Prairie Street Brewhouse “Hops” Into a Smarter Building with Avaya

On the National Register of Historic Places, Prairie Street Brewhouse recently underwent a multimillion-dollar renovation to become one of Rockford’s most bustling locations. To bring the property fully into the modern era, they invested in an integrated solution for voice, video and networking from Avaya to create the foundation for a smart building.

New smart buildings call for video surveillance and pervasive Wi-Fi, capabilities that required simplified core architecture to support it all. The new smart building now includes:

  • The unified network umbrella of Avaya Fabric Connect, a resilient infrastructure that makes configuration and deployment of new services faster and easier and uses IP multicast, providing 10 times the scalability and three times the performance over alternatives
  • More than 70 high-definition cameras both inside and outside the property that capture video of public areas and the immediate exterior. IP-based video surveillance underpins the high security and service standards of the property’s owners and managers.
  • Key cards used by tenants to enter the building after closing hours – with time-stamped video footage to verify who entered and exited at any time of day
  • Avaya phones with affordable and flexible call-handling such as forwarding and voicemail
  • Wi-Fi is now available throughout the building, providing Internet access to anyone on the property

“This is one of the most advanced building technology infrastructures I’ve ever seen in private development,” said Chris Manuel, Vice President of Rockford Brewing Company and President of CMM & Associates, Prairie Street Brewhouse. “Our past experience with having multiple systems and providers is that they don’t work well together. Having voice, video and networking from Avaya makes our communications more efficient and easier to manage.”

Click here to read the full case study from Avaya.

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Six Questions to Help Non-Profit IT Managers Pick the Right Partner

Every organization knows the importance of stretching each dollar. That’s especially true of a non-profit trying to keep operating costs at a minimum. They must keep their IT system investment running at peak performance, ensuring constant communication with members and achieving the organization’s underlying goals.

According to the recent 9th Annual Non-Profit Technology Staffing and Investments Report, IT staffs at national non-profits are falling into four categories:

  • Struggling:

    “We are struggling; we have a failing infrastructure, and our technology time and budget generally go towards creating workarounds, repairing old equipment, and duplicating tasks.”

  • Functioning:

    “We keep the lights on; we have basic systems in place to meet immediate needs. Leadership makes technology decisions based on efficiencies, with little to no input from staff/consultant.”

  • Operating:

    “We keep up; we have stable infrastructure and a set of technology policies and practices. Leadership makes technology decisions based on standard levels according to industry/sector information and gathers input from technology staff/consultant before making a final decision.”

  • Leading:

    “We’re innovators; we recognize that technology is an investment in our mission, and leadership integrates technology decisions with organizational strategy. Technology-responsible staff is involved in overall strategic planning.”

More than half of the surveyed organizations reported that they were at “Operating” level when it comes to technology adoption. The report also found that “Leading” organizations are nearly twice more likely to include technology in their strategic plans than” Struggling” organizations.

Large Charity’s Challenge: Support 100+ Sites with Lean IT Team

Recently, one of the leading organizations, with 125 locations in the U.S. and an array of business communications solutions, faced their own three challenges:

  • Small IT staff overseeing large number of locations
  • Support required for multivendor environment
  • Insufficient tools to troubleshoot end user business communications problems

“I run an extremely lean staff,” says the telecom manager at one of the US’s top 25 non-profit organizations. “We do 25-50 major projects a year. Opening new locations, upgrading existing locations—all on top of day-to-day business. For us, it’s imperative that we operate as efficiently as possible with the tight resources we have.”

To overcome these challenges while boosting stability and allowing IT to focus on high value projects, the IT Manager looked for answers to six critical questions for a potential support services partner and their systems:

  1. Does the partner have the experience and resources to keep systems up and running while allowing the team to focus on high priority projects?

  2. Does the partner have the skills necessary to work in a collaborative multivendor environment?

  3. How does the partner optimize the performance of the current business environment while proactively preventing problems before they become outages? Do they use self-healing automated intelligent systems or is it manual?

  4. Does the partner have a continuum of services to support an evolving environment from maintenance to proactive support to managed to private cloud?

  5. How quickly can the provider restore systems during a disaster or emergency scenario?

  6. Can the partner provide an easy-to-use tool that helps diagnose reported intermittent network issues?


What are some of the questions that you are asking partners?


Avaya Helps Voss Auto Network Sales and Service Accelerate Into the Fast Lane

In a car dealership, responsiveness means the difference between a service appointment, a large-ticket sale, or a customer taking their business elsewhere. Voss Auto Network has accelerated into the fast lane for its sales and services to power its sales and service growth based on Avaya.

With an old network and aging phone system with limited features Voss faced these challenges:

  • Despite a reputation for meeting and exceeding customer needs, Voss Auto Network was using an aging communications system with limited functionality that resulted in missed customer calls
  • A young salesforce wanted smartphones to be their primary communications device
  • Without voicemail, customers would have no way of letting the service department know they needed an appointment after-hours
  • Getting calls when “walking the lot,” quickly retrieving voicemails, and having the ability to easily track missed calls have all proved key to taking customer service, sales, and repeat business to the next level

In a phased approach, Voss chose to upgrade to an Avaya network and IP Office business communications system and has seen immediate results. The value Avaya created includes:

  • A 10- to 20 percent increase in service appointments
  • More value for the money spent on communications
  • Integration of voicemails with email

“Right away, no call went unanswered,” said Voss Auto Network CIO Kevin Murvay. “Appointments were easy for customers to schedule at the press of a button. Salespeople love that; with their smartphone, they are just five seconds away from voicemail.”

The Voss Auto Network is proud to be part of the Centerville, Beavercreek, Monroe, and Tipp City communities. Starting with Chevrolet in 1972, Voss Auto Network boasts nine franchises: Chevrolet, Cadillac, BMW, Honda, Toyota, Scion, Hyundai, Land Rover, and Joe Morgan Honda.

Click here to read the Voss Auto Network’s full case study.

How Addison Lee’s IT Helps it Go the Extra Mile

British taxi company Addison Lee transports 10 million people a year in London alone. It attributes its success to combining the latest technology with traditional values of customer engagement. I got insight into how the company’s mission statement really shapes their business at a recent conference where Addison Lee CTO Peter Ingram was presenting.

“We recently won a tender with a 3-month rollout plan,” Ingram said. “That changed to a 48-hour rollout plan when the incumbent supplier got into financial difficulties. We literally had hours to deploy an end-to-end solution for 20,000 employees across the UK, including a new website and booking portal.”

Peter said setting up a brand new service overnight was possible due to Addison Lee’s commitment to investing in ‘great technology and great people.’

The company’s investment in Avaya Fabric Connect massively reduced the amount of manual configuration required to deploy new applications and services. As a result, a task that would have taken weeks with a legacy system was accomplished in a matter of hours.

Network downtime, even for maintenance, damages business. More so, perhaps, for Addison Lee, whose network handles 50,000 booking a week through the company’s mobile app, and a steady flow of phone bookings 24/7.

The new, Fabric-enabled network allows Addison Lee to upgrade or configure parts of the network in isolation without impacting overall service levels. When rolling out a new service, the network automatically configures distribution and core switches.

IT personnel simply focus on configuring edge devices, reducing the chance of human error. As a result, using Fabric Connect can save the IT department hours—if not days—of configuration time. New configurations are simpler, reducing the chance of outages that impact business agility and the bottom line.

Now that’s what I would call a well-oiled machine!

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