NEC has been a part of the Irving community for over 30 years, and in that time we have seen many positive changes and been a part of the city’s growth and development. We also have a long standing relationship with the Irving Police Department and its former police chief, Larry Boyd, who retired last year. We are thankful for his leadership of the department for the last 12 years and his contributions to the community. It was a pleasure working with him and we wish him well in this new chapter of life.
Accompanying former Chief Boyd on many of his visits to NECAM was Assistant Police Chief Jeff Spivey. Like Chief Boyd, Chief Spivey has a dedication to his profession and to the people of Irving that is admirable. He is also a strong supporter of the Irving Advocacy Center, awarded a grant from the NEC Foundation last year.
We are pleased that after conducting an extensive search, Irving City Manager Chris Hillman recommended Chief Jeff Spivey as the new Irving Chief of Police. He was confirmed March 23, 2017 by the Irving City Council. Join me in congratulating Irving’s new Chief of Police! We look forward to many more years of collaboration in serving the local community.
Deciding between building and maintaining your own data center or moving to the cloud or IaaS can be quite the head scratcher for an IT executive. In some cases, the terms “data center” and “cloud” might be interchangeable. The first step in decision-making is clarification of terms and a clearer understanding of your options.
Why move to the cloud? Can Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) be used for a data center? Which option is better for the future needs of the organization?
“Data center” is a general term used to define an organized area of servers and storage, either onsite or offsite, that is managed by trained data center and IT specialists. The data center equipment is used to store user and organizational data and make it accessible when needed. With many data centers kept onsite, network users do not rely on an Internet connection to access the local data. As long as the local network connection is available, the data is accessible.
Building and maintaining your own data center include the following cost factors:
Staffing and training – hiring IT expertise and paying for training to maintain, backup, restore and upgrade data center equipment, as needed.
Architecting – forecasting for current and future data storage requirements, workload and scalability
Facilities – finding an expandable location for the equipment that is secure, safe and with a low risk of break-ins and natural disasters
Utilities – covering the cost of electricity, wiring, air conditioning and other utilities required to keep the servers running 24/7/365
Equipment – purchasing and evaluating ever-changing equipment and storage needs, year over year
Redundancy – ensuring the data is backed up or available immediately should the storage equipment or servers encounter a failure
Software – purchasing the software required to keep the servers running efficiently and the data storage secure
Expansion – planning for expansion of the data center as the data storage requirements increase
If there is an emergency situation at the data center location, such as fire, flood or other physical damage, or an attempted data breach, the actual servers and storage are at risk of being harmed and unavailable. Backing up the data or maintaining a data center elsewhere may help mitigate the risk of failure or loss of data.
In plain terms, cloud computing is defined by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as a set of shared resources and services available to end users (cloud clients), quickly and with little management, via an Internet connection. Cloud computing provides these services via three general models: software as a service (SaaS), platform as a service (PaaS) or infrastructure as a service (IaaS). An example of SaaS would be an email application accessed through a web browser. Platform as a service is typically used in the web or software development world. When developers need to collaborate on a project such as an application or software creation, PaaS offers a good option for a tool or platform to be used in this way. In the case of data centers, IT executives considering the “cloud” would be interested in using Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). IaaS provides servers, storage, virtual machines and more for the use of running software and other necessary components needed in the IT environment.
An IaaS environment is also considered a data center that is accessible via the cloud or Internet-based services, hence the reason the terms can cause some confusion. The difference is that the data center equipment is not purchased or maintained by the organization but rather purchased as an on-demand service from an IaaS provider. IaaS can be available via the “public cloud,” where the shared infrastructure services are open for public use. “Private cloud” is also an option, where the services are available, but only for the single organization and via a private network. Some providers are also offering a combination of these options, referred to as “Hybrid Cloud.”
The cost of building and maintaining IaaS is different from an organizationally-owned data center and can significantly assist in controlling budgets. As part of the service, the IaaS provider does the staffing and training of storage experts, provides the facilities and utilities, furnishes the equipment, backs up and builds redundancy of the data and offers security – all for a single price. With an in-house data center, the organization is paying for these requirements all the time. With “pay only for what you use,” IaaS provides customization, agility, control, dynamic scaling, optimization, security and efficiency for a lower total cost of ownership. And with an IaaS provider, there is also the ability to have the “latest and greatest” in technology, making it easier to stay up to date.
When using a private cloud, IaaS offers dedicated servers for the organization’s mission critical data. The IaaS provider is offsite and builds redundancy and backups into the service so the organization’s sensitive data is always secure and available.
As an original equipment manufacturer of servers and storage, NEC is uniquely positioned to offer IaaS to clients without the use of third-party sourcing. IaaS is not a “one size fits all” solution and NEC can tailor customizable configurations based on your organizational needs.
Because of the lower total cost of ownership, NEC’s IaaS solutions offer long-term scalable and quantifiable benefits to organizations at a predictable and financially manageable expense.
NEC’s hosts its private IaaS infrastructure 200 feet underground at Iron Mountain’s Western Pennsylvania Data Center. Iron Mountain provides FISMA (Federal Information Security Management Act) compliance to ensure Department of Justice Level 4 security. This security level is the highest federal regulatory standard.
When considering cost and security, IT executives are weighing options for highly sensitive and mission-critical operational environments. As the organization’s needs expand, so will the cost of maintaining an onsite data center, equipment, real estate, utilities and more. Moving to IaaS, as part of a cloud computing solution, is an opportunity for enterprise environments to manage expanding requirements for security, regulatory compliance and business continuity at a lower total cost of ownership. NEC’s managed IaaS solution, as well as “best in breed” server and storage options, offers organizations dedicated servers, stored and physically secured deep in Iron Mountain’s underground data center.
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New functionalities are being requested by end users that your system is not capable of
IT cannot expand and support the growth of your company’s communications requirements
When these situations arise, more often than not, it is not in the budget. And, as long as there is dial tone, it’s hard to convince the powers that be of the necessity of spending dollars on replacing their communications system. So, what are your options?
Do nothing and run the risk of your system going down or not being able to support your end users with the services they require
Look to see where you can find dollars in the existing budget and where you can make cuts on other projects
Consider financing or leasing options for your technology acquisitions
Financing is a great alternative to traditional funding sources. It lets you act quickly and does not negatively impact your budget. When choosing this path, you need to consider carefully the funding source. You need a source that is responsive and understands the nuances of acquiring new technology and has the expertise to meet your exact needs. One such company is NEC Financial Services.
NEC Financial Services has provided IT/communications finance solutions for more than 30 years and during that time has supported many companies in getting all their technology needs through flexible financing options. They start with a transaction team and use underwriting and financing contracts that are customizable to their clients’ needs. Their unique system enables them to create a better solution that ensures their clients have what they require to grow their business.
NEC Financial Services team offers several options for the financing and leasing of technology acquisitions. And, the best part? You can purchase various IT hardware, software and associated items from multiple vendors and have NEC create a financing package customized to your specific needs.
Some examples of the different financing and leasing approaches they offer that you will find are very different from a more traditional lender or bank:
Programs based on customer requirements – most organizations face the same business challenges that are not easily resolved with standard finance transactions. NEC Financial Services provides different types of programs based on customer requirements. From a purchase to own arrangement to an OPEX finance option, the program is designed to fit the business need. Including:
Terms to Protect Against Technology Obsolescence – for clients where obsolescence is a real issue, they can structure shorter terms so they can keep up with important technology updates to grow their business.
Maintenance Financing – option to finance one of the more expensive, yet critical components of a new technology purchase – maintenance.
Tech Refresh Lease – clients can get technology updated with a simple schedule as an addendum to the master lease or finance agreement. It’s easy and gives a customer an opportunity to keep on top of technology changes.
Software Financing an option for leveling out investment costs versus having the initial capital investment cash flow impact the budgeting cycle.
Off Balance Sheet – many organizations find it more attractive to acquire technology as an operational expense, giving them additional financial benefits.
Driven by cash flow – if an organization has a specific budget amount they need to meet, NEC Financial Services will work to structure financing to accommodate that number.
Beyond the traditional – NEC Financial Services designs financing options to ensure that clients can receive funding for their technology upgrades and investments, even during the installation or implementation phases. Many times this can be accomplished through various offerings that include direct and working capital loans or structured financing.
In addition to the financing options, NEC Financial Services also provides asset tracking. They find that many of their clients require a more robust asset tracking system than they have in-house. They can track assets by jurisdiction, county, state, and zip code, taking the burden from their clients while providing added value.
NEC Financial Services goal is to support their clients’ ongoing business growth through long-term relationships. They make great efforts to understand client’s business requirements and growth strategies so that they can structure finance options to meet their needs and successfully implement their plans.
Technology is in NEC Financial Services DNA – especially since they are a division of NEC which was named as one of the 50 most innovative companies in 2016. They are truly committed to providing excellent service to their clients to ensure they are able to get the technology they need to remain competitive.
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Last week, we learned that Avaya has filed in federal court for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection due in large part to a significant debt burden carried over a nearly 10-year period. Only time will tell whether the debt restructuring process under bankruptcy will be kind to Avaya. Regardless, I’m sure our industry and the media will continue to study the legacies of both Nortel and Avaya as history lessons for many years to come.
What I know from my own 30-plus years of experience with NEC is that financial stability through diversification and creating operational efficiency has benefited not only us as a company, but our customers and partners through the years. Continuous improvement and innovation are probably the two biggest reasons for NEC’s 117+ years of longevity.
The next reason is our commitment to providing quality, future-proof unified communications and collaboration tools that will last and be relevant for many years to come. As a result, NEC has always had a ready willingness to step in and offer help to customers and partners who need it the most.
Another reason for our longevity is our ability to adapt and transform. NEC has reinvented itself numerous times through the years and will likely do so many more. As TalkingPointz Principal Analyst Dave Michels observed in his No Jitter coverage of our 2016 Advantage Executive Conference, we’ve done this most recently through the virtualization of our UC offerings, the launch of UC as a Service, and the integration of our UC solution set into a broader IT portfolio we call the Smart Enterprise.
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All of these things add up to one clear call to action.
If you are a customer or partner of Avaya and are unsure about your future, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. At the very least you’ll learn something about our current programs and migrating to an NEC Smart Enterprise solution. At best, you’ll come away with a better idea of how you can protect your business down the line.
Stay tuned to NECToday.com for additional ideas on how you can future-proof your business with NEC.
As the President and CEO of a major technology subsidiary focused on delivering security, safety and operational efficiency using a broad technology portfolio we call the Smart Enterprise, I have the opportunity to meet and work with a lot of great companies and brands.
For example, I take great pride in the fact that NEC Corporation of America has such a longstanding, global relationship with 7-Eleven, Inc. The convenience store giant is a beacon of innovation in the retail industry, and through the years we have helped 7-Eleven build out its impressive IT platform.
This week, NEC announced an exciting, exclusive deal with 7-Eleven to provide point-of-sale (POS) technology to 8,600 stores across the United States and Canada. As we communicated in the news release, for 7-Eleven it’s a great new opportunity to connect with tech-savvy consumers at the register with an engaging, custom digital experience using our NEC TWINPOS® G5100 POS platform.
For us, it’s a great opportunity to continue to demonstrate that we do so much more than provide technology in the store. In this case, we are also offering fully integrated product development, service desk and maintenance support for the next five years.
These are the types of customer relationships that excite me the most – integrated development and support. Working with our customer, we are able to leverage real-time feedback in the labs to create a solution that does exactly what our client wants. To help us stay even more in-tune with our customer, we actually have a 7-Eleven store inside our headquarters building in Irving, Texas. We use it and shop there every day. We serve as a testing ground for our customer, just as our customer often pushes us to innovate in their own environment.
The resulting relationship with 7-Eleven is the very the definition of Smart Retail, which allows retailers to gain insights to know their customers better and build a larger share of wallet. Together, we always have our eyes on the customer.
Over time, I am confident NEC will continue to contribute and enhance 7-Eleven’s customer experience and operational efficiency through a broad range of technologies.
If you are headed to the NRF or will be in New York City next week (January 15-17), I encourage you to come by and check it out. Now in its 106th year, there is nothing quite like Retail’s Big Show.
As you can read online in our press release, the NEC booth #4121 will not disappoint and will showcase all of the technologies smart retailers can use to know their customers better, including our core POS hardware, software, cloud platform for retail, Infrastructure as a Service and lifecycle management solutions. Likewise, NEC’s leadership in biometrics solutions, specifically facial recognition for use in loyalty program, as well as automated greetings and surveillance, will provide a bit of wow-factor in the booth. Our industry leading analytics solutions for automated shelf detection, heat mapping and video shopper demographics will also be popular items.
Finally, we’ll be joined in booth by our colleagues at NEC Display Solutions, which offers 4K displays, video wall solutions, interactive displays and large format displays for a wide array of commercial and retail applications.
If you are a technologist in the retail industry, I encourage you to check out NEC’s full retail suite by heading over to www.necam.com/smartretail.
You just might be surprised at how we might be able to help you “Know Your Customer.”
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