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Remote Collaboration and Networks – Expert panel shares practices for future of work

Following work-from-home mandates issued in response to COVID-19, companies rushed to find ways to enable remote collaboration. Some businesses smoothly transitioned into this new normal, while others struggled to adapt.

To examine the best practices for remote team collaboration, CBTS recently hosted a panel discussion about the challenges facing companies during this period of instability.

Greg Samuels, senior director of the communications practice at CBTS, moderated the panel, which included Steve Harris, senior director of service delivery for OnX Enterprise Solutions; David Absalom, director of enterprise solution design for CBTS; Jon Lloyd, director of cloud networking for CBTS; and Christopher Pope, director of solution design for CBTS.

To highlight the most effective strategies for remote collaboration and communication, the panel experts shared the tools and technologies and best practices that companies have been used to keep employees connected while quickly transitioning.

Enabling existing technology

While no one could have predicted the rippling effects that COVID-19 have had on day-to-day business operations, many companies already had tools in place to support remote workers—but they weren’t leveraging them until now.

“For some companies, it really wasn’t until recently that they discovered the full potential of hosting their voice in the cloud and coupling that with a mobile phone,” Pope said. “It’s been our duty to inform customers of the work-from-home capabilities that they have…and get them using the tools that they didn’t know they already had.”

Pope said many companies were sitting on legacy private branch exchange (PBX) systems or hosted voice solutions, but not utilizing collaboration tools to integrate their system with their employees’ mobile phones. By enabling soft client capabilities and meeting tools, companies are leaving the comfort zone of traditional voice calls to facilitate work-from-home mobility. For those with legacy PBX systems, CBTS was able to enable features on the network to quickly support those temporary changes to their configuration.

Redefining contact centers

The contact centers of large enterprises—especially those in government and healthcare sectors—are pushed past capacity with increasing call volumes related to the pandemic. By rethinking traditional processes and channels, contact centers are developing more sustainable service models that equip remote agents to serve customers efficiently, Absalom said.

Setting up remote phone access for employees working at home is easy enough, “but then you also need to somehow give them their contact center agent desktop, and that requires a VPN infrastructure,” Absalom said. While some companies already had this infrastructure in place, others needed to build internet gateways to enable remote agents.

“Then, because of the massive growth in contact center use, we had to take a look at some other technologies, because the queues and IVRs [Interactive voice Responses] were getting hit so hard we had to find alternate ways to get those calls answered or redirected,” Absalom said, like courtesy call-back capabilities that allow customers to request a call back rather than waiting in queue.

CBTS quickly analyzed how customers wanted and expected their calls to be routed and used that data to find the most efficient way to handle customer calls. To handle the influx of service calls efficiently, contact centers should similarly examine their current workflows and streamline business processes. Absalom encouraged call centers to think beyond the phone and explore the potential of omni-channel contact centers, where agents can also leverage e-mail, chat, and text to provide comprehensive service.

Protecting the perimeter

To keep the remote workforce connected to the enterprise, companies are relying on VPNs to extend their network—which comes with certain limitations, Lloyd said.

“When we start looking at a client-based VPN, all of that traffic comes back to the data center, even if the application doesn’t live there,” Lloyd explained. “That is crippling customers’ bandwidth. It’s crippling data centers.”

Split tunneling can be one solution for alleviating some stress to the data center, “but it’s a pretty complex routing configuration,” Lloyd said. Instead, companies should focus on flexible connectivity to extend their networks. “Utilizing technology that is cloud-connected or software-defined is allowing us to build auto-networks and auto-scale very quickly,” he added.

With software-defined perimeters, security is a fabric that lives in the cloud, rather than a firewall that just lives in the data center. “We used to think we were protecting the network,” Lloyd said. “But now, we realize the network is all around us. It doesn’t matter what the device is or where the employee is working from.”

This software-defined model is what separates the companies that are excelling in this remote environment from those that are struggling. “The customers who have looked forward and leaned toward this software-defined world have had a much, much easier time adapting,” Harris said. “Customers who have struggled tend to be ones who have a very traditional network and infrastructure.” Follow this link to view the full webinar. Learn more about collaboration solutions from CBTS.

Contact the experts at CBTS

CBTS and state administrators collaborate to prepare for overwhelming call volume

While the health impact of COVID-19 on the world has been devastating and tragic, the economic impact in the United States has also been profound. As businesses shuttered to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, revenues dropped and jobs were lost, leading to record high unemployment figures across the country.

In this particular state, layoffs and furloughs were occurring at staggeringly rapid rates over a matter of weeks. As a result, calls for assistance and applications for benefits began to flood and overwhelm the state’s Department of Jobs and Family Services (JFS). The JFS office’s contact center normally handles an average of 12,000 calls per day, but that number spiked to more than 1 million calls in a day and eventually settled on approximately 800,000 calls per day.

Additional issues included busy signals and dropped calls that callers often received when trying to contact the JFS office. End users were also not confident that their claims were being processed even in the event they managed to speak with a JFS agent, due to the lack of benefit status updates.

Fortunately, JFS personnel had anticipated the need to keep up with the drastically increased call volume. The JFS office engaged CBTS to help them manage the overwhelming number of calls to address the various service issues that constituents were facing. CBTS was able to design and implement a solution within a week’s time. The solution included scaling existing call paths, organizing remote call center operations, and designing and configuring a new IVR solution.

Sorting out the chaos

CBTS stepped in with a customized suite of telecommunications solutions to enable JFS agents to cope with the massive call volume they were facing while also improving the user experience for constituents seeking assistance during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the solutions implemented was a self-service system designed to allow JFS applicants to manually check the status of their claims. All of the JFS Unemployment directory numbers were sequestered into separate carrier trunks to increase available bandwidth and reduce strain on the rest of the state agencies. Additionally, the contact center capacity was optimized by 400% to allow for all callers to be answered by automation or an agent.

Remote access licenses for Jabber softphones were also increased and extended to hundreds of additional users, boosting the number of available call center agents. Cisco’s Unified IP Interactive Voice Response (IVR) was deployed at a large scale specifically to answer mass layoffs by major companies.

Another improvement implemented was the redirection of calls away from busy signals to holding messages, which engaged constituents and informed them that their calls would be answered momentarily or offer self-service options to every caller.

Lastly, an extensive effort was made to design and deploy an optimized IVR system to generate responses to benefit inquiry, simplify call tree structures, and create more efficient queue management programs. Moving forward, CBTS will be partnering with the state’s JFS to introduce new functionality that will provide tier one agents with basic caller benefits status info that will assist them in answering initial questions. Callback scheduling will also be used to address more advanced questions that can’t be answered by tier one agents at the time.

CBTS and the state’s JFS planned ahead and collaborated closely to prepare for a pressing issue that would prevent vulnerable citizens from accessing the assistance they needed. The standard reporting and dashboard programs built for this client are part of an ongoing process to optimize solutions in accordance to customer experiences.

Contact a CBTS specialist today for more information on what a customized Cisco collaboration solution can do for your enterprise or government organization

Stepping up your UCaaS experience with SD-WAN

Simplifying the various communication tools available to their company is a challenge many business leaders are seeking answers for. As a result, enterprise-level organizations around the globe and across a variety of industries are catching on to the benefits of unified communications as a service (UCaaS), which streamlines collaboration capabilities by combining voice, video, and text communications into a single cloud-empowered platform.

As a managed service, UCaaS also simplifies operations and allows users to focus less on maintaining multiple communications platforms and more on their bottom lines. It can also be easily scaled for growth as businesses expand their footprints, facilities, and teams.

UCaaS has become a common solution for organizations that wish to utilize the ever-growing power of cloud computing while also managing their communications platforms with ease and reliability. These applications have become even more crucial and are now in high demand in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced many enterprises to adopt a more remote posture. However, these enterprises that have embraced UCaaS may be missing the full potential of their managed communications by not also taking advantage of software-defined wide area networks (SD-WAN).

The potential of SD-WAN

While the business world works to adapt to and harness the computing power of the cloud and the many remote storage and connection capabilities it brings, SD-WAN is a network architecture purpose-built to enable all modern cloud-based applications, delivering greater levels of efficiency, scalability, and flexibility.

By implementing an SD-WAN solution that fits their situation, enterprise leaders can automate their network traffic, speed up their application deployments, and improve user experiences, all while driving down operational costs. With SD-WAN, even large-scale global operations can be given easy and reliable access to powerful cloud applications, from retail storefronts and industrial facilities to distant office environments. However, it truly shines when layered onto an existing UCaaS framework.

A powerful combination

For users of UCaaS solutions, SD-WAN acts as a natural complement that boosts the power and effectiveness of managed unified communications. When combined, the UCaaS platform connects distant team members and empowers them to collaborate smoothly—meanwhile, an SD-WAN solution brings high processing power, bandwidth and network stability to the table, creating a potent one-two punch that any modern organization can benefit from.

SD-WAN also adds powerful cloud computing functionality to the UCaaS platform, boosting communication applications such as video conferencing with fast and reliable cloud connections. Voice services also benefit from increased redundancy and signal strength, meaning fewer dropped calls and better call quality. This is especially beneficial for enterprises that rely heavily on voice functionality, including retail, call centers, healthcare, and more.

Complete the package

If your company has taken the step to streamline its communication and collaboration applications with a UCaaS solution, consider SD-WAN as a direct upgrade that can improve network performance, make connections more reliable, leverage the considerable power of the cloud, keep costs low, and help future-proof your enterprise for what comes next. Review the CBTS resource page to learn more about how adding SD-WAN to your UCaaS infrastructure can deliver better communication outcomes for your organization.

Critical Capabilities for Meeting Solutions

There’s no denying that the world has changed. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic forced millions of Americans indoors and changed the landscape of the economy and workforce, large and small businesses alike were actively exploring the technology and processes needed to empower their staff to do their jobs remotely.

This process was accelerated when multiple state governors gave shelter-in-place orders, and companies began shutting down offices to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the risk of infection for personnel. A robust and detailed strategy to enable remote meeting, collaboration, and productivity is now a requirement, not simply a bonus.

However, there exists a wide variety of teleconferencing solutions and platforms, each with their own interfaces, support structures, and proprietary features. Finding the right remote meeting solution for your business can be a daunting task. The decision can be made easier by clearly defining what your organization is looking for.

Requirements of the new digital workplace

When adopting a teleconferencing and remote meeting solution, enterprise leaders tend to seek a technology platform that satisfies both the needs of individual team members and the expectations of high-level stakeholders. This can apply to several use cases, including employees meeting in virtual conference rooms to share working materials, connect via audio and video, and collaborate closely.

Organizations with a concentration on sales and marketing also require simple and engaging methods for connecting with external clients, leads, and partners as they develop opportunities for new business. Meanwhile, trainers and mentors need tools that can reach and be accessible to a wide variety of audiences—after all, people learn better when they’re able to connect and engage on their own terms.

Additionally, many professionals in corporate communication spaces are seeking to make internal messaging more direct and captivating. They need a technology solution that allows them to build a CEO town hall or similar virtual event that can simultaneously be delivered to an entire corporate structure in real-time.

Organization leaders are facing the challenge of crafting a remote meeting solution that meets the needs of all of these use cases, as well as the challenge of making this solution operate reliably on any device—from smartphones to workstations. What they need is a persistent virtual meeting space that all members of the team can benefit from.

Creating collaboration with the cloud

Many enterprise-level businesses already employ cloud office products with built-in conferencing functions throughout their organizations, but some find themselves requiring an internal collaboration solution that delivers a consistent experience across different platforms.

At the same time, professionals responsible for external presentations are in need of a high degree of control and flexibility in terms of transitioning, question and answer management, and more. They’re also seeking reliable security measures and reliable audio and video quality to make their presentations as functional and effective as possible.

Trainers, meanwhile, can also benefit from a simple meeting product that can enable testing and learning even in cases of limited budgets and smaller scales. Webinars and other larger-scale online events are also gaining relevance as scalability and audience engagement become more important in business environments.

These endpoints can all be served by a cloud-based meeting solution. 

“By 2023, 50% of meetings will be facilitated by virtual concierges and advanced analytics. Through 2023, the cloud conferencing market will be the fastest-growing segment (by spend) of the overall unified communications (UC) market, growing at a compound annual rate of 7%.”

Gartner, Critical Capabilites for Meeting Solutions, Tom Eagle, Adam Present, Mike Fasciani, 8 October 2019

Let the experts at CBTS help your organization prepare for the cloud conferencing future with our suite of Cisco remote meeting solutions. For more information on what CBTS and Cisco can do to modernize and empower your workforce.  Click here to learn more about the meeting solutions CBTS offers.


Reach out to an Expert


Considerations for Remote Work

How to leverage technology to work around the Coronavirus

By embracing collaboration technology, modern enterprises can begin to move away from traditional face-to-face meetings as the go-to tool for driving business operations. The teleconferencing trend shows no signs of slowing down, especially in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As reported cases of the novel Coronavirus grow in number and quarantine becomes necessary to safeguard employees, companies across multiple industries are leaning on video conferences and other collaboration technology more than ever. Effective use of these tools, however, is crucial for continuing business operations and avoiding costly downtime.

Tips to ensure remote work efficiency

Video meeting capabilities give modern organizations significant flexibility in times of crisis.

One approach that has successfully connected global workplaces is the “video first” approach, which emphasizes video conferencing as a reliable alternative for when in-person meetings aren’t feasible due to travel, remote offices, or illness. This strategy is rapidly catching on in the modern business world­; a survey by Deloitte found that 70 percent of respondents expect to use collaboration platforms more often in the near future.

Here are some helpful tips to follow when your teammates are working from home:

  • Get everyone on the same page by using the same tools.
  • Create online work spaces for projects to keep essential team members in the loop.
  • Keep meeting documents, presentations, and notes in a shared place.
  • Record meetings for people who are not able to attend.
  • Turn your video on; it makes a difference.

The Right Tools for the Job

Many enterprise employees worldwide are being required or encouraged to stay home from the office to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Platforms such as Cisco Webex Meetings and Webex Teams can be critical for allowing these enterprises to maintain their day-to-day functionality and continue to serve their clients throughout a public health crisis. There is a wealth of options available for enterprises looking to empower their employees to work remotely without sacrificing collaboration or productivity. CBTS can implement the features you need, such as Call Forward All, Single Number Reach (SNR), and Voicemail to E-mail to keep your team engaged and performing at their best no matter their location.

Webex Meetings enables teams to coordinate their efforts even with miles between them. Anyone inside or outside your organization can quickly join a meeting from a smartphone, desktop, video room devices, or through their browser. Everyone can enjoy consistent meeting experiences and be fully engaged in the conference with minimal technical complexity. Webex Meetings removes the complexity of the video meeting experience—with crystal-clear audio and content sharing in the same session.

Cisco Webex Teams is an easy-to-use collaboration solution that keeps teams and departments connected anytime, anywhere.

  • Start calls instantly, have high-quality video meetings with screen sharing at the touch of a button.
  • Create secure virtual workspaces for every purpose.
  • Include outside vendors or customers in collaborative spaces.
  • Simplify day-to-day interactions with messaging and file sharing.
  • Third-party app integrations for a seamless workflow.
  • Increase productivity and engagement with real-time communications.
  • Express your ideas on digital whiteboards and add colleagues at any time.

For more information on how CBTS can help your organization during the COVID-19 health crisis, check out our Contingency planning post or collaboration and meeting solutions page at CBTS.com.

CBTS introduces new cloud calling solution

CBTS is pleased to introduce Cloud Calling, a complete cloud-based calling solution powered by Cisco.

Cloud Calling features

Cloud Calling is a comprehensive service with full cloud-PBX and mobility features. It enables organizations to expand and migrate an existing on-premise deployment into a cloud environment.

This cloud calling solution provides multisite capabilities and global reach for small, midmarket, and enterprise organizations while minimizing the complexity associated with moving into the cloud. It supports a wide range of Cisco IP Phones combined with the latest collaboration technologies–Webex Meetings and Webex Teams.

The CBTS Cloud Calling offering includes calling, meetings, and team collaboration under a single subscription model.

Collaborate efficiently with Cisco Webex Teams

 

Cisco Webex Teams is a collaboration tool that includes video, messaging, screen sharing, spaces, whiteboarding, and much more.

Webex Teams is included, adding rich unified communications and team collaboration services.

Leverage Cisco Webex for meetings

Cisco Webex Meetings provides unmatched video quality and delivers a seamless meeting experience from any device, anywhere. Webex Meetings is offered as an integrated add-on to provide the world’s most popular and premium conferencing experience.

Receive world-class support

As part of our secure and scalable Cloud Calling offer, you receive:

  • Global delivery and support. Ubiquitous services and functionality regardless of location. Ideal for multisite businesses.
  • A cloud migration path. Augment on-premise PBX solutions and build a gradual cloud migration to easily scale your business.
  • Extensive support. From onboarding, activation, through ongoing 24x7x365 monitoring, management, maintenance, and training our CBTS experts are here for your business.
Cloud Calling by CBTS: Get the best solution for your business

Cloud Calling offers multiple benefits

A fully managed cloud calling solution platform helps you:

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Work Globally
Our Cloud Calling offer is built to support multisite and global multi-national networking requirements.

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Control Investment Costs
Reduce technology and operational cost and complexity, and gain a more agile, intuitive way to work.

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Scale Up or Down
We offer flexible Cloud Calling solution deployments that scale to meet the needs of enterprises of every size.

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Reduce Time to Onboard
Start using your new solution quickly and easily.

Remain competitive with CBTS

Cloud Calling by CBTS is the solution for any business that needs and wants to remain competitive in today’s ever-changing digital landscape.

CBTS couples vast technical expertise with flexible unified communications and collaboration solutions to drive successful business outcomes, mitigate risks, improve operational efficiency, and reduce costs for our clients.

“Our clients expect to use professional communications technology that easily integrates with their business applications and workflows. Cloud Calling provides the flexibility and value that will allow clients to communicate and collaborate more efficiently in order to drive business outcomes.

The addition of Cloud Calling, in combination with our existing portfolio of Unified Communications solutions, allows CBTS to fully meet the needs of organizations ranging from startups to Fortune 500 enterprises.”

Greg Samuels
Senior Director, Cisco Sales Practice
CBTS

Future-proof your business today with Cloud Calling by CBTS.

Cloud computing in retail supports growth

Businesses must adopt cloud computing in retail technologies to grow. Cloud computing in retail  technology ensures employees and customers can quickly and easily access the information they need from anywhere, at any time. The benefits include:

  1. Faster customer information processing
  2. An enhanced customer experience
  3. Increased sales
  4. Reduced costs
  5. Improved network performance

Cloud computing in retail technology allows retailers to reduce the costs associated with software and hardware development, maintenance, and staffing. This technology also allows retailers to deliver products and services more quickly, and to monitor performance data in real time.

UCaaS improves retail’s omnichannel services

UCaaS (Unified Communication as a Service), a managed service for voice and collaboration, is an increasingly popular tool for retailers.

UCaaS replaces outdated voice-only systems and allows retailers to operate on-demand, real-time communications and applications, such as VoIP, room-based video, mobile solutions, chat, messaging, web conferencing, audio conferencing, social media, contact center solutions, and more, as a utility service. It is a scalable cloud computing in retail solution that improves the quality of voice calls while adding omnichannel features such as call reporting, video conferencing, and email.

With CBTS UCaaS solutions, retailers save time and money by increasing productivity and eliminating upfront costs. Cisco’s Context Service, which is included in all CBTS contact center solutions, collects and provides customer data from all channels, and then delivers it to employees, who can use it for marketing, sales, and other applications.


According to a recent report by Infiniti Research Ltd., the global UCaaS market will expand from $17.35 billion in 2017 to $28.293 billion in 2021.


NaaS unifies multiple store locations

NaaS (Network as a Service) is a Wi-Fi enabled network that provides centralized data services throughout stores. This allows retailers to share wireless connectivity, analytics, and other resources across various locations.

NaaS helps retailers:

  • Decrease costs. With NaaS, retailers no longer need to spend time and resources managing expensive and complex network resources such as LANs, appliances, switches, and application delivery controllers.
  • Boost sales. Customers expect retailers to provide Wi-Fi connectivity so they can access loyalty and rewards apps, and product information and reviews. According to a study conducted by IHL Group with NCR Corp., stores that offer Wi-Fi have 663 percent higher sales growth than stores that do not. Customers are also likely to spend more time at retailers that offer Wi-Fi and potentially purchase additional products.
  • Enhance customer relationships. Retailers can use Wi-Fi to obtain customer data, such as travel paths and product interaction, and send customers personalized, in-store promotions. Wireless access points in stores provide information on where the customer moves within the store, which can help retailers design store layouts that maximize foot traffic.

Like UCaaS, NaaS is also expected to grow in popularity, increasing from a $35.3 billion market in 2016 to $126 billion in 2022, according to Market Research Futures.


SD-WAN improves overall network quality

A Software Defined-Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) is another cloud resource that retailers use to cost-effectively manage services among UCaaS, LANs, Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, security systems, and private and public clouds.

SD-WAN minimizes delays over long distances and improves overall network quality. This cloud computing in retail technology allows merchants to maximize their often costly multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) costs, or even replace MPLS entirely and switch to broadband since SD-WAN can be deployed over existing private WAN links such as MPLS and Ethernet, as well as broadband networks such as cable, fiber, DSL, Wi-Fi, and 4G cellular LTE.


SD-WAN is growing even faster than UCaaS or NaaS. The global SD-WAN market is expected to increase from $300 million in 2017 to $1.5 billion in 2022, according to Frost & Sullivan.


CBTS cloud computing in retail solutions ensure business longevity

UCaaS, NaaS, and SD-WAN are all subscription-based cloud cloud computing in retail solutions with monthly payments based on usage. This means no CapEx investment, ongoing hardware and software licensing, or upgrade costs. The trio of services ensures retailers never miss an opportunity to connect with customers, and allows them to analyze and maximize data to develop the most beneficial business strategies. Retailers also reduce costs while improving both overall business performance and customer service.

CBTS monitors and manages the network 24x7x365 to resolve issues quickly and effectively. It can also integrate these services with an existing MPLS network and legacy data apps.

Learn more

To learn more about cloud computing and its role in retail, download our eBook “How Cloud Computing is Revolutionizing Retail.”

Cloud technology for retail drives opportunities

Cloud networking is integral for today’s retailers. Cloud networking offers a more reliable and efficient alternative to traditional multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) networks, enterprise WAN, expensive bandwidth, and costly infrastructure. Cloud technology for retail can help businesses facing challenges that include:

  • Limited budgets
  • Multiple locations
  • Continuous technological maintenance and upgrades

C-level executives require technology solutions that help them lower costs while providing maximum performance and scalability. Ultimately, the best strategy for these companies – especially those in the food service, retail, and restaurant sectors – is a cloud networking solution.

Executives are increasingly turning to CBTS to manage their cloud technology for retail solutions with a combination of Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) and managed cloud Network as a Service (NaaS) to triple their performance.

Cloud technology for retail saves costs and increases efficiencies

UCaaS is a managed service for voice and collaboration tools that allows retailers to operate on-demand communications and applications as a utility service. NaaS is a Wi-Fi enabled network that provides centralized data services throughout unlimited locations. This allows retailers to share wireless connectivity, analytics, and other resources.

When provided by CBTS, cloud technology for retail solutions:

  • Allow retail executives to focus on their core expertise rather than IT-related issues.
  • Reduce redundancies through management and monitoring via one company rather than multiple vendors.
  • Decrease the need for additional IT professionals and ongoing training.
  • Combine mobile solutions, web conferencing, VoIP, contact centers, and collaborative efforts so that they integrate and work together seamlessly.
  • Eliminate the need for costly equipment maintenance and upgrades.
  • Place the burden of implementing upgrades and enhancements on CBTS.
  • Scale and evolve as your business scales and evolves.
  • Provide usage-based monthly pricing models.
  • Offer effective and reliable 24x7x365 service.

UCaaS and NaaS provide retailers a single-pane-of-glass view

UCaaS and NaaS solutions encompass a wide range of communications services, including VoIP, phone, long distance, collaboration applications, contact centers, networking, firewalls, access points, and optical sensor cameras. With a real-time, web-based dashboard, retailers can view key metrics and performance indicators, and evaluate how they align with business goals and priorities. These cloud technology for retail solutions provide a more efficient and unified look at a retailer’s IT services, and offers a comprehensive analysis that would not be possible with solutions from multiple vendors.

CBTS solutions aid PCI compliance

Businesses that process credit card transactions face myriad security concerns. With CBTS NaaS solutions, retailers no longer need to worry about threats to customer information. The solution works with clients’ current payment card industry (PCI) compliance solutions, and adds state-of-the-art Intrusion Detection (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention (IPS) Systems. Anti-malware products protect against digital threats that could compromise data, and a network segmentation strategy limits hackers’ attack options.

Streamlined solutions allow for more in-depth analytics

CBTS analytics evaluate client data so retailers can identify their strengths and weaknesses, and adjust their business models accordingly. This information also helps forecast trends for the future, which is important for industries like retail that rely heavily on customer data. With the suite of CBTS cloud technology for retail solutions, retailers can identify customer demographics and shopping trends, track the effectiveness of customer loyalty programs, illustrate customer traffic patterns, and send promotions.

Learn more

CBTS UCaaS and NaaS solutions combine to maximize retailers’ cloud networking capabilities. Contact CBTS and read our White Paper, “10 Reasons Why UCaaS and Cloud Networking Work More Effectively Together to 3x Your Performance,” to find out more about how these services can triple retailers’ production.

CBTS drives communications solutions for retailers

Future-facing companies understand communication and collaboration solutions are imperative in today’s work environment, even as they face challenges such as an increasingly mobile customer base and aging infrastructure. When it comes to effective communications solutions for retailers, the key is to connect all customer entry points and create a seamless experience across your entire company.

This benefits customers, who desire a consistent experience across different platforms, and businesses looking to collect and utilize customer data for merchandising. Retailers learn more about their targeted customers, and their demographic and purchasing data, through information from a variety of communications platforms. They also learn how customers behave online and the best ways to engage with targeted groups or individuals.

What retailers can do with a unified communications solution

With a unified communications solution, retailers can:

  1. Continue to grow and evolve. Communications solutions can scale and change.
    • Integrate contact centers. Deliver a seamless multi-channel customer experience no matter how your customers want to reach you.
    • Advanced routing features. Route calls to other sites during times of peak volume. This is also a necessary feature for retail chains that have locations operating in different time zones.
    • Informative store analytics. Analyze the data collected to recognize call volumes as well as the amount of missed calls your business is experiencing. By analyzing the call data, your business is able to better understand staffing needs and customer experience issues that may be occurring.
  2. Reduce costs. Retailers spend less money on buying and maintaining aging infrastructure and pay only for the technology they use.
  3. Implement new products and features faster and more efficiently. Integrated communications solutions allow businesses to roll out new updates and applications almost instantaneously.
  4. Enhance visibility. Retailers are able to view their personalized suite of solutions 24x7x365.
  5. Maintain agility. Modern businesses must be able to adapt to changes instantaneously.

UCaaS, NaaS, and SD-WAN enhance communication capabilities

UCaaS (Unified Communication as a Service), Network as a Service (NaaS), and Software Defined-Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) are important pieces in creating communications solutions for retailers, and enhance the connectivity and collaboration capabilities of communication technology:

  • UCaaS allows retailers to operate on-demand communications and applications as a utility service, providing business agility, scalability, informative analytics, and cost-effectiveness to encourage innovation and growth. Through a partnership with CBTS, retailers save both time and money by eliminating upfront costs. UCaaS solutions include VoIP, collaboration, mobile solutions, chat/presence, messaging, web conferencing, audio conferencing, contact center solutions, third party integrations, and more.
  • NaaS is a managed cloud service that includes Auto VPN, security, switching, and Wi-Fi. It can be integrated throughout various locations, allowing retailers to share a variety of resources, such as wireless connectivity. It also eliminates the need for expensive network resources, such as appliances, switches, and application delivery controllers. NaaS enables easy and cost-effective sharing of wireless connectivity, powerful analytics, and countless other network resources among all branches.
  • SD-WAN is a purpose-built enterprise solution that implements and maintains a high-performance WAN. With SD-WAN, merchandisers can maximize the use of costly MPLS connections or even replace MPLS entirely in favor of broadband. This minimizes delays over long distances and improves overall service quality, which is essential for businesses that need to constantly maintain their connection to customers via multiple platforms. It reduces the costs of private Internet connections such as multiprotocol label switching (MPLS) and coordinates UCaaS, LANs, SaaS applications, security systems, and private and public clouds, saving costs, improving voice and video communication, and regulating private and public networks.

Communications solutions for retailers require strong network backbone

For unified communication solutions to work, and benefit both companies and customers, retailers need a strong and reliable network. Oftentimes, when companies add functions such as cloud computing, social media, and mobile technology, they strain their network capacity, slowing performance.

CBTS offers Ethernet services, dedicated network access, managed Wi-Fi, and SIP/IP Trunking Services to ensure companies stay connected to customers at all times, maintaining customer loyalty and enhancing merchandising capabilities. With 24x7x365 monitoring and management, users can feel confident knowing their network remains operational and their data stays protected. Retailers also minimize downtime, increase productivity, and enhance mobility. The network is available anywhere and everywhere with instant upload potential.

Constant customer contact key to customer-centric merchandising

Retailers require a digital contact experience that includes voice, video, and written communications. To manage these contact points, retailers must provide a contact center that delivers an easy and reliable customer experience. These solutions include omnichannel web, email, chat, and social customer interactions and integrate with existing communications technologies.

Because CBTS understands that contact solutions often change, it offers contact center as-a-service solutions that scale but still meet the necessary demands without any hiccups.

Communications solutions critical in modern business environment

If retailers want to remain competitive in today’s marketplace, they must provide customer-centric merchandising. To do this, they require strong and reliable communication and collaboration solutions that are scalable, yet easy to implement and use.

CBTS communication solutions provide management and monitoring services as well as the communication services themselves, ensuring businesses receive excellent service without oversight or interruption.

Learn more

Retail’s biggest conference, NRF, kicks off Jan. 13, and CBTS will be well-represented, leading with UCaaS, NaaS, and SD-WAN solutions.

CBTS recognized at Cisco Partner Summit

Cisco recently honored CBTS, a leading technology provider that delivers communications, cloud, infrastructure, and consulting solutions to clients across North America, with two awards at the Cisco Partner Summit annual conference in Las Vegas, Nevada.

  • CBTS received the Execution Excellence Regional Partner of the Year award for its innovation, leadership and best practice as a Cisco business partner across the Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio region.
  • CBTS received the SLED Breakaway Partner of the Year award in the U.S. Public Sector.

Joe Putnick, Vice President and Principal for the CBTS Communications Practice, accepted the awards on behalf of the company.

“These awards reflect our commitment to strategic partnerships with Cisco. We pride ourselves in delivering best-in-class solutions, built on Cisco technologies, that deliver positive business outcomes to our clients,” said Putnick.

“We have seen tremendous success with our Hosted Unified Communications as a Service solutions, especially in the SLED space, as more and more clients wish to consume technologies in a hosted model.”

Cisco Partner Summit Theatre awards reflect the top-performing partners within specific technology markets across the country. All award recipients are selected by a group of Cisco Global Partner Organization and regional and theatre executives.

Cisco Partner Summit is attended by more than 2,100 global attendees from Cisco’s ecosystem of partners representing more than 1,000 companies worldwide from more than 75 countries.

 

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