SMB Nation Blog

SMB Nation has been serving the Bainbridge Island area since 2001, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Don’t Miss: 2016 Salary Survey Closes March 31st

Don’t Miss: 2016 Salary Survey Closes March 31st

Hey there, Hi there, Ho there!

We need your support! In order to have a representative data set of the state of SMB compensation and activities, we need more participation. Think of this as Karma Dollars! You contribute your information (confidentially) and you benefit from seeing more rich results (literally). Think of it as crowd sourcing meets the sharing economy.

With respect to viewing this survey from a start-up perspective, I have a story to share. Earlier this month I met a young man at the Channel Partners conference in Las Vegas. He had recently completed college and was all bright eyed and bushy tailed. He sincerely wanted to know what line of work to go into with respect to information technology (IT). He was looking at traditional networking as an MSP. He was looking at telecom as a consultant/sales agent (that is still the predominant audience at Channel Partners). This salary survey can truly benefit our start-up kid! Why? Because he can decide if these professional career paths work for him. The world is his oyster and he can compare our MSP/CSP world to opportunities in Big Data (that conference was upstairs at LeadsCon), online commerce, mobility and even Internet of Things (IoT). That’s that start-up hook to the salary survey.

Discover more and participate in the 2016 Salary Survey here

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What’s the real value behind Unified Communications?

I’m continually impressed by the good work coming out of Mitel with respect to community conversations. I think everyone agrees there’s no home for speeds and feeds BS content at SMB Nation. Rather – you want unique insights into matters that interest you. You want the community sponsors to be respectful; they want to be top of mind when you are ready to move forward. I think Mitel’s recent outreach to the SMB Nation community meets this high bar.

 mitel

Mitel has embarked on a journey to act as your guide by the side when it comes to your communications strategy. In particular, Mitel’s new communications landscape white paper that you can (and should) download here (“Making Smart Communications Decisions – an SMB Buyers Guide”) present the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) concept. Essentially ITC refers to the view that technology is an enabler. We used to call it data + voice but Mitel’s ICT concept is about the premise that today’s IP-based phone systems are gateways to this new world focused on applications.

Other topics in the white paper are:

  • Small business IT staff are more and more becoming cloud and applications managers. The assertion is that ICT staff are becoming more strategic and less break-fix.
  • Spending growth for a mobile world. Budgets are facilitating smartphones and applications to deliver a flexible work experience to employees who are becoming more mobile and geographically distributed.
  • Re-imagining work. The new workspace requires a new communications approach. I previously covered this conversation in my late December 2015 blog titled “I Love Work” that you can read here
  • Premium on protection. It goes without saying but you need to say it: security is important!
    Incremental, integrated solutions approach. This not only relates to cloud solutions but OPEX vs CAPEX financing.
  • Reshaping the customer experience. This is my favorite part of the Mitel white paper. There is a strong marketing conversation currently underway that with search, customers are doing much of their own research before ever speaking to a salesperson. So true. I’ve seen another report that nearly 70% of the decision has been made before customers speak to you. Google calls it the zero moment of truth. True that!

So you’ll have the read the rest of the report to get the good stuff. Highly recommended!

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SalesReach Telcom App Selected by PSI Network, Inc. via Salesforce.com App Exchange

salesreach telecom appYesterday, SalesReach Software announced that their application, SalesReach Telecom, has been selected by PSI Network, Inc., to help them achieve their goal of becoming a customer company. PSI network selected SalesReach Software’s app from the Salesforce App Exchange.

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Dot Hill Releases New Storage Solutions for Telecom Sector

dothillEarlier this week, Dot Hill Systems Corp announced the expansion of their alliance program, as well as two new reference platforms for their OEM telecom customers. The company hopes to greatly expand their presence in the Telecommunications sector with these changes.

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Birch Communications Welcomes New Director of Business Development

Birch Communications logoToday, the wholesale division of Birch Communications, Birch Carrier Solutions, announced the appointment of Greg Hogan as the new Director of Business Development, Wholesale Services. Hogan joins BCS from Ernest Communications, an organization that is currently undergoing acquisition by Birch.

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Making the Verizon Switch: An In-Store Experience

A couple of weeks ago, I decided that it was time for a new smartphone and to also make the switch from my current carrier to another, which I feel, in my opinion, has been more reliable in my geographical area. I was a loyal supporter of this carrier for almost 10 years; it took me through various phones, including the first, which was a flip phone that had the “old school” keypad for texting, instead of the “QWERTY” style that we have become so accustomed to. These phones (and this carrier to boot) were utilized by me for various conversations, text messages, and even, as I moved into the smartphone realm, a way for me to get online and also connect via social media.

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Jabra Finds its “Voice” in the Cloud

Last week I had the pleasure of participating as a panelist for Jabra’s webinar titled, “Voice in the Cloud: How SaaS Platforms are Changing How SMBs Talk, Collaborate and Work.” I was invited to participate by Urban Gillis, Jabra’s Sales VP, who wanted to focus the webinar on how voice or “UCaaS” (Unified Communications as a Service) is making its way into our industry.

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VoIPReview.Org States: New VoIP Regulations are good for the End-User

Today, VoIPReview.org released a list of the three top reasons why VoIP customers shouldn’t be worried about the VoIP regulation/law changes in current discussion. In particular, there’s talk about how VoIP should be regulated, whether it should be defined as a telecom service, or regulated more like Internet services.

 

VoIPReview.org’s top three list is as follows:

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Channel Partners and CompTIA Release Third Annual IT/Telecom Study Findings

Study cover Photo credit: Channel Partners OnlineYesterday, CompTIA and Channel Partners Online announced the results of the third annual Partnering Trends between Telecom and IT Channels study. The main finding of the study was that partnerships between IT and Telecom companies are not only growing in number, but in importance and formality.

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Friday Afternoon Club: Janet Schijns, vice president of medium business and channels, Verizon Enterprise Solutions

Earlier this week, Verizon announced that is focused on simplifying its relationship with indirect sales channels and the companies that form its extensive technology ecosystem. What this translates to is the company is keeping it simple and organized for its partner ecosystem serving the SMB community. It consolidated several existing business channel programs to form one umbrella of services that is now known as the Verizon Partner Program. This was designed, according to the company, to make it easier for its current SMB partners to expand their business, as well as creating new opportunities for their respective end users.

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Verizon Targets Mid-Market with New Partner Programs

Verizon announced today at the Channel Partners event in Las Vegas that it is simplifying its relationship with indirect sales channels and the companies that form its extensive technology ecosystem. Therefore, as a result, it is consolidating several existing business channel programs under a new “best-in-class” Verizon Partner Program to make it easier for its members to expand distribution and create new business opportunities for their customers.

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Vocalocity Announces Channel Program Enhancements at Channel Partners Expo in Vegas

VoIP provider Vocalocity announced today at The Channel Partners Conference & Expo in Las Vegas, that it is making changes and revisions to its channel program. The enhancements are expected to enable Vocalocity and its partners to further accelerate their growth.

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Alcatel-Lucent Appoints Former Vodaphone Group Exec as New CEO

A couple of weeks ago, we reported that telco giant Alcatel-Lucent confirmed that its CEO, Ben Verwaayen, would step down from his positions as CEO and board member. In addition, the telco reported declines in the last year and profit for the fourth quarter of last year.

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F5 BYOD 2.0 Encourages Workforces to Merge Productivity with Lifestyle

F5 Networks has developed F5 Mobile App Manager, a hybrid cloud solution for mobile application management that enables organizations to safely and cost-effectively support enterprise BYOD initiatives. With F5 Mobile App Manager, enterprises can extend corporate applications and data to employees’ personal mobile devices while leaving all personal content under the control of the device owner.

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CEO Ben Verwaayen out at Alcatel-Lucent

In what seems to be a commonality of late in the IT world, another CEO has stepped down from his post. This time it’s Ben Verwaayen, CEO of French-based telecom Alcatel-Lucent. The company confirmed today, per an announcement on MarketWatch, that Verwaayen will step down from his positions as CEO and board member; the telco reported declines in the last year and profit for the fourth quarter of last year.

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Parallels: “This Is Your Moment”

At the Parallels Summit at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, CEO Birger Steen deftly borrowed an Obama-like phrase to excite and motivate more than 1,100 attendees about the SMB cloud. Aside from the standard product news and upgrades, Parallels displayed its solid community leadership by sharing its latest research findings. “Parallels SMB Cloud Insights research is core to our commitment to help service providers make both strategic and tactical decisions about the rapidly growing market for SMB cloud services,” said Steen. “We are pleased with the responses we are receiving from our service provider partners and will continue making a substantial investment in our expertise and knowledge initiatives.”

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Ovum Releases Results of Latest Telco Report

Ovum LogoToday, Ovum, Ltd., a London-based analyst firm, announced the results of their Ovum Decision Matrix: Business Intelligence and Anlytics for Telcos, Jan 2013 report. Ovum’s findings highlighted the top three current BI vendors for telco organizations, as well as common industry roadblocks.

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Ooma Announces Big Biz Phone System for SMBs (at Low Price Point)

Ooma earlier this week announced the launch of Ooma Office, its first product specifically designed to address the needs of small businesses. Ooma Office, shipping Q2 2013, delivers a big business phone service to small businesses with advanced features and service quality typically found in far more expensive options.

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Birch Communications to Expand Hosted PBX/MS Products with Covista Acquisition

Birch Communications kicked off the New Year by announcing that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire select customer and network assets from Covista Communications, Inc.

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