First American Business Enterprise

Local Site Survey and Transition

Local Site Survey and Transition
First American Business is a leading provider of local site survey work and transition deployments of new telecom systems.  Our team follows a rigorous process and will complete all planning activities and complete transition activities for a customer’s deployment.   Installation and transition activities are documented in our proven First AB Ops Guide.  Details of the First AB activities include:

  • Schedule
  • Transition Plan
  • Transition Team Personnel
  • Transition Activities
  • Post-Cutover
  • De-installation

SCHEDULE

One of the key activities that is initiated when the First AB PMO receives the written approval by the customer to coordinate the site(s) for the transition phase is our detailed schedule.  Our team acknowledges the transition timeframes for installation and cutover criteria for the various type of sites detailed in contract.  First AB acknowledges that the Transition will occur on a phased roll out in conjunction with the data centers being operational

TRANSITION PLAN

A second key activity linked is a Site Survey and Report that is the development of the site-specific Transition Plan document.  The document will be prepared using a First AB template based on the size and type of the facility to be transitioned.  The Transition Plan will provide details on the transition process, associated activities and other information necessary to ensure a smooth cutover to the new system.

The development of the Transition Plan will contain design details such as a list of DID numbers to be deployed provided by the customer.

The First AB PMO will submit the completed Transition Plan to the customer for review and approval within 10 days of receipt. The First AB team will review the Transition Plan throughout the transition phase to ensure conformance with the systems design and update as required.

TRANSITION TEAM PERSONNEL

The goal of the First AB PMO is to utilize the same 2-person team that conducted the site survey for the transition.  This approach will increase efficiencies due to the team’s familiarity of the site and the customer’s on-site team members.  The core survey team is comprised of a software specialist/trainer and technician.  The core team for larger sites will be augmented by additional trainers and/or technicians.

TRANSITION ACTIVITIES

Following customer approval of the First AB Transition Plan the field location will be scheduled for transition.  Our transition team will execute the Transition Plan following the typical weekly installation and transition schedule described in First AB Ops Guide.

Our on-site team will complete the following site transition tasks:

  • Unpack and inventory all equipment, telephones and wireless headsets (as applicable)
  • Check all new DID numbers;
  • Install equipment and place telephone sets – reuse existing LAN cable infrastructure
  • Install and terminate new cabling as identified in the Transition Plan;
  • Identify/label LEC circuit cross connects and termination blocks with permanent labels
  • Prepare connectivity to existing paging, fax and other analog devices and/or circuits.

Post-installation Testing:

Prior to the cutover of each field location, the First AB team will perform an end-to-end voice quality assessment under load conditions after hours. Testing will be conducted using a Test Plan listing the following tests and desired outcomes.  The completed Test Plan document will be used to develop the Voice Quality Report for submittal to the customer for review.

  • E911
  • UC functionality
  • Contact Center application (if applicable)
  • An end-to-end voice quality test that measures one-way latency;
  • Perceptual Evaluation of Speech Quality (PESQ) score;
  • Mapping of PESQ to Mean Opinion Score-Listening Quality Analysis (MOS-LQO) score;

Training:

Our team will deliver the appropriate end-user, site admin and telephone coordinator site-specific training.  Training will be delivered in a classroom setting with sufficient walk-around training provided following the cutover.

Cutover:

Our transition team will conduct all cutover activities after normal business hours.  Activities during this event will include:

  • Transition traffic from legacy equipment to new system;
  • Connect fax machines, overhead paging systems and other analog devices to new system;
  • Connect new telephone sets;
  • Remove all legacy telephones;
  • Place test calls to verify call flows

POST CUTOVER:

Our transition team will remain on-site for two days following cutover to address training questions from the end-users, and site admin personnel.  In addition, the team will troubleshoot any inoperable device that may surface.

Within 72 hours following the cutover, the transition team will certify that the First AB system is operational and free of defect after meeting with the local Site Manager. Our team will provide documentation to support that:

  • The system meets all capability and performance requirements as outlined in the Transition Plan;
  • Site specific call flows have been implemented and tested;
  • Site training has been satisfactorily conducted.

DEINSTALLATION:

Following the successful cutover of the new system our team will commence the de-installation phase.  All legacy telephone systems and ancillary equipment will be removed, inventoried and packaged for shipment to the agreed upon facility for the appropriate disposition in accordance with all applicable regulations.  The team will remove all hard drives and other storage devices from removed switching equipment and deliver to the local customer field manager.

Critical Alarms & Spares

Critical Alarms & Spares
Critical Alarms

Within 15 minutes after an alarm is generated on the affected system monitored by First American Business Outpost monitoring server, an email notification will be sent to distribution list and acknowledged by First AB. Once this alarm has been received, the First AB NOC support team will acknowledge the alarm in Outpost by changing the alarm to assigned status and began troubleshooting.

If the alarm is an Alarm Escalation, a ticket will be created in the First AB Ticketing System – FABhelpDesk.com and will be created after the alarm is acknowledged in Outpost. An Alarm Escalation takes place when the alarm does not clear by itself.

  1. After receiving the Alarm notification, FABs verifies in Outpost and acknowledge the Alarm by assigning to the remote tier III NOC engineer
  2. Contacting the First AB Tier III remote engineer by phone and notify them of the Alarm Escalation.

If alarm cannot be closed remotely then:

  • Our NOC will call the end-customer (contact list will be provided to First AB)
  • Ask the customer if they require an on-site dispatch
  • If yes, contact a local tech for dispatch & spare part

Spares Coverage

First AB provides critical spare parts for the telephony systems we manage.  Spare parts replacement coverage for our customers works as follows:

  • Parts coverage will provide for replacement of any covered part First American Business determines to be inoperative. Replacement parts may be new, factory reconditioned, refurbished, re-manufactured or functionally equivalent depending on availability of the part to be replaced.
  • First AB will confirm if the replacement part is a critical component and replace if necessary.   Non-critical components will be replaced at Customer’s request.
  • First AB may ship or hand deliver replacement parts as required to meet the Service Levels.
  • A First AB engineer or the Customer (with direction from First AB), will follow Manufacture’s maintenance instructions to replace the Spare part component/device.

NBD:  Next Business Day coverage.   If requested and covered parts replacement request received by 3:00 p.m. EST, part(s) shall be delivered to the local site the following business day (M-F) between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. local time

24×7:  If requested and covered parts replacement request is validated, spare part shall be delivered to the local site all days of the week within 24 hours.

PBX Market and Move to the Cloud

PBX Market and Move to the Cloud

PBX Snapshot

Cisco and Avaya may still hold dominant positions in the PBX market segment, but as enterprises put off spending and move to cloud-based service options, the on-premises PBX segment continues to struggle.

IHS Markit noted in its recent report that a decline in on-premises PBX licenses drove the global market to decline 8% in 2017 from 2016, to $5.7 billion.

Likewise, total PBX lines were down 9% year over year in 2017, with the research firm noting that every segment took a hit.

“Many businesses are holding off on upgrades and new purchases, and the move to cloud services is having an impact,” said Diane Myers, senior research director for VoIP, UC and IMS at IHS Markit, in a new research report. “Underscoring the declines are not just slowing business purchases, but competitive pricing and the move to recurring expense models, which has resulted in market swings.”

Enterprise UC and voice equipment market highlights

  • Although enterprise spending is healthy, businesses are giving low priority to telephony upgrades and expansion on the premises side;
  • Enterprises continue to migrate to IP—to pure IP PBXs in particular—but the segment remains smaller than hybrid systems; hybrid IP PBXs represented 64 percent of all lines shipped in 2017
  • Demand for unified communications (UC) has been erratic over the past four years, but the segment was showing revenue up 5 percent from the prior year;
  • On the vendor front, Microsoft led in UC global revenue market share with 67 percent in 2017, trailed by Cisco and Avaya
  • For IP phones (IP deskphones and softphones), Cisco was the frontrunner with 35 percent of units shipped in 2017; Avaya was second with 14 percent, followed by Yealink with 10 percent

PBX Snapshot

Cloud Snapshot

Market Research Future published a research report on “Global Cloud for PBX Market Research Report- Forecast 2023”:

The global The Cloud PBX Market is expected to grow at USD ~13.2% of CAGR between 2017 and 2023.

Key Players

The prominent players in the Cloud for PBX Market are – Microsoft Corporation(Skype) (U.S), Nextiva Inc.(U.S), RingCentral Inc.(U.S), , Avaya Inc.(U.S), , Vonage America Inc.(U.S), Cisco system Inc.(U.S), D-Link System Inc. (Taiwan), Mitel Networks Inc. (Canada), NEC Corporation (Japan) and Ribbon/Kandy (U.S) among others

New research from Eastern Management Group values 2017 UCaaS sales at 18% of all PBX sales.

The hosted/cloud PBX market launched about a decade ago on an appeal to cash-strapped small businesses: Get a new PBX for $15 a month, per seat, compared to a new premises-based PBX at $800 for the same seat. That hosted promise has never evaporated. And now the hosted PBX market will close out 2017 having captured 18% of all PBX sales for the year.

Hosted PBX sales have rocketed from 4% of the total PBX market in 2010, to 18% this year. Looking at the numbers, in 2017 new hosted PBX sales were $5 billion. That’s only 3% of the dollar value of all installed PBXs. Today, customers replace PBXs with predictable frequency, which means there’s decades of sales opportunity in front of all hosted UC vendors in just selling PBX replacements.

First American Business Offers Cloud Based UC Services.

As a gold partner of Ribbon communication First American Business supports legacy PBX systems, on premise IP and Contact center systems and also Cloud Based UCaaS through our UCFlex offer.
Cloud Snapshot
We have large enterprise UCaaS (telephony) services using the geo redundant architecture of Ribbon’s Kandy technology solution.   We also provide SMB (small enterprise) hosted solutions leveraging our partnership with eMetroTel.

President’s Piece

staffing updates

Staffing Updates

I’m pleased to introduce you to Michael Brown – First American Business’ new NOC Team Leader.   First American Business continues to grow and it is important that we bring in top talent as we continue to refine our customer focused operational support model.
Michael (who resides in Allen TX) will lead and manage:

  • Our Tier III engineering team and will be the escalation point for outages and trouble
  • Staffing needs and training development for technical skill requirements in Cisco, Avaya, Nortel, Ribbon and other key technologies
  • The 24×7 Alarm monitoring and trouble ticket management production systems
  • Development of our formal NOC and support center process including the new First American on-line ticketing system – www.FABHelpDesk.com
  • RFP responses to new opportunities

I am also pleased to announce a new addition to our team focused on our government line of business under First American Business Solutions.   Tim Delong has joined our team effective last month as a Government Consultant.   Tim has over 30 years of experience in various government support roles including Avaya Government Solutions before retiring from AT&T.

At First American Business Solutions Tim will be focused on new business solution including formal RFP and bid development.   First ABS has seen greater activity in the government space this year and wants to continue to capture our share.   These government bids require particular focus on compliance – both technical and price – and Tim’s background adds complementary skills to our existing team.   Tim resides in Northwood OH.

Won Projects

On a final note we had some exciting new contract wins over the past few months working with and supporting our valued Partners.  Some of these include contracts through ConvergeOne and Alliance-IT.  We also renewed several direct longstanding agreements with Georgia Pacific, Mears Transportation and Hello Destination Management.

Giving Back

Hurricane Michael was the strongest storm in terms of maximum sustained wind speed to strike the contiguous United States since Andrew in 1992.  In addition, it was the strongest storm on record in the Florida Panhandle.  October 9, 2018 the storm peaked as a high-end Category 4 hurricane. Approaching the Florida Panhandle, Michael attained winds of 155 mph as it made landfall near Mexico Beach Florida, becoming the first to do so in the region as a Category 4 hurricane.   By October 28, at least 60 deaths had been attributed to the storm. Hurricane Michael caused over $11 billion in damages.

First American Business is Florida headquartered.  Our priority is to give back to communities where we operate and Hurricane Michael clearly impacted so many of our Florida neighbors.  As a result we contributed to several relief efforts including food and shelter drives in the aftermath.

Firefighters sacrifice a tremendous amount for our country and communities.   Monroe County is home to one of our largest clients and we wanted to show our appreciation to the men and women who have given the greatest sacrifice – the fallen firefighters.  We feel honored to be a sponsor to the annual dinner and fundraiser held each year in Rochester in honor of these firefighters.   This is our 3rd year in a row supporting this very worthwhile cause.

In closing I would like to thank our customers – we continue to be successful as a business because of you.  And we are very proud to have Michael and Tim join our team as we continue to provide telecom services to our Channel Partners and our end customers.

Sincerely,

Mark

Mark Morningstar
markm@firstabs.com
Owner, Managing Partner

Ring Central on the Move

Ring Central on the Move

Ring Central is a cloud phone system company that has seen steady growth over the past several years as they make inroads into the traditional PBX market.

Stock Price:   Currently it is in the low $80’s which is up from its 1 year low of $40.35.    Not a bad return given the S&P 500 is up less than 10% this year. 

Market Cap:  $6 Billion.   How can a company that doesn’t report a profit have a market cap so high?   Answer is growth.    Check out these sales figure for the past 4 years.

Revenue:

2017 – $501 M

2016 – $379 M

2015 – $296 M

2014 – $219 M

Ring Central is still not profitable but that growth curve is unmistakable and is driving a high Market Cap

RingCentral’s flagship product is RingCentral Office. The company also offers RingCentral Professional, and RingCentral Fax.

RingCentral provides a cloud business phone system. It offers standard PBX features such as multiple extensions and web conferencing; fax; auto-receptionist; call logs; and rule-based call routing and answering as well. Generally Customers do not require capital investment or maintenance contracts, which has the potential to lowers overall customer costs and provide a solid ROI.

RingCentral Office

RingCentral Office is a cloud-based PBX system for businesses.  RingCentral Office features include call auto-attendant, company directory, call forwarding and handling, multiple extensions, a mobile app for iPhone and Android, Business SMS, and video conferencing.

RingCentral Professional

RingCentral Professional is a suite that provides a universal telephone number, voice mail, dial-by-name directory, call-forwarding, and other features through a smartphone app on iPhone and Android devices.

RingCentral Fax

RingCentral Fax allows users to send and receive faxes through the Internet without a fax machine.

RingCentral Meetings, Webinar and Rooms

  • RingCentral Meetings is a web conferencing product
  • RingCentral Webinar allows companies to host HD-ready virtual events with up to 3000 attendees.
  • RingCentral Rooms is to manage web conferences.

End

First American Business – A Family of Companies

A Family of Companies
Company Bulletin Notice:

Significant changes are in the works at First American Business and we wanted to share the exciting highlights with you in this Company Bulletin Notice:

New Name:   We have simplified our name to First American Business.   Because of our rapid growth in both the government sector and the commercial market, we had aligned our staff and processes to support both lines of business under First American Business Solutions (First ABS) and First American Business Enterprise (First ABE).   While we do still have that focus to drive performance and results based on the needs of both markets we realized that it has caused some confusion with our customers and we want to make doing business with us easier!   Hence the new, simplified name “First American Business”.

Single Web Landing Page:  Effective August 1, we have a new single web site landing page:   www.firstamericanbusinss.com

Users of this site can access the First ABS and ABE specific information but only need to bookmark a single site to get all the news and updates regarding First American Business.

Single Collaboration System:  Effective August 8th, the First American Business team is migrating to our new collaboration platform on Office 365. As we have continued to grow in the project line of business, it was determined that more functionality and consistency was needed. Office 365 gives us the ability to use Outlook calendars, share calendars, have access to Skype for Business, back up our work on OneDrive Storage, and much more!

We are moving forward with our email migration to MS 365 Exchange.

Following the migration all of our employees’ companywide will have a single email address utilizing “@firstamericanbusiness.com”

Our new email addresses will look like: Lauren.Thompson@firstamericanbusiness.com.

Other key company email addresses will be:

New Ticketing System:  Starting in October, First American Business will officially be on our new Intelligent Service Management (Ticketing) System.    This new system will allow us to serve our customers better through a single portal for Problem Management, Incident management and reporting.

Supporting Features for our new system include:

  • Manage Invoices, Orders and Quotes
  • Support Tickets entry
  • SMS Messaging (Text Messages) (Single, Automatic, Multiple)
  • Suppliers tracking
  • Knowledgebase for customers as well as internal employees
  • Purchase Orders (all aspects of assigning a PO # and tracking o Transaction readouts for customers’ accounts as well as administrative transaction logs
  • Advanced reporting for company administrators to use
  • HMS (Human Resources Management System) for tracking employees and payroll
  • Customer online payment and account crediting. Invoices can be created from Quotes by 1 button push.
  • Quotes can be approved online by the customer via 1 button push.
  • Orders can be done by the built in Point of Sale (POS) system or done online orders. Customers can shop for products, services and parts. Orders have inventory management
  • Support tickets created in any status (Open, Closed, Awaiting Part, On Hold, Etc.)
  • The entire system is responsive meaning that it will display correctly on any device! (Tablet, Smartphones, Laptop, Desktop)

At First American Business we are excited about all these new changes and the enhanced value they will provide to our end customers.   Everything we do is built around customers and customer satisfaction and we believe these changes are an example of our commitment to provide quality support.

As always, please let us know if you have any comments or suggestions.

Thank you – First American Business

The Cloud: Everyone is saying you need to move to the cloud. But should you?

Think of the Cloud like a Restaurant. You can buy the ingredients, prepare the food and eat at home. Or you can outsource all those tasks and go to a restaurant. So what is better…, running your own IT department (i.e. eating at home) or letting someone else do everything for you and move to the cloud (i.e. a restaurant).

Let’s evaluate the 10 reason why you should move to the cloud…. Or should you?

Every business is under pressure to perform, grow and maximize the return on investment to sustain and survive the ever-increasing competition. IT departments in today’s businesses are no different and have been looking for ways to improve the bottom line while not sacrificing quality. As a result, they are looking at Cloud computing to achieve their goals.

Cloud computing offers several advantages but it has disadvantages too. In this two-part post, let’s first look at the “top 10 advantages” offered by the Cloud:

So as we can see there are pros and cons to moving to the cloud. Cloud clearly offers some advantages such as Data Recovery and Sharing but on the downside it is almost always more expensive and less secure.

The Cloud: Everyone is saying you need to move to the cloud. But should you?

Think of the Cloud like a Restaurant. You can buy the ingredients, prepare the food and eat at home. Or you can outsource all those tasks and go to a restaurant. So what is better…, running your own IT department (i.e. eating at home) or letting someone else do everything for you and move to the cloud (i.e. a restaurant).

Let’s evaluate the 10 reason why you should move to the cloud…. Or should you? Every business is under pressure to perform, grow and maximize the return on investment to sustain and survive the ever-increasing competition. IT departments in today’s businesses are no different and have been looking for ways to improve the bottom line while not sacrificing quality. As a result, they are looking at Cloud computing to achieve their goals.

Cloud computing offers several advantages but it has disadvantages too. In this two-part post, let’s first look at the “top 10 advantages” offered by the Cloud:

So as we can see there are pros and cons to moving to the cloud. Cloud clearly offers some advantages such as Data Recovery and Sharing but on the downside it is almost always more expensive and less secure.

Alexa for Business

Amazon launches Alexa for Business platform – voice services to the office

At the most recent AWS re:Invent conference Amazon announced the launched Alexa for Business.   This is a fully managed service targeted at companies by allowing them to deploy Echo devices at scale throughout the workplace. The service will provided improved meeting experiences with a focus on communication and collaboration.

Alexa for Business has (and will have) a strong ecosystem with:  Cisco, Zoom and Polycom (with their in-room conferencing systems), RingCentral (for its cloud-based voice services), Microsoft (for Office 365 and on-premises Exchange servers), and Google.

For example, the RingCentral Meetings for Alexa for Business integration is an example of how voice control will play in the conference room. Users will be able to ask Alexa to launch scheduled meetings. The Amazon for Business management service will map Echo devices to RingCentral Rooms systems for the assignment of Alexa Skills.

The AWS system can respond when you say “Alexa, join my meeting.” The platform will also include Salesforce to answer questions about business performance, Concur to share business travel information, RingCentral for voicemail readings, SAP SuccessFactors for HR, and other third-party voice services for the enterprise.

For voice-based commands outside the meeting room, RingCentral is integrating Alexa Skills with its communications app so that users will be able to ask Alexa to do things like play back and respond to voicemails; send and check SMS messages; and place outbound calls.

Besides being able to configure conference room settings, a company’s technical department will be able to use the Alexa for Business service to do things like provision and manage shared Alexa devices, enable Alexa skills on an individual user and user group basis, and build custom skills through Amazon for Business APIs.

AWS will likely present more at Enterprise Connect 2018 in Orlando this March.    Stay tuned, things are starting to get interesting in the Voice space…

New Customer

Nationwide Health care company signs 5 year multimillion $ agreement with First American Business Solutions.

February 2018.

Exciting News – A Large, new account in our Government LOB has signed with First ABS.

2018 has started off with a bang for First American Business Solutions.   We have signed a new 5 year agreement with a leading nationwide health care company!

First American Business Solutions, Inc. (First ABS) signed in Q1 of this year a multi-year product and services agreement with a nationwide health care company.   Our nationwide footprint matched extremely well with the customer’s multi-state business model and was a key driver in them selecting us.  Also our company moto of Reliable and Responsive IT Services was exactly what they were looking for in a vendor.   Our long history in high Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) proved to be a winning factor.

The agreement is for a broad range of IT product resell agreements as well as an array of services including options for First ABS services:

Services under the Master Agreement include:

  • Dispatch
  • Staff Augmentation
  • Installation
  • Training, Consulting and Health Checks
  • Maintenance

Our nationwide footprint and our attention to customer satisfaction were key attributes that allowed us to secure a position in supporting this dynamic and growing health care company.

Our new customer is a leader in managed care services supporting millions of members.

First American looks forward to supporting the business and vision objectives of improved health care that our new customer strives for every day.