Visit NEC at Enterprise Connect 2012 in Orlando

Enterprise Connect is upon us once again, and NEC is busier than ever in preparation. Our theme this year is The Empowered Workforce, and we'll be featuring two recently announced solutions: UNIVERGE 3C and UNIVERGE Cloud Services

UNIVERGE 3C is our comprehensive unified communications and collaboration suite, representing not only a technology evolution, but also the evolution of the UNIVERGE brand. Where UNIVERGE 3C excels is in its common user interface across multiple device platforms (PC, laptop, tablet and smart phone), as well as its new, feature-rich Web collaboration capability. All of this will be on display at Enterprise Connect. 

Announced this week, UNIVERGE Cloud Services will soon deliver unified communications as a service (UCaaS) in a manner that easy to purchase, deploy and manage.  The service features a host of NEC's broad capabilities, including UNIVERGE 3C as its core UC platform, and Express5800 servers and M-Series storage in geographically redundant data centers. 

In addition to the flurry of activity at NEC booth 609, we have a number of speakers. You can find the full Enterprise Connect 2012 conference schedule online.  Here's a quick rundown of NEC's speakers at the event.  See you there!





Session Type


Monday, 3/26/2012


Todd Landry, SVP, NEC

General Session

Plennary/Summit: Has the Post-PBX Era Begun?  (Roundtable) 

2-5 p.m.

Pat Henkle, Director Product Line Mgmt, NEC

Reactor panel

Tutorial Workshop / RFP: UC with a PBX

Tuesday, 3/27/2012

9:15 – 10 a.m.

Donna Zett, CIO, AOT Bedding (Serta / Simmons)

General Session

Plennary/Summit: Is There a New Model For Communications & Collaboration (Roundtable)

 2:30 – 3:30

Todd Landry, NEC

Breakout panel

Breakout: UC Interoperability: How Real, How Much? (Reactor Panel)

 2:30 – 2:50

Jay Krauser, NEC

Sponsored session

NEC Sponsored Session (20 min); Heavenly UC: What it Means to Consume UC from a Cloud

Wednesday, 3/28/2012

2:30 – 5:30

Pat Henkle, NEC

Reactor panel

Tutorial Workshop / RFP: UC without a PBX

2:30 – 3:25

Todd Landry, NEC

Sponsored session

NEC Sponsored Session: The Millenial Workforce & UC

2:30 – 3:30

Ed Ashley, Manager, Product Mgmt, NEC

Breakout panel

What's New in Desktop Phones?

2:30 – 3:30

Jay Krauser, NEC

Breakout panel

Managed / Hosted UC: Who's Offering What?



Building a Better Business Case for Unified Communications and Collaboration

nec-unified-communication-business-caseEver-developing technologies are causing business communications for today’s organizations to undergo rapid transformations. Developing an understanding of the basis of this shift can provide you with key insight into how to effectively leverage new technologies and build a business case for deploying Unified Communications & Collaboration (UC&C) within your organization. UC&C has evolved over the last five years, with many manufacturers offering different solutions and delivery methods. From this evolution three main options have arisen: a fully hosted solution, an adjunct attachment to an existing PBX or IP PBX and a fully integrated all-in-one premise based solution.

So how do you view UC&C? Keep in mind that it should not be recognized as a specific product, but more as an integration of services and or an ongoing modular strategy that can be implemented or phased in over a defined period of time. The evolution of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) has evolved from basic features such as Unified Messaging, Presence and IM to an ever expanding set of new capabilities. UC&C provides many distinct functions and services, and thus should not be viewed as a single capital expense, but as an operational investment over time. In this case, consider your Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) rather than your Return on Investment (ROI), as you would with other purchases.

A complete UC&C solution consists of a number of elements that provide users with a truly unified experience, enabling them to communicate in a timely and productive manner specific to their roles in the organization. These elements are generally categorized into 3 main categories. Let’s identify and describe these categories to determine which makes the better business case for your organization’s needs:

  • Core Foundational Elements: This category includes a Multi-Service Network, VoIP, and Pervasive Presence
  • Traditional UC Elements: This includes Unified Messaging/Voicemail/Fax, Text Chat/IM, Audio/Web Collaboration, and Video Conferencing
  • Emerging Elements: Communications Enabled Business Processes (CEBP), Mobility (Fixed Mobile Convergence), Mass Notification, and Social Media/Federation

Which category suits your organization’s needs? Do you fit strictly into one, or an overlap of multiple? In the next post we will further examine and focus on a current emerging trend in UC&C, which is to provide all of the above mentioned elements in a completely integrated software-based solution approach, thus allowing UC&C to be deployed in a more flexible and modular manner. This deployment will in turn give organizations more control in determining which solution elements they want to utilize across their company to best suit their needs.

Moving? We can help.

nec-uc-movingAre you considering relocating your data center? Or maybe you’re thinking about moving your entire organization. Either way, we know moving can be an extremely stressful (and expensive) process, and one you’d prefer not to repeat often, so we’ve gathered some helpful tips to help you address, and consequently avoid, common oversights when moving. Whether you’re moving for business or technology reasons, remember that, when moving day comes, it is important to establish and maintainfocus. It is likely that everything will not go exactly according to plan. Focus, combined with a well-developed plan, will help you overcome the speed bumps, and before you know it you will be settled in your new location and back in the flow of day-to-day business.

1. Think ahead – It is never too early to begin planning for your move. Moving a company is a huge project, and it is always beneficial to develop a well thought-out game plan.  Moving is a good opportunity to take inventory, so to speak.  Are you planning to move your communication system as a whole, or use the move as an opportunity to upgrade?  Perhaps you’re considering moving to Unified Communications as a service (UCaaS). Regardless of where you stand, don’t just plan for today. Assess the needs and analyze the growth of your business up to ten years ahead, that way you get the most out of your move.

2. Location, location, location – Aside from moving to a location that is convenient for your customers, it is important to look at a low-risk location in terms of natural disaster. Also in terms of safety, avoid locations near major highways as part of risk mitigation. Conduct an analysis to determine whether the intended site is suitable to house your data center. Aside from geography, other factors to consider include power availability and budget.

3. Power – When you are moving it is important to consider what your current and future power needs will be. Some questions to consider are: Is power abundant? (This is perhaps the most important question to ask), where are you on the power grid? Are there at least two sub stations providing power to the building? Does the building have a backup generator? According to a Transitional Data Services report, in 2010 data centers consumed about 2 percent of all electricity generated in the U.S., and the same report projected that power consumption would continue a rapid growth. Any site under consideration should have easy access to abundant power from multiple sources of electricity, taking advantage of low cost providers whenever possible. When assessing your power needs, also consider the following:

  • Fiber – Be sure to research how many and which fiber providers connect to the building.
  • HVAC – does the AC run only during the week? This is often overlooked but it is important to keep your server room cool during the weekends too.

4. Budget – While it is difficult to estimate a fixed budget for a project as complex as a move, you can alleviate some stress in this area by taking an in-depth look at what hardware and software your company is using. That old PBX that you’ve been using for the past 10 years might not be worth moving, so why pay to have it moved?

5. Enlist your employees – Before you begin the moving process, it is important to note which employees will be involved in the move and keep them informed every step of the way. Once you know who will be involved, determine how your manpower will be allocated: What will employees be responsible for? Be sure to announce what the company will and will not transfer with the move.

6. Data backup – Just as the IT staff should perform data backups prior to the move, you should also remind your employees to back up their personal work computers before the move as well. This will help to limit downtime once the move is complete.

7. Communications – We may be mentioning this tip last, but that doesn’t mean it should be taken lightly. If your move is communicated poorly, it could result in customer resentment and consequently a loss of business for you. Be sure to give advance notice, not just a last minute e-mail. MARKET, MARKET, MARKET: tell your customers you are moving and how your new facilities will better accommodate their needs.
Proper planning can help you avoid prolonged downtime and business disruption, as well as the need to move more often than necessary. These tips are a good start to help you prepare for your move. As the economy continues to change, an increasing number of organizations are relocating their data centers and offices as a whole. Good luck with your move!

CapEx vs. OpEx: Which way is your budget shifting? Part 2

nec-uc-opex-vs-capex-2The internal debate on hosted versus on-premises might continue, which means, you’re still faced with the challenge of how you will acquire a unified communications solution without breaking your budget. In our last post we introduced financing, now let’s take a deeper look at your options and the best ways to apply them.

Leverage your financing options

OpEx financing models allow many organizations to leverage all the benefits of predictable monthly payments traditionally found in hosted solutions in an on-premises solution. For many, this can be the best of both worlds: a service-oriented model found with a hosted solution with none of the concerns some organizations may have with security and availability of a hosted service. What’s more, a $25,000 on-premises collaboration and audio conferencing solution may be a difficult solution to get approved, however, an on-premises solution with all of the capabilities of hosted for less than $400.00 per month can be a powerful internal conversation. Are you more comfortable paying out a lump sum or breaking payments down into a monthly scale? Regardless of where your preference lies, there is a financing option for you.

You don’t always have to spend money to make money. Sound too good to be true? Take a look at the following example:
ABC Company has identified that upgrading their current infrastructure provides an opportunity for significant cost savings. But there’s one problem: with no funds left in this year’s budget, their IT Department will pay more for their existing inefficient infrastructure until funds are available; not to mention the risks associated with operating an outdated system.

With financing, there’s another way.

Financing companies in the technology industry work to solve this common customer problem by offering plans that reduce up-front acquisition costs. The plans and programs come in the form of OpEx or CapEx with deferred payments (90-120 days is typical although longer deferments are available), step payments (increase or decrease over time) or seasonal payments (payments due during times of increased revenue for the customer). Bottom line, leverage a technology financing partner who offers the most accommodating (and cost reducing) structure for you.
So wherever you are in the process, you have options in choosing a solution that can be tailored to your specific needs without waiting until the approved budget kicks in. If you leverage the tools available to improve the communications services you deliver, you’ll reduce the risks associated with continuing to operate an outdated system. Just remember that with financing,you have options – the key in obtaining maximum value from these options is in how you leverage them.

CapEx vs. OpEx: Which way is your budget shifting?

nec-uc-opex-vs-capexWhen it comes to system upgrades, several IT funding initiatives are shifting their focus to cloud technology; what will you do when you need to upgrade your existing system, but don’t have the funds available in this year’s (or even next year’s) budget?  This is an opportune moment to examine your organization’s budget in regard to capital expenses (CapEx) versus operational expenses (OpEx), as implementing new technology will likely require you to switch a majority of your spending from CapEx to OpEx. Where does your primary focus lie? Respondents to an InformationWeek Analytics IT Budget Survey report that they are increasingly focused on calculating per-transaction service costs and implementing charge backs.
What you have vs. what you need

Are you paying monthly audio/web conferencing costs plus licensing fees for each user on your staff? If you answered yes, and that works best for your existing budget, then you might favor a hosted system versus a premises-based solution. A Frost & Sullivan report via TMCnews, notes that budget pressure and increased adoption of unified communications are driving demand for integrated web conferencing. While some look to hosted providers, the report also noted that as functional needs grow, organizations are expected to move to on-premises deployments. So who is best suited for a hosted system? If your organization can gain from the following benefits, then a hosted system may be right for you:

  • low up-front costs (made possible through monthly billing)
  • standard software on a per-seat basis
  • greater ability to free up internal support staff

Additionally, the move from CapEx- to OpEx budget focus has driven cloud-based UC offerings and workplace virtualization. We have evolved to replacing stationary desk phones with virtual, mobile alternatives such as soft phones, instant messaging (IM) and video features. Still in all, this move isn’t feasible for everyone. Economic downturn has forced organizations to reduce overhead, thereby increasing mobile working and the need for consistently evolving UC solutions.

What are your options?

There are pros and cons for both hosted/cloud based approaches as well as on-premises solutions. The shift from CapEx to OpEx funding is driving demand for hosted solutions, but IT departments accustomed to on-premises technology sometimes point to security and availability concerns as part of their reluctance to transition completely to a cloud alternative.

We’ve touched on the pros and cons, and for some, the consistent service delivery, on-demand scalability, and standard suite of UC options available with a hosted solution is most beneficial, while others will look to hybrid models as a compromise.

The good news is there’s still another way to get all the benefits of an OpEx acquisition and an on-premises solution without breaking your budget. We’ve got one word for you: financing. In the next post we’ll look at the different options that are available.  To learn more about your options, check out the video below.