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!

Using Unified Communications to Build a More Efficient and Effective Workforce

nec-unified-communications-efficient-effective-workforceWhen your employees need information right away, where do they turn first? Is it a phone call? Text message? Or perhaps a tablet or other personal device? Regardless of which device your employee chooses to utilize first, mobility and easy-access is the driving force behind Unified Communications (UC) and how your communications strategy can enhance workforce productivity. How much importance do you place on “anytime, anyplace” access when making decisions about your organization’s communications strategy?

UC addresses how your organization unifies messaging, voice and video conferencing into a secure communications system; through this unification, UC solutions enhance collaboration and productivity in a way that no other communications strategy can. With UC, you are afforded the ability to share screens, collaborate on shared documents and applications, and communicate through audio and video conferencing.

In a study from International Data Corporation (IDC), Respondents ranked increased employee productivity and reduced operating costs as top benefits of UC. How does UC make this possible? For starters, Web conferencing and unified communication solutions help employees and customers meet, communicate, and collaborate online without spending the time, resources and expenses associated with travel. With this in mind, organizations avoid lost productivity when team members are out of the office and can use the saved resources to fund other areas of their budget.

Video conferencing is also an important component of virtual team collaboration. A significant change we’ve noticed in recent years is the downturn in the economy and its effect on company budgets, and as a result, a greater emphasis being placed on the importance of expense management. This is of particular importance to the small and medium-sized business sector, and has contributed to the rise in digital alternatives over face-to-face meetings. A reported 45 percent of medium-sized businesses utilize some form of technology to conference in a virtual environment.

Web conferencing enables a more visual method of communication which in turn increases comprehension, data absorption, and audience engagement. With interactive participation, decision-making can be enhanced and meetings made shorter to increase time dedicated to other tasks, thus allowing another avenue for increased productivity.

A now-dated August 2007 Aberdeen Group survey highlighting the communications strategies of over 360 organizations shows that Unified Communications (UC) solutions –both fixed and mobile – have a measurable impact on the productivity of an organization’s workforce.

Fast forward four years later, and, despite a steadily declining economy, UC implementation in the U.S doubled from 2010 to 2011. While this may show that improving communications with customers also improves communications in your workplace, and produces a greater ROI, affordability concerns in implementing such a strategy have raised a great deal of skepticism – where do you stand?

Unified Communications: Get big benefits for your Small Businesses

nec_unified_communications_1-resized-600As a member of the Small-to-medium business (SMB) sector,  you can benefit greatly from Unified Communications (UC), as it allows you to cost effectively utilize comprehensive solutions previously only affordable to large enterprises.  Smaller staff and fewer finances don’t have to inhibit your communications capabilities and being a growing organization shouldn’t stop you from gaining a competitive edge.  UC can help you do this while containing costs and simultaneously furthering your ability to execute and innovate.

Today’s UC offerings are continuously improving in order to enhance the business value of unified communications for SMBs.  As a small-to-medium business, your implementation of UC differs greatly from that of a larger organization.  With high priorities placed on an immediate payoff to your business and communication simplicity, SMBs should look for a provider who supplies enhanced platforms designed to deliver all UC applications from a single-server solution to shave cost and simplify deployment and management.    Here are a few things to keep in mind to determine if a UC provider is catering to your SMB needs:

1. Mobility facilitates better employee communications while enhancing and improving productivity no matter where work takes them.  As SMBs become progressively more mobile, look for UC providers to cater to your need for voice and data support.  Many UC providers are designing and, more importantly, pricing, mobile solutions to meet these criteria.

2. Standards-based software solutions allow use of industry standards servers and reduces capital expense. With these solutions, you have the option of utilizing multiple devices, which benefits smaller businesses by allowing them to easily implement various forms of communications for different workers within the organization.  Imagine the ease of communication with your choice of voice and video collaboration for geographically dispersed teams as well as softphones for your remote workers.

3. Video & web collaboration can add a whole new, affordable dimension to your business communication.  What’s more is it provides smaller organizations with a cost-effective, premises-based tool to simplify internal information sharing among employees with the added benefit of easy information distribution with partners, suppliers and customers as well.  In a recent report,IDC noted the importance of SMBs controlling costs and reported that 45% currently use conferencing technology.

Click here to learn what steps NEC has taken to accommodate the growing business needs of the SMB market.