Are You Engaging Your Workforce?

Keeping employees informed and engaged in the workplace by providing information that aligns with their priorities, enables collaboration between team members and across divisions, fosters creative thinking, and ultimately contributes to your organization’s productivity. Effective communication is important for any organization. How you manage information, present information, and engage your employees and customers can be the differentiator in the success of your company.

SMP collaboration team can help you communicate with your workforce
Digital Signage can help you communicate more effectively with your workforce

Static messaging and mass distribution are great if the goal is checking the box marked “Information Delivered,” but information is retained far more effectively using dynamic visual content in the delivery of your message. By pairing timely messaging with relevant content, employees feel more involved, which results in a more-connected workforce and a more-connected workforce is a more effective workforce, leading to an increase in productivity, higher morale, improved employee satisfaction and less turn-over. All of which contribute to a stable and predictive work environment.

So, how can a company improve their communication and generally improve their culture? With Digital Signage.

digital signage to ensure teams can collaborate
Use targeted digital signage to ensure teams can collaborate and stay connected.

A Digital Signage application engages business professionals with targeted messaging in the right place at the right time, which essentially allows you to stretch your messaging much further than emails or memo boards. The software technology even provides the ability to communicate with associates through their mobile devices and also integrates with existing reporting systems to display information like sales performance metrics, employee schedules and more in a viewer-friendly fashion.

• Unified Messaging
• Process Improvement
• Alerts and Announcements
• Employee Morale
• Health and Wellness

We have a state-of-the-art Solutions Center where we can demonstrate the latest and greatest collaboration technologies in person or remotely. We pride ourselves on enabling our customers so they can keep up with both the speed of business and IT. If you would like to learn more on how a Digital Signage solution can help improve your workplace experience, please reach out to the SMP Collaboration Team. Contact SMP »

They call me the seeker…

the-seeker-smp-managed-services-blog
Our customers put a lot of hard work into maintaining best practice operations in their complex technology environments. Often these same customers have users who desire noticeable improvement in the way IT delivers services for their organization. The pace of change is continually putting strain on IT staff to achieve higher levels of service and increase agility. This becomes very difficult when there is a lack of visibility into how IT is delivering services.

Enter “The Seeker” into the picture. This person embraces the customer requests, listens to concerns, and drives an organization toward developing the willingness to make the decisions that enable change. Often times Seekers gravitate toward a tool or set of tools to assist them in mission. These tools—acquired over the years—now lay on the virtual shelf; having been abandoned through attrition or growth, or no longer providing the insight needed as the problems to be solved become more complex.

Throughout the journey to help solve an organization’s challenges, usually Seekers encounter some bumps along they way. IT silos created over the years can result in “finger pointing” with no one to taking ownership to resolve the real issues causing pain. Complex technology environments result in difficulty ensuring you have the right people looking at the right areas. In an effort to solve this problem, the idea to build a communal work space gets tossed around and a plan is laid out from the request to “Build me a WAR Room”.

IT_War_Room-2
The Situation Room of the White House, Dec. 30, 2011. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Instead, this room often looks like the picture below with “inspirational” corporate art to encourage people to stay for 24-hour sessions to solve, what in their minds, is someone else’s problem. Sitting squarely in the middle is the “King of IT” to rule them all and provide a root-cause analysis.

IT_War_Room
Real World IT Problem Solving

Our customers may have the ability to proactively monitor their data center infrastructure components; however the true value in this ability is ensuring immediate visibility into down/troubled platforms and subsystems, then taking the appropriate actions to prevent or resolve problems. This is the hard part because it requires time not only during business hours, but around the clock. Today’s consumer is wired for instant gratification and 24/7 response, however, humans are not wired for 24/7 availability and this becomes a challenge, especially if you lack visibility across the IT service delivery.

“I’m happy when life’s good and when it’s bad I cry

I got values but I don’t know how or why” – The Who

I have been involved in building our SMARTcentre, SMP’s managed services offerings, over the past three years to help ensure application availability and ensure access for our customer’s workforce. Our certified experts can track your environment’s performance from the end-user to the data center, the cloud and across networks for organizations of every size. We project changes so administrators can re-engineer apps, balance workloads, or add capacity if needed. SMP also tracks real-time activity in order to be proactive, cut through the noise, and simplify your workflows to improve IT service operations. Our expertise is assisting our customers as they drive real impactful change and focus on building next-generation IT service delivery for their organizations. If you seek the IT Truth, SMP can help.

Introducing the Cisco 8845 and 8865: Affordable HD Video for Every Desk

For those who missed it, Cisco recently released two next generation video phones called the 8845 and 8865.  The phones are richer in features than their 8900 and 9900 predecessors, and while nothing has been officially announced, the writing is on the wall that these new endpoints will phase out both the 8900 and 9900 in the very near future. Combine that with last weeks End of Sale announcement for the legacy 7900 series phones, and Cisco’s personal endpoint portfolio will soon consolidate to only the 7800 and 8800 series phones, along with Cisco’s desktop experience endpoints known as the DX series.

The 8845 and 8865 are orderable now and can be added to any Cisco Unified Communications Manager (CUCM) cluster running v8.6.2 and later.  Their value is superior to anything else in Cisco’s endpoint portfolio, with a street price of approximately $300 and $400 respectively.  Both have 720p cameras and 5 inch screens, support Intelligent Proximity and have Bluetooth.  The 8865 adds the ability to use USB headsets and attach up to three expansion modules (sidecars) as well.  Both will support Mobile and Remote access through Cisco Expressway (VPN’less connectivity no matter where you are), providing a secure, seamless experience whether you are in the office or working out of your home.

The 8845 and 8865 communicate natively with Cisco Jabber, 8900/9900 video phones, DX series endpoints, existing TelePresence and Conferencing infrastructure, and support both Business to Business and Consumer to Business video as well.  With the Video Call Back feature being added to WebEx in the very near future, even deeper integration is right around the corner.

If you already have a Cisco Unified Communications platform and are looking to refresh your phones, choosing the Cisco 8845 / 8865 is an economical way to add HD Video Telephony to workspaces where it doesn’t exist today.  If you are looking to replace your telephony platform with something new, this is just one more reason why you should consider selecting Cisco as your vendor of choice.

List pricing and datasheets for both endpoints are below.

CP-8845-K9= / $575 List pricehttp://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collaboration-endpoints/ip-phone-8845/index.html#

CP-8865-K9= / $795 List pricehttp://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collaboration-endpoints/ip-phone-8865/index.html

8845 Charcoal8845 White

NOTE:  The white model won’t be available for a couple of months, but the grey version is orderable now.

If you would like a demonstration of the 8845 or 8865 IP phone (or any Cisco Collaboration endpoint for that matter) please do not hesitate to reach out to the SMP Collaboration Team.

SMP is a Cisco Master Collaboration and Cisco Gold Partner, and we have a state of the art Solutions Center where we can demonstrate the latest and greatest in Cisco technologies in person or remotely.  Please reach out to us to learn more about how we can help you with your IT challenges.  We pride ourselves on enabling our customers so they can keep up with both the speed of business and IT.

Sean Wilson – swilson {at} smp-corp.com

Don’t END user computing, ENABLE it.

End user complaints and general experience issues are many times seen as lowest level IT support function. Most organizations when asked “who is responsible for this?” reply “I am not sure” or “it’s another team’s responsibility”. Usually, if it’s an end user issue that is directed to anyone but the infrastructure team (cuz they are really busy!) App slowness issues, contact App Dev…Unhappy user, contact the service desk…down application, Infrastructure team will be there to save the day but it’s not their fault. All others please visit the IT Complaint Department (shown below).

Please Take a Number

“…our job is to take responsibility for the complete user experience. And if it’s not up to par, it’s our fault, plain and simply.” – Steve Jobs

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SMP Cycles for a Cause

This June, SMP recruited both avid cyclists and beginners to ride and fundraise in support of two events that aim to improve health and longevity in our region. The Tour de Cure aims to stop diabetes and raise critical funds for education, advocacy and research through the American Diabetes Association. SMP riders participated in the Rochester tour in both the 40 and 20 mile rides on June 13th. In support of cancer research and patient care programs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, SMP singed on as a Five Speed sponsor for the 2015 Ride for Roswell. On June 27th, SMP riders rode the 45 and 20 mile routes. At both events riders enjoyed scenic views, cheers from volunteers and the satisfaction of supporting such worthy causes!