Mobility in the Cloud: 5 Reasons to Make the Switch

With the increasing number of smartphones, tablets, and mobile devices proliferating the tech world, businesses are grappling with the question of how to incorporate these new technologies into their operations. Rather than outfit entire workforces with company-owned tech, BYOD (bring your own device) initiatives are integrating employee-owned, personal hardware into day-to-day business functions.

While proprietary software and unified communications systems can fully integrate all devices into the daily workflow, the practical problems of large-scale IT management begin to raise red flags. How does a company manage mobile devices, apps, and security on a network that includes both corporate and employee-owned devices? The answer is often overlooked: cloud mobile management.

Below are some advantages to a cloud-based mobile device management system.

1) Device Options: With such a broad array of mobile devices on the market operating on various platforms such as Apple’s iOS, Android, and Blackberry, it’s important that IT management solutions can cover each platform equally. Cloud-based management solutions can support all operating systems, offering a company flexibility and diversity when choosing hardware and software.

2) Rapid Deployment: Cloud-based MDM services can be rolled out faster than ever. This allows companies to deploy management services almost instantly rather than the weeks or months required for a traditional MDM system. Policies and access controls can be put into place and calibrated with easy, no-fuss configuration.

3) Single Console Management:Management of a broad range of hardware devices typically requires multiple control consoles, often requiring extra deployment time and longer development windows. With cloud-based MDM, all operating systems can be monitored and managed through one console that can be regularly updated to account for new developments in mobile technology.

4) Instant Updates: As the pace of new technologies quickens, the ability for mobile IT systems to shift at a moment’s notice is the new forefront of managed mobile systems. Traditionally, IT responses to software and OS updates can lag days, or even weeks behind. With cloud-based management, providers can update their services almost in an instant, allowing for real-time support that stays abreast with ongoing developments.

5) Adjustable Payments: Unlike fixed-fee MDM systems, cloud-based services allow companies to adjust their payment plans as they grow for optimum scalability. With convenient cloud systems in place with single console monitoring and easy updates and rollout, consistent IT resources can be devoted to any growing company, no matter the size. The efficiency and usefulness of a cloud-based MDM is unmatched.

Cloud mobile device management is the comprehensive and up-to-date answer to the widespread technological advancement occurring around the world. With complex software and communications systems keeping businesses running, Cloud MDM allows companies to run smoothly and focus their attention where it matters: on the customer.

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The Big 2012 Communications Predictions: How Are They Faring

As a global leader inbusiness communications systems, Avaya takes its position seriously. That’s why at the beginning of the year, it gets its best thinkers together to make predictions about communications technology trends, service innovations and broad market drivers.

Now that we’re into 2013, Avaya decided to take stock and see which predictions have been on target and which have missed the mark. You can see the full report at http://www.avaya.com/usa/resource/assets/whitepapers/12CommunicationTrendsfor2012Update.pdf

Here’s a synopsis:

#1: Mobility raises the expectation of availability. There is no question about the accuracy of this prediction—but it probably didn’t go far enough. Mobility is no longer just about availability. In its mid-year update, Avaya notes that employees now expect the same features and functionality in mobile devices as they have in their office.

#2: Contact centers test the value of voice. This is true, but it’s turning out to be a bit more complicated. In its update, Avaya points out that in today’s customer service world, it’s not about pitting one mode (voice, e-mail, text, etc.) against another, but “offering the right channel at the right time.” This requires proactively determining what kind of experience the user wants. “Once you identify the preferred channels, you can focus energy and resources on making them — and the customer experience — great.”

#3Contextual data spans the last mile of personal productivity.  Contextual data is information about the communications, not the communications itself.  Having contextual data easily accessible, for example, lets you retrieve a dial-in number and passcode after being dropped from a conference call. Or lets you instantly see a list of participants with information about how you’ve interacted with them and the documents and other resources relevant to the interaction. Getting contextual data is happening, but perhaps not as fast as expected. “At this point, contextual capabilities remain in their infancy,” Avaya notes, “with promising prototypes surfacing in the marketplace.”

#4: Businesses advance from social media to social business. Despite Facebook’s troubled stock market debut, social media is still hot. In the update, Avaya points out that companies increasingly use social media not only as a listening post but as a springboard to action. Establishing a command center for monitoring and responding to social media is becoming commonplace.

#5: Social media and customer care enter into an arranged marriage. Not only that, but the marriage seems happy all around. Avaya notes that as organizations get their arms around social media/customer care alignment, it helps them put real legs on their social media strategy.

#6: The SIP bar is raised again. Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) is the foundation for streamlining enterprise networks and extending advanced communications to small and medium-size businesses. As more SIP-enabled applications become available, Avaya sees more organizations abandoning a cautious, stepwise approach to deploying SIP.

#7: Social interactions expose customer care’s flaws. There is no hiding in the world of social media.  Avaya notes that companies are getting used to its rough and tumble dynamics and responding by creating a culture of openness that encourages employees to engage.

#8: IT support staffs converge, part 2. This prediction will never be NOT true. But Avaya notes that while the movement to bring voice and data staffs together continues unabated, challenges keep arising (e.g., how to deploy unified communications.) Facing these challenges, IT continues to proceed cautiously “perhaps too much so in the eyes of some users,” notes Avaya.

#9: Continuous connectivity drives communications support services. Raw connectivity is critical to support services, allowing vendor support teams to “swarm” a customer problem using real-time by video and other tools.  In its mid-year update, Avaya notes that some companies are also migrating to other approaches, such as managed services, total outsourcing or software as a service (SaaS).

#10: Clients take control of managed services. IT departments are becoming more discriminating in the managed services they purchase and asking tougher questions, such as “Are our IT operating costs predictable? Do we have the IT staff we need? Do we have the budget to invest in the infrastructure to meet organization expectations?”  Answering “no” to any of these questions can make a company a prime candidate for managed services.

#11: UC managed services/outsourcing facilitates alignment between IT and business units.  Yes IT and business units keep cozying up. More and more, they are conducting unbiased analyses to determine whether creating a solution internally or turning to a service provider offers better value.

#12: “True” UC apps proliferate. Expectations for UC continue to grow, especially as BYOD enables true UC applications on smartphones, tablets and other devices. But barriers remain, as conflicting technologies and approaches limit usability and adoption. At midyear, Avaya is counseling companies to “discount the hype and do the homework.”

Video Meetings That Kill the Ordinary Conference Call

In this progressively more global or geographically dispersed workplace, companies are forced to encourage their employees to communicate in real time with peers, administration, and customers worldwide to stay ahead of competition and be more productive. Video conferencing is one of the most powerful and effective communication and collaboration tools in business.  Perfect for corporate environment, video conferencing solutions are used worldwide to make the workplace more connected and productive for knowledge workers. Making communication faster and easier, a number of video conferencing equipment is available to benefit organizations with efficient communication and collaboration opportunities.

However, the price tag of owning your own solution is steep. So are the other soft costs – that translate into hard dollars- training, financing and maintaining the solution can quickly turn into a vast drain of resources. Additionally, the whole Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) phenomenon makes the whole process a lot more mobile and diverse. Ad hoc collaboration means that people need to connect and collaborate via whatever devices they are using- smartphones, tablets, PC’s, Mac’s…and some that we don’t even know about yet. The most obvious solution is as simple as it is low cost. A robust cloud conferencing service that enables all of your people, your devices, your clients, your client’s devices- to communicate all together and share screens, images, documents and contacts.

One of the best providers we have found is iMeet. The interface is simple and powerful. You can work on whatever device you need to be on- landline telephone, PC, Mac, tablet, iPad, smartphone …and collaborate. If your device has video, you have video. If your device is a simple connection (voice only) you can still collaborate- whether you’re in the car, in the airport or just not ready for a full on video conference. If you have a phone and a computer- you can share screens. Adding people in- ad hoc and on the fly is easy. Seeing who’s talking eliminates those embarrassing talk over moments. You can chat with all of the participants at once– or privately. Above all, it’s intuitive and doesn’t require additional hardware.

Today’s web is all about Social Media. Linked IN, Facebook, Twitter…they’re all integrated into the application. You can add clients and participants easily through your existing accounts. You can also find out more information about them- rounding out the whole experience. It’s more than just a video conference or an audio conference.

I was so impressed with iMeet that I felt it important to try. I want you to try it to- and I can give you two options. The first is easy. Try it for 30 days. Free. No cost to you. Just send me an email to imeet@primetelecommunications.com.

Second, if you’re really interested, let me buy you a cup of coffee ($10 worth of Starbucks courtesy of the good folks at PGI who have developed iMeet) and let’s have an online demo. Click here for that demo!

What have you go to lose?