First American Business Enterprise

Lync is now Skype for Business

Old Phone 1If you already use Skype to communicate with friends and family at home, you’ll appreciate the power and familiarity of Skype for Business where it’s easy to find and connect with co-workers. And you can use the devices you already have (iPhone, etc.) to reach business contacts through an “enterprise grade”, secure, IT-managed platform. If you’re already using Lync at your office, you’ll recognize all of the features you already use but in a new interface with simplified controls and some good new additions:

Call from Skype for Business using your desk phone for audio

If you have a PBX (Private Branch Exchange) desk phone and your IT department has configured it to work with Skype for Business you can search for people in your organization and place calls to them within the Skype for Business user interface, while audio for the call flows through your standard desk (PBX) phone. You can also place calls from the Skype for Business client using any phone near you (like your mobile, home, or hotel phone). The person you’re calling sees your phone number as though you were calling from your company’s main phone number.

When you make a Skype for Business call with audio routed through your desk phone, you also get:

  • IM—so you can do a quick copy/paste of a URL you want to share (as an example)
  • Desktop and app sharing—so you can easily show and tell, work through problems, or explain stuff with pictures
  • Attachments—send files to the other person without leaving Skype for Business

Rate My Call

Kind of a cool feature called “Rate My Call” lets Skype for Business Server administrators collect call data, access standard reports, and export raw data for further analysis. Users are prompted to take a survey after completing a call.
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First there was Skype, a popular app for instant messaging, video chat, and voice calls. Then Microsoft bought the company in 2011, continuing to offer it as a consumer product along with Lync as a business application. But last year Microsoft announced it would drop Lync in favor of Skype for Business, which would combine features of both Lync and Skype.

Today, some people are confused with what is actually available and how it works. There are two Skype services (free and paid and online or on-premises versions). There are two client types available as well.

Cores:

Skype for Business Server 2015: This on-premises server provides IM, presence, peer-to-peer VoIP and video, conferencing, enterprise voice, and telephone-system (PSTN) connectivity.

Skype for Business Online: This service is on line and bundled within Microsoft Cloud or Office 365.  It provides IM, presence, peer-to-peer VoIP and video, and conferencing. It does not provide enterprise voice or PSTN connectivity, but these features are in development.

Clients:

Skype for Business: This client replaces the Lync client as part of the Office suite. It works with either version of Skype and on almost all iOS and Android phones.

Skype: This client is available for consumer download, providing free service for personal use. Its features are similar to those of Skype for Business but usually are more limited in scope.

Pretty cool stuff…  Microsoft seems to finally be consolidating their story and solution to Enterprise voice and communication.  As a result you will likely see more selling to the corporate IT team in your company with Microsoft pointing out these selling points:

  • Online meetings, messaging, calls, video, and sharing with up to 250 people.
  • Find anyone in your company and schedule meetings in Outlook.
  • Enterprise-grade security and management of employee accounts.
  • As low as$2.00 user/month

Despite Improving Economic Conditions Enterprise PBX Market Continues Slide

Campbell, CA (March 10, 2015)—Technology market research firm Infonetics Research, now part of IHS Inc. (NYSE: IHS), today reported that the global enterprise telephony and unified communications (UC) market closed down 4 percent in 2014, to $8.7 billion, as businesses continue to hold off new purchases and upgrades of PBX equipment despite improving worldwide economic conditions.

Infonetics chart
The overall market decline masks the health of the evolving UC applications segment, which jumped 20 percent in 2014, energized by the demand for tools to increase workforce productivity.

The data comes from Infonetics’ fourth quarter 2014 (4Q14) and year-end Enterprise Unified Communications Voice Equipment market share, size and forecast report, which tracks PBX phone systems, voice over IP gateways, UC applications and IP phones.

“The enterprise telephony market continues to be tough. Just as we see one area begin to improve, it’s offset by slowdowns in geographies or market segments. Underscoring the declines are not only slowing businesses purchases but also competitive pricing, which has created unpredictable swings,” said Diane Myers, principal analyst for VoIP, UC, and IMS at Infonetics Research, now part of IHS. “The move to the cloud is having an impact in certain markets, particularly North America.”

MORE ENTERPRISE TELEPHONY MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

  • Globally, PBX revenue, including TDM (time-division multiplexing) and IP PBXs, dropped 6 percent in 2014 from 2013, and dipped 1 percent in 4Q14 from 4Q13
  • PBX line shipments declined 3 percent in 2014 from 2013; In 4Q14, line shipments were up 4 percent year-over-year, driven by pure IP PBX
  • Vendors remain in a battle to gain customers and hold onto existing ones as enterprises migrate to IP and UC solutions: In 2014, the top four PBX revenue market share leaders were, in alphabetical order, Avaya, Cisco, Miteland NEC

Microsoft continues to see strong sales on the UC front, solidifying its position atop the unified communications market share leaderboard

Enterprise Telephony Market To Shrink 20 Percent; Cisco, Avaya Will Grow

By Mark Haranas on July 31, 2015

The enterprise telephony market will shrink about 20 percent within the next few years as enterprises move their IT dollars away from premise solutions toward the cloud, although vendors like Cisco and Avaya continue to see growth through on-premise solutions.

The market is expected to decline from an estimated $10 billion in 2015 to $8 billion by 2019, with its peak hitting $16 billion in 2007, according to Dell’Oro analyst Alan Weckel.

“Having premise equipment is less and less important. Those functions are just going to be integrated into other equipment or come from the cloud,” said Weckel in an interview with CRN. “Although on the enterprise side as you get to scale, the ability of having thousands of connections to the cloud for voice really doesn’t make sense. So the enterprise market will have a different transition.”

Dell’Oro is still predicting IP phone growth over the next five years from both PBX vendors like Cisco, Avaya and Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise, as well as from third parties, such as Polycom and Grandstream.

Weckel said enterprises will pick some cloud pieces to use, but, ultimately, the call control will stay premise-based, because for companies with thousands of employees having everything from the cloud “just doesn’t make sense.”

“Cloud makes sense for a lot of SMBs, and the large middle-size companies, but when it gets to thousands of employees, it makes sense to have premise-based solutions,” said Weckel.

“The large vendors, a lot of them are growing through acquisitions and consolidation … If you look at Cisco, they were looking at selling to cloud providers to grow. So using Cisco equipment for the cloud offering, that will be a strategy vendors will use to expand the market — so not selling to the premise but selling to the cloud,” he said.

Analysts said enterprise vendors must create more unique cloud offerings in the telephony market by both selling equipment to support cloud build-outs and by creating stand-alone cloud offerings.

“If you’re a vendor and you don’t have a cloud strategy today, it will be too late,” said Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst at Westminster, Mass.-based ZK Research. “Now it comes down to how aggressively a vendor would be willing to cannibalize its premises-based business in favor of the cloud, how they compensate the channel and how they transition partners.”

“If channel partners do not have a plan in place today for cloud, they will be obsolete in five years,” he said.

Kerravala said ShoreTel has its own cloud offering and cloud partner program that allow the channel to sell its suite of cloud-based VoIP services, while Avaya is enabling its cloud partners to build a cloud rather than offer one directly.

“What’s important is that the vendor plays in the cloud-collaboration market regardless of whether they choose to build, enable others to build, or both,” said Kerravala.

Jamie Wood, executive vice president at Avatel, a Brandon, Fla.-based Avaya partner, said Avaya is ahead of the game with the Avaya Collaborative Cloud open platform solution for partners and customers.

“They provide the options to build, deliver, use, or enhance an organization’s cloud communication services and applications,” said Wood. “[The platform] was designed to support the transition and lives seamlessly alongside the on-premise solutions that organizations retain.”

Wood said the move to cloud communications will be a gradual evolution, and opportunities for solution providers are biggest in the midmarket.

Analysts said solution providers need to expand their level of expertise in cloud or face extinction.

Russ Zielezinski, chief operating officer at Advanced Telecommunications, a ShoreTel and Mitel partner based in Naperville, Ill., said 2015 has been the biggest market shift to the cloud ever.

“It’s been a challenge for us, who were founded as premise-based providers … It has impacted the premise market, and I can say we’ve seen it affect our numbers too,” said Zielezinski. “But for survival, you need to adopt a new cloud-recurring revenue model.”

Zielezinski said solution providers need to become cloud-focused and have the proper amount of technical staff on board to support all the different applications.

Organizations are selecting cloud over premise because companies are more comfortable with using OpEx dollars compared to spending a large sum of money up front for the equipment, according to Weckel.

“So the cloud allows them to pay on a monthly basis, which is just easier from a consumption point of view,” said Weckel.

In addition, cloud solutions are easier for SMBs because they don’t have to overprovision their systems, and it is also typically easier to manage.

“There’s a lot of opportunities there if the VARs and channel expand into adjacent areas around cloud,” said Weckel.

“It’s more than just voice. [Customers] are probably thinking about updating their entire networking, maybe going with a cloud-managed solution there like a Meraki solution for wireless and switching. Maybe they’re thinking about some cloud computing whether it’s Amazon or Rackspace — there’s a lot of opportunity to rewrite applications, write new applications and sort of become the trusted consultant to the customer.”

6 Ways Video is good for Business

Video Conferencing for the Small and Medium size companies.

Screen ShotOne of the best ways for businesses and employees to stay connected with each other is through the use of innovative technology. This is also great news since everyone also wants to save money and do something that can help benefit the environment. That is exactly the idea behind using remote video conferencing. This can end up not only helping business people to become more productive, but will also end up saving time and potentially a lot of money. Here are some of the ways remote conferencing can help.

  1. Video Means Employee Connections:
    Many, over 15% of office based employees work out of their homes multiple days per week. Because of this, video conferencing is highly valuable for employees who work from home a day or two. Video conferencing also provides immediate connection – It enables workers to get in touch within seconds. Rather than waiting for a quarterly meeting to come around, you can add insight into daily operations whenever you need immediate feedback. See last week’s blog post on what systems are free!
  2. Video and Facial Expressions:
    Live, online video meetings encourage employee participation through face-to-face expressions, unlike the traditional conference call in which everyone just talks into an office phone. Facial expressions and body language can be helpful if seen. They can encourage engagement, leading to more focus and participation in the business at hand. This also allows for strategy sessions and key meetings to be recorded and used as training for future hires.
  3. Video Means Less Travel Costs:
    With travel costing so much, video conferencing offers an enticing cut in the need for so much travel. Video links allow you to foster open communication with clients regularly, while potentially limiting travel to the most important of meetings. Not only are your travel costs reduced, the hours spent sending staffers all over the country is reduced as well, cutting down on lost time and productivity. Less travel on team meetings, customer meetings and training … all equals cost savings.
  4. Video Gives You a Competitive Advantage:
    The time and money you don’t spend on travel means you can gain a competitive advantage. When you provide a medium for your team to collaborate, share knowledge and communicate via video in real time, you’re fostering personal relationships between your company and your clients. This encourages client loyalty and reduces the time you spend going back and forth with revisions, quality checks and changes.
  5. Increases Productivity:
    Most of the better video conferencing systems now have the ability to help users share and edit all kinds of documents and files. All of this can happen in real-time.
  6. Huge Reduction in Carbon Footprint:
    Another interesting thing about the benefits of the type of conferencing is the potential to reduce your carbon footprint. Less car and less airplane travel reduces pollution.

Bottom Line:
Using a Video conferencing solution is one of the best things you can do for your business. Not only does it allow you to have a global presence, it is also great for your employees. This will end up saving your company time and money in so many ways, reducing your business travel and improving productivity.

“Saving Money with Video”

Saving money and building relationships.

Video Conferencing for the Small and Medium size company.

Screen ShotEvery company wants to save money and build stronger relationships between their employees and customers.   While some people are uncomfortable talking over a video call, it can be an extremely valuable tool for a small or medium sized company.   How many times have you taken a business trip somewhere or attended a conference and said afterwards “the best thing about the trip is I got to meet face to face with a bunch of people I normally deal with over the phone”.   In other words, the trip was worth the effort because you were able to build upon a relationship that was, up to that point, only based on audio or written communication.   Video may not be as good as an in person meeting but it is the next best thing and it has a WHOLE LOT of benefits (see our blog post next week!)

First off, let’s talk about saving money.   How does “free” sound?   Here are the most common free platforms available to companies today:

Google Hangouts
Web | iOS | Android
This product started as Google+, then moved to Google Talk (Gtalk) and now has morphed into Google+ Hangouts.  The video chat capabilities Google has created are simple to use and powerful.

There’s no large program to download and install on the desktop, but you will need to add a Hangouts plugin to your browser. It’s available for most browsers, even Internet Explorer. Sign into Google+, make sure Hangouts is signed in, and you’ll see your buddy list on the right. Pick a name and you’ll see a chat window. Click the video camera icon to start a video chat. Very simple

Skype
Windows | Windows 8 | Mac OS | Linux | iOS | Android | Windows Phone |

Skype is the de facto standard in video chat between two people. However, each participant must have a Skype account and it’s only free when you are talking one-on-one. Group video chatting requires a premium subscription, which starts at $4.99 a month. While video chatting you can instant message, show off your desktop screen, and share files.

FaceTime
Mac OS | iOS

FaceTime comes free with all Mac and iPhones and is as easy to use as making a phone call.

Once you register your phone number and/or email addresses with the service, you can then find others. If you know another user’s contact info and they’re also using an Apple device, making a video call is as simple as pie. That’s the major strength, along with very high video quality. The only drawback with FaceTime is that it’s not on any other platform

CamFrog
Windows | Mac OS | Linux (Server only) | iOS | Android | Windows Phone
CamFrog lets you set up Web-based video chatrooms where you or others with a webcam can join a conversation. One-on-one conversations are also an option. Plus it’ll do voice and text if you don’t want others to see you.

Cisco WebEx Meetings

Webex is a standard way to share a desktop and do an online whiteboard, but it also offers VoIP features, even on the free level that includes standard-quality video chat. However you’ll have to pay extra for high-definition video.

Jitsi
Windows | Mac OS | Linux
If you like free software to be more open-source and unlimited try Jitsi.  Jitsi (formerly the SIP Communicator) has almost nightly new builds of the multi-protocol software.  It is ICQ for video and does SIP or XMPP-based video and audio, and works with Yahoo Messenger and AIM for text chat.

ooVoo

ooVoo takes on Skype directly by providing features like IMs, free voice calls to any phone, screen sharing, and file sharing—and on the video side it offers group video chat with up to 12 people, along with video call recording directly to YouTube. There’s a Facebook app that lets you join a video chat right from the Web.

There are others but you get the idea.   These tools are out there and can be leveraged in your business for practically nothing.  Once you have the platform to use then you can unlock all the other value – see our next blog post called “Why Video”.

OPEX vs CAPEX

CapEX Pic (color)As strange as it sounds these days, there was a time that if you wanted to start, or grow a company, and you needed telecommunications services (phones, voicemail) you had to think about physical facilities (closets), network circuits, and buying your own hardware.

Today, however, none of that is necessary. It is possible to just log into your favorite hosted service provider (Amazon, 8×8, etc.) and pay for the services you use.  It doesn’t cost hundreds of thousands of upfront costs and best of all you don’t have to become an expert in all things telecom – you can focus on your business.

The -aaS market (as-a-Service) didn’t exist many years ago. You couldn’t just buy infrastructure-as-a-service you needed to invest cash up front.  This has led us to the increased discussion around OPEX vs CapEx.

Definition of OPEX

The trend in the telecom and IT industry now is to go “OPEX”.   So what exactly is OPEX?  It stands for Operational expenditure and refers to expenses incurred in the course of ordinary business, such as sales, general and administrative expenses (and excludes things like taxes, depreciation and interest).

Accounting treatment:  Operating expenses are fully deducted in the accounting period during which they were incurred.  If you pay $1,000 a month to a service provider for phone services the full amount shows up as an expense the month you pay or consume that service.   This shows up as a line item on the P&L.

Operating expenditures include maintenance and repairs, advertising, office expenses, supplies, professional fees, utilities such as telephone, insurance, property management, property taxes, travel, commissions, salary and wages, and other similar items.

Definition of CAPeX

Capital expenditures are expenditures (usually large 1 time items) creating future benefits. A capital expenditure is incurred when a business spends money either to buy fixed assets or to add to the value of an existing asset with a useful life that extends beyond the tax year.

Accounting Treatment:  CapEx expenditures cannot be fully deducted in the period when they were incurred. CapEx assets are depreciated (or amortized) over time.

Capital expenditures tend to be major investments in goods, which show up on the balance sheet and are depreciated over the life of the asset, typically 3 – 7 years.

Example:  Once you have purchased a capital good (such as a PBX), you’re stuck with it.  As anyone who has purchased a car understands, even if you’re no longer excited about owning it, the finance company still expects a monthly payment. However, if you rent a car, you are committed to it only as long as you want to use it – and once you’ve paid for that use, you have no further financial obligation.

So what should a Telecom Manger do?

As an IT or telecom manager what you deploy today may not be what you want in 3 years from now. What once required dedicated real estate, dedicated employees and lots of upfront cost can be fulfilled remotely via the cloud with a subscription fee for the service.

Organizations have more options to obtain the latest and greatest technology. They can focus on their core competencies and transition many of their CapEx investments to OPEX spending, freeing up cash for those investments and other projects that drive revenue and growth.

Organizations usually want to direct their investment toward revenue-generating activities. This is why many organizations prefer to lease rather than purchase — they don’t want to tie up important capital.

Final thought:  It’s no longer as simple as “on premise equipment” = CAPEX and “off premise cloud” = OPEX”. More flexible, OPEX funding arrangements are available for most IT architectures from on premise to hybrid to public cloud. An on premise “private cloud” infrastructure can be sold as OPEX, to provide an off balance sheet transaction. Combined with Managed Services from a quality vendor, it provides the infrastructure and administration for a predictable monthly fee, and allows you to focus on your core tasks.

Cloud 101

Cloud PictureEveryone seems to be talking about the cloud these days.   Poll after poll says companies and governments are moving a significant (or plan to move a significant) part of their IT and Telecom support to the cloud.

The definition of “the cloud” is a little bit like the definition of “being green”.   It depends on how you look at it.  Is an electric car (Tesla or Leaf) green if its batteries are charged by a coal power plant?  It depends:  It is true that the car emits zero emissions while it is moving, however it produced hundreds of pounds of CO2 while its batteries were charging from the coal plant.

The cloud is the same.   Most vendors have rushed to rebrand their products and services as a cloud offer.   Why?   Because there is a fundamental belief by large and small enterprises and governments that the cloud is good.

Why the cloud is good:

  1. First, and by far the most important, is the belief that it will save an enterprise money.  If it costs more to move your computers, storage or telephony out of your own data centers you would not do it.   The cloud must save money for it to be adopted.  A cloud solution can save an enterprise money if it has:
    1. A leveraged infrastructure – 1 server or 1 PBX supporting multiple customers.
    2. A leveraged facility – one data center with cooling, electrical supporting multiple customers
    3. A leveraged application – 1 contact center application (software) supporting multiple clients
    4. A leveraged support team supporting multiple clients.
  2. Second, is by paying for only what you use – the Electric grid is a cloud. You pay for what you use when you turn on your lights.   If you had to build your own power plant it would cost you a fortune – so you and others leverage the grid.
  3. Third, is by providing the latest and greatest – a cloud provider can keep you current on the latest release so you don’t have to manage and update your systems constantly and the new features and functions of the applications can provide value to your organization.

In the end most of the items above boil down to cost savings or added value.   If an Enterprise really wanted to they could invest and do everything a full featured cloud provider does but it is less expensive to outsource that to a cloud provider.

When is the cloud NOT the cloud?

Many vendors rebranded their products over the past few years to say they are a cloud offer.   They want to latch on to the positive cost saving attributes of a true cloud offer.  But like in the example of a green product you have to look into the cloud to see if it is real or not.  Types of clouds:

  1. Private Cloud – This is a 100% built infrastructure for a single enterprise. In prior years this was called outsourcing, dedicated hosted or managed services.   Those models have value in many cases but the key one that truly makes the cloud unique – leverage – does not exist in this model.  It is a single solution for a single user.
  2. Hybrid Cloud – This is just a funny term coined by some to mean that some of the infrastructure is leveraged “in the cloud” and some of it is dedicated to a single customer.
  3. Public Cloud – This is the true space for the cloud offer that allows the provider of the cloud service to leverage, people, process, equipment, software and facilities to prove a lower TCO to the user.

The cloud can be a great thing for your business if it is truly a cloud offer that provides the cost and services benefit that a true cloud offer brings.   Just be wary of any vendor pitching their product as green or cloud.   Because it depends.

And Then There Were 3

The big Wireline and Wireless providers continue to shrink

0 001The wireline and wireless market continues to contract.   It started in 2001 and has been a steady downward consolidation since.   Yesterday (April 15th) Nokia agreed to purchase Paris based giant Alcatel-Lucent for $16.6 billion.

The big 3 now are:

  • Nokia/Alcatel combined ($28B revenue)
  • Ericsson ($29 B revenue)
  • Huawei ($27 B revenue).

The next closest company in size in this space is less than $10 billion.   Still respectable but a long way from the days when Lucent and Nortel and others dominated the telephone equipment market.

The combined Nokia/Alcatel Company will rank a strong second in mobile equipment, with global market share of 35 percent, behind Ericsson at 40 percent and ahead of Huawei’s 20 percent, according to Bernstein Research.

Posting on the Nokia Web site:

NOKIA AND ALCATEL-LUCENT TO COMBINE TO CREATE AN INNOVATION LEADER IN NEXT GENERATION TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES FOR AN IP CONNECTED WORLD

Nokia Corporation
Stock Exchange Release
April 15, 2015 at 08:00 (CET +1)

NOKIA AND ALCATEL-LUCENT TO COMBINE TO CREATE AN INNOVATION LEADER IN NEXT GENERATION TECHNOLOGY AND SERVICES FOR AN IP CONNECTED WORLD

Helsinki & Paris, April 15, 2015 – Nokia and Alcatel-Lucent announce today their intention to combine to create an innovation leader in next generation technology and services for an IP connected world. The two companies have entered into a memorandum of understanding under which Nokia will make an offer for all of the equity securities issued by Alcatel-Lucent, through a public exchange offer in France and in the United States, on the basis of 0.55 of a new Nokia share for every Alcatel-Lucent share. The all-share transaction values Alcatel-Lucent at EUR 15.6 billion on a fully diluted basis, corresponding to a fully diluted premium of 34% (equivalent to EUR 4.48 per share), and a premium to shareholders of 28% (equivalent to EUR 4.27 per share) (see Appendix 1), on the unaffected weighted average share price of Alcatel-Lucent for the previous three months. This is based on Nokia’s unaffected closing share price of EUR 7.77 on April 13, 2015.

5 Reasons to deal with a small company

0We have all been there. Dealing with a big company can have its challenges. If you are in the IT Telecom space you have a network of suppliers that you rely on for hardware, software, installation, break-fix, operations and so forth – almost no company delivers 100% of what they sell. In order to deliver service to your end customer you need subcontractors to complete your offer. So, who do you turn to and why?

Option A: The big guys: Lots of companies like to do business with “name brand” suppliers for several reasons but mainly because:

  • Company X (any name you like here) is “known” internally within your organization. When you look to get approval for your project internally you don’t have to explain who X is.
  • In theory you won’t get fired for picking Company X… “everybody picks X”

But, if you have been around for a while you know that some big companies can be slow to respond and expensive. Requests, such as getting a quote may require forms to be filled out, submissions of those forms, and follow up with the SPOC Company X has assigned to you. They may be slow and expensive because they have lots of people, lots of fragmented groups and a lack of single ownership over any one discipline.

Option B: Certified Small Businesses: The refreshing part about a small company is they act like they want your business because in fact they do! These are not employees punching a time clock working for a boss they don’t like… the people at a small company want to be there and they want your business. That attitude comes through on all aspects of dealing with them.
The 5 reasons for dealing with a small company are:

  1. Quick. They are lightening fast. Need a quick turn on a quote? It can be done because the person quoting the work is either a decision maker or has easy access to them.
  2. Accessibility. With a small company you have access to the owner, general manager, president or Sr. VP at most any time.
  3. Low prices. Limited or no HR departments, finance departments, vendor management departments and so on. Also the margin targets are much lower with a lot less overhead.
  4. Speed to Deploy. Deployment of engineers, project managers and others once the order is received is almost immediate. A small company can handle a change any time and adapt accordingly. Just document the change and move on with limited red tape or back-office processes.
  5. Quality. Small businesses thrive on delivering quality service. Referrals are key to the success of a small business because they don’t have huge marketing departments and advertising budgets. High customer satisfaction is critical and the way to achieve that is with quality service and support.

You can be a very small fish in a very big pond with company X or you can be a very important customer and an important fish in a smaller pond with a certified small company.

Nortel SL100 / CS2100

0- 704It’s 2015 and the Nortel SL100 / CS2100 continues to be a reliable telephony system at many Hospitals, Universities and Government facilities. But where do you find support for these old systems? Many business and government entities are finding that increasingly challenging. At First American Business Solutions we have been supporting the SL100/2100 for years and as a matter of fact, over the past year our practice in this space as even expanded! Here is what’s new: 24/7 Monitoring, On-site training and OEM (Genband) maintenance coverage.

First ABS can now provide full and complete coverage on the SL100/CS2100. Here is a run-down of the full service portfolio:

  • Monitoring – With VPN, a buffer box or SEB access we can monitor Critical and Major alarms around the clock. We can email or text messages to your phone automatically immediately upon receipt of an issue. We also provide reporting statistics on a quarterly and annual basis.
  • 3rd level Tech support – We have highly trained and skilled SL100/CS2100 3rd level technical engineers available 24/7 for remote resolution.
  • Feet on Street Repair – We cover most U.S. locations with our nationwide footprint of smart-hands technical labor that can be dispatched to site. Because of the limited number of qualified SL100 engineers in the market at First ABS we pair a qualified Nortel field engineer (“smart hands”) with a SL100 remote engineer to resolve issues physically at our customer’s locations.
  • Maintenance (7×24 on-call with SLA support) – We sell annual maintenance support agreements to our SL100/CS2100 customers that bundle several components together: block of engineering hours, feet on the street, inventory management, monitoring and a health check. Our SLA is a response time driven. We will have a qualified engineer working a problem within a committed time frame.
  • Training – Most of our customers want practical hands on training. Customer telecom engineers can shadow our trainer and learn by observing and doing. We also work in formal reviews while on site. Generally we sell a 3 day hands-on training module but can work with you on custom material.
  • Full Time – Staff Augmentation (M-F 8-5) – First ABS can provide a full time on-site SL100/CS2100 engineer. These agreements are as short as 3 months but generally done on an annual basis.
  • Genband support – We are a Bronze partner of GENBAND, which affords us the opportunity to leverage the company’s product enhancements and software updates. With this core level of OEM support, First ABS can provide our customers with GenbandCare offers including:
    • Support Plan – Tech support
    • Support Plan – Tech support with NBD Advance Parts
    • Support Plan – Tech support with 10 day parts
  • Software Upgrades – Need to upgrade from SE06 to SE09? We can purchase the upgrade from the OEM and perform the software upgrade with our qualified staff.
  • Parts – We have an extensive inventory of SL100/CS2100 parts. This is custom quoted depending on the exact part, line card, etc. needed. Many times we can ship it the next day.

In a nutshell, First ABS is able to provide any and all needed support for these carrier class platforms. Please give us a call and let us know how we can support you SL100/CS2100 legacy carrier grade platform!