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Funny how the more technology advances, the more complicated most of it is to use.
California’s Central Valley, in addition to being the heartland of US agriculture, is also incredibly rich in the diversity of enterprises within the region and the people who comprise them. I see this diversity first hand every week as I am coming into contact with various organizations that have an interest in learning more about Telcion Communications and the solutions we can offer them.
I can find myself in the offices of a law firm in the morning, where partners and associates are in their suits and ties, and in the afternoon I’ll be walking the factory floor of a major manufacturing operation with staff in hard hats and goggles. On other days I’ll be meeting with stakeholders and IT staff at food processing operations, medical facilities, car dealerships, school district offices, municipalities and non-profit organizations throughout our Valley communities.
Whatever the nature of the enterprise, each has a common interest when it comes to the mission critical information technologies their staff and customers rely on. The solutions need to be reliable, flexible in terms of feature options and configurations (some organizations have very complex requirements and others, more basic), scalable, economical, and even be able to integrate with the technologies and mobile devices that many of us are using in both our professional and personal lives like smartphones and tablets.
At Telcion, we support a diverse range of many successful and prestigious organizations well-known throughout our Valley communities. We don’t specialize in serving any particular industry or market segment, but we do specialize in delivering the types of IT solutions that an enterprise can rely on and grow with into their future.
To learn more about how Telcion can assist your business, contact us today.
I love it when I get a chance to brag about our team. In the last month, we’ve had two people on our team achieve major certification milestones and I want to talk about it. The most recent is Jeff Senger, who achieved the VMware Certified Professional designation. This is an intense certification that requires the individual to demonstrate their ability to install, manage, and troubleshoot VMware deployments. Jeff has been working on this for many months. It requires taking a week-long intense training course, and then taking a very difficult exam on a broad array of both virtualization and VMware specific topics.
And about one month ago, John Hinckley acquired his Cisco Certified Network Professional, focused on Security – or CCNP Security as it’s called. This certification requires four exams on different security topics such as firewalls, intrusion detection, VPNs, etc. You have to really want to know this information to do well on these tests.
In our office, gaining experience is a key factor, and certifications broaden that experience and force us to be exposed to solutions we might not otherwise have taken time to learn. This improves the whole team, in turn increasing the value we bring to our clients.
Many of our customers have taken advantage of one of the most exciting technologies to hit the IT world in the past 10 years: server virtualization. One may protest that this is an old technology (yes, mainframes have been doing this for over 30 years), but the difference is that this can now be done on much less expensive hardware.
If you are not familiar with this concept, server virtualization allows access to a single underlying piece of hardware (server) so that multiple guest operating systems can share that single piece of hardware – and the guest operating system is not aware that it is sharing anything at all.
There are four main drivers for virtualization. The first driver is that hardware is currently being underutilized. As processors become faster and faster (cf. Moore’s law), hardware use rates typically hover at 10 to 15 percent for new servers. Virtualization allows an organization to raise this to 70 to 80 percent instead. The second driver is that data center real estate is getting sparse. Organizations are running out of space in their data centers. Server virtualization literally reduces space by combining multiple servers onto one platform.
Another driver is that energy costs are going through the roof. More servers = more power = more expense. Every company is using more power as their computing needs expand. The last trend is that system administration costs have risen as more and more servers are added to the environment. Server virtualization can decrease these administration costs by 30 to 50 percent.
One relatively new player to server virtualization is Cisco. Most do not think of Cisco when it comes to this type of technology. Rather, many “pigeon-hole” Cisco into other types of infrastructure (routers, switches, wireless, security, and IP Telephony). You might be surprised to hear that Cisco is now the #3 player in the server virtualization market utilizing VMWare.
So even if you only have as little as four to five servers, it makes sense to look at server virtualization for the trends mentioned above. Telcion would love to help you make this transition to increased productivity and lowered cost of ownership. Please contact me at email@example.com to help you make this evaluation.
‘Recently I came across an article via LinkedIn entitled “Top Performers Never Work ‘For’ A Company“. It’s a good read and reminder on how to take a collaborative approach with your employer to show your value to the organization, versus assuming a slave-master relationship. Successful people know they have a seat at the table, and use that power wisely to collaborate with their managers and peers alike.
The article reminded me of the very first piece of managerial advice I got when I started my first supervisory role years ago. I was a young up-and-comer who was tenacious and assertive. It was also the era of “the one who screams the loudest gets their way” at our company. I had been promoted quickly through the ranks in our department, and apparently my no-nonsense boss at that time was a bit concerned that the power was going to go to my head and now I was about to start overseeing the work of someone who had been my peer.
My manager pulled me into a conference room, closed the door, and silently sat there for a few moments. I thought I was in real trouble. She then looked me straight in the eye, and said, “Just remember, people work with you, not for you.” In my defense, I had no intention of steamrolling my former peer (and if you knew her, you’d know that wouldn’t have been possible anyway), but I appreciated the direction, as I hadn’t quite figured out how this was all going to work yet. Plus I was relieved that I was, in fact, not in trouble (this time).
Keeping that axiom in the back of my mind, things went just fine. Through the years, those words kept coming back to me as I continued in my career, getting praise for my teamwork and people management skills all along the way. I know I have that particular boss to thank for that.
What had I learned? That living by the motto “people work with you, not for you” drives an attitude of teamwork, collaboration, and respect among your organization. It works for peers, employees, and management alike. It keeps everyone on the same page and drives the group forward toward success that much faster. Once that team mentality is established, the sky’s the limit for your organization.
This morning I awoke to some familiar chaos as I heard my son getting up from bed late. I heard a mini-tirade as he was rushing to get ready for school. Yes, this happens all too often in our household – missing the desired time to wake up by my eldest son. And then the excuses began to be heard through the hallways… “My alarm didn’t go off!”… “My alarm must not be working!”… “Someone must have turned off my alarm!”. The accusations then got my younger son riled up as he insisted he didn’t touch the alarm. Harsh words were launched at each other until a parent had to remind them to stop arguing and get ready for school.
Unfortunately, this delay has a causal effect on the rest of the family. When one child isn’t ready for school, you have two choices: You either leave him home and take your other children to school… or you delay the other children to wait for him. I chose the first. This meant I had to come back to pick him up, which then made me late for my morning appointment.
I began to brainstorm ideas for my son as I took him late to school that morning. The solution I suggested was to get two alarm clocks – one near his bed and another one across the room (set for 5 minutes later). This would give him redundancy, so that we wouldn’t face this mini-crisis again.
Then the epiphany hit me why this very simple concept is important for business technology as well. We are very productive workers when our computer/network/phones are functioning. When these go “down” (as they most likely will), we are potentially “dead in the water”. We either find ourselves unable to do our jobs or our productivity falls… potentially even affecting profitability.
We need redundancy for our business to operate well. What this potentially means is redundancy built into your switching/routing architecture, redundant dial-tone (for telecommunications) and/or redundant servers (easy to do if using virtualization). There is a cost to adding this redundancy and each business needs to perform a cost/risk evaluation, i.e. how much does it cost the company in employee productivity when the network, servers or phone system is down? This cost can be much more devastating than arriving late to school.
Don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 209-656-5740 for more information on how you can build out a more redundant architecture.
Yesterday I spent an entire day at a new client of ours in Fresno, Hinds Hospice. They moved into a new building and Telcion installed a new Cisco voice solution including network infrastructure, wireless, and server virtualization. Moving 100 people to a new facility is lot of work as it is, and installing a new network and voice system adds to the complexity of changes that are occurring and impacting users. It was a smooth transition, which can be credited to our experienced technical team.
I like to be onsite with our clients the day after a major cutover happens whenever I can. It’s fun to help people begin using new technology and adapting it to their day to day lives. Normally when I’m onsite, I find a room where I can hook up my laptop and be in communication with our engineering team so as minor changes are required, I can quickly communicate them and get them resolved. It’s important to have someone roaming around talking to people and providing extra training and having dedicated engineering support to resolve problems. It’s very difficult when it’s the same person. That’s where I come in.
This cutover was different for me. For the first time, I decided not to hook up my laptop, but instead to use just my iPad. It’s lighter, quick to get on and off, and makes it much easier to just pick up and move to the next place in the building, wherever that destination maybe. To make the iPad useful, it was important to have one major application running to give me the collaboration features I need to communicate: Jabber.
I launched Jabber on my iPad, and immediately I had instant messaging and presence status of everyone on my team and was able to easily communicate issues that I needed to get resolved for our client. In several instances where instant messaging was not enough, I just pushed the call button and initiated a voice call from my iPad, using Jabber, and had a voice conversation instead. I had plugged in a pair of ear buds to the iPad so my call was discreet. The real beauty of this was that the engineer I was talking to was working from his home office on a VPN phone. I didn’t have to be aware of this. Our Cisco system just put the call together and it worked.
All day long I was using my iPad to communicate. Instant messages. Email. Voice calls. Even some document sharing at one point from my iPad to a remote computer. In the building, and even while I was at lunch down the street. I mostly used the LTE broadband on my iPad, but was using our client’s wireless network for a while too. I could have done some video calling as well with the touch of a button, although I never found the need to in this case.
So what kind of technology did I have to make this work? In our office, we still have Cisco UC 9.x software running for Call Manager and Unity. We are using Jabber in the cloud for instant messaging and presence. I did have to initiate a VPN connection from my iPad to our office so I could talk to our voice servers. When we upgrade to 10.x, the VPN won’t be required any longer.
The point of my message is this: mobile collaboration is here. It works, and it works well. Don’t be afraid to embrace it. Empower your workforce to use it.
As always, contact us today to learn more about how to get your team’s mobile collaboration as effective and efficient as possible.
It’s not often you find a company that not only strives to give its customers the best quality in service, but actually lives its core values. Telcion’s integrity is higher than any company I have ever worked for. I am seeing first-hand the company working together as a team, doing whatever it takes to give its customers 100% without complaint.
Not only is the organization selfless in doing what it takes to get the job done, they respect one another’s capabilities and talents and are willing to help with whatever tasks are at hand, which allows us all to grow personally and professionally. Telcion’s passion for technology has taught me to step out of my own comfort zone. Having only been here a little over 6 months, I am already learning that there is no limit to where technology can take us and I’m proud to be on board here at Telcion.