Breaking Down Silos and Driving Significant Savings for Government with the Avaya Aura® Private Cloud

By Guy Clinch

Now Playing: Avaya Tech Talk #005 – Government and the Avaya Aura Private Cloud

Avaya Tech Talk host Guy Clinch picks up where he left off in his conversation during his conversation with Mark Fletcher in the episode of Fletch’s E911 Talk 125: Social Media in 911. Guy continues on the subject of how digital technologies force the breakdown of traditional silos. Guy describes the Avaya Aura Private Cloud and how that new paradigm for enterprise communications helps governments achieve dramatic cost savings, implement new and more efficient organizational architectures and provide enhanced service delivery models while providing a compelling return on investment.

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Good day all! Guy Clinch here, advocate for the government customer in Avaya’s product development organization. Welcome to this week’s episode of Avaya Tech Talk.

Tech Talk is designed to highlight the robust and growing community of Avaya technology partners and the unique solutions that they participate with Avaya to provide to government customers across the globe.

In conversation this week as a guest of Mark Fletcher during his E911 Talk Podcast among the subjects we discussed is how digital technologies force the breakdown of traditional silos. We said there are benefits in creating cross platform communications channels and challenges including the possibility of the dreaded “Information Anarchy.”

Continuing the train of thought about breaking down silos I invite you to spend the next few minutes with me as we discuss how digital technologies are driving new operational benefits as well as hard dollar savings for governments. In my recent blog, Government Thy Name Means Service, I wrote that, “Each new problem [faced by government] seems to come with its own toll free number.” Along with those investments comes the necessary infrastructure to support those communications.

Driven by the nature of the technologies and procurement cultures that have traditionally governed, this was not always in alignment with what – by today’s standards – we would consider as the most cost effective practices.

Once in place these embedded infrastructures become very difficult to reform. The costs of running and maintaining them grow as systems age. A compelling is event often becomes necessary to dislodge the old model.

Like the constituents of an imminent chemical reaction floating in a solution, the components of that compelling event surround us today in many forms. In part the constituents of change are the fiscal crises faced by so many governments. Citizen dissatisfaction also swirls in the mixture. New innovations including citizen engagement applications add potential energy. All that is missing is a catalyst to kick start the reaction.

Environmental actors also affect the outcomes. One of these factors is that the technologies themselves have changed. Elements that were once required such as point-to-point circuits have been replaced by new modern networks. Networking innovations are having a dramatic impact on the ways that communications networks are architected, deployed and maintained over time.

For instance in the past it was necessary to have individual telecommunications servers for individual locations or departments. Each of those servers required dedicated communication circuits. Today government organizations can reform their networks using a “simplify, consolidate and extend strategy.”

By simplifying we mean putting in place an underlying network based upon modern protocols, consolidating by collapsing multiple servers into shared resources and extending by deploying gateway solutions that allow remote locations to take advantage of the centralized applications.

This approach has numerous benefits. Top on the list are the hard dollar savings of replacing costly dedicated circuits with multi-purpose packet based systems. Also the costs associated with maintaining the previously dispersed processing resources are significantly reduced.

In essence what this strategy means is replacing dedicated servers and costly and complex networks with a private cloud paradigm. The private cloud then makes it possible for an organization to leverage single investments in hardware and applications to serve many multiple locations.

With Avaya there are additional benefits to this strategy that includes the ability to reuse large quantities of previous investments as components in the new private cloud.

Avaya cabinets that previously housed servers can be converted to gateways. Line cards and legacy terminal equipment can remain in place and continue to provide service for long periods into the future. While adding new applications and capabilities, as much as 85 percent of previous investments can be repurposed and reused as part of an Avaya Aura Private Cloud.

Other hard dollar savings come in the form of reduced administrative costs. Individual servers with individual features including distinct databases cost organizations large amounts of money to optimize. Centralizing allows for those costs to fall under far more control.

Organizations can also benefit to a great extent from the new organizational flexibility created. Centralized applications being shared to remote locations means that geography no longer substantiates a limiting factor to innovation. In the past resources were as if stranded upon disconnected islands. Collaboration opportunities were limited.

A private cloud brings the applications to the people instead of requiring the organization to coalesce around the locations where the applications reside.

So we have seen that the components to create a positive reaction surround us. All that is required is a starter. The positive outcomes that include the opportunity for dramatic cost savings, new and more efficient organizational architectures and enhanced delivery models provide a compelling return on investment.

What will it take to set off the chain reaction that completely transforms the ways government utilizes enterprise communications applications?

As Rahm Emanuel might say, “Let’s not waste a fiscal crisis.” Let’s look at how much can be saved by deploying a “simplify, consolidate and extend strategy” and establishing an Avaya Aura Private Cloud. Let’s see that the initial costs will be paid back rapidly and how the new communications paradigms accrue substantial dividends long into the future.

Thanks for joining me here today on Avaya Tech Talk. You can subscribe to our episodes on iTunes and follow us on Twitter hashtag #APNpodcast.

Talking Tech, this has been your host, Guy Clinch the advocate for the government customer at Avaya!

Dear Listeners,
I’ll be honored if you chose to follow me on Twitter @gclinch check out my professional profile on LinkedIn and subscribe to my podcasts:

Warmest regards,
Guy W. Clinch

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Driving Down Costs for Governments and Commercial Organizations

By Guy Clinch

Now Playing: Avaya TechTalk 008: Driving Down Costs for Governments and Commercial Organizations

Avaya Tech Talk host Guy Clinch discusses tools and techniques of how governments and other organizations can drive down costs associate with workers who use mobile devices in their jobs and take risks out of bring your own device (BYOD).

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Good day, all! Guy Clinch here, advocate for the government customer in Avaya’s product development organization. Welcome to this week’s episode of Avaya Tech Talk. Tech Talk is designed to highlight the robust and growing community of technology partners and the unique solutions that they participate with Avaya to provide the government customers across the globe.

Today I take a break from the usual format of this podcast to have a conversation about a powerful way that governments and other organizations can drive down costs for workers who use mobile devices in their jobs. It’s a tool I use almost every day. This is a story of how, Avaya one-X® Mobile applied in a strategic way by governments and commercial organizations is used to drive down costs and produce significant new organizational efficiencies.

Avaya one-X Mobile is an application suite that can be downloaded from sources including the iTunes Store and Google Play. It runs on popular platforms including Apple iPhone, Google Android, RIM BlackBerry and Nokia/Symbian. The app allows the user to log in to their office unified communications server and use the mobile device as a “clone of” or replacement for an office desk phone.

Most of the features that would be available to the user if they were sitting in an office with a traditional multifunction desk phone can be used through the Avaya one-X Mobile’s easy to use interface. Think please of the efficiencies to be gained by an individual when they have the power of the applications available from a multifunction desk phone in the palm of the hand. Yet, that’s just the beginning of the story of how organizations can save costs and drive new organizational efficiencies from the “one experience” of Avaya one-X model of doing business.

Hard dollar saving are achieved when Avaya one-X Mobile is used in conjunction with features of the user’s mobile plan. The key is the ingenious way that Avaya one-X Mobile interacts with the unified communications system. This is an example of true convergence when the power of Internet technologies and heritage communications technologies are combined. It is also a powerful example of how previous investments can be leveraged and combined with new technologies creating a self-funding model supporting marginal investments by saving recurring costs, driving new efficienciesand extending the lives of previous purchases. Meanwhile organizations have the potential to revolutionize the way that the organization employs enterprise style communications to conduct business. The results are freed up budgets and increased levels of client and customer satisfaction.

As is often true with new technologies, IP has not replaced heritage telephony as many of the original advocates of technologies including Voice over IP (VoIP) had advocated. Instead, IP has merged with heritage telephony to create powerful new communications paradigms. Avaya one-X Mobile is but one example of how.

The secret is that Avaya one-X Mobile allows the user to log into the unified communications server over the mobile device’s data connection. This means that the organization may apply enterprise style communication techniques to the mobile device. For the user, Avaya one-X Mobile’s intuitive user interface allows them to execute commands to the communications server by swipes and clicks. This unlocks access to business tools for the mobile user that once was reserved for cubical row. How this happens in ingenious.

Take an outgoing call from a mobile worker to a client executed through the one-X Mobile interface. When a voice call is initiated using one-X Mobile, several things happen. First the communications server places a call to the user’s mobile device. The user has simply swipes and clicks and waits momentarily. Then they answer an incoming call. Step two automatically occurs.

The communications server executes a second voice connection to the telephone number that the user had manually input or selected from one of the several directory features available through the one-X Mobile visual interface. Step three happens in an instant.

Next, the unified communications server automatically bridges the two voice connections together. The process has been that the user executed a simple intuitive action through their most familiar tool. The Avaya one-X Mobile app automatically performed steps two and three and the user and the person they wished to connect with are conversing. Simple; swipe, click, connect.

Some might say, “That’s great, but it seems inefficient for one phone call to take up two voice connections. Why not just dial the number? Isn’t it wasteful to engage two voice connections rather than a single call from the user’s mobile device?”

That’s a very valid question. Allow me to explain that there are a number of reasons, from a government or other enterprise organization’s perspective, for why this model is more efficient.

First there are hard dollar savings. If the person who is being called is not part of the caller’s inner circle in their mobile plan – their so called “friend and acquaintances” circle – the call incurs wireless charges. You may say that’s no big deal, “Most users are on plans that give them a certain allocation of minutes at no additional charge.”

This is very true, but for a government or commercial organization there is a cost to those plans. The more people who use their mobile devices to do business the more minutes are needed. The more minutes are needed, the higher the costs. Overage charges can be hard to predict and even more costly when incurred. What I will explain is a way to achieve dramatic savings of those costs and put controls on those costs. I’ll also discuss benefits to organizational issues including regulatory compliance and increasing the ability to serve clients and customers. The key to saving those costs and creating those operational improvements is, in part, the unique ways Avaya one-X Mobile allows the organization to incorporate the user’s mobile device into the enterprise’s communications management strategies.

Part of the key is that properly configured unified communications systems are predictable about what number will be used to communicate between the server and the user’s mobile device. Most wireless plans provide for the user to designate some quantity of telephone numbers that when dialed, the minutes incurred in those calls do not count against the user’s – or the organization’s – allocated amount. When the number that the unified communications server uses to communicate with the user’s device is part of the user’s inner circle of their wireless plan, calls between the organization’s unified communications server and the user’s mobile device are essentially free. It doesn’t matter how many calls or how many minutes are used in a time period. They all free to the wireless plan.

The call to the external party does count against the allocation of call volumes for the unified communications server, but these rates are typically significantly less for the organization than the costs associated with wireless plans.

That hard dollar savings are just the beginning. Avaya one-X Mobile allows the user to access many other resources in the government’s communications infrastructure in effective ways. For instance, the user may see into their voicemail account on the organization’s messaging server. Using this visual voicemail the user may pick and choose which message to listen to and when. In addition to this personal productivity enhancement, when they play a message, the user has a choice between listening to the audio over the device’s data connection or to have the audio played over a voice connection. When a voice connection is chosen and the predictable telephone number used by the unified communications server to connect with the mobile user’s device is in the mobile user’s inner circle list, these calls also do not decrement the user’s or organization’s available total of minutes.

When viewed in the context of a single user, these savings can be significant. Multiply these savings by the thousands of mobile users of a government or commercial organization and you are talking some real money. These examples are only the beginning of the benefits generated from this technology and the methodology of applying it in governments and commercial organizations. Accountability and regulatory compliance is but another area of benefit.

For instance, in the alternative model where each mobile user receives voice communications and voicemail messages in a personal account, the organization has little or no way to access, audit and monitor the regulatory compliance those communications. In the Avaya one-X Mobile model, the communications flow though the enterprise. The enterprise messaging system owned by the government or commercial organization stores messages. There is also more benefit to the user and the organization.

Another benefit is that in the Avaya one-X Mobile environment individual users gain increased privacy and the organization gains increased professionalism. That is because the user need not divulge the telephone number associated with their mobile device. Instead organizational policy should dictate that the mobile user should only advertise their office number for business purposes. Organizations who establish these policies that the only the business number should be provide for all business communications become able to capture and where required, audit and even monitor those communications. The wild world of mobility becomes tamed. BYOD, or bring you own device becomes less threatening. The organization and the mobile user benefit.

To the mobile user the benefit is that they are provided “availability with anonymity.” They can keep their mobile number private, while being ubiquitously available for business purposes. Professionalism is increased because no client ever needs to end up in phone mail jail on a business user’s mobile plan’s messaging system. Call coverage options and escape at the beep options can be employed. The power of the organization can be unleashed in service to the client or customer.

The Avaya one-X way of doing business gives clients and business associates one number to reach the mobile user for business purposes. The mobile user benefits because, especially in a BYOD environment, they never need to divulge the number of their personal mobile device to business associates and clients. The client benefits in the more professional treatment of their privileged communications. The organization benefits in many other ways.

“Wrangling the cats” of mobility and BYOD using the Avaya one-X way of doing business means that communications between the mobile user and their business relations are captured and auditable. If regulatory requirements dictate, these communications can be recorded with the communications being captured at the unified communications server. In the alternative independent mobile user environment, this is far harder or impossible. There are more hard-dollar savings for the government and commercial organizations employing the Avaya one-X approach.

A substantial amount of expense for an organization comes from employees communicating with one another. In the Avaya one-X Mobile model, these calls become extension-to-extension calls. An employee seeking to call another employee calls the business number, most typically within an organization this is an abbreviated code such as a four or five digit extension. The unified communications server then makes the connection to the mobile number. Again if this predictable number is part of the mobile user’s inner circle, these mobile minutes are free. So instead of an organization chewing up mobile minutes for thousands of wireless plans to accommodate employees talking with one another, except for the free-of-charge wireless leg, these become “internal” calls and significant hard dollar savings are achieved.

There are many additional benefits and costs savings that I could discuss here. Respecting your valuable time I try to keep these conversations short. Today I am over my target of four minutes per episode. I’ll just say that other things we may discuss in future editions are more hard savings and organizational efficiencies of the enterprise wide one-X approach to communications.

We may talk about how this approach may allow mobile users to be integrated into the organization’s contact centers strategies making them extended resources for solving client’s problems and providing customer service. There’s an extend conversation we may have about how the features of the Avaya one-X – one experience – model of enterprise communications drives other hard and soft dollar costs savings. This conversation includes the many ways the a single user experience for business communications provides users with a consistent set of tools whether at their desk, in a remote office, in the field with clients or in a work situation anywhere on the planet. In any work circumstance the concepts of Avaya one-X provides business efficiencies to the user and to the organization. This just gives us more fodder for future editions of Avaya Tech Talk.

We’ve been talking today about a powerful tool that governments and other organizations can use to drive down costs for workers who use mobile devices in their jobs; Avaya one-X Mobile. Thanks for joining me here today on Avaya Tech Talk. You can subscribe to our episodes on iTunes and follow us on Twitter hashtag #APNpodcast. Talking tech, this has been your host, Guy Clinch, the advocate for the government customer at Avaya.

Dear Listeners,

I’ll be honored if you chose to follow me on Twitter @gclinch check out my professional profile on LinkedIn and subscribe to my podcasts:

Warmest regards,
Guy W. Clinch