Video: How Softchoice Dogs, Ninjas and Top Guns Deliver a Better Cisco Solution

While you might know that Softchoice recently was recognized as one of the top tech firms in North America, you probably didn’t know that we also fall into the top 2% of Cisco partners with masters certification levels in UC and Security!

To show our committment to all-things Cisco, we put together a short video that does a way better job telling the story than we could in words. If you like dogs, ninjas and IT Top Guns, we think this video is for you.

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20 highlights from the 2013 Softchoice CIO Summit

2013 Softchoice CIO Summit

The consumerization of IT is causing huge headaches for organizations. Employees now dictate the devices, apps and services they want to use, and IT departments are being forced to oblige.

The 2013 Softchoice CIO Summit – part of the Softchoice Innovation Forum brought together technology leaders from Softchoice clients and many of Silicon Valley’s trendsetting organizations. And using three business “Megatrends” Softchoice has identified, the group set out to expand their collective understanding of what BYOD, Collaboration and Cloud really means for the modern enterprise.

Here are the core findings. You can download a longer PDF version of this article here, or at the end of the post. It includes more details into the various Megatrend breakout sessions, along with the outcomes from the sessions.

20 highlights from the 2013 Softchoice CIO Summit:

  1. Social media – and its assoicated behaviors – have set the standard of communications and collaboration within business as well
  2. The consumerization of IT brought about by Apple’s iPhone and iPad has created fundamental changes for how businesses view consumer technology in the workplace, and even onboarding employees
  3. SaaS sprawl is causing massive headaches for businesses all over, and is in fact responsible for changing the role of IT within organizations
  4. Mobile technologies mean our expectations of each other from a work and availability perspective has increased significantly – and IT departments are feeling this burden too
  5. The consensus was that most organizations are on the path to BYOD in some way, shape, or form
  6. It was agreed that much of the change management required for BYO and Mobility actually lies outside of IT
  7. All participants agreed that you must have some type of roadmap or strategy that has buy in from other leaders in the organization, including the CFO
  8. Participants believed strongly in experimenting with pilots across different groups. The thinking is that BYO may not work across the entire organization – and that’s ok
  9. Establishing KPIs early on for any net-new program is critical – even as part of the overall vision – so there is alignment
  10. When it comes to SaaS, users know most of what they want is out there already. They just want IT to make it easier for them, to the point of getting out of their way
  11. Summit participants voiced concerns over the viability and long-term prospects of the many vendors playing in the SaaS space. Specifically, if they go out of business what happens to the data
  12. Even if it was easy to get back, one executive asked “where would we put all that data when our data centers weren’t built for that ?”. The group also recognized there are risks that even they haven’t thought of yet – the invisible ones!
  13. When it comes to cloud, many felt there is a bit of a ‘wait and see” in the short term as the SaaS market is still somewhat immature. That said, doing proper discovery provides the opportunity to do some evaluation through the use of small pilots to prove there are realized cost savings
  14. Collaboration means different things to different people and organizations. The group agreed that at its core, collaboration enables the ability to access data anywhere, anytime, on any device
  15. Many organizations have invested in many different collaboration tools, which has resulted in confusion around how and when they should be are used and integrated
  16. There was agreement that most organizations lack the overall vision for how collaboration comes together to benefit the organization in a way that is measurable, and ensures ROI can be tracked
  17. Change management is paramount when considering collaboration. Without supporting users with the right consistent training, people will revert back to their old, more manual and less cost effective ways
  18. The group felt it was important to move a little differently and adopt a process where you begin with analysis, then move to research on the technology you are looking at followed by a proof of concept and only then if all goes to plan, move to deploy
  19. The measurement of success is something that most organizations struggle with today with their current collaboration investments. The team felt it was important to establish methods up front to track ROI
  20. The ultimate measure of success is that of productivity – and making it easier for people to get things done

Overall, we had some great advice and ideas exchanged in our Megatrend breakouts. Consistently, we heard the need for all of these trends to align with the needs of anytime, anywhere, anyhow and on any device.

Download a longer PDF version of this article here. It includes more details into the various Megatrend breakout sessions, along with the outcomes from the sessions.

6 big predictions for UC in 2013

Predictions for 2013

With the size of the investment organizations make on unified communications and collaboration (UCC) , the last thing anyone wants is to paint themselves into a corner as it relates to future capabilities. Here’s a high-level look at the big UCC trends you need to know about in 2013 – and beyond.

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10 Critical Things You Need To Know About A UC Deployment

top ten UC considerations

Softchoice Solutions Architect Matthew Bynum reveals his top ten considerations for any organization considering a unified communications (UC) deployment. 

#10. Understand why

All too often, the driver behind IT change is as simple as “our existing gear is old,” or “we can’t get support on it anymore.” Make sure you can articulate the actual reasons why you are looking at a change to your communications technology. This will go a long way in winning people over internally and figuring out the right solution for you.

#9. Match technology to a need – not vice versa

Once you identify the reasons for the change, make sure the technology and vendor you choose align with your business drivers. This seems like a no-brainer, but often vendors are chosen because of political pressures or misconstrued financial benefits, and not because the actual needs of the business demand X, Y, or Z functionality. An agnostic assessment that clearly maps out where you are today, where you’re looking to go can provide the objectivity you need to make the right decision, the right architecture and the right implementation plan. [Read more…]

City of Moncton Rocks Technology For Success

The City of Moncton is located in New Brunswick, in Canada’s beautiful Maritime Provinces. Formerly a transportation hub for the Canadian National Railroad, the city experienced an economic downturn in the 1980’s when the railroad closed its operations, resulting in unemployment and economic upheval.

The City quickly realized its new reality required a different approach to stimulate economic development and growth. Technology became a centerpin for many strategies to attract new business and recruit fresh talent from across the world into the city’s workforce.

The strategies were very successful through the 1990’s as the city became known as one of the largest call center locations in North America, with many major businesses relocating to take advantage of lower costs and a bilingual workforce.

With a history of encouraging technology and innovation, Moncton added another spur to growth in 2006 with the introduction of Canada’s first free outdoor wireless mesh network. Spanning the downtown core, the wireless mesh network enables businesses and residents to take advantage of internet access whenever and wherever they want it.

Building on the success of the wireless network, Moncton also incorporated WIFI into its bus transportation system, helping reduce traffic congestion as more people started to opt for the convenience of easy connectivity using transit.

Technology That Rocks

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8 Critical Tips For A Successful Unified Collaboration Implementation

What business goals are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to improve service, cut costs, or drive revenue?

Migrating or implementing a new voice infrastructure isn’t easy. To be successful, you need to understand all the variables from hardware to software to how people will interact with the new system.

We’ve installed hundreds of telephony infrastructures for a wide range of customers right across North America and found that Unified Collaboration (UC) can provide great value. But, despite the value, there are some hurdles to jump over to ensure the best outcome of an implementation. Below, we’ve compiled a few of the common issues we’ve come across while helping customers that when not addressed, set back the implementation or result in increased costs later on. [Read more…]