Managed Collaboration Services – the New Mantra for Business Enablement
By Ravi Gonuguntla, Director, Managed Services, Aspire Technology Partners
Organizations often find themselves incorporating multiple disparate technologies in search of a perfect blend of solutions to meet everyday business needs. A convergence of unified communications and collaboration (UC&C) environments, for example, can become unwieldy and disjointed – with numerous service provider networks, various messaging and meeting platforms, contact centers, voice systems, and video collaboration environments.
With this complex landscape of endpoints, servers, gateways, and service providers, assuring the seamless performance of your communications infrastructure can be challenging. IT organizations, with limited resources and bandwidth, can easily get overwhelmed due to a high volume of support requests and time needed to identify and resolve issues across the varying UC&C solutions supporting today’s digital workplace.
Also, it is becoming more difficult to keep up with the continuous evolution of new software and advanced Cloud applications that offer better integration and agility. Staying current with the latest software versions and functionality can be burdensome and not always straightforward. If upgrades don’t go well, it can result in degraded or unavailable services that adversely affect business and prevent employees from effectively engaging with customers, partners, vendors, and other employees.
The Complexity of Unified Communications
UC&C has become critical for many organizations’ operations; however, it can be very complex for any in-house team to manage. When end-users complain about dropped calls or poor voice quality, companies often don’t know where to turn.
Deploying and maintaining a complex UC environment requires extensive knowledge and specialized skillsets – from task-based moves, adds, and changes, to troubleshooting issues, all the way to setting up and configuring a new UC environment at a remote site. For instance, onboarding 50 new employees necessitates individual voice mails, spread out across departments, with different hunt groups, varied options for endpoints, and some needing specific direct inward dialing (DID) requirements. All of this requires orchestration and seamless integration including service provider connectivity and provisioning.
Managed Collaboration Plays a Critical Role
As a Managed Services Provider (MSP) for over fifteen years, our commitment is to partner with our customers every step of the way. Understanding the needs of our customers’ end-users gives us the edge of addressing the issues they encounter daily. We are on call to provide service from general issues like call-drops, call quality, video quality, voicemails, not working issues, to call centers that have gone down.
That last item is important. Some of the larger companies we support have global offices with call centers around the world, processing anywhere between 10,000 to 15,000 calls per day in different time zones. It is vital for the call center to be up and seamlessly running without interruption 24/7/365. This means that when the market closes at 4:00 PM today in the US, it opens in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Asia. In this instance, our team of experts ensures that customer call centers are in operation, monitoring them proactively and addressing issues with urgency, all in parallel to conducting daily task-based work.
At Aspire Technology Partners, our managed unified communications and collaboration practice is a top service delivered by our managed services team. We employ engineers certified from the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) level all the way to the Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) level. One of the key differentiators for our managed collaboration services is that we perform software upgrades. As part of a three-year agreement, we include one major and two minor upgrades at no additional charge.
Proper Client Onboarding Ensures Managed Services Success
For managed services to work, our partnership with every customer is based on mutual trust. It is important that we have complete visibility into the network and that immediate feedback is made available to our customers. For this partnership to be successful, proper onboarding is critical.
We begin our typical six-week onboarding process by installing our VIGILENS™ appliance on-site. VIGILENS™ scans the entire network and helps us understand what technology exists as well as the health of that technology.
The VIGILENS™ platform enables asset discovery, 24×7 monitoring, event correlation, and alerting. It is an extensible architecture to easily turn-up comprehensive reporting and visibility within the client environment. It has SOC 1 or SOC 2 certified collectors and sensors necessary to aggregate, correlate and report back about network data. We can see if any network issues exist which enables us to determine the necessary fixes with urgency. If a virtual machine is constantly triggering drive space alerts or performance alerts, we will report that status and make a recommendation for remediation. Otherwise, clients are going to have performance issues for all their users who are accessing that application.
Simultaneously, we conduct knowledge transfer sessions with the client, obtaining critical information that goes into the creation of their run books, as well as getting to know more about their environment. This is a critical step. When a client provides us with their requirements, the run book becomes our guide for troubleshooting, notification, and incident management. We want to be sure that we are ready to go live on day one.
In the last two weeks of our fine-tuning phase, we open the floodgates to see what other events are being captured by VIGILENS™ collectors. Based on our findings, we work with our clients to tune out the noise and make best practice recommendations that will address specific needs.
At go live, this cycle continues with the assurance that our team of experts support our clients 24/7 providing quality monitoring and remediation with speed, agility, and accuracy.
If you would like to learn more about Aspire’s Managed Services, please contact me directly: Ravi Gonuguntla (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Aspire’s team can work with your business to determine the best support options and assistance for your company, so you can get back to focusing on larger strategic outcomes. You can also visit www.aspiretransforms.com for more information.
Aspire Technology Partners is a Cisco Gold Certified Partner engrained in solution pillars that set us apart as a true Cisco solutions provider. We are committed to the continuous improvement of expertise and skillsets around Cisco initiatives that enable us to help and guide customers in the adoption and management of technology architectures designed to transform their organization. We hold Cisco Master Specializations in Collaboration, Security, Cloud & Managed Services and is one of only 25 partners in the US to receive the Cisco Advanced Customer Experience Specialization.