Tag Archives: collaboration

Trust Strike Ascentae Deal

Creative Workspace SolutionsTrust Business Partners has announced a new contract with Ascentae to support growth into the UC VAR space. Trust will provide business consulting services to support the growth strategy of Ascentae, a fledgling UK distributor of AV equipment and services.

David Pitts and Graham Bunting will be working with Jon Knight of Ascentae to promote CREATIVE WORKPLACE SOLUTIONS as a key differentiator for UC VAR’s to sell more to their existing customers and make them stickier.

It’s a debate that many businesses face as they ponder the possibilities of digital transformation. How can the benefits of greater collaboration be embraced without losing all paper-based processes? The business value of improving collaborative opportunities may be obvious, however, there seems to be a degree of apprehension when it comes to transferring to digital. One major barrier to change is workplace culture and the reluctance to introduce new technology for fear of disrupting tried and tested processes. Organisations want to take small steps towards a new working world rather than a giant leap to overhaul existing practices.

Ascentae’s exclusive distribution agreements include the Nureva HDL300 Audio conferencing technology. At the heart of the HDL300 is Microphone Mist technology, which fills the room with 8,192 virtual microphones.

Listening to all microphones simultaneously, it dynamically selects the one closest to the speaker, ensuring the best quality sound for remote listeners.

“Trust and integrity are the foundations of partnerships,’ says Graham Bunting ‘and we are looking forward to working with Ascentae to help grow and expand their business.”

When selling isn’t selling

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a perspective that says we are all selling at some time or other despite the fact that our role title may not have the word “sales” in it.

I have worked with a wide range of different people with differing skills and life perspectives and occasionally there was a tacit understanding that whilst the “sales team” carried a responsibility for the “number”, everyone had a responsibility as a representative of the company to present a positive external image to the World at large and in so doing increased the potential for businesses to want to work with us.

This has not always been the case, and at the other extreme, I have experienced the silos of “you are sales” we are….. etc. Whilst I am not saying that this is right or wrong, what I am intending to highlight is the fact that I believe, we all have a responsibility as a member of the business team to take the job of representing the business as positively as we can as “ambassadors” if you will. In so doing, it is my belief that this will create a wave of good-will that can only be positive. Remember of course that the reach of social media can play a big role in this and everyone in the business knows people – very often people of influence and potential customers for your business’s services or products.

Make sure you are a person of value to yourself and your business and ultimately you are contributing to the success of the organisation – PLEASE don’t just leave it to the sales team

Is Partner becoming an overused term for suppliers?

I was musing language (as I often do) again today and thinking about the initial engagement in any situation, but probably I was thinking mostly about the very first engagement in a sales situation. This could be a conversation, either by phone or face to face, or more often these days, an email or other form of non-real time communication. Whatever the channel, I was considering the impact of language and in particular the meaning that the recipient makes of the words and structure of those critical first few phrases. I am a firm believer that the conversation needs to be about “the client” and not about me and more importantly what the purpose of the contact is! This thought process led me to consider the positioning of the potential relationship and the consideration from the recipient’s perspective as to whether this was at all important at this early stage, or actually at all.

Inevitably when language becomes mainstream, or commonplace, it loses some of its caché and “advantage” (if it ever had any), and can become almost counter-productive as we see it as “hackneyed” or over-used, and this could be the case if positioning yourself as a partner – rather than just another supplier.

I like to seek out relationships whereby my value can be of real benefit to a client and that is all about “valuing the difference”. In this case the difference is the particular skills and knowledge I have acquired over many years in the telecoms and Unified Communications space, and that which can be of use to the client. I might frame this as me being a “partner” rather than a supplier, i.e. my value is not about a race to provide the lowest cost items, but about taking the stress out of understanding the options and possibilities as well as the unique aims and business values the client holds dear. Marrying these pieces together and considering the real business value of the solutions available merits additional value, which is often unappreciated. My view – for what it’s worth is that if you are investing in a technology that is dynamically changing and evolving, and competitive with multiple strong vendors in the race, then looking way beyond the investment is critical and a trusted advisor relationship is definitely desirable – But what do I know

Unified Comms Nirvana

UC is a philosophy and a culture underpinned by technology. It’s about communications and collaboration which are people centred rather than technology lead. UC is a journey towards a better personal and customer centred environment, that is not about just a technology refresh or buying new. As there is no universally accepted definition, this presents a challenge of common understanding in discussion, which can be overcome by simply investing a small amount of time to work back from a future vision to a current position. In doing this, the language can be neutralised as a potential barrier to common understanding. One of the key challenges beyond the definition is that of “baggage”. What I mean by this is that we are all a product of our experiences and whilst in many or most cases this can be a real asset, in the world I am discussing here, I see it as a potential pinch point. My rationale here is that telephony in particular has worked in a certain way for many years and in particular PBX functionality has been somewhat staid, and most people still use telephony in the same way they always have:

Scene 1
* Phone rings
* Answer phone (if you’re lucky)
* Conversation and perhaps transfer or enquiry
* Terminate call

Scene 2
* Pick up handset dial number speak and disconnect

Now when you start to shift your thinking – the whole communications experience can become enriched and the process cycles reduced. In the above examples, there are often additional actions that will take place after the call, such as an email will be sent to support the call, or to confirm the conversation or a document is shared via email. With a UC solution such as Microsoft Lync, the experience could look more like this:

Scene 3
* Lync client alerts to inbound call
* Click to answer and talk on your headset – hands free
* Caller shares a document with you and a focused conversation takes place
* You decide to bring in a third party who works for a different organisation, but because you federate your presence status you can see (using the rich presence capability) that they are free so you can simply “drag tham” into the conference.
* The call continues and you need to leave the office you transfer via a mouse click to your mobile device and continue the call * Whilst in the call, you send an IM message from your mobile to your colleague to ask a question not for general consumption, and get a response in seconds
*Call terminates and the project is advanced.

Scene 4:
* You want to convene an ad-hoc conference call so you click on meet me and add the participants from your lync client.
* Meeting commences as colleagues join you record the call and share the recording for others as reference point to agreements and actions and whilst on the call schedule the follow up.
* Call ends and project is progressed

This is a paradigm shift in the way we think about communications and collaboration and has to be experienced to be really appreciated but for sure it is a move in the right direction. Why not check it out – you will be glad you did…

Reduce your email traffic? Yes please.

It’s all got a bit out of hand now hasn’t it? Email started off so well too. Immediate communications from your desktop rather than the lengthy process of “word-processing” a document, printing it, fetching it, walking to the fax machine….. You remember that – right? Then the traffic began to build, and build, and build. Where do all off the emails come from. Conversation being held via email, copying “all” followed swiftly by a “copy all” WILL YOU STOP COPYING EVERYONE ON YOUR RESPONSES.
So is it any wonder that the introduction of a tool that’s”fit for purpose” is gaining high rates of adoption. Microsoft lync’s instant messaging does exactly what it says on the tin, removing the need for protracted email conversations AND because presence status shows availability and out of office message before contact is attempted, unnecessary traffic is avoided. In addition to which this capability can, through federation, function beyond corporate boundaries with clients, suppliers and partners within your chosen ecosystem.
The user experience is best in class, and you don’t even have to be at your desk to access it. Lync sets you free to work from wherever you can access a data connection….. Which also reduces your call charges.

Why wouldn’t you want to consider lync?

5 reasons you might want to consider Microsoft Lync UC

So if you made it here beyond the title, it’s very likely that you at least have an acquaintance with Lync and that in itself is reason number 1. If you have an awareness of the experience that Lync affords you, then the other reasons could well push you over the edge to a full deployment or at least a Proof of Concept.
2. Your Microsoft licencing could already include the Client Access Licences (CALs) that are required, and so your cost of deployment could well be lower cost than you had imagined.
3. You have complete flexibility to deploy a solution that uses servers on your own premises, or simply go straight to the cloud and take advantage of a hosted service and just pay as you go.
4. Lync is a Microsoft integrated offering that embeds communications into the fabric of all your applications and especially Outlook where most workers spend most of their working day.
5. By deploying Lync and federating your presence outside your enterprise AND taking advantage of future federation with Skype, you could substantially reduce your call charges…
Above all of this, the Lync EXPERIENCE is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Worth a look? If I can help, I’d be delighted to.