Top 10 Networking Myths

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Whether your building out a corporate network, or a brand new ESINet for Public Safety, you need to understand networking, and there are some common myths that will leave you with a poor deployment and huge amounts of capitol investment rusting away in the data center while you try to figure out how to save your career.

10)Cisco continues to be the undisputed leader in networking innovation

It is time to stop living in the 90’s, while I won’t spend time to argue that statement, it is time to look at technology and where the market is heading TODAY. I hate to answer a question with questions, but let me ask:

  • Q: Who was first in delivering Resilient Stacking technology?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who changed the resiliency model from Active/Standby to Active/Active?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who introduced Split-Plane technology first to market?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who introduced hardware based 20ms resiliency?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who has delivered end to end Ethernet Fabric technology AND drove its standardization with IEEE/IETF?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who has delivered the most scalable 2 Tier Data Center architecture with lower latency?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who has delivered Layer 2 and Layer 3 Virtual Services Networks with its Ethernet Fabric Technology?
  • A: AVAYA
  • Q: Who has delivered innovative, scalable, resilient and fast registration for Multicast applications?
  • A: AVAYA
Myth 10

Remember, Innovation does NOT EQUATE TO acquisition, so exactly who is the Innovator and who is the follower?

9)Juniper seems to be the logical alternative to Cisco

Due to the unfortunate situation with Nortel Enterprise, many customers and partners were given no choice but to consider alternative vendors. While it’s clear Avaya has heavily invested in Networking, is Juniper still a logical alternative to Cisco? To me at least, it seems their QFABRIC Data Center strategy was a failure, now it’s based on SDN promises?

It’s time for customers to look back at Avaya’s portfolio and the technological maturity it brings from the heritage of Wellfleet, Synoptics, Bay Networks and Nortel. The technology train never stopped, and they are in the lead for Campus and Fabric architecture…time to reconsider Avaya? Yes indeed as Avaya solves REAL IT CHALLENGES TODAY and is in a unique position for many quarters to come…

8)There’s no different between proprietary and standards-based Fabric solutions

While some may think proprietary Fabric Architecture is ok for the Data Center, aren’t we living in an open system architecture world where best of breed technology should be selected?
How will you extend or leverage your Ethernet Fabric if it is proprietary? The world knows better and there happens to be an IEEE and IETF standard out there, known as SPB (Shortest Path Bridging) or if you prefer IEEE 802.1aq or IETF RFC 6329.

Inter-operabiltiy with other vendors has already been proved and the recent flawless performance of the Core at InterNet 2013 in Las Vegas, demonstrates the maturity and stability of this technology. Avaya is leading, time to look at solving your IT challenges once and for all

7)Wecannot eliminate Spanning Tree

Do people use a bus to try winning a Formula 1 race?

Do people fly airplanes with one of the two engines on standby?

None of this seems logical, does it?

So why is it customers tolerate building a network infrastructure utilizing a protocol that wasn’t built to deliver resiliency?

The market has clearly endorsed Active/Active as the defacto design model now, and it is time for customers to stop accepting sub-optimal solutions for their network and ensure failures won’t be business impacting. Avaya has 12+ years of maturity implementing Active/Active resiliency, and while other vendors are trying to catch up, Avaya keeps moving the dial further ahead, and maintains its position as the undisputed leader of Active/Active resiliency.

6)MPLS is the solution to all of our problems

Customers that wanted to deploy a multi-tenant and multi-services business solution, had no other choice but to eventually consider MPLS as the solution in order to provide Layer 2 and Layer 3 virtualization.

While that might be powerful and scalable, its level of complexity just made it extremely difficult for IT departments to retain the skill set required to build and maintain it.

What if there was, today, an alternative provide Layer 2 and Layer 3 Virtualization for both unicast and multicast based services? What if MPLS level scalability was achievable without its associated level of complexity?

What if that same solution gave you network behavior flexibility too, so you no longer have to guess how the network is behaving? What if Avaya was once again in the lead, helping you solve these challenges

5)Deploying services must involve weeks of planning and hours of implementation

Today it takes hours, weeks, months of preparation to deploy a new service across your Enterprise. Why? Simply because of the level of complexity associated with extending a service using existing legacy technology such as VLANs’ to extend such services. This translates into nodal configuration, which despite the qualification of your IT staff, requires proper planning and change management control. There is so much business risk associated with such a deployment, nobody will take a chance on doing it without proper testing and configuration validation.

What if you could, today, provision end to end services, but only have to touch the edge of your network?
Basically provision where the service is to be used, and where its being offered and VOILA, you are done. Let the network SERVICE your application needs.

4)Equipment maintenance and upgrade must be business-impacting

“Sorry Folks! Park’s Closed. The moose out front should have told ya’.”

Myth5.jpgIn the past most applications ran in a non-geo redundant or even in a single data center non-resilient deployment model. Now, you can easily deploy every application in an active/active model and woouldn’t it be even more powerful if you take advantage of various hypervisors virtualization solutions?
The combination of Virtualization, applications running in an Active/Active deployment model, as well as having a Data Center architecture that can extend Layer 2 domains where you need to, gives you the utmost flexibility and agility that your IT staff, and more importantly, your applications were looking for, and needed. Well, you don’t have to wait anymore, it’s here….

3)Multicast is becoming mandatory, but it’s complex, unreliable, and doesn’t scale

Everyone has been suffering through Multicast deployments over the last 15 to 20 years. The level of complexity and limited scalability, often gave no choice but to limit its utilization and size of deployment to known logical limits that did not meet the business needs.

What if you could finally scale multicast to new levels, while also addressing the design complexity?

What if you could no longer have to say “NO” when you are requested to deploy a multicast based application because your multicast network scalability is already saturated?

What if you didn’t have to build a separate infrastructure because the one you have is running at maximum capacity and scalability for multicast?

What if you didn’t have to force usage of unicast anymore? Or, what if you didn’t have application failures or business impacting situations due to the lethargic, slow recovery of multicast applications?

Well, there is a solution to your challenges, It’s called Native Multicast over SPB, and it comes to the rescue to deliver a never-before achieved level of scalability, while delivering 500 milliseconds recovery and 100ms or less registration, and delivering all this without the need for PIM!
That is innovation at its best, while still supporting inter-connectivity to PIM domains.

2)Avaya is a Voice company and doesn’t bring anything to Networking

While Avaya continues to be a leader in Unified Communications, Contact Center and Video conferencing, it is important to note its level of competiveness in the Networking area. Not only do they provide cost effective Ethernet connectivity with or without PoE, they also led the way by solving some complex IT challenges such as E911 location reporting, regardless of the mode of connectivity being used (wired and wireless).

While Avaya has a very strong Voice heritage, it also understands the networking requirement and has focused on delivering best in class innovative solutions which customers and partners need to pay special attention too.
Avaya is about innovative Real Time Collaborations, UC, CC, Video and highly reliable and scalable network.

From Data Center edge all the way to your Branch Edge, Avaya can help you solve these challenges TODAY using industry standard protocols and best practices. How many other competitors can say that? Let me help you out with that one. . . .

Pick a number between ZERO and NONE.

1)The future is all aboutSDN, so you have to wait….

SDN Is gaining momentum in the market, it is like a Tsunami hitting all the IT personnel trying to understand if this is the technology that will finally solve their IT challenges?

While SDN seems to focus on solving relevant IT problems, the question is more “What IT problems is the industry trying to solve, more importantly, what are YOUR business IT challenges”.

What if Avaya was able to solve these problems for you, TODAY with products, solutions, protocols, etc..that exist NOW in an open system architecture that does not require the wait for some new SDN Protocol to be supported by ALL vendors?

What if Avaya endorsed the SDN concept in addressing key IT business challenges?

What if Avaya offered Orchestration and simplification of Applications Provisioning today?

And more importantly….would you be interested in chatting with one of our Experts?

Avaya continues to innovate, but more importantly, Avaya can solve real IT challenges today by changing the way Networks are being built, without waiting for all sorts of promises to be delivered in the next few years. Giving Avaya an opportunity to show you what we can do TODAY, will be a worth while investment, and we promise not to disappoint you.

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Quiz: Do You Know How to Choose the Right Support Services Provider?

All too often, we find that IT executives who are facing budget cuts buy unauthorized support services for their Avaya solutions. Doing so puts IT departments and their mission-critical networks at considerable risk. We’re raising awareness about the true value of having legitimate Avaya support services for your communications. We want to help IT managers learn that selecting the right support provider and service levels matters. Get started now by reading Support Services: Separating Fact from Fiction.

And take our True or False quiz:

  • All support service providers are the same.
  • Even if my current support option does not cover all, additional services can be bought for time and materials. It’s no big deal.
  • Third-Party Maintenance Providers (TPMs) can get access or entitlements to software patches, updates, or security advisories as needed.
  • My support services provider does not have automated diagnostics and auto-resolution capabilities. But, no worries. The team will still resolve my issues in a timely manner.
  • To keep costs down, TPMs rely on a network of vendors to support some sites.
  • I trust that my support provider is current with their manufacturer certification and methodologies. I don’t feel it’s necessary to periodically check.
  • Recovery capabilities from a catastrophic outage are offered by my provider. Protection for software or hardware not covered under contract might cost more, but it is a reasonable risk.
  • All equipment purchases, whether bought refurbished or slightly used, have worked out great so far. No complaints and we saved money.
  • I was notified about service support being discontinued with no “end of life” or “end of support” on any system, regardless of age. I did not have any other credible options.

Many IT managers operating in a harried world and reacting to the daily challenges of keeping their networks running at peak performance would undoubtedly answer “True” to at least one of the above. That’s where the problems start and re-evaluation is sorely needed.

It’s Time to Evaluate Your Options

As the end of the year approaches and budgets are being settled, now is the perfect time for many IT managers to take a second look to ensure that their systems remain at peak performance and to protect against unnecessary risks associated with unauthorized maintenance providers. Choosing the right support partner matters just as much as choosing the right products. Adjustments to meet growth will be needed. User needs will change. Disasters happen. How will you handle these challenges?

While selling support services, unauthorized maintenance providers are not certified, putting your network and systems at considerable risk and invalidating your warranties. To make the best choices, we suggest that Avaya customers consider the following key questions:

  • When did you last check to ensure that your services provider was current on training or certified on the products in your network?
  • Do you have access to Avaya support staff with technical expertise? Anytime, anyplace, from any device?
  • How often are you involved in resolving issues that your non-Avaya provider should be preventing or auto-resolving?
  • Do you have sufficient time to work on new projects or innovation?

All Services Are Not Equal

How much does downtime can an unplanned outage cost your company? On average, it’s $2700 per minute. Some TPMs state that their enhanced service level agreement is four hours to restore! The average cost of an hour of downtime is a staggering $163,674. Can you afford that?

It’s important to understand that unauthorized and third-party maintenance providers do NOT have access to time and material support, intellectual property, replacement parts, software patches, or certification. Unauthorized maintenance providers also do NOT have access to:

  • Avaya’s award-winning EXPERT SystemsSM automated diagnostic and proactive resolution platform
  • Avaya training for products, diagnostic tools and methodologies (e.g., EXPERT Systems, Avaya Knowledge Management, and Avaya SLA Mon™ technology)
  • Avaya Tier 3 support engineers
  • Avaya’s battle-tested Emergency Recovery team

What’s in Your Support Services?

Did you know that Avaya’s lifecycle policy is designed to protect our customers’ investments and support their mission-critical networks even after our products move from End of Manufacturer support? Did you know that Avaya now offers Remote Only Support (access to Intellectual Property and remote technical support through to Tier 3), and Indefinite Access (access to Intellectual Property)?

Because unauthorized maintenance providers claim to provide 20%-50% savings versus the standard for the same or better service, it is best to make an apples-to-apples comparison. The best support services companies offer world-class customer service, as demonstrated by Avaya’s third year in a row win of the NorthFace ScoreBoard Award, which is based on actual customer satisfaction scores.

Remote automated diagnostics and resolutions help repair potential problems quickly, saving time and reducing the risk of an outage. Focusing on proactive problem prevention, rapid issue resolution and continual solution optimization helps make effective use of time and communications resources in alignment with your organization’s strategic objectives.

Avaya support comes with the following benefits:

  • 73% more likely to avoid an outage
  • Auto-resolution of 93% of alarm-generated service requests without human intervention
  • Restoration of 90% of outages in less than two hours

So, as the end of year approaches, it’s time to look forward. Consider your best options to keep your systems running at their peak throughout 2017. And remember, the quality of the support you get matters…especially when you most need it.

Serving Customer Buying Patterns Means Our Partners are “Living on the Edge”

Today’s business environment is a competitive and dynamic landscape that necessitates innovation in communications and collaboration. Technology solutions are more than mere infrastructure investments, they are business success enablers. This has led to a major transformation in customer buying patterns. Customers have changed how they approach, purchase, and deploy ICT—information and communications technology–and we’ve changed how we sell to customers. Simply put, customers are requesting as much agility in their solutions and infrastructures as they require functionality, if not more.

Here at Avaya, we recognized several years ago that one size NEVER fits all. That’s why we made the strategic decision to transition to a software-and-services-led company providing solutions and platforms. To keep pace with customer buying patterns, we totally changed our product mix, made everything available as a software component, and gave our customers more flexibility in how they consume our solutions.

That last point reflects another major shift for Avaya—we put our customers first. That may sound self-evident, something all companies should be doing all the time, but it all too often doesn’t happen in the IT industry. It certainly wasn’t happening at Avaya. In 2011, our Net Promoter Score was hovering in the 20s, placing us … well, on par with most of our competitors, which is to say not very good. Today, we’re at 59, or Best in Class, which is in the 50% to 70% range with Apple and the Ritz Carlton.

So, putting the customer at the heart of everything we do has paid off for us big time. Consequently, our channel programmes have to evolve taking that new reality into consideration and that is exactly what we have done.

This month saw the global launch of Avaya Edge, our brand new and streamlined global partner programme, designed to give our partners the edge in the marketplace. Our vision for the new programme has three pillars:

  • Put the customer first
  • Protect and represent the Avaya brand
  • Be highly rewarding for the professionals and organisations that are a part of the programme, wherever they may be.

Avaya Edge also addresses some of the biggest needs for technology partnerships—a simpler structure, greater benefits, and flexibility—and builds them in as the key defining characteristics of the programme. To achieve that we gave our partners a choice to decide in which marketplace they would like to thrive, i.e., Enterprise or Mid-Market, since each of those segments require different level of profiles, skills and investments.

Here’s another way we’re bringing partners more closely into the fold. In previous years, we’ve hosted separate events for partners and customers around the globe. The partners had their own specialist Avaya Partner Forum event, while customers attended Avaya Technology Forums. Fair enough, specialization is not exactly a bad thing—but achieving the best possible outcome requires everybody pulling together in the same direction. The Avaya business teams, our partners (resellers, systems integrators, distributors, etc.) and, above all, our customers need to be aligned if we are all going to achieve our business objectives.

This month in Dubai, we’re hosting Avaya Engage—our first event that brings everybody in the Avaya ecosystem under one roof. Avaya executives will meet with partners, customers and industry leaders, giving everybody an equal opportunity to network, learn latest industry trends and understand where Avaya is going.

Get more details on Avaya Engage in Dubai. I look forward to seeing you there.

 

Make or Break: The Customer Experience Imperative for Midsize Businesses

According to the Wall Street Journal, 2016 Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales have already accounted for more than $3 Billion in “desktop spending”—aka, e-commerce. While many of these purchases are simply one click and a check off of gift lists, the customer probably made several decisions well before the submit-order button was activated. Whereas item and price have been the primary drivers of purchasing decisions, the customer experience is increasingly the new battleground.

  • We know that customers tend to repeat shop at places where both the self and assisted service is efficient and knowledgeable.
  • We know there is an expectation that they’ll be able to use mobile, desktop, voice channels—often all of them in the course of a transaction.
  • And we know that making them repeat information over and over is a black mark against the perceived experience.

Big companies can and are dedicating investments and resources to digital strategies focused on an elevated customer experience that checks all items on the list above. But if you’re a midsize business, is it even possible to break through the bulwark of expectations and large enterprise investments, and stand out from the crowd on customer experience alone?

At Avaya, we strongly believe the answer is a resounding YES! We are well aware that what goes on behind the scenes to coordinate the customer experience can be dauntingly complex. The latest release of Avaya IP Office Contact Center takes into account midsize businesses’ needs and requirements for simplicity and affordability, and the desire to deliver a top-notch customer experience.

Tips for Creating an Outstanding Customer Experience

Midsize businesses can ensure their customer experience sets them up for the kind of preferred vendor relationships that lead to profitability, growth, and long term customer loyalty.

  • Integrate Multichannel Customer Contact into Your Strategy

    An overwhelming majority of customers expect organizations to offer different channels to meet their needs, and make it easy to do so (Marcus Hickman, The Autonomous Customer 2015). Avaya IP Office Contact Center enables a midsize business to offer web chat, email and voice as an integrated, multichannel customer interaction strategy.

  • Drive an Efficient Experience with Skills-Based Routing
    It doesn’t help to offer multiple channels if the channels are kept separate within the company. For example, web chat is a great way to capture the customer while they’re in the evaluation stage on a website and turn them into a buyer. But if the channel only goes to those handling web chat and not the best agent for the customer needs, you may end up with someone who’s more frustrated than satisfied.Avaya IP Office Contact Center can help companies optimize their multichannel strategy, providing voice, email and web chat and enabling skills-based routing that can get customer inquiries to agents who are best qualified to handle them, including choice of channel, expertise, and past experience with a particular inquiry or customer. This can create a much more efficient experience by increasing first contact resolutions, reducing interaction handling times, reducing or eliminating transfers to other agents, and reducing callbacks.
  • Drive More Efficiency by Letting Customers Serve Themselves

    The preference to use self service is on the rise, and can be a money saver for the company and a time saver for the customer. For those that call in, an interactive voice response (IVR) can greet and direct callers, allowing them to use speech recognition or their touch tone keypad to get answers to common questions. This may quickly resolve issues without involving live assistance, or if needed, quickly get the customer to the right agent.

  • Narrow the Gap by Using Agent Downtime More Efficiently

    Undoubtedly, there are times when incoming interactions are slow. This is a perfect opportunity to automatically start outbound or proactive marketing campaigns and fill in the gaps between peak times and seasons. With Avaya IP Office Contact Center agents can use predefined scripts during outbound call campaigns to help increase sales revenue and upsell opportunities, to reduce accounts receivable backlog, or generate sales appointments for field sales.

  • Make Faster Connections: Link Your Customer Engagement Platform to Your CRM System

    Your CRM system can be a tremendous boost to contact center agent productivity by simply linking one platform to another. Now, agents don’t need to search for customer details or create activity records—it’s all in one place. From here they can click to dial or email from customer records, greet customers by name, and quickly access relevant information for more personalized, well informed customer interactions.

  • Look Back to Go Forward: Measure to Identify and Pursue Improvement Opportunities

    Companies need to determine what success looks like to understand if they’re on the right path. For the contact center, KPIs should be outlined by an agreement on what’s important to the business. Metrics such as new customer acquisitions, new and repeat sales, debt collected, or sales appointments made can be good starting places from which you establish a benchmark to chart future progress. Contact centers may also want to measure some of the more traditional indicators such as number of interactions handled, number of first contact resolutions, wait time, etc. And here’s a strong tip: Tout your customer experience metric successes to demonstrate the positive impact your contact center is having on the overall business.

If you’re an Avaya IP Office company and not already using IP Office Contact Center, make a New Year’s resolution to check out all it can do for you to make the next peak season one that breaks records—not backs.