DSCI Connection – 4th Quarter 2015
In This Issue:
- Get Rid of Cousin Eddie – Improve VoIP Performance with Network Monitoring
- Winter is Coming… Be Ready with UCx
- How to Sign Up to Receive DSCI Invoices Via Email
- DSCI Welcomes Maine State Senator at South Portland Office
- It’s Holiday Greeting Time!
- Did You Know?
As part of the on-boarding process for new customers of our UCx Hosted Unified Communications Service, DSCI provides and reviews our UCx Deployment Guide. This guide provides recommended configuration settings for the local area network (LAN) to help avoid common issues which can affect VoIP performance. When the recommendations are followed, our customers usually have a successful deployment.
However, even when this guide is scrupulously followed, VoIP performance problems can show up like Cousin Eddie in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation – unannounced and uninvited. And while these issues affect real-time communications (such as voice and video) most noticeably, they can slow down other things such as Internet access and email, which drags down productivity.
One of the best tools we’ve found for identifying and diagnosing these “Cousin Eddie” issues is ongoing network monitoring. Without ongoing network monitoring, such as DSCI’s ITx for Networks service, customers can spend weeks suffering through decreased performance while combing through network settings and working with LAN, WAN, and phone vendors on troubleshooting. Network monitoring avoids these delays by constantly gathering data, alerting you to performance issues, and quickly identifying the root cause.
We’ve recently had examples of how network monitoring can quickly solve VoIP issues. One company had issues with voice quality and Internet browsing for more than a week. No issues were found on our network, and so we worked with the customer’s Internet provider to see if there were issues with the circuit (which there were not). With no clear cause, we deployed our ITx for Networks Optimum Service to help pinpoint the issue, and quickly found that the customer was maxing out their Internet circuit due to a cloud backup job they had running during the middle of the day. As soon as that daytime backup job was stopped, the voice quality and Internet performance immediately improved.
Our ITx for Networks Service can monitor up to 5 WAN/ISP paths and 100 LAN devices. The service provides reporting on jitter, packet loss, delay, MOS scores (for VoIP quality), and more, and can provide automated alerts when metrics fall below thresholds. And by having DSCI manage network monitoring for you, you free up your IT staff and help unleash productivity throughout your company.
A DSCI Customer Case Study
A six-week-plus snow siege in January-February 2015 had parts of New England blowing past all-time records. Boston alone saw over 110 inches, breaking the previous snow fall record. Between impassable roads, limited to no public transportation, and weeks of school closings, local businesses were hit hard, with an estimated $1 billion in lost wages and profits attributed to the winter weather.
However, according to Keith McDuffee, Director of IT at Waltham, MA-based Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex, the weather wasn’t a factor for the company’s sales and customer service teams. By using the DSCI UCx Hosted Unified Communications Service, Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex employees were able to place and receive calls on their computers using their business line identity while working from home.
“UCx enabled our employees to conduct business as usual, despite the continuous onslaught of winter storms,” explains McDuffee. “If we anticipated an office closing we would ask people to take their laptops home. Because the desktop agent is able to mimic the employee’s business line, the change was completely seamless to our clients. Customers receiving a call would see a corporate caller ID, and customers calling into the organization would be automatically routed to the appropriate employee’s desktop. This flexibility empowered us to maintain employee productivity and a positive, professional customer experience.”
Thousands of B2B marketing and sales organizations rely on Dun & Bradstreet NetProspex to optimize their revenue impact by increasing the quality and effectiveness of their marketing data management practices. For over a year, the company has relied on the DSCI UCx Hosted Unified Communications Service. With desktop and mobile applications, UCx customers have access to their business communications from anywhere, on any device, at any time they choose.
NetProspex primarily relies on the UCx desktop agent to support its mobile workforce. Particularly for sales professionals working with management-level clients at enterprise organizations, the ability to maintain consistent and quality communication is paramount. Individuals at this level have high expectations for vendor interaction and response and little tolerance for technical glitches and call drop offs.
“Whether due to travel schedules, vacations or weather-related issues, UCx enables our sales professionals to keep in touch with their customers and close deals as quickly as possible,” says McDuffee. “With UCx we can maintain the level of professionalism we need to nurture these valuable relationships and engender trust.”
In addition to call monitoring, NetProspex’s sales management relies on UCx for call logging to understand how many calls are coming into and out of the organization. “The ability to view these logs in UCx on a daily basis gives our sales managers more visibility into who their teams are interacting with and how they are spending their time.”
NetProspex moved to UCx after it grew increasingly dissatisfied with the level of support it received from its software vendor. “With our previous system, the admin portal and customer service were sub par. Our sales organization relies heavily on using their phones. They don’t have the luxury of waiting 24 hours for a turnaround; they need assistance immediately, which we were not getting from our previous software provider.”
NetProspex was already using DSCI for Internet connectivity in their data center and their Disaster Recovery environment. “DSCI was known to us as a trusted vendor, and we have had great reliability with their Internet connectivity solution. When we discovered they had a hosted communication service it seemed like a great fit,” explains McDuffee. “Today, DSCI provides us with excellent support and is very responsive to our needs. They understand our business and how critical communication is to our continued success.”
McDuffee sees potential for broader application of additional UCx features in the future. “I have used the UCx client on my mobile phone, which allows me to use my mobile phone as a work phone, access my corporate voice mail, etc. I think that flexibility would be incredibly valuable to our employees. And to further reduce costs and improve productivity, I would like to see more employees replace their desktop phones altogether and move to the UCx desktop agent.”
For many years, DSCI has offered its customers the ability to access digital versions of their invoices and other billing-related features via the customer portal, Dash. DSCI is happy to announce that customers can now sign up to automatically receive digital versions of their invoice each month via email. Dash users will continue to have access to all of the great features that they have had in the past and this is just one of the new features in this ever-evolving portal.
Here’s how to set up your user account to receive invoices via email:
- Log into Dash
- Click your displayed name at the top of the page to reach your contact details page (alternatively, you can click the “Contacts” link on the left side of the page and then select your name)
- Click on the “Notifications” tab
- Click the “Edit” link to the right of the “Invoices via email” text and select the “Yes” option
- A table will dynamically appear and display all of the accounts for which you have access; select the checkbox next to each account that you wish to receive the invoice via email
- Click the “Save” button
If you do not have access to the billing details for your customer records with DSCI, you will need to contact your administrator (ie. someone with Dash ‘super user’ access) before you can sign up for this new service. Additionally, Dash administrators can enable this feature for other contacts at their company.
DSCI recently welcomed a visit from Senator Rebecca Millett, representative for South Portland in the Maine Senate. Sen. Millett toured DSCI’s South Portland office and met with employees to get a first-hand introduction to the company, following up from its recognition as one of the Best Places to Work in Maine.
The Best Places to Work in Maine award recognizes DSCI as one of Maine’s leading medium-sized employers (50 to 249 employees). The program assesses local companies on a combination of factors such as corporate culture, personal development, and engagement with leadership.
In a congratulatory letter to DSCI, Sen. Millett remarked: “It is always encouraging to learn about successful businesses in and around our community. As you know, the strength of our state’s economy relies on the dedication of people like you – Maine’s business leaders and workers.… Thank you for your commitment to doing business in South Portland and the State of Maine.”
“It was nice to meet Senator Millett. She was impressed with our office and staff,” said Mariane Donmoyer, DSCI’s Senior Vice President of Customer Care. “We look forward to working together with Senator Millett. She will let us know about programs that could help DSCI recruit and train new talent, such as STEM education or local college internships. We will also provide her with feedback and suggestions that could be helpful for other Maine businesses.”
Before the holiday craziness starts, now is a good time to check to be sure your company’s Auto Attendant holiday greetings are in place and ready to go.
Just like making a reservation for a holiday party, you can set up a holiday greeting and save it in the Announcement Repository ahead of time so you’re not scrambling to change it at the last minute. The original greeting will be automatically saved in the Announcement Repository for later use.
The Announcement Repository is just the beginning. There’s so much more you can do to share your holiday cheer, and the DSCI Support Center has all of the guides you will need to make it happen!
- How to change your voice mail message while out of the office.
- What does your company holiday schedule look like?
- How to forward the phones during the holiday party!
- What should you get your in-laws for the holiday… that one’s on you!
The DSCI Support Center is a great resource for the company administrator. You can bookmark the links above so the information is at your fingertips.
There is enough stress during the holidays. Don’t let updating your greetings be one of them. DSCI’s Customer Care Team is always available to assist. Happy Holidays!
Here’s some interesting tidbits of information you can use in your next water-cooler conversation.
How many “Things” are there in the Internet of Things, anyway?
It sounds like a theoretical question, but it turns out there is a concrete answer. Gartner recently reported that there will be 6.4 billion “things” connected and in use in 2016, an increase of 30% from this year. A majority of these “things” are consumer devices, but Gartner has examples of “things” that are used in the enterprise as well – such as smart light bulbs and tracking devices used in shipping.
Hosted UC drives “a dramatic, historic change” in the way we work
Information Age recently reported that about 70% of businesses will have their UC platform in the cloud (or in a hybrid cloud) within the next two years. What’s propelling this change? According to Wainhouse Research: “’The way users get their work done is undergoing a dramatic, historic change. We find this new work environment embraced by work-life harmony-seeking millennials and driven by highly collaborative interaction. Technology has transcended the ability to simply enable virtual collaboration, making it effective and desirable – with few barriers, anyone and everyone can instantly become engaged and help with the task at hand.”
Deck the halls, but keep an eye on your wi-fi signal!
There are plenty of consumer appliances that can wreak havoc on your wi-fi signal (microwave ovens come to mind), but have you considered the impact of that string of Christmas lights? An industry regulator in the U.K. included this classic holiday decoration on its “Wi-Fi Checker” app as a potential source of wi-fi signal interference, mostly due to unshielded wiring. If you want to make sure that your annual light display isn’t killing your bandwidth, try running a speed test while the lights are on, then unplug the lights and run the test again.