Monday, January 30, 2012

BYOD Starts Trending on Google

From your smart phone, read this great post from Avaya's Connected Blog, located here: Thanks to Rob Daleman, the author of this post, and National Marketing Manager for Avaya Canada.

Every once in a while, a trend resonates closely with the needs of IT professionals - driving many discussions in the press and across the internet. One way to identify the importance of these trends is through google trends - an online tool that allows you to view the relative number of searches on a topic versus others.

Out of interest, I had a look at four ongoing topics that are pervasive to the world of business communications: Unified communications, collaboration, VOIP and Cloud applications. As expected, searches on Unified communication and VOIP have already peaked and are slowly falling off. Searches on Collaboration remain fairly consistent over time, and searches on Cloud Applications continue to grow.

Surprising, however, is the rapid rise in the number of searches for the term "bring your own device" - a search term that did not register prior to 2012, and which is currently out trending all the search terms listed above.
Why the recent and rapid increase in interest surrounding BYOD?
Quite simply, the ability to save on purchasing and managing devices, while leveraging the latest technology available.

A recent survey conducted by Vanson Bourne, found that 80% of IT managers / directors surveyed believe that BYOD will lead to significant cost savings.

In Canada, where companies have invested less in communications technology as a percentage of GDP over the past 8 years, there is an opportunity to leap-frog a generation of communications technology to increase collaboration amongst employees as well.

A plethora of online business articles over the past few weeks points to the importance of this emerging trend, from a business week checklist on BYOD preparation to the Pros and Cons of BYOD from IT World, it is clear that BYOD is increasingly on the minds of IT leaders in today's environment.
Avaya is poised to deliver real solutions for BYOD - check it out here.
Posted 30 Jan 2012 at 12:56 PM

Rob Daleman is National Marketing Manager for Avaya Canada. He focuses on providing a unique Canadian perspective on emerging telecom trends. more

Small Business Branding - Super Critical for Growth

- Myrna Gold, Director of Marketing, Synectic Technologies

Branding can be a tough business process for small businesses to embrace and execute - I mean, you have a great product/services and you've determined that a market exists to buy your offerings from you. Something so good should really sell well, no matter what, right? RIGHT?

Right. Once, during a luncheon in Gaithersburg, Maryland in 2001, I sat with some gentlemen from an IT firm that specialized in providing security solutions to small consulting firms serving Federal government agencies. One of the men asked about my job function in my company, and I answered, "I'm in charge of strategic marketing and branding." He said, "That's nice, but if you have a good company with good technology and good leadership, there's no need for marketing and branding - the product will sell itself." I smiled, replied that I disagree with him, and went on to enjoy my lunch while listening to the speaker marketing changed his bottom line. The other diners at my table drew diagrams on napkins, talked about Federal agencies and how to sell to them, and no one could top their security solutions. No one.

The men from my table aren't in business anymore. I had heard through the grapevine that although their technology was phenomenal and their thought leaders were the best and brightest, they couldn't agree on how to sell their offerings.

Now I'm not suggesting that branding would have solved the issues for those gentlemen at that luncheon. But if you consider these brand names - Kleenex. Pepsi. Coca-Cola. Cadillac. Sony. Toyota. The President of the United States. :-) With the exception of POTUS, each of these brand names started from small businesses.

Instead, I'm going to point you toward a great article on branding for small businesses, and why branding can help convey leadership, product, market, and value through several integrated elements.

Thanks to Nick Harrison from Chicago-based marketing/social media company, Dashal, for his concise article on branding for small biz. Must read, okay! Find the whole article on --

You can read the whole thing here if you prefer:

Branding for the small business

By Nick Harrison

Far too many business owners feel that they are too small to worry about branding, don't understand it entirely or they think they don't have the time or resources to invest in it. Even if you are a “CEO” at a home business and your dog is your bookkeeper, you are not too small to make branding a part of your daily business. Branding also doesn't require a lot of time or expense.

The truth is that most of the large brands you see today like Walmart, Taco Bell, McDonald's, Pepsi and KFC once started as small businesses like yours. They focused on their brand, combined it with a sound business strategy, and it helped them achieve the success they have today.

Your brand isn't just your logo and your website: Your brand not only encompasses your logo and website, it also has to do with marketing, advertising, communicating and messaging, as well as how your employees respond to customers, the customer experience, policies, and your products and services. These things and more make up your overall brand.

You may not have the funds to hire a branding expert or have the best website design, but what you can do is focus on consistency — and standing out from the competition.

Here are four tips to get you headed in the right direction:

1. Uniform look and feel:
Your logo, your colors and even your typeface should be uniform across your website and all marketing materials. If you are using Helvetica on your website, then it should be on your menu and your business card. When I am working with a major brand, one of the first things I receive is their style guide letting me know which fonts, colors, etc., I must use. Your small company should be the same way.

2. Product/Service differentiation:
Rarely will you find yourself selling a product or service that someone else isn't offering down the street. Try to find the differences that set your product or service apart from the rest. A good example is Lou Malnati's. There are deep-dish pizza places everywhere in Chicago, but what makes Lou Malnati's stand out is its signature butter crust. At Dashal, instead of focusing on social media or web development like most of our competition, our strategy is focused on the fact that we do it all digitally, and by using one company, all parts work in harmony. You will never stand out if you are offering the same thing that someone else is. Don't offer office cleaning, offer your Five-Point Cleaning System. McDonald's has a Big Mac, not a double cheeseburger with Thousand Island dressing.

3. How your brand communicates:
Whether it is through social media, a press release, your content on your website or how your company interacts with customers, set an expected voice. Whether you have one person or two people tweeting from the same Twitter account, it should sound like the same person who is posting on Facebook and greeting each customer. Be as unchanging as possible in all communications.

4. Consistent products/service:
Whether I go to Brett's Kitchen on Superior, Yolk on Wells, or Lou Malnati's on State, I know that I am going to get the same experience each time. I know the service will be awesome and the food will taste the same no matter who is cooking. Customers should not receive a different product or service every time they experience what you have to offer. If your employees or your products and service differ in quality, you aren't paying attention to them. It isn't about time and money; it is about focusing on your brand's consistency.

In summary, the key to branding is setting your company apart from the competition, making yourself noticeable, and making yourself memorable. You do this by making your products and services special and with consistent quality, having a constant, steady way of communicating via every channel including how customers are greeted and treated, and having a recognizable look (logo/font/color scheme). This should be done whether you are a "CEO" in your home office and your dog is the bookkeeper, or you are McDonald's.
Nick Harrison is creative director for Chicago-based branding, web development and social media firm Dashal, whose client roster ranges from small businesses to best-selling authors to major consumer brands.

Follow Nick on Twitter: @HarrisonNick.

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Follow Ann on Twitter at @AnnDwyer_Crains.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Duluth Convention Center: Avaya IP Office Case Study!

The Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC), a one-million square foot, multipurpose event venue and sports facility in Minnesota, turned to Avaya IP Office to meet its mobility, customer service and cost-management needs.

See a video here and find out how DECC uses IP Office to meet the challenges of running this large and complex center.

Employee Morale and Productivity Go Beyond the Paycheck

In a recent article published by Inc. Magazine, employers are looking for unique ways to improve employee morale in 2012. Increases in paychecks are no longer the happy-maker that they used to be. Alternatives sighted in the article include ‘over communicating’, ‘celebrating wins’, and ‘keeping it real’. All in all, the biggest factor for most employees is the ability to have work-life balance.

Once an anomaly for baby boomers pulling all-nighters at the office to keep up with the Joneses, work-life balance actually has a standing chance with today’s technologies– it’s called TELEWORKING.

For many business owners, just the thought of allowing employees to work from home is daunting – they perceive it to ensure lost control, lack of insight into employee productivity, and simply an administrative nightmare. However, according to Forbes' ”How Flexibility Can Boost Employee Productivity”, teleworking is more about adapting your work environment to accommodate for the ways in which your employees most thrive – the end goal being to increase productivity.


According to an article published online by the Teleworking Coalition “Will We Need Any More Office Space?”, teleworking, once considered an alternative workspace strategy, began as a corporate cost-saving measure. While cost savings is still a predominant motivator, other factors have emerged to make the trend more compelling for employers; employee satisfaction, enhanced productivity and better teaming. As such, the use of teleworking has become not only an alternate to leasing or buying more office space – it’s become a strategy to secure top talent, increase employee productivity and job satisfaction, and in many instances, improve the overall effectiveness of a workforce.

Technologies, like Avaya IP Office, exist to support the next generation workforce. For a demonstration of the solution, visit YouTube:


Or, check out a real-life use case of one Dallas-based company gaining big benefits from IP Office:

Avaya IP Office Release 8 - Mobile Collaboration!

Hot off the Avaya Press:
  • Avaya IP Office 8.0 launches with comprehensive set of intuitive, easy-to-use collaboration capabilities for consumer-oriented mobile devices
  • IP Office drives cost-savings and faster deployment of unified communications for small and mid-size businesses through new 'serverless' capabilities
  • Avaya customer - Duluth Entertainment Convention Center - uses Avaya IP Office to run events with mobile workforce and cut communications costs in half  
BASKING RIDGE, N.J. - Avaya, a global provider of business communications and collaboration systems and services, today unveiled Avaya IP Office 8.0 — the new version of the company's unified communications (UC) solution for small and mid-size enterprises (SME). The new version introduces a range of advancements for improving collaboration, including a comprehensive set of mobile capabilities that drive better team performance and keep mobile workers connected to their colleagues and customers wherever they go.

Full-Featured Business Mobility
The new mobility application for Avaya IP Office 8.0 — called one-X® Mobile Preferred for IP Office — enables users to access a comprehensive set of unified communications capabilities on Android-compatible devices now, and on iPhone devices in early 2012.

Key features of Avaya one-X Mobile Preferred for IP Office include:
  • Full multi-party conference management via mobile device offers the ability to invite, view, mute and drop participants during a conference call. Users can set up voice conferences by selecting the participants and then, with one touch, initiate the group conference.
  • Integrated presence enables users to display availability status to co-workers via mobile device (e.g. available, do not disturb), and show specific times of availability based on a user’s Microsoft® Outlook calendar. Unavailable workers can let colleagues follow them and receive an alert when availability resumes.
  • Instant Messaging lets workers easily find business colleagues via an integrated corporate directory and begin a text chat with multiple co-workers simultaneously.
  • 'Geopresence' displays one's location anywhere in the world, and is ideal for teams in places such as hospitals, hotels or companies where employees need to quickly identify a co-worker's physical location.
  • Visual Voicemail lets users see all of their business voicemails on their mobile device with date/time information. Users can hear voicemail messages as they are being left in real-time and access a call in progress to converse.

Avaya's new one-X Mobile Preferred for IP Office application builds on the previously-available Essential Mobility solution for IP Office, a solution that extends voice capabilities such as one number access and call control. Essential Mobility is currently supported on Symbian, Windows Mobile and iPhone devices (support for Android and Blackberry devices available in first quarter of 2012).

SMEs Gain Cost-Saving, Productivity Benefits Avaya IP Office 8.0 also offers new "serverless" collaboration capabilities delivered through an integrated unified communications module, called the Avaya C110 Unified Communications module.1 This can eliminate the need for an external server in IP Office implementations, helping to simplify deployment for partners, reduce installation times and decrease equipment costs.

Additionally, new desktop IP Office plug-ins embed communications into popular business productivity applications, providing a more convenient way for workers to communicate via their preferred application. This enables users to:
  • Use federated presence to bring Google Talk and IP Office contacts into Avaya one-X® Portal for IP Office—the company's 'all-in-one' communications portal for SMEs.
  • Make and receive phone calls from a® page.
  • View directory contacts for Google Talk and IP Office in one location, with click-to-call and conference capabilities.
  • Use visual voicemail within an employee's Microsoft® Outlook e-mail window.

Jeff Stark, technology director, Duluth Entertainment Convention Center (DECC), a 500 employee (full- and part-time) mid-size organization
"In our business running a large convention center, you have to be two steps ahead of what is happening to meet client needs. One day we are serving a rock concert, the next a hockey game, so we need the best communications to meet all kinds of customer expectations. The mobility advancements in Avaya IP Office 8.0 are the most comprehensive we've seen, and will be essential in helping us run a location as large as the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, where you never know where anyone is.

"We'll now have the ability to see who's available, where they are, and keep them connected into the team. Fast collaboration is essential for the 150-plus people we have dedicated to running a day's event at DECC, and we couldn't do it this effectively without Avaya IP Office.

"In terms of savings, Avaya IP Office makes it much more cost-effective for us to set up anything from a temporary office to a call center for clients at the DECC. We can estimate savings of up to fifty percent just by bringing in Avaya IP Office, not to mention the flexibility and ease-of-setup the system delivers."
(Note: Avaya Business Partner TelcoLogix helped implement IP Office for DECC.)

Justin Jaffe, research manager, SMB and Home Office Markets, IDC "Many general business and IT investment priorities cited by small and medium-sized businesses are associated with improving productivity by leveraging mobile communications and collaboration capabilities. Solutions like Avaya IP Office that are comprehensive, easy to integrate with existing infrastructure, and designed specifically for mobile SMB workers will be particularly attractive."

Other Facts:
--More than 60 percent of medium-sized firms in an online survey indicated that they provide smartphones to employees. Specific company percentages by country surveyed were:
United States 69 %; UK 70 %; Germany 79 %; China 64 %; Brazil 64 %. Source: IDC report2
--Small and mid-size business interest in adding UC technologies is considerable with more than 55% of midsize firms and more than 30% of small firms citing plans to buy UC components in the next 12 months. Source: IDC report3

For an online media kit on Avaya IP Office 8.0, visit and click on Media Kits.

About Avaya: Avaya is a global provider of business collaboration and communications solutions, providing unified communications, contact centers, networking and related services to companies of all sizes around the world. For more information please visit

1Available 1Q 2012
2IDC Report, Consumerization of IT in SMBs Worldwide, August 2011, Raymond Boggs
3IDC Report, Unified Communications in U.S. Small and Medium-Sized Businesses, October 2011, Justin Jaffe