Erik Linask : Convergence Corner
Erik Linask

June 2009

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CDW Snags Awards for Converged IT Solutions Expertise

June 23, 2009

Convergence is a term that, in the communications space, was used to describe the layering of voice traffic onto data networks. But what it has really come to mean is the confluence of networking and communications infrastructures, products, services, and management on single platforms.  

Indeed, networking and communications are the core of any business, and with the growth of IP Communications, can no longer be separated. As such, it's also important to understand that resellers and partners that have positioned themselves as complete solution providers, like CDW.


For its efforts in delivering complete cost effective, efficiency enhancing converged solutions to its customers, CDW was named a winner of five separate awards at Cisco's annual channel partner conference in Boston earlier this month. The awards include:


ยท         Global Small Business Partner of the Year;

Communications and Automation, a Match Made in Indianapolis

June 22, 2009

Have you ever wondered why it sometimes can take several weeks for your insurance agent, hospital, or some other service provider to respond to your needs? Most of you probably think it's because they are intentionally putting you off, especially if they owe you something. Or perhaps it's merely a question of being too busy. Probably not.  

There's a very high probability that the delay is a result of poor workflow management. More specifically, there is more than likely a high degree of manual processing involved, where much of it could be automated. In fact, many customer facing processes could be -- and should be -- automated from their outset, regardless of how contact is initiated.


For instance, if a customer is filing an insurance claim, they might call their agent to start the process, or they might email the provider's claim desk, or they might even fax in their claim if they have had to the foresight to download the form from their Web site. Instead of relying on a manual end-to-end process that relies on the agent delivering a file to the appropriate office, where it gets processed (hopefully correctly), then passed on down the line, with several stops left before a check actually makes it into the outbound mail.


Yes, that may be oversimplifying the process, at least in some cases. But a standard process, or deviations from it, can largely be made exponentially more efficient through automation. In fact, it's safe to say that any multi-step, people-centric process can be made more efficient be leveraging communications systems to create automated processes.

Nokia Siemens Networks' Chief Welcomes Nortel Employees

June 19, 2009

Since January, the Nortel bankruptcy details emerged, the question has been not so much what will happen with Nortel, but who will buy its valuable businesses and when. It was a foregone conclusion that its key assets would find new owners, which would shake up the communications landscape.   Rich Tehrani noted back in April that a slew of competitors in both the carrier and enterprise markets could be -- even should be -- looking to profit from the struggles of what was once the largest telecom equipment manufacturer in North America, and Canada's largest company in terms of stock value.   Rich predicted at the end of April the Nortel might soon be gone a standalone business.   "The news is sad but true. It looks like Avaya or Siemens could pick up the enterprise pieces. The optical division could go to Fujitsu, Huawei, Alcatel-Lucent or potentially a private equity firm. The wireless unit could go to NSN," he wrote.   That's just what we may now be seeing, as NSN and Nortel have agreed to a $650 million deal for Nortel's CDMA business, along with a research group focused on LTE.    It's common knowledge that Nokia Siemens Networks has been looking for a way into the North American market -- this is its move to make that happen.   "It is no secret that Nokia Siemens Networks has a lower market share in North America than we do in other parts of the world -- and adding all of you from the CDMA team would help us gain scale in the region," wrote NSN's CEO Simon Beresford-Wylie in a letter addressed to the Nortel employees that will be impacted by the acquisition. "Critically, it would also help us build stronger, deeper relationships with key customers."   In addition to providing access to a tremendous CDMA user base, the move strategically positions NSN in the growing LTE market, which could potentially include being added as a third infrastructure vendor for Verizon Wireless' LTE development. It's believed that the wireless carrier is open to adding a third partner, with the caveat that that third vendor must first take over Nortel's CDMA business. Enter Nokia Siemens Networks, which already has an LTE presence in Europe.   "We'd like to have Ottawa become a long-term wireless center of excellence within Nokia Siemens Networks, complementing our other global sites," said Beresford-Wylie.

Avaya and IBM, A Formidable UC and Security Alliance

June 11, 2009

As more and more devices are introduced onto networks, we're seeing a proportionate increase in the focus on security of the network resources accessed by those devices and the traffic that flows across them -- at least we should be.  

Research tends to be somewhat cloudy, with most IT personnel and C-level executives claiming to understand they need to make security a top priority, yet additional reports suggest few have actually followed through on this.


Adding to the challenge is the fact that most users have extremely limited knowledge of network and device security, assuming that their network is protected at the core, and that what they do on their edge devices presents little risk.  If the IT department is vigilant in securing the network, that is true.  However, knowing that many IT administrators simply don't know enough about current threats, or don't have the time to deal with protecting against them, it's a safe (pardon the pun) assumption that there are many networks with unrealized security flaws.