best of Interop Award 2008

The Mitel Communications Suite was selected by InformationWeek’s panel of expert judges and won against products from Cisco and Siemens. Each year, Best of Interop winners prove to be the key players in the continuing evolution of business technology.

Mitel Communications Suite delivers simplified system installation and management, business process improvement, and a reduction in operating costs by consolidating low-power consumption telephony and server hardware platforms for IT and unified communications applications. Mitel Communications Suite can be combined with the Sun Ray Unified IP Client powered by Mitel, which delivers a secure unified computing and communications environment fully integrated into the world-renowned Sun Ray solution. The combined solution is among the industry