NEC’s first-ever global partner conference, ADVANTAGE 2019, brought together more than 550 attendees from North America, EMEA and Latin America to learn, share and socialize during the three-day event. Attendees representing 200 partners from 50 countries gathered at the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, including channel partners, systems integrators, technology partners and guests along with key NEC executives.
With its theme of “Experience. Exchange. Excite,” ADVANTAGE delivered a rich blend of experts, guest speakers, networking opportunities, best practices sharing, deep dives into digital workspace topics, and a view of upcoming offerings. NEC executives, including Enterprise Technologies SVP Paul Kievit, Solutions and Services SVP Ram Menghani, and VP of Digital Platform Solutions Paul Aiello, provided a glimpse into the future of the Smart Enterprise and exciting possibilities that are available via dynamic delivery including Cloud, Smart WorkSpace and the UNIVERGE Integration Platform.
Woven throughout the presentations and educational sessions was the importance of the overall customer experience.
Digital transformation enables businesses to prioritize customer experience (CX), which elevates a commitment to employee experience (EX). For example, NEC’s Smart Workspace enhances employee experiences by providing work flexibility, improved collaboration, increased productivity and engagement. Deploying Smart Workspace allows organizations to reduce costs, retain talent, and create a great work culture.
Break-out sessions focused on current workforce trends, secure data management, unified communications solutions, high-availability servers, overcoming infrastructure challenges, and the importance of building customer relationships.
This year’s Solutions Expo featured global innovative solutions from the U.S., Japan and EMEA. The exhibits showcased the best of NEC’s current offerings as well as solutions that are coming soon.
This year’s agenda also featured guest
presenters who shared their expertise, ideas and knowledge with the audience.
Delivering the keynote address was Seth Mattison,
well-known international expert and author on workforce trends, generational
dynamics and business strategy. Seth, who is CEO of Luminate Labs, energized
the audience with his discussion on The
Future of Work and how workforce dynamics are shaping the new workplace.
LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan expanded
on how NEC is an
important partner in helping the golf organization achieve an
excellent fan experience at its events.
During the “Proud to Partner” session, several of NEC’s top systems integrators shared stories of success, transformation and best practices from their businesses. Featured speakers included executives from AllStar Communications, SETel, Forerunner, Koning & Hartman and Datasciences . Highlights from this session included a success story about a large university win that defined a roadmap for how SETel was able to combine creative financing through NEC Financial Services with NEC technology solutions and partner managed services to deliver an OPEX model to the customer, increased margins to the partner, and eliminate competitive bids.
NEC’s Valued Partners
The ADVANTAGE 2019 conference also
provides the opportunity to recognize our extraordinary worldwide partners
during the awards presentation. The focus was to not only award top performers for their demonstrated
excellence over the past year, but also to give partners the opportunity to
share insights and learn from each other. See a full list of the awards here.
The record-breaking attendance and enthusiastic participation from partners from around the globe made for a smashing success at NEC’s first global ADVANTAGE partner conference. Together, NEC and its partners continue to bring IT and communication solutions that enable organizations and their workforces to embrace the value of digital transformation.
To get an up-close look at ADVANTAGE 2019 check out our video.
Thanks to all who joined us in Orlando. See you in 2020 !
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NEC’s highly anticipated annual three-day partner conference kicks off on June 3 in Orlando. In its first incarnation as a global event, ADVANTAGE 2019 will be where NEC’s key players, channel partners, systems integrators, technology partners and guests get together to learn and share their interest in business enterprise technology.
A multi-purpose event for learning, experiencing, sharing, socializing, and recognizing our extraordinary partners across North America, EMEA and LATAM, NEC continues this rich tradition on June 3-5, at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Florida.
As always, NEC’s 2019 ADVANTAGE conference will be an uplifting time of targeted learning, inspiration and fun. It’s an opportunity to focus on how the latest NEC technology for business communications, workforce productivity, reliable business continuity, data security, and biometric solutions can move organizations forward and enhance their employee and customer experience.
This year’s keynote is the highly energetic and engaging Seth Mattison, whose focus will be on workforce trends and generational dynamics.
We’ll also feature a blending of expert education on cutting edge NEC solutions that exceed customer expectations, together with great opportunities to build business-boosting relationships with peers, sponsors, partners and NEC experts. ADVANTAGE 2019 is a time of experiencing NEC’s positive global messaging of the importance of developing strong relationships and understanding NEC’s solutions for the Smart Enterprise.
Enhancing the eXperience for the Smart Enterprise
The event spotlight is on the overall experience of our customers with NEC’s Smart Enterprise solutions. A wide range of sessions will be focusing on current workforce environment trends, the latest in NEC unified communications, secure data management, the stability of NEC’s high availability servers, infrastructure challenges being met, the critical importance of building real relationships with customers, and why the spectrum of NEC Smart Enterprise solutions makes sense for businesses of all sizes and missions.
This year the information share is deeper, ranging from NEC Global Strategies to targeted sessions covering specific areas:
UC Enterprise SV9500 – to the Future and Beyond
SMB UC Platforms – Onwards Leading the Way
SMB UC – Unique InApps – Think Verticals
Workplace Mobility – Set them Free!
IT Solutions Networking – Master Your Network
Government eXperience – a Holistic Approach to Success
Education eXperience – K-12 and Higher Education
Business Cloud – the Sky is the Limit
Digital Marketing & Campaigns – Essential for Success
HCI Hyper Converged Infrastructure
Customer Care – Enhancing the Customer Experience
UC Enterprise UNIVERGE 3C – to the Future and Beyond
Sales Enablement Transformation –UNIVERGE Blue
The Smart Workspace
Smart Data Protection
Along with enriching opportunities to participate in informational and inspiring sessions led by the “best of the best” in the industry, the NEC Solutions Expo will also provide attendees with hands-on demonstrations of the latest available product and service offerings to meet the growing needs of our customers.
ADVANTAGE 2019 is a time when we come together to exchange ideas and enjoy an environment of fellowship and comradery. It’s a time to learn and affirm our shared goal of truly orchestrating a brighter world, and discover how, to that end, NEC is continuously innovating, learning, and always fine-tuning our commitment to creating experiences that matter.
As the enterprise environment changes, it’s up to technology partners to provide tools and stay adaptable to help support those businesses. NEC has a wide breadth of core UC and IT products and each stands on its own to help solve common technology dilemmas. Our NEC Smart Enterprise encapsulates those multiple solutions into one powerful enterprise approach to meet the demands and complex needs of today’s end users and IT executives.
In an effort to respond to market forces and transform Enterprise operations across both the Americas and EMEA, I am pleased to announce that Mr. Paul Kievit, Head of EMEA Enterprise Solutions, will assume the additional role of Senior Vice President of Enterprise for NEC Corporation of America.
Under Paul’s leadership and passion, his team helped develop the NEC Smart Enterprise go-to-market message and approach, which has been adopted by NEC businesses globally. Paul’s vision for NEC Smart Enterprise is to continue to develop and sell solutions around the customer experience:
• Addressing unmet customer needs
• Implementing best practices
• Creating excellence in the customer purchase experience
• Building brand equity and adopting NEC solutions to customer demands
NEC Smart Enterprise Explained
Built on four key objectives, NEC Smart Enterprise helps executives face the complex needs of enterprise users head on:
• Architecture flexibility
• Software-defined anything
• Business continuity
• Internet of things
These elements allow businesses to improve how their employees communicate and collaborate, as well as improve the security of the information that is shared throughout the organization.
Moving to the Cloud
As IT executives adopt cloud-based IT and communications services, they hope to solve the challenges of data storage and scalability, maintenance requirements and multi-vendor platform integration. Decision makers, concerned with quality control, security risks, reliability and installation challenges, need to work with a provider and cloud model that addresses their unique needs. A hybrid cloud architecture can combine the best of a public and private cloud, allowing the organization control where they need it and outsourcing other components. Customizing the cloud environment strategically adds architecture flexibility and prepares for future business needs while improving business continuity and compliance.
Meeting the Workforce Where They Are
Business agility helps a mobile workforce respond to customer and business challenges on the go. The legacy focus on hardware has given way to a more flexible architecture of software services. Users and applications expect to work together in an ecosystem that should be available everywhere at any time. Virtualizing networks, through software-defined-anything, relieves the burden of time, real estate, and manned resources and therefore decreases the cost to the enterprise. The benefits of software-defined environments are simplified management, security, ability to scale, and less staff requirements with business continuity built-in.
Preparing for the Worst
While IT departments can “pray for the best” during their primary activities of rolling out new technology or resolving end-user quandaries, business continuity is not just an option anymore. Traditional business continuity solutions involved red tape and budgetary challenges to pay for the expensive hardware requirements. We have finally reached an era of business continuity/ high availability (BCHA) affordability through nearly always-up service level agreements, and users are demanding nothing less. Today’s enterprise technology partners must provide reliable data access through a variety of elements such as virtualization, load-balancing server software, fault-tolerant servers, Software-Defined Networking (SDN), scalability, security and threat management.
The internet of things (IoT), while adding a layer of security through connected devices and biometrics, can also build business value through analysis of the captured data. Law enforcement, higher education, and enterprise organizations leverage video monitoring and multi-factor authentication to prevent theft, monitor crowds, and create more secure areas and access control. Retail, hospitality, and healthcare also rely on video and biometric recognition to increase customer loyalty, improve record accuracy and reduce operational costs. Executives want to invest in IoT technology and need a partner who can maximize the benefits while easily accessing the data through reliable servers with nearly unlimited storage capacity.
The NEC Approach
The Frost & Sullivan vision of a technology partnership that solves enterprise challenges is reflected in NEC’s capabilities and product solutions. Our fault-tolerant servers, the full line of general purpose storage products–including our high-end HYDRAStor product which scales to almost unlimited data, work together with NEC’s SDN and UC solutions to build a quality Smart Enterprise solution for the enterprise marketplace. By condensing the amount of data center space required to run critical applications, and including biometrics into the mix, the new vision for NEC Smart Enterprise reduces costs for organizations and continues to add value, even to existing infrastructure.
• NEC offers hybrid cloud solutions customized to best fit the need of the enterprise, even those with regulatory and compliance challenges.
• An industry leader in the SDN space, NEC’s open architecture enables a flexible and simpler approach to the network design and provides business agility to the workforce.
• Disruptions to business, planned or unplanned, can be damaging to any size business in today’s climate. NEC’s secure fault-tolerant servers–as well as Active-Active communications with multiple software instances balancing the load in real time for high availability, provide true business continuity, even in hybrid environments.
• NEC’s facial recognition, biometrics and behavioral analytics solutions create the ability to gain business intelligence and maximize IoT solutions, creating a forward-thinking smart enterprise.
With new focused guidance and leadership, our NEC solutions for Smart Enterprise and passion for improving the customer experience helps to meet and exceed the needs of technology leaders, preparing them for the future.
Market disruptors are commonplace in the unified communications (UC) industry, particularly over the past decade. We’ve seen the advent of BYOD, demand for more mobility, a plethora of new apps, better efficiencies through integrated technology, as well as an ever-increasing movement to the cloud. The industry is evolving due to consolidations, mergers and acquisitions and the emergence of new niche players. The latest announcement by Mitel that it’s going private and accelerating its move to the cloud adds yet another element to the competitive landscape.
With this latest move, Mitel is signaling a focus on growing its cloud business. Though the company states that it will still offer on-premises options for now, it’s easy to assume that less R&D will be focused on that line of business going forward. Fewer choices will be available, especially for customers that are not ready or interested in moving to the cloud at this time. Channel partners selling both on-premises and cloud solutions could also be negatively impacted.
UC customers benefit more by having options, be it cloud, hybrid cloud or on-premises, depending on their current business situation. A provider that can optimize the technology already in place, while helping to create an effective ongoing UC strategy, is more important than ever.
History of Understanding Customers’ Needs
NEC has demonstrated an ability for knowing what customers need when they need it and bringing value to help improve their businesses. We pride ourselves on giving customers options. Throughout our nearly 120-year history, NEC has proven to be much more than a voice communications and UC provider. Analyst firm Frost & Sullivan noted in the 2016 Enterprise Communications Transformation Strategies Company of the Year Award , “As organizations seek business transformation, they often wish to upgrade or implement their networks and IT infrastructure for integration with business systems and processes, as well as communications systems.”
Frost & Sullivan pointed specifically to NEC’s Smart Enterprise strategy when recognizing the company for this award. The Smart Enterprise approach brings together communications, networking and IT solutions to help people work and communicate better.
NEC’s approach is not to combine disparate components. Instead, we tap into our services-based offerings of cloud UC, analytics, biometrics, IaaS and software-defined networking (SDN) technologies to design communications and IT solutions that meet on-demand requirements. Our broad portfolio brings the agility, flexibility and efficiency required for business transformation. A wide range of technologies and services helps us create solutions that address customers’ current and future business needs and challenges by driving safety, security and operational efficiency. Our competitors really can’t offer that range of capabilities.
Additionally, here in the U.S., we have NEC Financial Services which delivers extraordinarily customizable leasing structures to customers nationwide. This allows customers to enjoy the benefits of an on-premises solution while taking advantage of the OPEX financial model which is the same as a cloud solution.
It’s a Matter of Choice
Each organization has its own requirements and aren’t easily configured into a “one size fits all” mold. They want options, and NEC has a track record of offering customers more choices. When moving to new UC solutions, customers benefit from being able to re-use or add value to their existing investments in communications technology. We can assist by offering on-premises, cloud or hybrid solutions. Our vast portfolio of solutions enables us to offer broader solutions to solve both IT and communications challenges.
Technology will continue to evolve. NEC has shown throughout our history that we have the capability of understanding customers’ needs and evolving our solutions to meet those needs.
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Extreme weather events have caused massive destruction across North America in recent months. In early 2018, the eastern part of the U.S. experienced a “bomb cyclone” consisting of severe cold temperatures, massive amounts of snow and lots of misery. Last summer and early fall, the Gulf Coast and Caribbean were hard hit by hurricanes during one of the most severe tropical storm seasons in years. Parts of Puerto Rico still are struggling to even get the power back on and other services.
Weather wreaks havoc not only on daily life, but disrupts businesses as well. Lack of power, paralyzed transportation and infrastructure damage have a definite impact on “business as usual.” Over the past several years, the Ponemon Institute (https://www.ponemon.org/), which conducts independent research on privacy, data protection and information security policy, has launched three studies since 2010 on the cost of data center downtime. In its latest study (2016), the research shows that the average cost of a data center outage was $740,000, an increase of 38% since the first study in 2010.
The cost of one outage can be measured in many ways—loss of revenue and productivity, damage to an organization’s reputation in the market, customer churn and loss of future opportunities. Depending on the timing and duration of an outage, some industries may be more adversely affected than others. Think about a resort hotel that is unable to book rooms online during the height of the tourist season. Potential customers quickly lose patience and head to the competition or give up entirely. Or consider a transportation organization—outages cause inconvenience for passengers and loss of revenue for carriers, but might be a safety concern as well.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery
Two elements of business planning, business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR), are especially critical during a disaster or outage. Continued business operations depend on an organization’s ability to replicate its systems and data quickly. The ability to plan ahead and adapt during a crisis to restore business operations — without long-term or permanent negative effects — are crucial to an organization’s success. Business continuity goes beyond staying up and running during a disaster. It also means keeping all parts of the business running effectively and efficiently, not just the technology systems.
It’s important to keep a BCDR plan updated as IT changes occur, such as when new applications are added, new technologies become available, or when moving applications to the cloud, for example. By keeping the BCDR plan aligned with the business plans, the IT team won’t be caught off guard when an outage occurs.
Fortunately, technology provides solutions that help mitigate the effects of a disaster, natural or otherwise, and keep businesses online.
Keeping Data Center Operations Humming
For years it’s been a common practice for companies to maintain backup copies of data at an off-site location, usually within a short driving distance of the primary data center. While this practice works for many outage situations, a natural disaster such as a snowstorm, earthquake or mud slide could have a widespread geographic impact that affects not only the location of the main data center, but the backup location as well.
Deploying a cloud solution mitigates that disaster scenario. Cloud-based services support an organization’s ability to plan for disaster recovery and benefit ongoing business continuity. Cloud solutions come in three major deployments—public, private and hybrid. All have pros and cons, depending on the organization’s needs. For instance, private cloud solutions such as Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) provide the elasticity, flexibility and scalability of a public cloud, but can be dedicated to one account, thus providing a more personalized and secure solution.
IaaS solutions offer advantages over a public cloud, including seamless technology upgrades and more control. Advanced compute, storage and network technology can combine in a private cloud offering such as IaaS, but no solution is “one-size-fits-all.” It’s important to work with a service provider who can create a solution that fits the organization. IaaS lends itself to customization that caters to the unique needs of an organization.
The advantages of a private cloud are numerous:
Lower costs than maintaining a private data center
Maintain standards of regulatory compliance
Access to the latest technologies making it easier to stay current
More control than a public cloud, including a more secure solution
Standard billing so there are no “surprises”
Less burden on internal IT teams and staff
During a natural disaster, IaaS can be the ideal solution for BCDR. By providing an off-premises, hosted environment, the data center continues to operate from a location far removed from the disaster. Data is secured and transactions with customers and partners continue without interruption. Fault-tolerant servers offer five 9s of uptime and scalability. A grid storage system helps ensure redundancies to protect a company’s mission-critical data. Using grid storage, a company can replicate its data at an off-site location. During an outage or natural disaster, the master site can be recovered by using the data at the remote site, by means of an Optimized Copy, without having to import backup images.
NEC partner Iron Mountain maintains its National Data Center, located 220 feet below ground in Western Pennsylvania and considered one of the most secure, compliant and energy-efficient data center complexes in the world. As a technology infrastructure provider and part of Iron Mountain’s Data Center Marketplace, NEC is able to provide additional value-added services such as Disaster Recovery as a Service from this secure location.
Learn how NEC teams up with its partner Iron Mountain to provide an IaaS solution housed in one of the most secure locations in the world, the Iron Mountain National Data Center.
Location of the ‘Office’ No Longer Matters
When a weather event or other natural disaster strikes, the ability to enable employees to work from anywhere becomes critical. Working remotely means staff can perform their jobs as seamlessly as if they were in the office, supporting business operations, serving customers, suppliers and partners, and getting their work done.
Cloud-based applications enable employees to keep things running from remote locations. With unified communications and collaboration tools such as softphones, instant messaging, and audio and video conferencing, dispersed teams collaborate and work on projects even when the weather outside slows transportation to a crawl. Enabling employees to do their jobs even when they can’t get to the office keeps them safe during dangerous travel conditions as well.
Virtual desktops can be linked through a private network connection to a secure, remote data center far from the bad weather or natural disaster. Best of all, desktops in the cloud look and behave as if they are part of a corporate IT environment. Customers and employees won’t notice a difference in the quality of service.
Software-defined networking (SDN) simplifies network management, proactively addresses network performance and quickly re-routes network traffic as needed—all critical functions during a severe weather occurrence or natural disaster. An SDN solution centralizes control of the network and automatically monitors and prioritizes network traffic, distributing it according to pre-defined policies and constantly updates network resources and traffic conditions.
When the blizzard, mud slide, earthquake, wildfire or hurricane strikes your location, the right solutions and technology enable business as usual. Consider private cloud solutions when developing your business continuity and disaster recovery plans to help create a safe and secure environment that protects data and applications, and keeps your business running.
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