Meet Avaya’s Marine Corps Marathon Runners: Anna, Kelsey and Phil

This week’s runners of Team Avaya come to us from New York, Florida and Virginia (just a stone’s throw from the starting line). Learn more about this athletic bunch and why they’re proud to represent Avaya. Meet Anna, Kelsey and Phil …

Meet Team Avaya: Anna Winters

Anna Winters Avaya

Training for the Marine Corps 10k gives Anna Winters, global management development program, a special sense of pride as she recalls her father’s time spent in the Navy. Traveling from New York, Anna is excited to visit Washington, D.C. and run amongst the nation’s history.

Why did you choose to run the Marine Corps 10k?
I really love to network within the company. It’s great to unite with colleagues and do something fun together for a great cause.

What does the event mean to you?
For me, this event represents our armed forces. My dad was in the Navy and I really respect those who have sacrificed for us daily. Getting the honor to run in something on their behalf gives me a sense of pride.

How far you traveling and what are makes this event worth it?
I’ll be coming from New York. I think it’s awesome that Avaya is sponsoring this, and it’s great to be connected with the community of Avaya. I feel that I’ll get a lot more out of working here if I put forth the effort to be a part of the community and culture. That’s something that means a lot to me.

Why are you proud to run as part of Team Avaya?
It’s fantastic to represent the company. I believe in what we’re doing, I think we make a difference and I’m excited to really start a career here. It’s a great feeling to be a representative of something you’re involved in every day. I’m a face of Avaya all the time in sales, but being part of Team Avaya is a truly unique and unifying experience.

What does running mean to you?
It’s always been a great outlet for me. In college, I developed a passion for it, and there was a beautiful trail beside our place. Over the years, running has become very therapeutic and I’ve enjoyed the numerous health benefits it offers me.

What are you most looking forward to on race day?
The energy! Being in the nation’s capital, experiencing the unity of the athletes and keeping our armed forces in mind is incredible. Remembering our armed forces is something that, as Americans, I think we often take for granted. It will be great to refocus on how much their service means to our country. I think the day in general will be very patriotic and I love that.

Do you do anything special/unique to prepare yourself physically or mentally on race day?
For this particular race, I plan to spend the whole weekend there in D.C. enjoying the sights and monuments.

Meet Team Avaya: Kelsey Heine

Kelsey Heine, Avaya

Kelsey Heine, national account manager, Avaya Government Solutions, is no stranger to the D.C. area. With her home just a short walking distance from the starting line, Kelsey has the added benefit of training in the nation’s capital. Learn more about Kelsey and her 10k journey…

Why did you choose to run the Marine Corps 10k?
I choose to run in the 10k because I thought it would be a great opportunity to represent Avaya Gov and I wanted to show support for my brother Kevin. He is a sophomore in college at Towson University and was accepted last summer into the Platoon Leader Class Officer Program. This summer, he completed his first increment at Officer Candidate School and now has one more increment to go. After graduating from OCS, he will be commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant of the United States Marine Corps upon graduation from Towson. I am so incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication that he has shown toward achieving his goal of becoming a Marine and I am looking forward to running with him on the day of the event.

How far are you traveling, and what makes this event worth it?
I actually live in Arlington, VA in an area called Rosslyn, which is only a few minute walk to where the event starts and ends.

What does running mean to you?
As a member of the Avaya Gov team, it means a lot to be able to participate in this event. It is an amazing chance to be able to represent Avaya while showing support and appreciation for all the Marines who have valiantly served and are serving this country.

What has been your most memorable moment preparing for the 10k?
It would be hard for me to pick one memorable moment in the time that I have been preparing for the run, but what I love the most about living and training in Arlington/Washington D.C. are the views. I usually run on the Mount Vernon trail, which follows the Potomac River on the Virginia side, and from there I have a beautiful view of the monuments in D.C. Sometimes it’s still hard for me to believe that I get to call this beautiful place home.

What are you most looking forward to on race day?
On race day, I am most looking forward to completing the run and spending time with the other Avaya team members that are going to be at the event. Even though there are only a few of us running from the Avaya Gov team I know a lot of them will be there volunteering. One of my favorite things about working at Avaya is all the wonderful people that I have met and get to work with on a daily basis.

Do you do anything special/unique to prepare yourself physically or mentally on race day?
Lucky for me, I am only running the 10k so as soon as I am starting to get tired all I’ll need to do is think of the people running the marathon in order to feel a little better. If that doesn’t help, I’ll probably think back to the lessons that I learned during the four years I played lacrosse at Ohio State. Those years taught me a lot about the power of mental toughness. You truly can accomplish anything when you put your mind to it and you have a “won’t stop, can’t stop” attitude.

Meet Team Avaya: Phil Omi

Phil Omi, Avaya

When Phil Omi (photo, far right) begins his marathon journey it will be the second time in as many years hitting the streets of D.C. to complete the Marine Corps Marathon. What pushes him to run? Read on to find out.

Why did you choose to run the Marine Corps Marathon/10k?
I ran the Marathon last year with a good friend of mine and had so much fun that I decided to do it again.

What does the event mean to you?
This run will be my fifth marathon in five years.

How are you training for it?
I am actually training for the Disney Dopey run in January and the D.C. marathon falls on a 17-mile training day. I am running five days a week and cross training the other two days.

How far are you traveling, and what makes this event worth it?
I am traveling over 800 miles from Florida. Washington D.C. is also a great location for a family vacation.

Why are you proud to run as part of Team Avaya?
Running with a team gives you the motivation to train a little harder, knowing that others may be depending on you.

What does running mean to you?
My wife and I started running five years ago after my second back surgery. I could barely walk when we started. After 18 weeks of training, we ran our first half marathon with Team in Training, which is a charity group that trains for endurance events and raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. After that, I continued to run for my health. A few years later, we had a baby girl, Emma. She is my reason for running now.

What has been your most memorable moment preparing for the marathon/10k?
For me, there are really no memorable moments during training. It is usually just a blur.

What are you most looking forward to on race day?
I like the start of a race, when the energy level is high. In D.C., this is especially true with the Howitzer starting the race.

Do you do anything special/unique to prepare yourself physically or mentally on race day?
I am usually pretty quiet and focused on that morning. Anyone who knows me knows that running is the absolute last thing on my list of things I want to be doing. My goal is to get past the first three miles, and then I can start to focus on the rest of the day.

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5 Key Steps to Modernizing the Federal Government

Modernizing the communications systems of government agencies creates significant challenges—and opportunities—for the new Administration. Key to improving services for the estimated 324 million Americans, the new Administration will need to modernize the communications systems of Federal Government agencies.

Four significant trends have arisen over the last several years that are challenging Federal IT systems and budgets, which can be addressed through technology and innovation for better service at more cost-efficient rates:

  1. A three-year decline in citizen satisfaction between the kind of communications citizens expect and the kind many agencies provide today.
  2. Security incidents in public and private networks are growing at an alarming rate across the globe, with a 38% increase in cyber threats in 2015. The total overall cost to the global economy puts the damage to enterprise businesses somewhere between $375 and $575 billion a year.
  3. More powerful, mobile devices and the impact of consumer-oriented technologies has changed how people interact with the modern world, requiring a shift away from legacy technology That small device a growing number of the populace carries is often responsible for keeping them connected 24/7.
  4. Citizens have expressed their desire for seamless, multi-channel experiences. In 2013, 82% of customers surveyed by Avaya and British Telecom said they prefer organizations that offer multiple channels to meet different needs.

To help the new Administration, an eBook from Avaya Government Solutions, Transforming Government Business for the Digital Age: How to understand and prepare for IT modernization, provides a guide for analyzing and solving the following questions:

  • What communications challenges are government agencies facing?
  • What can government agencies do to improve communications systems?
  • How much do you estimate is the amount of waste in the Federal Government?

Among the recommendations found in the eBook for improving citizen services and creating cost efficiencies at the same time, the new Administration might consider:

  • Consolidating and automating routine tasks inside the network to reduce costs and save resources
  • Simplifying and creating a unified hub for communications systems that syncs up existing technology with technology innovations
  • Implementing an open standards architecture platform that can operate with a variety of service needs
  • Assessing and optimizing an organization’s IT infrastructure and application platform across capabilities and continuity
  • Ensuring reliability and security of network activity so that it is safe, secure and running at peak performance

Stepping into the Oval Office on January 20, 2017 for the first time, the new President will face many challenges. Recommendations found in the eBook can help Federal Government agencies to cost efficiently meet the needs of a new generation of Americans needing assistance.

Leveraging Contact Center Technology to Help America’s Soldiers While Improving Performance and Saving Money

To help government agencies improve the constituent experience while saving millions of dollars each year, our Avaya Government Solutions team is constantly conducting enterprise business analysis, based on Lean Six Sigma principle and a four-step process of discovery, benchmark, scope improvements.

Using comprehensive metrics was critical to determining best deployment and savings for the Defense Health Agency (DHA), a joint, integrated Combat Support Agency that enables the U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, and U.S. Air Force medical services to provide a medically-ready force in both peacetime and wartime.

The Avaya team demonstrated to Mack Wyche, Chief, Telecommunications Branch, DHA that UC, contact center, and SIP technologies could streamline the agency’s enterprise conference premise solution, migrate from legacy to SIP trunks at its headquarters, and enhance equipment maintenance. Modernizing all points of DHA’s unified communications and contact center architecture will provide superior performance and $1.5 million in savings, which will fully self-fund the upfront capital.

By centralizing the enterprise conferencing solution that would generate savings of $1.5 million in FY2017 and beyond, the decision was easy for Mr. Wyche: “Avaya Government Solutions provided us with a strong analysis of our current environment and was able to quickly demonstrate savings on day 1 in our contact center infrastructure. Thanks to Avaya Government Solutions, we can now more efficiently serve our soldiers while the savings more than pay for the investment. We look forward to implementation of the Avaya solution and to their continued support.”

Helping the DHA is one of the more gratifying among countless examples of how we are helping Federal and state agencies deliver superior customer services while maximizing their investments. We are proud that our business value analysis, based on Lean Six Sigma principles, clearly demonstrated the superiority of our solution that generated savings immediately.

Mr. Wyche and the DHA are why we get up each day to review, evaluate, and propose smart solutions that help critical government agencies deliver on their promise to their constituents and the American people.

  • Is your contact center performing at peak level for your constituents?
  • When was the last time that you had a comprehensive business analysis of your contact center?
  • Has your agency centralized the enterprise conferencing solution?

Helping Navigate the “Perfect Storm”

Federal Agencies Turn to Fabric Networks and Unified Communications for Cybersecurity, Service Delivery, Telework, and Modernization Without Rip and Replace

This year presents a particularly challenging environment with tighter budgets, limited resources, and a Presidential Election. Agencies are looking to take advantage of promising new technologies that speed efficiency and delivery while tapping into their existing infrastructure. In other words, modernize rather than rip and replace. We see government becoming more agile while working under tighter budgets, creating the “Perfect Storm.”

The need for an agile and flexible government has never been as necessary, or possible, until today. Harnessing time and money-saving technology in cloud, mobility, telework, cybersecurity, data center consolidation and the need for real collaboration has created great opportunities for all of those in the partner chain.

For many agencies with legacy ISDN networks, there is no ability to fork lift the entire telecommunications network. Instead, using secured cloud platforms, many agencies are turning to month-to-month OpEx solutions to get the modern solutions that they now need.

Fabric Network Bolsters Cybersecurity

In this market environment, agency, IT managers are looking for fabric network solutions because they offer an upgradeable and sustainable path. Bridging the old and new networks, fabric networks can help make a switch to migrate forward. For instance, when the National Guard recently needed to upgrade its network, they looked toward a software-defined network with four goals:

  • Replace their cybersecurity posture
  • Modernize and simplify their operations network
  • Add the capability and easy access to applications and services on the fly that can meet their mission
  • Ensure flexibility and agility as necessary

Just recently, McConnell Air Force Base, located in Wichita, Kansas and home to the Air Mobility Command’s 22nd Air Refueling Wing, Air Force Reserve Command’s 931st Air Refueling Group and the Kansas Air National Guard’s 184th Intelligence Wing, installed Fabric Connect technologies to modernize its network infrastructure that supports 6,000 users.

The new architecture will improve protection against cyberattacks through a unique approach that makes the McConnell network invisible to scanning techniques used to uncover network topologies and develop a plan of attack.

While defending against attack, the Social Security Administration (SSA) planned for its 500 millionth phone call. Each of the SSA’s 1,6000+ offices had been long dependent on a conventional, old-school PBX phone framework nearing end of life. Creating a nationwide network required a cutting-edge IP telephony network to manage its average 400,000 daily calls. The SSA recognized the need to future-proof its system with an impending influx of Baby Boomers coming of age for Social Security.

The SSA was able to streamline and consolidate systems, and cut costs by as much as 50% depending on office location. The carrier-grade, enterprise solution is government-owned and Avaya-managed, end-to-end. It features leading technology, from Network Skills Based Routing to Dynamic Virtual Forward, and gives the agency redundancies that help it support contact centers in four regions of the United States seamlessly. As a result, the agency was able to get through Hurricane Sandy, and major blizzards and storms without an incident. Next step for SSA is to look toward unified communications to deal with plans for an increase in soft phones, teleworking and VoIP capabilities in the near future.

As government agencies evolve and into the 2020’s, innovation will be a must. Rather than focusing on processes, market surveys, and requests for proposals with rigorous requirements, forward-thinking agencies need to consider turning to industry for open and innovative solutions.

Going forward, we hope to provide an overview of how the government can take advantage of best technology practice and solutions in this ever-challenging market environment of limited budgets and reuse of legacy systems. Vendors with vast experience and capabilities in moving government forward have never been more necessary than today.

  • What are your top network priorities?
  • What trends do you see developing in the second half of 2016?