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ISSUE 30A - ARTICLE 1


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
ACCELERATE YOUR BUSINESS: SOS now offers WebEx
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Can your company weather the storm?
 
DRUM ROLL: SOS announces new website!
 
AWARDS: SOS earns high praise, locally & nationally
   
   
   
 
ACCELERATE YOUR BUSINESS: SOS now offers WebEx
SOS is helping customers meet online using the web meeting software, WebEx. With no significant up-front costs, no servers to maintain, and no software to install or support, this collaborative tool is helping millions of people meet online with the click of a button.

Save money
SOS can reduce your conferencing expenses, and help boost your collaboration efforts to become even more efficient. By assessing your current conferencing costs, we uncover expenses you can eliminate through the use of a collaborative conferencing tool. Request a no-charge Conferencing Assessment.

You've got to start meeting like this:
     » Conduct interactive Web meetings
     » Make online sales presentations 
     » Deliver online training
     » Provide real-time remote support
     » Broadcast Webinars and online events
     » Get set for instant collaboration

With a web browser and a telephone, you can start using WebEx today. Take a tour now or sign up for a free trial.

"Collaboration will transform the way people do business."
-Gia McNutt, technology expert since 1992
"Unified Communications is so much more than voice over IP, call processing, and toll bypass. It’s a powerful platform empowering "collaboration"; enabling internal and external face-to-face meetings – over the network. Collaboration not only reduces hard costs associated with travel (lodging, mileage, and time wasted in transit), it accelerates sales. It brings the face-to-face rapport-building aspects of an in-person meeting together with the convenience of conference calls. You can visually share and edit files, instant message during meetings and poll your participants right from your desk. You can even streamline technical support using WebEx -- take control of your user's desktop while supporting them over WebEx. This has been proven to cut minutes off each technical support interaction, saving time and money.

The use of collaboration will transform the way people do business today. It will create competitive advantages for businesses that adopt this innovative technology -- from more tightly linked supply chain management, to a better customer experience. We’ve had an incredible paradigm shift in the past decade with the advent of the Internet. Now various new ways of interacting built on the Web have come into existence: social networking, like LinkedIn and Facebook to name a few. These social/consumer-oriented tools are blending into the business world, blurring the lines of business and personal. Many of us believe that the next wave of innovation will completely eclipse the Internet itself. The way we all work, and live, is becoming more integrated and leveraging new ways of interacting. Welcome to Web 2.0!"
      - Gia McNutt, CEO of SOS. Email Gia.



[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2009 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
ACCELERATE YOUR BUSINESS: SOS now offers WebEx
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Can your company weather the storm?
 
DRUM ROLL: SOS announces new website!
 
AWARDS: SOS earns high praise, locally & nationally
   
   
   
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Can your company weather the storm?
Is your business prepared, should a natural disaster strike our area? Statistics from a recent study, conducted by Zenith Infotech a nationwide network operations & monitoring provider, are overwhelming:

- 78% of all organizations affected by a prolonged (2-day) interruption, are out of business within 2 years
- 90% of businesses unable to resume operations within 5 days are out of business within 1 year
- 70% of businesses will experience a power outage in the next year

Still, most companies don't take the necessary steps to develop a turn-key business continuity solution that protects their business, their employees and their data. It's not a question of 'if' a disaster will strike... it's a question of 'when'. (For startling statistics on the Sacramento area's lack of flood protection, read our Disaster Recovery Preparation article, posted Dec 2008). When disaster does strike, companies quite literally open the Yellow Pages and pick at random to select a vendor for support. Such an approach generally yields the same results as an ill-fated blind date.

Bringing Recovery Planning into Focus
The ability to manage emerging risks, anticipate the interactions between different types of risk and bounce back from disruption will be a competitive differentiator for companies in the 21st century. Business continuity and mobile recovery go hand-in-hand to complement a well-founded IT recovery capability. However in most cases, they are treated separately because there are only a few entities that can support this capability.

- Does recovery or backup of the IT environment ensure business resumption? Over what timeframe?
- Have you considered where your employees will work when developing a DR plan? 

Contact SOS for help bringing this all together, using mobile recovery -- ensure your business can weather the storm. Email us or call: 916-577-1711. Our representatives are standing by, ready to assist.



[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2009 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
ACCELERATE YOUR BUSINESS: SOS now offers WebEx
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Can your company weather the storm?
 
DRUM ROLL: SOS announces new website!
 
AWARDS: SOS earns high praise, locally & nationally
   
   
   
 
DRUM ROLL: SOS announces new website!

Visit us online at www.team-sos.com.




While you're browsing, be sure to visit these specific pages:
     - Managed Services
     - SOS partners with Cisco
     - SOS partners with Interactive Intelligence
     - SOS partners with Microsoft

We value your feedback. If you have questions, comments or suggestions about our site, please email us or call Michelle Wolting at 916.577.1711.



[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2009 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
ACCELERATE YOUR BUSINESS: SOS now offers WebEx
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Can your company weather the storm?
 
DRUM ROLL: SOS announces new website!
 
AWARDS: SOS earns high praise, locally & nationally
   
   
   
 
AWARDS: SOS earns high praise, locally & nationally

SOS Named to
California's 'Top Women-Owned Businesses' List for 2009


In recognition of the economic power of privately held businesses, DiversityBusiness.com, the nations’ leading business-to-business internet site, recently named SOS as one of the top businesses in the United States. SOS is ranked 74 out of the 100 Top Women-Owned Businesses in California.

This is the 9th annual listing of the California



[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2009 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ACCELERATE BUSINESS: e-meetings save time & money
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Can your company weather the storm?
 
DRUM ROLL: SOS announces new website!
 
PRODUCT OF THE YEAR: Interactive Intelligence
 
AWARDS: SOS earns high praise, locally & nationally
   
   
   
 
 

Thank you for being part of the Convergence community. You're the reason we continue to publish our newsletter. Our objective is to be a source of useful input about technology, that can be applied to your day-to-day activities. If we're off base with achieving this, please don't hesitate to tell us! Your feedback helps us improve.

In this issue you'll find ways to save money using web conferencing, details about our new company website, tips on how to prepare your company for a natural disaster and more. If you have any questions or comments, please call me at 916.577.1711 - I'd love to hear from you! -- Gia McNutt, CEO of SOS.

 
ACCELERATE BUSINESS: e-meetings save time & money
What if, with a few clicks of your mouse, you could schedule, launch and host a virtual meeting with your associates from across the country? No costly traveling, no wasted time -- just seemless conferencing, anytime, anywhere.
[Full Story]
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Can your company weather the storm?
78% of all organizations affected by a prolonged (2-day) network interruption are out of business within 2 years! Don't get caught in the storm. Read how you can protect your company, starting today.
[Full Story]
 
DRUM ROLL: SOS announces new website!
We're excited to announce recent website updates including a revised homepage, improved navigation options and more about technology solutions including managed services. Check it out!
[Full Story]
 
PRODUCT OF THE YEAR: Interactive Intelligence
Interactive Intelligence Receives Product of the Year Awards for its Contact Center and Enterprise IP Telephony Software. Read more.
[Full Story]
 
AWARDS: SOS earns high praise, locally & nationally
SOS is proud to announce a new award! Check out what it is and how SOS ranks on the national stage.
[Full Story]


 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2009 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
ACCELERATE BUSINESS: e-meetings save time & money
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Can your company weather the storm?
 
DRUM ROLL: SOS announces new website!
 
PRODUCT OF THE YEAR: Interactive Intelligence
 
AWARDS: SOS earns high praise, locally & nationally
   
   
   
 
ACCELERATE BUSINESS: e-meetings save time & money
We all know how important meetings are to business: meetings help us collaborate on important topics, align on objectives and engage with our coworkers, customers and partners. But meeting face-to-face is costly, both in time and money. Travel costs are higher than ever before and we all have more to get done than there are hours in the day -- We could all use a little extra help.

Save money
Adding a conferencing solution to your technology environment can save your organization time and money. With on-demand or on-premises options, SOS consults with you to determine the best collaboration tool for your company. You can achieve ROI within months and accomplish more in less time.

SOS can reduce your conferencing expenses, and help boost your collaboration efforts to become even more efficient. By assessing your current conferencing costs, we uncover expenses you can eliminate through the use of a collaborative conferencing tool.
Request a no-charge Conferencing Assessment.
 

WebEx Now Available with SOS
WebEx, an on-demand web-based software option, requires no significant up-front costs, no servers to maintain, and no software to install or support. Live Conference runs off an existing Interactive Intelligence telephony solution with minimal implementation costs. Both collaborative tools are helping millions of people meet online with the click of a button.

    You've got to start meeting like this:
      »  Conduct interactive Web meetings
      »  Make online sales presentations
      »  Deliver online training
      »  Provide real-time remote support
      »  Broadcast Webinars and online events
      »  File sharing, instant messaging and more

With a web browser and a telephone, you can start using WebEx today. Take a tour now or sign up for a free trial.
"Collaboration will transform the way people do business."
-Gia McNutt, technology expert since 1992
"Unified Communications is so much more than voice over IP, call processing, and toll bypass. It’s a powerful platform empowering "collaboration"; enabling internal and external face-to-face meetings – over the network. Collaboration not only reduces hard costs associated with travel (lodging, mileage, and time wasted in transit), it accelerates sales. It brings the face-to-face rapport-building aspects of an in-person meeting together with the convenience of conference calls. You can visually share and edit files, instant message during meetings and poll your participants right from your desk. You can even streamline technical support using WebEx -- take control of your user's desktop while supporting them over WebEx. This has been proven to cut minutes off each technical support interaction, saving time and money.

The use of collaboration will transform the way people do business today. It will create competitive advantages for businesses that adopt this innovative technology -- from more tightly linked supply chain management, to a better customer experience. We’ve had an incredible paradigm shift in the past decade with the advent of the Internet. Now various new ways of interacting built on the Web have come into existence: social networking, like LinkedIn and Facebook to name a few. These social/consumer-oriented tools are blending into the business world, blurring the lines of business and personal. Many of us believe that the next wave of innovation will completely eclipse the Internet itself. The way we all work, and live, is becoming more integrated and leveraging new ways of interacting. Welcome to Web 2.0!"
       - Gia McNutt, CEO of SOS. Email Gia.



[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2009 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
ACCELERATE BUSINESS: e-meetings save time & money
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Can your company weather the storm?
 
DRUM ROLL: SOS announces new website!
 
PRODUCT OF THE YEAR: Interactive Intelligence
 
AWARDS: SOS earns high praise, locally & nationally
   
   
   
 
PRODUCT OF THE YEAR: Interactive Intelligence

Interactive Intelligence Receives Product of the Year Awards for Its Contact Center and Enterprise IP Telephony Software

INDIANAPOLIS, March 3, 2009 -- Interactive Intelligence (Nasdaq: ININ), a global provider of unified IP business communications solutions, has received Technology Marketing Corp.’s (TMC) 2008 Product of the Year Awards for its contact center and enterprise IP telephony software.

TMC honored the Interactive Intelligence Customer Interaction Center® (CIC) and Enterprise Interaction Center® (EIC) software products for their unique integration to Microsoft’s Office Communications Server 2007, which featured a first-of-its-kind synchronized presence capability for true real-time collaboration.

“Interactive Intelligence continues to bring value to the contact center and enterprise IP telephony markets,” said TMC CEO, Nadji Tehrani. “The resulting collaboration benefits, along with other innovative aspects of its latest Office Communications Server 2007 integration, make Interactive Intelligence a most deserving winner of our Product of the Year Awards.”

Interactive Intelligence developed its CIC and EIC software products based on open, single-platform architecture with inherent multichannel processing. This architecture was designed to deliver comprehensive applications minus the cost and complexity introduced by multipoint products.

“We appreciate TMC for acknowledging the innovation that continues to drive our product development efforts,” said senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Joe Staples. “Our latest Office Communications Server 2007 integration is another step in our ongoing commitment to protect customer investments, while giving them the most feature-rich solutions on the market.”

CIC and EIC offer mid-size to large contact centers and enterprises a multitude of built-in capabilities, including SIP-based switching; multichannel routing and queuing; outbound/blended dialing; presence management; multichannel quality monitoring; workforce management; interactive voice response; unified messaging; Web self-service; e-mail response and knowledge management; and communications-based process automation.

For more information about the Interactive Intelligence solutions for contact center automation, enterprise IP telephony, and enterprise messaging, visit www.inin.com/ProductSolutions/Pages/default.aspx.

The TMC Product of the Year Awards recognize companies that demonstrate excellence in technological advancement and application refinements. For more information about the awards, visit www.tmcnet.com.  

About Interactive Intelligence
Interactive Intelligence Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ) is a global provider of unified business communications solutions for contact center automation, enterprise IP telephony, and enterprise messaging. The company was founded in 1994 and has more than 3,000 customers worldwide. Interactive Intelligence is among Software Magazine’s top 500 global software and services suppliers, is ranked among NetworkWorld’s top 200 North American networking vendors, is a BusinessWeek “hot growth 50” company, and is among FORTUNE Small Business magazine’s top 100 fastest growing companies. The company is also positioned in the leaders quadrant of the Gartner 2008 Contact Center Infrastructure, Worldwide Magic Quadrant report. Interactive Intelligence employs approximately 600 people and is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. It has six global corporate offices with additional sales offices throughout North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. Interactive Intelligence can be reached at +1 317.872.3000 or info@inin.com; on the Net: http://www.inin.com.

Questions? Comments?
Contact Michelle Wolting at 916.577.1711 or email.



[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2009 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ECONOMIC STIMULUS: Happy holidays from Uncle Sam
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Is Sacramento the next New Orleans?
 
VIRTUALIZE: SAN solutions that save time & space
 
EASY MONEY: Receive funds for your Microsoft purchases
   
   
   
 
 

Hi Friend!

This time of year is filled with celebration. It's nice to pause for a moment and recognize all that we have to be thankful for. I'm grateful we've kept in touch over time and want to thank you for allowing me this contact with you. Happy holidays to you and your family!

And Happy Holidays from Uncle Sam, too! -- Take advantage of the Economic Stimulus tax law before 2008 is over. We've also included some expert perspectives on virtualization, disaster recovery planning and more. If you have any questions or comments, please call me at 916-577-1711 - I'd love to hear from you! -- Gia McNutt, CEO of SOS.

 
ECONOMIC STIMULUS: Happy holidays from Uncle Sam
Did you know that the US Government would like to fund a large percentage of your new infrastructure, phone system or security solution? Learn how to leverage this Economic Stimulus Act before 2008 is over.
[Full Story]
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Is Sacramento the next New Orleans?
If your business is located in Northern California, the odds are your site is at risk from a natural disaster. Here, SOS offers disaster recovery tips and advice to help you weather the storm.
[Full Story]
 
VIRTUALIZE: SAN solutions that save time & space
Consolidating data center assets is a goal for many IT teams. With data storage, moving to fewer boxes offers vast benefits that reach far beyond the server room. Hear storage experts from EqualLogic/Dell & SOS discuss the pros & cons.
[Full Story]
 
EASY MONEY: Receive funds for your Microsoft purchases
When times are tough, you look for deals everywhere. For every qualifying Microsoft product you purchase, Microsoft sends you a check to purchase any other products and/or services from the partner of your choice.
[Full Story]


 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
ECONOMIC STIMULUS: Happy holidays from Uncle Sam
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Is Sacramento the next New Orleans?
 
VIRTUALIZE: SAN solutions that save time & space
 
EASY MONEY: Receive funds for your Microsoft purchases
   
   
   
 
ECONOMIC STIMULUS: Happy holidays from Uncle Sam
Did you know that the US Government would like to fund a large percentage of your new infrastructure, phone system or security solution? You don’t have long to act. Unless current law is extended, the older limits will go back into effect for 2009.

On February 13, 2008, the Economic Stimulus Act was passed, which expanded the Section 179 deductions available to businesses. Section 179 allows businesses to deduct the full cost of qualifying equipment purchased or leased during the tax year. The 2008 limit on Section 179 equipment deductions is $250,000 (doubled from $125,000 in 2007). The deduction begins to phase out dollar-for-dollar after $800,000 of purchased equipment. In addition to the Section 179 write-off, you can take 50% “bonus” depreciation on first year equipment purchases.

Here is an example to illustrate the deduction benefits:
2008 equipment purchase
$400,000
179 deduction
$250,000
Bonus depreciation
$400k - $250k = $150k
$150k x 50% = $75k
$75,000


Normal 1yr depreciation
Remaining $75k tax basis
$75k x 25% = $15k
$15,000


TOTAL 1yr deduction
$340,000
Tax savings
Assume 35% tax rate
$119,000

TOTAL equipment cost
Compared to purchase price of $400k
$281,000
   
The example above assumes certain existing optimum circumstances. Each taxpayer should consult with his or her own tax advisor as to any restrictions which may apply to their own circumstances.


Leverage this tax law before it's too late!

Call 916-577-1711 or email SOS
to discuss your technology needs. We have resources available to design, quote, order and implement a solution to suite your business and financial needs. Our customers have experienced  ROI within 6-18 months. We always design solutions to resolve business needs, ensuring the technology produces hard cost savings for your business.



[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
ECONOMIC STIMULUS: Happy holidays from Uncle Sam
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Is Sacramento the next New Orleans?
 
VIRTUALIZE: SAN solutions that save time & space
 
EASY MONEY: Receive funds for your Microsoft purchases
   
   
   
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Is Sacramento the next New Orleans?
We are all too familiar with the tragic destruction that Hurricane Katrina caused in New Orleans the summer of 2005. In November 2007, the Sacramento Bee published an article citing “there is no major city in America more at risk of a catastrophic, New Orleans-style disaster than Sacramento, CA.” Below are details on how you can protect your company.

Key risks to Sacramento include: 

     - Aged levee systems that are poorly maintained
     - Inadequate dams
     - Confluence of the Sacramento & Yuba Rivers
     - Vast watersheds

The Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency reported that, compared to other major river cities, Sacramento ranks lowest in flood protection:


The Value of Being Prepared:

What would be the impact to your business if a major flood occured and your entire business was underwater? Could your employees access the tools they need to perform their jobs? Could your customers reach your staff to place orders? Could you recover your data and get your systems up and running quickly? With SOS MANAGE-Smart Disaster Recovery & Data Backup services, you could.

     -  SOS Data Center can be a backup Storage Area Network (SAN)
     -  Provides cost-savings over a secondary, premise-based SAN
     -  Information is retrieved within hours (not days like a traditional tape backup method)
     -  SOS Data Center positioned outside any flood risk zones
     -  Gain business continuity security with SOS backup workspace, in the event your employees are displaced.

 
Key benefits with the SOS Data Center:

 

Multiple Layer Security

Access cards, biometric palm scanning and closed-circut 24x7 video monitoring

Redundancy


Failover switches, servers & routers, 2nd offsite backup facility, backup power generators and business continuity office space available


Carrier Neutral


Access to multiple vendors including Level 3, AT&T, Qwest, Masergy and more

 

SOS can consult with you to ensure your company's most valuable assets are protected! Email us or call 916-577-1711 today.




[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
ECONOMIC STIMULUS: Happy holidays from Uncle Sam
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Is Sacramento the next New Orleans?
 
VIRTUALIZE: SAN solutions that save time & space
 
EASY MONEY: Receive funds for your Microsoft purchases
   
   
   
 
VIRTUALIZE: SAN solutions that save time & space
Virtualization has quickly become mainstream. It’s being adopted across all industries. By consolidating multiple technology applications into a single physical server, organizations are spending less on hardware and management of that hardware. Plus, because the data is so portable, disaster recovery is more affordable and manageable for small & medium-sized businesses.

In this interview, Gia McNutt, CEO of SOS discusses storage area networking and server virtualization with 2 industry experts:

Tom Riggins has worked in the technology industry for 25 years. He spent 17 years of that in field service for high end UNIX and Open systems including attached Fibre Channel SANs. He worked at EMC as Sr. Advisory Technical Consultant for 6½ years before moving to EqualLogic, which was then purchased by Dell, where Tom has been a Sr. Storage Specialist for the past 1½ years.


Jim Bass has been in technology for 13 years, architecting large projects for enterprise environments, data center rollouts and large-scale virtualization solutions. His experience spans the telecommunications, financial and energy sectors. Jim has worked for PageNet, SAIC and Calpine Corporation. For the past 2½ years, Jim has worked as Advanced Networking & Convergence Engineer at SOS.


GIA MCNUTT: How has the introduction of virtualization changed the landscape of storage area network solutions?

TOM RIGGINS:
Each has an effect on the other: The introduction of storage virtualization really accelerated the adoption of SAN technology because centralized SAN storage is required to access certain virtualization features. On the flip side, the advent of iSCSI (Internet SCSI) SAN technology reduced the cost of storage and simplified SAN management, and therefore is increasing adoption of virtualization.

JIM BASS:
I see the development of iSCSI technology as the primary launching point for storage virtualization. Once iSCSI matured, it increased the simplicity of SAN solutions from a management perspective, and as Tom mentioned, this allowed storage virtualization to really soar.


GM: So what are the differences between iSCSI and Fibre? Isn’t Fibre Channel faster?

TR: It’s really just a different transport media. It’s a common myth that the Firbe channel is faster. To a certain extent it’s true as far as bandwidth is concerned, but for most mid-market customers, iSCSI will provide more bandwidth than they can ever use and IOPS is typically far more important. (“IOPS” stands of Input & output operations per second. In other words “reads and writes from the disk”). IOPS is a function of quantity and speed of the disks, and thus equivalent between both Fibre channel and iSCSI storage systems. It should also be noted that not all iSCSI systems are created equal. Some perform exceedingly well while others not so much.

JB: Fibre Channel requires extensive training in order to learn how to manage the technology. iSCSI, is IP-based, a protocol most IT professionals are familiar with. Familiarity translates to less training needs -- most know how to speak the language.


GM: You mention administration and management costs. Not wanting to waste any resources, what should professionals focus on first, when considering a virtual storage solution?

JB: Do your homework. Understand your environment and identify your business objectives with virtualization. For example, some companies want to reduce administration to free up resources for other projects, while others are planning for disaster recovery. Ask yourself what business problem you’re trying to solve with virtualization? Then, outline the hardware requirements for each application involved in the solution. I found this checklist from Gartner helpful for more technical details: http://searchservervirtualization.techtarget.com/tip/0,289483,sid94_gci1216447,00.html#. If this sounds too complex, contact a technology partner you trust for advice.

TR: I couldn’t agree more with Jim. Understanding the infrastructure environment is the most important first step towards virtualization. Build a plan involving practical uses of virtualization. Some applications are not good candidates for virtualization, but most will do just fine, if not better, virtualized. Focus on the total solution; the overall objective you want to achieve, before diving into the minute details.


GM: From your experience, what are some “gotchas” our readers should watch out for when planning to virtualize their storage needs?

JB: 
1. DON’T virtualize everything at once. Instead, plan a phased roll-out approach.
2. DO size your environment appropriately instead of building based only on peak usage metrics. But don’t undersize your metrics in an effort to reduce cost. You’ll pay more in the long run if you have to make large-scale replacements because the business grows beyond the solution.
3. DON’T lock yourself into a hardware platform that doesn’t allow for expansion later on. Consider ‘scalability’ as a key factor in the solution you choose.
4. DO consider the specific applications’ dependency on other devices outside the WAN and support requirements after installation.
  

TR: 
1. Virtualization uses what would otherwise be wasted capacity of a server, so producing ROI is just a matter of time. But the most value comes from adaptability so be sure it’s part of the equation when evaluating your options.
2. I’d also urge people to beware of the bait and switch. Some vendors will sell extra frills, just because. Be sure to ask why features are relevant to your company’s environment. On the flip side, watch out for being undersold with a stripped down solution just to meet your budget. Scalability is where you’ll realize the highest value in server virtualization. By doing your own planning, you can be your company’s best advocate. Combat both these pitfalls by partnering with an experienced vendor you trust.
3. Get the solution provider to demo the product. Put your hands on it; become comfortable with the technology.
 

GM: When should a company should consider server virtualization?

JB: If you have aged servers in-house and are planning replacements, going virtual now can save you in the long run. Virtualization is where storage is moving, so get onboard now or later -- either way, you’re getting on. Also, if you’re looking to save money and cut expenses, virtualization reduces cooling requirements and power consumption as well as freeing up space in the server room for on-premises boxes.

TR: Now is an ideal time to consider virtualization because there are deals to be had! The economic environment presents tremendous opportunity for discounts, and of course there is the Economic Stimulus opportunity through end of year 2008 (see related article).


Lower cost of equipment, management, and Disaster Recovery for the SMB

Virtualizing hardware and consolidating servers not only lowers equipment costs but also reduces costs associated with managing equipment and electrical consumption for server power and cooling. SAN technologies are more affordable and manageable than ever before, making disaster recovery solutions more affordable for the SMB market. Contact our consulting team for more information and a complimentary assessment.



[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
ECONOMIC STIMULUS: Happy holidays from Uncle Sam
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Is Sacramento the next New Orleans?
 
VIRTUALIZE: SAN solutions that save time & space
 
EASY MONEY: Receive funds for your Microsoft purchases
   
   
   
 
EASY MONEY: Receive funds for your Microsoft purchases
By leveraging the Microsoft Big Easy Offer, you can purchase the Microsoft products you need, and earn a subsidy check for funds you can use to purchase additional products (not just Microsoft) as well as pay for professional services from the partner of your choice.

What is a subsidy?
A subsidy is a check made payable to the Microsoft partner of your choice. This subsidy can be used to enrich and implement your overall solution as it allows you to purchase additional products or services from that Microsoft partner.


How does this work?
1.  Make a qualifying purchase between now and Dec. 31, 2008.
2.  Register your purchase by Jan. 30, 2009 at http://www.microsoftincentives.com/bigeasy/. SOS will take care of this step for you.
3.  Receive your partner subsidy check from Microsoft. Spend your subsidy funds with a qualified Microsoft partner within 90 days of receipt.

Factors to increase your subsidy amount:
     - When you purchase from more than one product group.
     - Buying licenses with
Software Assurance
.
     - Purchasing Advanced or Enterprise Editions, instead of Standard.


Contact SOS for your Microsoft needs and we'll include your estimated subsidy amount directly on the quote. Call Michelle at 916-577-1711 or email us.



[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ECONOMIC STIMULUS: Happy holidays from Uncle Sam
 
BEST PRACTICES: Implementing a First Call Resolution Program
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Is Sacramento the next New Orleans?
 
VIRTUALIZE: SAN solutions that save time & space
 
EASY MONEY: Receive funds for your Microsoft purchases
   
   
   
 
 

Hi, Friend!

This time of year is filled with celebration. It's nice to pause for a moment and recognize all that we have to be thankful for. I'm grateful we've kept in touch over time and want to thank you for allowing me this contact with you. Happy holidays to you and your family!

And Happy Holidays from Uncle Sam, too! -- Take advantage of the Economic Stimulus tax law before 2008 is over. We've also included some expert perspectives on virtualization, disaster recovery planning and more. If you have any questions or comments, please call me at 916-577-1711 - I'd love to hear from you! -- Gia McNutt, CEO of SOS.

 
ECONOMIC STIMULUS: Happy holidays from Uncle Sam
Did you know that the US Government would like to fund a large percentage of your new infrastructure, phone system or security solution? Learn how to leverage this Economic Stimulus Act before 2008 is over.
[Full Story]
 
BEST PRACTICES: Implementing a First Call Resolution Program
Contact Center Specialists at SOS found this whitepaper interesting and we're sharing it with you. It's about First contact resolution (FCR), which is attracting a lot of attention among contact center executives today – and here's why...
[Full Story]
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Is Sacramento the next New Orleans?
If your business is located in Northern California, the odds are your site is at risk from a natural disaster. Here, SOS offers disaster recovery tips and advice to help you weather the storm.
[Full Story]
 
VIRTUALIZE: SAN solutions that save time & space
Consolidating data center assets is a goal for many IT teams. With data storage, moving to fewer boxes offers vast benefits that reach far beyond the server room. Hear storage experts from EqualLogic/Dell & SOS discuss the pros & cons.
[Full Story]
 
EASY MONEY: Receive funds for your Microsoft purchases
When times are tough, you look for deals everywhere. For every qualifying Microsoft product you purchase, Microsoft sends you a check to purchase any other products and/or services from the partner of your choice.
[Full Story]


 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
ECONOMIC STIMULUS: Happy holidays from Uncle Sam
 
BEST PRACTICES: Implementing a First Call Resolution Program
 
PLANNING AHEAD: Is Sacramento the next New Orleans?
 
VIRTUALIZE: SAN solutions that save time & space
 
EASY MONEY: Receive funds for your Microsoft purchases
   
   
   
 
BEST PRACTICES: Implementing a First Call Resolution Program
 
With so many measurement options, how do contact center leaders decide what will make the most positive impact? Often, the most important objectives are customer service and agent productivity. Resolving customer issues on the first contact can achieve both. In this whitepaper, the Yankee Group examines the benefits of using First Call Resolution (FCR) as a key measurement in customer service environments along with the issues involved in defining FCR and implementing a plan.
 
 
Also included:
+  Comparison of FCR methodologies
+  Discussion of best practices
+  Ways to reduce repeat calls and rework

Snag the whitepaper now.

Pick our brains too
We have contact center technology specialists available to answer your questions about solutions like web chat, auto-dialing and other time-saving features. Contact us at 916-577-1711 or email us.



[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: SOS Celebrates 16 Years!
 
CARRIER CORNER: 5 bundles that will save you money
 
SINGLE SOURCE: Start here for Dell business solutions
 
AWARDS: SOS is one of Sac's Fastest Growing Companies
   
   
   
 
 

Greetings Rebekah!

In this issue you'll find advice for your carrier services, birthday & award announcements and more. If you have any questions or comments, please call me at 916-577-1711 - I'd love to hear from you! -- Gia McNutt.

 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: SOS Celebrates 16 Years!
Thanks to our wonderful clients and outstanding team, SOS celebrated 16 years on September 1. Read more about SOS' colorful history.
[Full Story]
 
CARRIER CORNER: 5 bundles that will save you money
Is your company in cost-containment mode? Be the hero for your firm and cut carrier expenses without cutting network functionality. Learn more...
[Full Story]
 
SINGLE SOURCE: Start here for Dell business solutions
Did you know that you can buy all the Dell business solutions you need through SOS? Tap us for everything in the Dell business solutions catalog -- including desktops, laptops, servers, storage, backup and virtualization solutions.
[Full Story]
 
AWARDS: SOS is one of Sac's Fastest Growing Companies
SOS is one of Sacramento Business Journal's 100 Fastest Growing Companies. Find out where we ranked.
[Full Story]


 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: SOS Celebrates 16 Years!
 
CARRIER CORNER: 5 bundles that will save you money
 
SINGLE SOURCE: Start here for Dell business solutions
 
AWARDS: SOS is one of Sac's Fastest Growing Companies
   
   
   
 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: SOS Celebrates 16 Years!
Sixteen years ago, on September 1, 1992, Lawrence and I began operating a business hardware and software firm named Special Order Software out of our home in Tujunga, California. This company -- now “Special Order Systems” and doing business as “SOS” – has since blossomed. And for that I sincerely thank you -- each and every wonderful SOS client, partner, and staff member. Below is a timeline showing some the key milestones for SOS. Do you have comments or additions… maybe a memory to share? Please email us – it’s great to hear from you. 

– Gia McNutt, co-founder and CEO, SOS.


- 1992 -
  - SOS founded in September, out of McNutt’s home in Tujunga (LA county) as “Special Order Software”.
  - Radio Shack Panasonic phone system (Even with just 1 employee, SOS offered 4 phone prompts, sales, accounting, customer service, and warehouse. Gia McNutt answered each one…).
  - Primary business was selling software and hardware to our first client, Hewlett-Packard.

- 1993 -
  - Introduced to long-standing client, BloodSource. Read the case study.
  - Hired first employee, Claudia Sharp, now with SOS for 15 ½ years

- 1994 -
  - Incorporated as “Special Order Systems”
  - Gained Trader Joe's account, one of Gia's favorite stores.
  - Moved to first commercial facility in Rocklin, CA!
  - Hired first employee from the Sacramento area, Cindy Hardy, here for the past 13 years

- 1995 -
  - Expanded into networking services, and established a services department
  - Made another long-term hire: Peter Tostado, expert in Cisco, I3 and other areas of service at SOS
  - Installed first PBX and voicemail at our long-time client Pacific Grain Products (PGP) International
  - Won first award, the “River City Small Business of the Year”
  - Friday morning breakfast tradition turned gourmet with Claudia bringing in her Coleman stove. The tradition still lives on. The smell of cooking bacon wafts thru the office every Friday morning.
  - First year on the Business Journal’s 100 Fastest Growing list

- 1996 -
  - Began LAN/WAN services practice
  - Engaged with long-standing client, Pacific Coast Building Products.

- 1997 -
  - Catherine Keck-Scherer joined SOS as a Systems Consultant.

- 1998 -
  - Began working with American River Bankshares who is also SOS' business bank. Read the case study.

- 1999 -
  - Hired Rob Thornton, now Managed Services Business Practice Manager. Read Rob's Bio.
  - Height of the Dot.com boom

- 2000 -
  - Y2k came and went, with very little fanfare.
  - Steve Hofer joined the SOS team as Systems Consultant.

- 2001 -
  - Post dot-com-bust years begin. SOS did not make any sweeping layoffs, and kept all our engineers even during the slow times. Good people are people to keep.
  - First Cisco IP Telephony project.
  - Focused on service offerings, and specifically Advanced Communications.
  - Earned Cisco IP Telephony designation, and did several successful implementations.
  - Became an Interactive Intelligence partner in 2001, and completed SOS' first SIP deployment.
  - Mike Stewart was hired. Read Mike's Bio.
  - Tim Davidson also joined the SOS team. Read Tim's Bio.

- 2002 -
  - First Interactive Intelligence call center and IVR projects
   - Contractors State License Board became a customer. During their project, SOS developed a new standard for integration with databases using HTM and Web Services.

- 2003 -
  - First global IP Telephony deployment

- 2004 -
  - More key employees join in 2004
  - Juanita Ellis, Accounting Manager
  - Neal Morgan joined SOS as an implementation engineer and then moved to sales in 2006 
  - Erik Dahl joined SOS as I3 engineer.
  - Beginning of relationship with Vegas.com and implemented an Interactive Intelligence call center solution, which won ContactCenterWorld’s Gold Americas Best Technology Innovation Award, and Silver Global Award. Read more.

- 2005 -
  - Gained several more key clients, such as Cost-U-Less Insurance (case study), Greater Nevada Credit Union (case study), and Financial Engines.
  - The McClellan Business Park relationship, one of SOS' most significant service accounts, began.
  - We had more key employees join us in 2005.
  - Santosh More joined SOS as a Cisco IP Telephony Engineer
  - John Felts came aboard as Systems consultant
  - Michelle Wolting was hired on. She is now Lead Sales Assistant and Sales/Marketing Coordinator.

- 2006 -
  - Achieved Cisco Advanced Security specialization
  - Gained Microsoft Gold Partner status.
  - Began to work with Microsoft OCS and Unified Messaging. 
  - Reba Bullard also joined SOS and is Trader Joe's Project Manager
  - Jim Bass, Joe Delgado, Wayne Miller & Paul Schwab as engineers and Jim Bertrand in shipping joined the team.
  - Gained more clients, such as AXA Rosenberg, Chapa-De Indian Health Program (case study), Nutrishare, & Cycle Gear.

- 2007 -
  - Richard Oberle, I3 engineer joined the team.
  - Mike Dolloff and Rebecca (Becke) O'Neil joined the SOS Sales team as Sales Assistants
  - Dino Bianchini, Savie Shambaugh and Sean Scott joined SOS in the Service and Help Desk Depts.
  - Chris Dunlap joined the Project Management team. 
  - Engineers Mike Moore and Jim Dass also joined SOS.
  - Launched: MANAGE-Smart, SOS' Managed Services offering. Onboarded two managed services clients. Stay tuned to our website for more details coming soon. Read the Press Release for more details.
  - In winter 2007 we bought a building, built a data center, and moved office locations.
 
- 2008 -
  - Hired Human Resources/Operations Manager, Linda Bradley (Read Linda's Bio)
  - Tom Aldine joined the SOS team as a Systems Consultant
  - Laura Fahey was hired as a new Sales Assistant
  - Sean Raburn and Tim Bergeron were also brought on to the Service department. 
  - Joshua Hensley joined the team as a Systems Engineer
  - SOS is taking on a new selling method to increase our relevancy and value to our clients.

Our gratitude to our clients, without whom we would not be here today and to each and every person who makes up the SOS team; from those who have been here 15 years to those who have been here shorter periods of time, and already making huge contributions to our company. Here’s to our 16th Birthday and many years together, achieving excellence, meeting objectives and creating relationships. Thank you all!



[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: SOS Celebrates 16 Years!
 
CARRIER CORNER: 5 bundles that will save you money
 
SINGLE SOURCE: Start here for Dell business solutions
 
AWARDS: SOS is one of Sac's Fastest Growing Companies
   
   
   
 
CARRIER CORNER: 5 bundles that will save you money
Based on analysis, 92% of businesses are paying too much on carrier services like data and phone connectivity. There is a simple way to determine if you fall into this category.

Network carrier experts at SOS have assisted hundreds of businesses, just like yours, reduce their carrier expenses.

Patrick Wefers, Director of Carrier Services at SOS, has negotiated temporary price promotions with a Tier 1 Carrier, making this the ideal time to review alternatives:

  1.)  Business bundle 4 lines + Internet:  $200.00 per month.  For smaller offices, this allows consolidation of voice and data at a low monthly rate.

  2.)  Voice T-1 with International Long Distance (lowest rates available):  $345 per month.  For clients needing exceptionally low International Long Distance Calling, this is an amazing value. 

  3.)  Internet T-1 with Long Distance & International Long Distance (dedicated 1.5 mbps):  $395 per month.  One of our most popular and unique offerings. The internet connection can be a primary or backup solution, while the voice is prioritized for carrier grade quality. 

  4.)  Internet (dedicated 5.0 mbps):  $750 - $1,195 

  5.)  Internet (dedicated 10.0 mbps):  $1,395 - $1,950 

  Plus, take advantage of our Introductory Offer:  $500 CREDIT towards installation of cost saving communications bundle.


No Obligation Audit
Simply provide us with a copy of your current provider bills and we will run a connectivity audit to determine exactly how much you will save every month. No obligation other than to review our audit.

Request your audit today or call 916.577.1711.



[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: SOS Celebrates 16 Years!
 
CARRIER CORNER: 5 bundles that will save you money
 
SINGLE SOURCE: Start here for Dell business solutions
 
AWARDS: SOS is one of Sac's Fastest Growing Companies
   
   
   
 
SINGLE SOURCE: Start here for Dell business solutions
SOS can serve as your single point of contact for all things Dell. When you procure Dell gear through SOS, you receive great pricing and great customer service. We can also lend a hand with scoping out your next Dell solution -- whether it's for a new user group, to replace a legacy server, or to expand storage. For a quote, simply email us your quote needs or call Michelle Wolting at 916-577-1711.


[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: SOS Celebrates 16 Years!
 
CARRIER CORNER: 5 bundles that will save you money
 
SINGLE SOURCE: Start here for Dell business solutions
 
AWARDS: SOS is one of Sac's Fastest Growing Companies
   
   
   
 
AWARDS: SOS is one of Sac's Fastest Growing Companies

Each year, the Sacramento Business Journal analyzes growth patterns in valuable company data, such as sales figures, staff sizes and more to arrive at their 100-Fastest Growing Companies in Sacramento.

And the results are in...

... SOS ranked 86 out of 100 Fastest Growing Businesses in Sacramento
.


SOS continues to help lead the technology industry in the Sacramento area. Stay up to date on News & Events with SOS.




[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: SOS Celebrates 16 Years!
 
CARRIER CORNER: How to save money on carrier services
 
SINGLE SOURCE: Start here for Dell business solutions
 
IN THE NEWS: Integrating with Microsoft OCS
 
AWARDS: SOS is one of Sac's Fastest Growing Companies
   
   
   
 
 

Greetings Rebekah!

In this issue you'll find advice for your carrier services, a news article about integrating with Microsoft OCS, birthday & award announcements and more. If you have any questions or comments, please call me at 916-577-1711 - I'd love to hear from you! -- Gia McNutt.

 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: SOS Celebrates 16 Years!
Thanks to our wonderful clients and outstanding team, SOS celebrated 16 years on September 1. Read more about SOS' colorful history.
[Full Story]
 
CARRIER CORNER: How to save money on carrier services
Is your company in the cost-containment mode? Be the hero for your firm and cut carrier expenses without cutting network functionality. Learn more...
[Full Story]
 
SINGLE SOURCE: Start here for Dell business solutions
Did you know that you can buy all the Dell business solutions you need through SOS? Tap us for everything in the Dell business solutions catalog -- including desktops, laptops, servers, storage, backup and virtualization solutions.
[Full Story]
 
IN THE NEWS: Integrating with Microsoft OCS
Read how one IP communications software provider is integrating with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 to help organizations communicate more effectively and increase collaboration.
[Full Story]
 
AWARDS: SOS is one of Sac's Fastest Growing Companies
SOS is one of Sacramento Business Journal's 100 Fastest Growing Companies. Find out where we ranked.
[Full Story]


 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: SOS Celebrates 16 Years!
 
CARRIER CORNER: How to save money on carrier services
 
SINGLE SOURCE: Start here for Dell business solutions
 
IN THE NEWS: Integrating with Microsoft OCS
 
AWARDS: SOS is one of Sac's Fastest Growing Companies
   
   
   
 
IN THE NEWS: Integrating with Microsoft OCS
It is all about collaboration in today's technology terrain and Interactive Intelligence, all-in-one IP communications software provider, shows they understand this by unveiling plans to integrate with Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007.

Read the full press release.

SOS is an Elite Interactive Intelligence partner with certified communications engineers on staff to answer your questions about integrating software and hardware solutions. With all our consultations, the goal remains to help you work smarter, serve customers better and increase profits.

Questions about integrating with Microsoft OCS or other communications solutions? Email us for expert advice.

 




[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CHiPS: Are you talking hands-free?
 
OUR TWO CENTS: Exchange Server 2007 boosts productivity
 
MEET THE TEAM: Steve Hofer, Systems Consultant
 
PODCASTS: New audio series on unified communications
 
AWARDS: SOS ranks high with Sac Biz Journal
   
   
   
 
 

Greetings,

In this issue you'll find a surprising statistic related to the CA Hands-Free Law; a story on one of our most valuable players, Steve Hofer; a recommended podcast series; SOS' two cents on Microsoft Exchange 2007 and more. If you have any questions or comments, please call email or me at 916-577-1711 - I'd love to hear from you! -- Gia McNutt

 


 
CHiPS: Are you talking hands-free?
The San Jose Mercury News reported August 27th that since July 1st, about 12,000 to 20,000 California drivers using their cells without a headset or speaker. Which Californians are getting the most tickets, when is a texting ban going into effect, and who IS allowed to chat with their phone to their ear while driving?
[Full Story]
 
OUR TWO CENTS: Exchange Server 2007 boosts productivity
Organizations of all sizes are upgrading to Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 to take advantage of new capabilities that improve productivity and reduce costs.
[Full Story]
 
MEET THE TEAM: Steve Hofer, Systems Consultant
Steve Hofer is a systems consultant for SOS. He examines a client’s needs and business processes, and matches them with the best technology to save money and improve customer service. Hofer joined SOS in sales in 2001. See more about Steve's role at SOS.
[Full Story]
 
PODCASTS: New audio series on unified communications
Hear how Cisco Unified Communications solutions and services can help organizations solve cost, productivity, and process issues.
[Full Story]
 
AWARDS: SOS ranks high with Sac Biz Journal
SOS is one of Sacramento Business Journal's Top 25 Women-Owned Businesses. Find out where we ranked.
[Full Story]


 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
CHiPS: Are you talking hands-free?
 
OUR TWO CENTS: Exchange Server 2007 boosts productivity
 
MEET THE TEAM: Steve Hofer, Systems Consultant
 
PODCASTS: New audio series on unified communications
 
AWARDS: SOS ranks high with Sac Biz Journal
   
   
   
 
CHiPS: Are you talking hands-free?
These days we are supposed to use an earpiece, headset or speaker when on our cell phones and driving. But the Merc recently reported that, "the Highway Patrol has issued 11,702 tickets statewide since July 1. We don't yet know how many citations have been issued by city police departments, but you can bet that figure at least matches the CHP total."
 
 
Hands free facts & figures:
 
Q: Which Californians are getting the most tickets and why?
 
A: We hear that most of those who've gotten tickets live in the Bay Area. We have no idea why.
 
 
Q: When will a texting-while-driving ban go into effect?
 
A: A text messaging-while-driving ban will take effect January 1st if signed by the governor in '08.
 
 
Q: Who IS allowed to chat with their phone to their ear while driving?
 
A: CHP and other police officers are allowed to hold and talk into their phones while driving. (Why? Because they're CHP, darn it!).
 
 
 
Hands-free = ticket-free
 
Do you have a hands-free headset for your cell or PDA? If not, SOS can help.
 
Email us for a quote on Jabra headsets -- or contact Michelle Wolting at 916-577-1711. Just don't do it while driving with a phone to your ear.
 



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Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
CHiPS: Are you talking hands-free?
 
OUR TWO CENTS: Exchange Server 2007 boosts productivity
 
MEET THE TEAM: Steve Hofer, Systems Consultant
 
PODCASTS: New audio series on unified communications
 
AWARDS: SOS ranks high with Sac Biz Journal
   
   
   
 
OUR TWO CENTS: Exchange Server 2007 boosts productivity
Organizations of all sizes are upgrading to Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 to take advantage of new capabilities that improve productivity and reduce costs. Benefits from the upgrade can be grouped into three categories: 

        1.  Protection
        2.  Access to information
        3.  Operational efficiency

In each of these areas, Exchange Server 2007 has led to lower costs for the organization and improved service to end users. These organizations have found that the cost of upgrading is lower than they expected. And new deployment and migration tools make the upgrade process faster and easier than it was with previous versions.

Snag the Whitepaper

This white paper draws on the experience of these early adopters to explain the value that Microsoft customers can expect to achieve when they upgrade to Exchange Server 2007.

Click here to access the whitepaper.



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Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
CHiPS: Are you talking hands-free?
 
OUR TWO CENTS: Exchange Server 2007 boosts productivity
 
MEET THE TEAM: Steve Hofer, Systems Consultant
 
PODCASTS: New audio series on unified communications
 
AWARDS: SOS ranks high with Sac Biz Journal
   
   
   
 
MEET THE TEAM: Steve Hofer, Systems Consultant
Steve Hofer understands the needs of the independent business owner. He’s been one himself. From the mid-1970s to the mid-1990s Hofer was an entrepreneur, owning three record stores in Chicago and one in California. Today he is a systems consultant at SOS. He examines a client’s needs and business processes, and matches them with the best technology to save money and improve customer service.

Hofer’s desire to be a better business owner inspired him to start learning about technology. “I transitioned from literally running businesses on a clipboard to buying my first computer system for a mailing list, then a point-of-sale system,” he recalls. He later added a Macintosh to publish his own newsletters and business accounting. Hofer closed his stores in 1995 and has remained involved in both technology and business. Over the years he has provided computer training, and was one of three national account managers at Valley Media, working with clients such as Borders Books and Trans World Entertainment.

He also provided management and leadership training for a number of years. Hofer said he always had a very strong customer service focus, but it was enhanced by meeting with different CEOs every week to discuss training issues and how they could improve their businesses. “So I really bring a business sense to selling technology solutions. My approach is: Give the customer the best solution for their needs, and my success will happen,” he said. “I get my satisfaction out of having satisfied customers. It’s my downfall at times because I get too focused on it. I can’t sleep well if I’m doing things half way.”

Now in his sixth year as a systems consultant with SOS, Hofer examines a client’s needs and business processes, and matches them with the best technology to save money and improve customer service. Because of his extensive work with contact centers, he most often recommends solutions from Cisco and from Interactive Intelligence Inc., in his opinion, the top two solutions available.

Hofer has a creative and unusual way of unwinding when he’s off the job. He leads a group of Afro-Cuban dancers and drummers called Random Acts of Music. The group can often be seen at the Second Saturday art tour in Sacramento. “We play Brazilian samba rhythms and people just start dancing in the streets,” Hofer said. “Beating on a drum is a good therapy.”



[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
CHiPS: Are you talking hands-free?
 
OUR TWO CENTS: Exchange Server 2007 boosts productivity
 
MEET THE TEAM: Steve Hofer, Systems Consultant
 
PODCASTS: New audio series on unified communications
 
AWARDS: SOS ranks high with Sac Biz Journal
   
   
   
 
PODCASTS: New audio series on unified communications
Listen to Cisco experts discuss industry, business, and technology topics pertinent to the Unified Workspace. Learn how Cisco Unified Communications solutions and services can help organizations solve cost, productivity, and process issues. Topics include:

     -  Sneak Preview: Hear what is planned next for Unified Communications.

     -  Technology: IT professionals talk about network technology topics.

     -  Business Transformation: Discover new and enhanced products and features that help enhance collaboration through a unified workspace.

     -  Contact Center Solutions: Find out how Cisco Unified Contact Center Solutions create unique customer-centric experiences.

     - Analyst Relations: Receive convenient quarterly updates targeted for the industry analyst community.

Listen Now



[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
CHiPS: Are you talking hands-free?
 
OUR TWO CENTS: Exchange Server 2007 boosts productivity
 
MEET THE TEAM: Steve Hofer, Systems Consultant
 
PODCASTS: New audio series on unified communications
 
AWARDS: SOS ranks high with Sac Biz Journal
   
   
   
 
AWARDS: SOS ranks high with Sac Biz Journal
Each year, the Sacramento Business Journal analyzes valuable company data, including sales figures, staff sizes and more to arrive at their Top 25 lists.

And the results are in...

    ... SOS ranked 7 out of 25 Top Women-Owned Businesses in Sacramento.


SOS continues to help lead the technology industry in the Sacramento area. Stay up to date on News & Events with SOS.



[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CHiPS: Are you talking hands-free?
 
INTERACTIVE: Video case study on contact center success
 
MEET THE TEAM: Steve Hofer, Systems Consultant
 
OUR TWO CENTS: Exchange Server 2007 boosts productivity
 
AWARDS: SOS ranks high with Sac Biz Journal
   
   
   
 
 

Greetings,

In this issue you'll find a surprising statistic related to the CA Hands-Free Law; a story on one of our most valuable players, Steve Hofer; a recommended video case study; SOS' two cents on Microsoft Exchange 2007 and more. If you have any questions or comments, please email or call me at 916-577-1711 - I'd love to hear from you! -- Gia McNutt

 


 
CHiPS: Are you talking hands-free?
The San Jose Mercury News reported August 27th that since July 1st, about 12,000 to 20,000 California drivers using their cells without a headset or speaker. Which Californians are getting the most tickets, when is a texting ban going into effect, and who IS allowed to chat with their phone to their ear while driving?
[Full Story]
 
INTERACTIVE: Video case study on contact center success
Hear how Interactive Intelligence multi-media contact center solutions paired with SOS services helped Vegas.com decrease costs while improving productivity & revenue.
[Full Story]
 
MEET THE TEAM: Steve Hofer, Systems Consultant
Steve Hofer is a systems consultant for SOS. He examines a client’s needs and business processes, and matches them with the best technology to save money and improve customer service. Hofer joined SOS in sales in 2001. See more about Steve's role at SOS.
[Full Story]
 
OUR TWO CENTS: Exchange Server 2007 boosts productivity
Organizations of all sizes are upgrading to Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 to take advantage of new capabilities that improve productivity and reduce costs.
[Full Story]
 
AWARDS: SOS ranks high with Sac Biz Journal
SOS is one of Sacramento Business Journal's Top 25 Women-Owned Businesses. Find out where we ranked.
[Full Story]


 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


 
 
 
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
 
CHiPS: Are you talking hands-free?
 
INTERACTIVE: Video case study on contact center success
 
MEET THE TEAM: Steve Hofer, Systems Consultant
 
OUR TWO CENTS: Exchange Server 2007 boosts productivity
 
AWARDS: SOS ranks high with Sac Biz Journal
   
   
   
 
INTERACTIVE: Video case study on contact center success

Watch Vegas.com Call Center Director, Rob Cate and SOS CEO, Gia McNutt discuss how the Interactive Intelligence multi-media contact center solution provided the productivity they needed. With SOS' help, Vegas.com drove sales to a new level, while reducing operating expenses.

Here are some highlights:

   -  Boosted Revenue: Vegas.com experienced 347% increase in revenue with the multi-media solution.

   -  Improved Customer Satisfaction: Customers interact in the media they choose & receive personalized help.

   -  Increased Customer Interactions: Whether in the office or working remotely, Vegas.com handled twice as many interactions, even after reducing staff by half.

   -  Customization & Monitoring: Personalized screen pops for each caller paired with real-time supervisor monitoring & coaching abilities.

Watch the 5 min video now
Requires a Flash video player. Don't have one? Click here to download a free copy, first.

Interested in more information about contact center solutions to help improve your company's productivity? Contact Michelle Wolting at 916-577-1711 or email.



[Printer Friendly Version]




 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


September 12, 2010
 
 
 
SOS GUIDE TO CISCO UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER 6
WHAT'S NEXT IN INTEGRATION
GOING HANDS FREE
MEET THE TEAM
PHOTOS
 
Certification
 

In this issue you'll find a guide to upgrading from CallManager and Unity to Unified Communications Manager version 6, tips on preparing for converged mobile devices, photos of one server room's makeover, and a profile of SOS Convergence Engineer Santosh More. If you have any questions or comments, I'd love to hear from you. Please call 916-577-1711 with any comments or questions. - Gia McNutt
 
SOS GUIDE TO CISCO UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER 6
Should you upgrade from CallManager or Unity to UCM 6?

SOS Cisco Practice leader Mike Stewart reviews new features, technical advances, migration tips, and cost-benefits of upgrading from CallManager and Unity to UCM version 6.

[FULL STORY]
 
WHAT'S NEXT IN INTEGRATION
Getting ready for true mobile convergence

With today’s hardware, carrier networks and premise-based technologies, a converged mobile device is now a possibility. Here are tips from carrier services expert Patrick Wefers.

[FULL STORY]
 
GOING HANDS FREE
The top two bluetooth headsets for hands-free talking

Starting July 1st, California law requires drivers to use their cell phones hands free. Here are two of the best bluetooth headsets we have come across, and how to get them.

[FULL STORY]
 
MEET THE TEAM
An interview with convergence engineer Santosh More

Santosh More joined SOS in 2005 as a convergence engineer. Before that, he worked as a research assistant in Cisco’s labs while earning a master’s degree in computer networking at Wichita State University, then went up to New England to design VoIP systems for the New Haven Board of Education in Connecticut.

[FULL STORY]
 
PHOTOS
Before and after -- one server room's makeover

"DO NOT TOUCH ANY OF THESE WIRES," read the handwritten sign in this server room, before our brave client straightened things out.

[FULL STORY]
 


 

Since its inception in 1992, SOS has specialized in providing technology solutions and exceptional customer service to small- and medium-sized businesses. SOS’ 40+ executives, engineers, sales consultants and project managers are focused on developing processes, solutions and support vehicles that help 300 clients choose and use communications technology to delight their customers, cut costs, attract/retain clients and increase financial performance. To get in touch please call 916.632.8800 x1711 or visit us at www.team-sos.com

 
 

Published by Gia McNutt, SOS
Copyright © 2008 SOS. All rights reserved.
TELL A FRIEND

 


September 12, 2010
 
 
HOME
   
 
 
SOS GUIDE TO CISCO UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER 6
WHAT'S NEXT IN INTEGRATION
GOING HANDS FREE
MEET THE TEAM
PHOTOS
 
Certification
SOS GUIDE TO CISCO UNIFIED COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER 6
Should you upgrade from CallManager or Unity to UCM 6?

To talk with the SOS consulting team please contact:
 
Michelle Wolting
916-577-1711 or
Cisco introduced CallManager Version 5 in April 2006 and Unified Communications Manager Version 6 in April 2007. It plans to bring Version 7 to market in September 2008.

SOS clients such as Bloodsource and Greater Nevada Credit Union, each of which have 500+ phones, have upgraded from 4.1.3 to 6.1.1 in order to gain 6’s new features and technical advances – and to ensure Cisco support of their product for years to come. The typical cycle to refresh servers is three to five years, and the same guidelines apply to the servers that support Unified Communications Manager.

But why bother with 6, if 7 is right around the corner? Because it will take several months to work out issues in 7 – just as in 6, and 5, etc. Instead of adopting the newest version, you’ll receive the best return on investment from a version that has been out for at least 6 months. So we recommend thinking about an upgrade to 6 now; and thinking about the cost-benefits of 7 around June of 2009.

 

New features in 6

If your business is running earlier versions of CallManager and Unity, you’re familiar with having one inbox for all your phone, email, fax, and text messages. Unified Communications Manager Version 6 (UCM 6) adds at least 6 new features.

• Remote Destination and Desk Phone Pickup (aka “Hand In/Hand Off”) lets you pick up an in-progress desk phone call on a mobile device or vice-versa. Example: You’re on a call on your desk phone at 5:30pm. You want to head home. You pick up your cell phone, hang up your desk phone, and continue to talk while walking out the door.

• Simultaneous Ring allows users to have up to four remote destination phones ring simultaneously. The first one to be answered is connected. Example: You tell UCM 6 to make any calls placed to your cell number, also ring to your desk phone number. If a contact calls your cell while you’re in the car, you answer there and talk. If you're at your desk, you answer there and talk – saving cell phone minutes.

• Single Number Reach lets you give one number to all your contacts and remotely change where your business calls are sent. Example: You have a desk phone, cell, and home phone number but don’t want contacts to have to keep track of which to use when. You give out one number to use. When you're traveling, you set it so that all calls are sent to your cell phone.

• Click to Dial lets you dial a phone number from the Outlook application. Example: You click on a phone number in someone's email signature. When the other party answers, you talk live.

• Call Recording makes it simple to save copies of customer interactions, teleconferences, and discussions. Example: A representative enters an order while on a call. An invoice for the service becomes past due. On following up, the customer says she never requested the service. A supervisor replays the call with a few clicks, to check the facts.

• Unified Personal Communicator is desktop software that lets you manage voice, video, instant messaging, document sharing, voicemail playback, and directories from a single interface. UPC has been enhanced through integration capability with Microsoft OCS. Example: You need to chat with a colleague after interviewing a great candidate. Your colleague’s availability, which reflects his schedule and appointments saved in Outlook Calendar, changes at Noon to ‘available by IM now’. You ping him and agree about extending an offer, beating a recruiter to the punch.

 

Technical advances in 6

• SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) ‘Line Side’ Support -- in addition to SIP trunking, you can now integrate any supported SIP phone.

• LDAP integration – Unified Communication Manager can now integrate with Active Directory without Schema modifications. In versions 4.x or older, to integrate UCM with Active Directory, the schema extension would have to change. That’s considered a huge risk. In the past SOS would recommend against integrating with Active Directory due to the high level of risk tied to updating or changing the schema extension. In version 5.x and 6.x this is no longer the case.

• Programmable Line Keys – Allows local customization of line key display and functionality. Buttons on the phone can be dedicated for hold, conference, etc. This expanded line appearance functionality truly solves business problems – now users can have up to 6 programmable soft keys such as speed dial and presence.

• Partitioned system ensures fail-over version -- The system for UCM is partitioned to simultaneously maintain two versions, one active and one in reserve. When you run an upgrade, it updates the inactive portion, then switches the older version to backup status, so you always have a fail-over version.You can run many powerful applications on a Unified Communications platform – and, in some cases, manage multiple applications from a single client. With the applications we recommend, you are able to have “virtual” receptionists during a spike in calls rather than expensive overstaffing in case there is a spike.

 

Tips on migrating to 6

• Run restore tests -- It’s important to run the migration script ahead of time, doing test restores on a spare or test server, which lets you validate that all 3 database conversions are successful prior to doing so in your production environment (If you’re going from version 5 to version 6, it’s a smaller database conversion as v5 is already running the Linux O/S and as such it’s more of a patch.)

• Gather device licenses -- Make sure all your device licenses (phone licenses etc) are registered in the database before your conversion or you may need to purchase new device user licenses (DLUs) for existing phones.

• Gather app upgrade disks -- Be prepared to upgrade the desktop applications that are currently in use. Attendant Console, Real Time Monitor Tool and other applications must be upgraded after the system upgrade.

• Gather integration info -- Be careful to check for 3rd party integration. Cisco is a powerful and flexible call processing system with a lot of authorized integrators. You may be using 3rd party integration that will require an upgrade as well. Be sure to ask SOS to assist.

Note that, with Version 5, Cisco went from a Windows platform to a Linux platform. Technological issues prevented Cisco from offering an upgrade path to Version 5 from Version 4.2 and 4.3, but those customers can upgrade directly to Version 6 after they’ve purchased appropriate hardware or verified existing hardware meets requirements: HP 78XX Series servers or IBM X3XX servers with required processor(s), RAM & disk drives.

 

Cost-benefits of upgrading to 6

The cost to upgrade depends on the number of servers and phones, and how valuable the new features are to your business. New hardware is probably a consideration as well; you’ll need HP 78XX Series servers or IBM X3XX servers. Below, under ‘More Information,’ are links to more details.

SOS upgraded to Version 6.1.1 in Spring of 2007. We wanted the features in 6.x (the carrot) and can’t recommend a product until we’ve torn into it ourselves (the stick). SOS also has upgraded Bloodsource and Greater Nevada Credit Union, each of which has 500+ phones, from 4.1.3 to 6.1.1. These clients wanted the new features – and wanted to ensure Cisco support of their product for years to come. The typical cycle to refresh servers is three to five years, and the same guidelines apply to the servers that support Unified Communications Manager. So if you hang onto 4.2 or 4.3, pretty soon Cisco won’t support that version anymore.

Most of the new features are really about saving time by simplifying common tasks. Does convenience and time savings justify the cost to upgrade? The answer depends on how much your profit margins are affected by workers’ productivity. Industry surveys show that, on average, employees who automatically know the best time and way to reach coworkers save an average of 32 minutes a day. Quicker, simpler completion of many small tasks by many users each day can add up to big productivity gains.

Other features, like Remote Destination and Simultaneous Ring, can cut telecom bills as soon as they’re implemented. Or, if your business takes orders by phone, Call Recording can cost justify your upgrade. According to Rob Cate, Director of Contact Center Operations for VEGAS.com, this type of intelligence has helped significantly reduce agent errors. "Before CTI [Computer Telephony Integration], the customers' word was the end all be all,” he says. “If they said the agent booked the wrong date, we had no recourse. Now we can pull up the information immediately, see the interaction, and email an audio recording of the call to the customer. We've reduced our monthly agent errors by 80 percent."

 

Resources

UCM 6 demo -- Click here.

• Hardware -- You’ll need HP 78XX Series servers or IBM X3XX servers.

Cisco product brochure including server info

HP Server requirements

IBM Server requirements

• Release dates and end-of-life dates -- Miercom Test Document

Upgrades have been very minimal between UCM 5.0 and 6.0. Cisco introduced Version 5 in April 2006, Version 6 around April 2007, and seems to be on track to release 7.0 in September 2008. With Version 5, Cisco went from a Windows platform to Linux, and did not offer an upgrade path from 4.2 and 4.3 to 5. Some 4.2 and 4.3 customers can switch straight to 6 using the HP and IBM-based MCS servers already in place to support their existing Call Manager and Unity applications. The typical cycle to refresh servers is three to five years, and the same guidelines apply to the servers that support Unified Communications Manager. So if you hang onto 4.2 or 4.3, pretty soon Cisco won’t support that version anymore.

• Case studies

Bloodsource -- http://www.team-sos.com/case-studies/bloodsource/

Greater Nevada Credit Union -- http://www.team-sos.com/case-studies/greater-nevada/

VEGAS.com -- http://www.team-sos.com/case-studies/vegas/

 

About the lead author

Mike Stewart, Business Practice Manager, Cisco Solutions Business Practice, is one of SOS's senior Cisco resources. In 2007, he took over as the Cisco Business Practice Manager in Sacramento, CA. The business practice managers at SOS spend about 70 percent of their time engineering, and 30 percent managing and mentoring the other members of their teams. It's up to the BPM to develop and enforce best practices, and lead by example. Stewart has been with SOS for six years, but has been in the telecom industry since 1981. He has decades of experience installing PBX and Key telephone systems, and has been the lead engineer on VOIP projects of all sizes.

Stewart’s certifications include:

• Cisco IP Telephony 3.0 Specialist
• Cisco Deploying Quality of Service Expert
• Cisco Qualified Specialist - IPCC Enterprise
• Cisco IP Telephony Troubleshooting Expert
• Cisco Certified Internetwork Voice Expert

 

How can we help?

Since the release of Version 6 last year, SOS has performed several upgrades on systems with 500 phones or more. If you’re facing such an upgrade, we’re ready to help. We also support clients handling most of their upgrade in-house – and those who want to come down to our office to see us build or upgrade their system.

At www.team-sos.com you’ll find team members’ bios, whitepapers, slide decks, audio and video case studies and more.

To receive alerts about new content like this guide, request email updates at www.team-sos.com/offers/subscribe.cfm
To talk with members of the SOS Cisco consulting team

 

To talk with members of the SOS Cisco consulting team

• Phone: contact Michelle Wolting at 916-577-1711, M-F 8am-5pm PT

• Email: etips@team-sos.com


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