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Municipalities streamline operations with NaaS

Municipalities are following the private sector, which has embraced Network as a Service (NaaS) to improve performance, deliver better services and products to consumers, and lower overall operating costs.

Advanced digital capabilities are reconfiguring the way municipal data infrastructure improves critical functions like emergency services, utilities management, and even traffic control. One of the core technologies involved in this transformation is networking, which can be complex, costly, and difficult to manage.

But as more municipal IT environments transition to virtual, software-defined infrastructure, many cities and towns are starting to recognize the benefits of converting from on-premise networking assets to streamlining operations with Network as a Service.

Network as a Service is reliable, cost-effective

Municipalities benefit from OpEx model

The chief advantage NaaS brings to municipalities is the ability to shift costs from a capital expenditure (CapEx) model to an operational expenditure (OpEx) model. In this way, agencies avoid the high upfront costs of network rollouts and expansion, while adjusting the consumption of resources according to workload demands.

The end result is a more reliable and cost-efficient network experience that allows municipalities to concentrate on their core mission and improve public service for their constituents.

But exactly how does NaaS work?

Third-party support gives municipalities flexibility

While every office has its own networking infrastructure in place, tasks like configuring routers, optimizing protocols, and setting up firewalls can be costly and time-consuming. With NaaS, municipal offices are able to outsource these functions to a third party.

Most solution providers offer a web platform that serves as a portal for IT staff to monitor and manage the network security and ensure that it meets regulatory compliance.

In this way, agencies are provided with a dynamic network environment managed by a trusted third-party solution provider.

Streamline operations, meet budgetary goals

In the private sector, networking budgets are often constrained due to the pressure faced when trying to achieve a company’s bottom-line as well as the competing demands of the overall IT stack. In the public sphere, budgets tend to be tight as a general rule, lest the elected decision-makers face the wrath of unhappy voters.

In both cases, however, the perpetual goal is to do more with less.

NaaS fulfills this mandate on the network level, while laying the groundwork for enhanced virtualization across the entire IT stack. Rarely does a solution provide improved service at less cost right from the start, particularly in networking.

CBTS helps municipal organizations streamline operations with Network as a Service and delivers an agile, top-notch network infrastructure that meets their budgetary goals.

Discover how CBTS helped a municipality save $12,000 a year by adopting Network as a Service to monitor and manage their infrastructure.

5 key benefits of CBTS NaaS solution for municipalities

The CBTS NaaS solution provides municipal organizations with these key benefits:

  • 24x7x365 engineering support from highly-qualified CBTS experts.
  • Data center support. CBTS establishes the groundwork for a software-defined data center through expert support of existing virtual servers.
  • Infrastructure support. CBTS provides the necessary infrastructure for additional applications, such as Hosted Unified Communications (Hosted UC).
  • Third-party visibility. CBTS offers third-party visibility into servers and individual telephones.
  • Predictable monthly costs. CBTS provides a predictable monthly cost model that builds hardware refreshes into the network lifecycle.

CBTS NaaS also provides a foundation for the extension of virtual networking over the wide area, a crucial element of flexibility for agencies that coordinate with other agencies or non-governmental entities like utility collectives, non-profit organizations, and contractors.

At the same time, CBTS NaaS provides seamless adherence to strict compliance rules, data sovereignty, and other regulatory measures.

CBTS is a trusted IT partner

With CBTS NaaS, our expert engineers are available 24x7x365.

CBTS helps municipalities free up their staff so they can focus on mission-critical tasks rather than spend time conducting patchwork, monitoring the network, or dealing with expensive hardware issues.

In partnering with a trusted solution provider like CBTS, municipalities remove the burden of IT management from their staff and are able to streamline operations with Network as a Service.

CBTS wins VMware partner Innovation Award

CBTS awarded VMware 2018 Partner Innovation Award

Partners Awarded for Extraordinary Performance and Notable Achievements

Cincinnati, Ohio — CBTS is proud to announce that we have received the Americas 2018 VMware Partner Innovation Award in the VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud Solution category. CBTS was recognized at VMware Partner Leadership Summit 2019, held in Carlsbad, CA.

“We congratulate CBTS on winning a Partner Innovation Award as Partner of the Year in the VMware SD-WAN by VeloCloud Solution category, and look forward to our continued collaboration and innovation,” said Jenni Flinders, vice president, Worldwide Channel Chief, VMware. “VMware and our partners will continue to empower organizations of all sizes with technologies that enable digital transformation.”

“CBTS is very pleased to receive this recognition from VMware, which validates our strong relationship and our shared commitment to providing an outstanding customer experience to our clients,” said Joe Putnick, Vice President and Principal of the CBTS Communications Practice. “We are excited to build on this momentum in 2019 and deliver continued success to organizations through custom designing a migration strategy to the cloud that will future-proof their network.”

Recipients of the Americas VMware Partner Innovation Award were acknowledged in 11 categories for their outstanding performance and distinctive achievements during 2018.

To be awarded the Partner of the Year for the VMWare SD-WAN by VeloCloud solution category, CBTS had to be a partner with a large focus on SD-WAN by VeloCloud solution whereby our outstanding performance can be attributed to aligning our skills, competencies, sales, and services capacity with our global practices. Our history of successful implementation of SD-WAN is evident in this case study, in which our deployment of this powerful solution delivered innovative results for a client in the healthcare industry.

Learn why successful businesses choose CBTS as their preferred provider of advanced networking solutions in our SD-WAN CIO Toolkit.

Take a look at our guide to learn more about CBTS SD-WAN solution powered by VeloCloud, now part of VMware.

CBTS Wins VMware Partner Innovation Award

 

About VMWare Partner Leadership Summit 2019

VMware Partner Leadership Summit 2019 offered VMware partners the opportunity to engage with VMware executives and industry peers to explore business opportunities, customer use cases, solution practices, and partnering best practices. As an invitation-only event, it provided partners with resources to develop and execute comprehensive go-to-market plans.

About VMware

VMware software powers the world’s complex digital infrastructure. The company’s cloud, networking and security, and digital workspace offerings provide a dynamic and efficient digital foundation to over 500,000 customers globally, aided by an ecosystem of 75,000 partners. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, VMware is committed to being a force for good, from its breakthrough innovations to its global impact. For more information, please visit https://www.vmware.com/company.html.

VMware, VMware Cloud, VMware SD-WAN, and VeloCloud are registered trademarks or trademarks of VMware, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other jurisdictions.

About CBTS

CBTS serves enterprise and midmarket clients in all industries across the United States and Canada. From Unified Communications to Cloud Services and beyond, CBTS combines deep technical expertise with a full suite of flexible technology solutions that drive business outcomes, improve operational efficiency, mitigate risk, and reduce costs for its clients.

Cloud networking technologies driving business outcomes

In Part 2 of our post-CIO Summit discussion in Houston, we discuss the business outcomes organizations can achieve by implementing Cloud Networking technologies. In Part 1, we highlighted the key differentiators when evaluating an SD-WAN solution.

Defining business outcomes for cloud networking

After a lively discussion at our Houston CIO Summit late last year, it was time for our team to hit the road and meet with clients to talk about the business outcomes they can achieve with cloud networking technologies such as managed SD-WAN and Unified Communications solutions. After all, isn’t the job of IT to align technology with the organization’s business goals, and enable employees to maximize performance, create efficiencies, and better serve their customers?

For the CIOs in these meetings, we wanted to help them dissect these future-forward cloud networking technologies in an unbiased way and weigh the positive impacts for their investment in energy and time.

Recap: The benefits of SD-WAN

As we talked through the benefits of SD-WAN, like better quality of service, traffic management at the packet level, centralized monitoring, and greater security, we needed to boil it down more to get at what makes SD-WAN an excellent choice for business.

At its core, SD-WAN provides quicker access to, and better performance from, the cloud apps and tools branch and remote-site employees use every day to collaborate with colleagues and stay ahead of customers. That’s an advantage we’re all seeking.

Learn more about the advantages of SD-WAN for enterprises.

Adding network flexibility with NaaS

It’s been interesting hearing from CIO Summit attendees and clients alike about how they’ve already put a hybrid, multi-cloud strategy into practice for compute and storage functions, to ensure uptime, add flexibility, and rein in data center costs. But with the ever-increasing demands placed on networks for cloud application access, IT professionals realize companies need more diverse cloud networking connectivity to keep up.

Disparate network environments create challenges for IT organizations

Most traditional networking environments have been built over time. These networking environments are usually comprised of multi-vendor equipment offering little visibility to performance and management functions beyond the device level.

Troubleshooting these traditional networks can be a nightmare. One has to track down issues from multiple devices at each location. In-house knowledge is also required to comprehend how these different products work together. Often several vendors have to be involved to address an outage, taking an inordinate amount of time and resources to narrow down the issue. Moreover, when adding new networking equipment to a site or bringing a new location online, the upfront costs can strain budgets.

This is why so many companies are turning to NaaS.

Business case for NaaS

For IT departments already stretched by demands of managing aging networks at multiple sites, the benefits of NaaS are clear:

  • Central, secure, global cloud management. With CBTS NaaS in place, your IT team can log in to a single dashboard to monitor, troubleshoot, make changes, and run reports for every location.
  • Next generation firewall. Providing packet inspection, intrusion prevention, anti-malware protection, and content filtering to block access to specific web and social networking sites, all continually updated with each firmware release.
  • Zero touch provisioning. Allowing easy installation of new network devices automatically from a specific configuration file, with minimal manual intervention required.
  • Streamlined troubleshooting. Eliminating the hassle of involving multiple vendors when addressing issues at individual business locations.
  • 24/7 support team. Co-managing the network means your IT staff can make changes and troubleshoot issues or reach out directly to the CBTS support team for guidance or to resolve any networking problems.

By implementing CBTS NaaS, organizations benefit from enterprise-grade networking technology with minimal upfront capital expense. Proactive updates ensure maximum uptime and security, and continuous monitoring and support mean your IT staff can focus on the initiatives that drive growth, create efficiencies, and better serve hard-earned customers.

Case Study: Learn how a nationwide food service retailer leveraged CBTS NaaS to add new franchise locations to their network.

UCaaS: Final piece to the cloud networking puzzle

No cloud networking discussion would be complete without talking about an organization’s communications stack. It’s the final piece of cloud networking that can bring numerous advantages to our clients looking to migrate from on-premise to a custom, on-demand communications as a utility service.

Like other cloud technologies, UCaaS:

  1. Allows organizations to flex with business conditions
  2. Scales quickly and easily
  3. Brings cost-effectiveness while freeing IT from managing complex onsite infrastructure

But how does UCaaS make an impact on an organization’s success?

Case Study: CBTS UCaaS saves the State of Ohio $6.8M with consolidated communications for over 500k government employees.

UCaaS benefits include single dashboard for easy management

For many CBTS clients, UCaaS is the final piece in their digital transformation strategy, designed to improve collaboration, productivity, and customer engagement.

Cloud-based unified communications bring employees together by combining VOIP with chat, audio and web conferencing, room-based video, mobile integration, social media, and other functions under a single system. Clients reap the benefits of better response times and connectivity, with features like:

  • Simultaneous ring
  • Voicemail to email
  • Video conference presence
  • Call center functionality when call queuing is needed

And like our other cloud managed services, UCaaS uses a single dashboard to manage all sites and users, with 24/7 support when you need it.

Learn how to begin your journey to UCaaS.

Combine SD-WAN, NaaS, and UCaaS technologies for powerful cloud networking foundation

When combined with the added bandwidth, network stability and security, and site-to-site connectivity of SD-WAN and NaaS, UCaaS is the final piece of the cloud networking puzzle used to transform companies and set the foundation for innovation and growth.

A big thanks to all of our friends and colleagues who attended our Houston CIO Summit and met with us afterward. Hope you found the conversations meaningful, and as always, feel free to reach out to us with any of your cloud networking questions.

Learn more about how CBTS is driving real business outcomes with SD-WANNaaS, and UCaaS.

Guide to our March enterprise network madness

When March rolls around, and a hint of Spring is in the air, a little basketball tournament weighs heavily on the minds of even the best employees (and your organization’s enterprise network). Brackets are carefully contemplated, completed, dwelled upon, and then filled out again. And then the games start streaming, on desktops and laptops, mobile phones, and personal tablets.

It’s at that time when the support team at CBTS begins to get calls from clients. That little event is draining their enterprise network, bringing it to its knees. And we heard that again, loud and clear, from business and technology leaders recently at our CIO Summit in New York City.

Luckily, today’s enterprise network technology can help CIOs and their teams live up to the tournament challenge.

I’ll get back to that in a moment, but let’s first talk about what’s on the minds of the CIOs who were in the room with us in NYC.

Technology, CBTS leaders discuss enterprise network

Here are some of the questions asked of NYC technology leaders, and CBTS engineers Justin Rice, Director of Solution Design, NaaS and SD-WAN, and Jon Lloyd, Sr. Solution Design Engineer:

Current primary architectural challenge

Q: Moderator, Lane Cooper: From an architectural perspective, we’ve wrestled through the big eras from the mainframe to the client/server environment to cloud. We’ve tackled client/server sprawl and have worked on managing applications and key resources spread across different platforms and cloud environments. So, from your perspective, what are the biggest challenges you’re facing versus a few years back?

A: CIO Participant: Everyone has a higher level of expectation, and at the same time, everyone is working from everywhere. The expectation is, “Hey, if I can get Netflix on a plane at 35,000 feet in the air, why can’t I get my email address to work at a specific offsite location?”

Cloud and internet connectivity challenges

Q: CIO Participant: The expectation for everything IT related is just more. We’re in the middle of a cloud migration. We’re going from on-prem systems to Azure. Azure is 13 milliseconds away. It’s pretty close, but still, it’s 13x what it used to be. The data center is in Middletown, N.J., and the office is in Midtown. And we’re pulling an application from the middle of Aurora, IL, about 1,000 miles away. We’ve increased our bandwidth and pulled elements out of the network to streamline the path, but it’s a bit slower, and our employees expect more. How do you address problems like these in today’s evolving networks?

A: Jon Lloyd, CBTS: Many companies today have a 40 or 80 Gbps backbone in their data center or even 100 Gigabit. The data link layer and the physical layer used to be just a millisecond away. With the cloud, you might have a 100 Gigabit backbone but only get 20 or 50 Megabit internet connectivity. That’s the challenge we’re trying to solve.

Justin Rice, CBTS: Every use case is different, but we recently worked with a company that has 25 branch locations. They increased the bandwidth at every branch to 100 Mbps. And because they wanted to backhaul all of their internet traffic to their data center, they added bandwidth there, too, to 1 Gbps, but there was still a bottleneck. We were able to go in and look at the performance of applications at each branch and define which were critical and not critical. Trusted applications like Office 365 could be accessed directly from the cloud and did not need to touch the centralized environment. By focusing at a workload level instead of managing traffic on the network and data link levels, we were able to help them create new policies around workloads to improve performance.

Related: How CBTS can provide your business with a custom-tailored cloud computing technology stack

Unique solutions to achieve consistency

Q: CIO Participant: What we’re seeing is more than just being about reliability; it’s about consistency. If a client is getting a response in 2 milliseconds, they expect the next time should not be 10 milliseconds. So every time, whether it’s morning or afternoon, high traffic or low traffic, they want the same experience. How can you help us with consistency?

A: Jon Lloyd, CBTS: The short answer is that there is a difference between the traditional iWAN days with failover of Layer 3 routing and application-aware routing or an IP application SLA. So, we can have multiple links set up as a failover, not saying up or down, but based on performance and what the best path is. The struggle we all deal with is when those hosts leave the network, and they go to an offsite location like Starbucks. I can’t have an edge on that network, and that might cause an issue for an organization since today’s workforce wants that flexibility. Inside the network, some apps are just not made to go to the cloud, and for best performance, they need to live in your data center. Some sites are better off staying on MPLS. Every business case is unique and requires a unique solution. And that’s where we like to get involved at a deeper level with our clients.

More from Jon Lloyd: How retailers keep up with the competition

Future of enterprise IT organization structure

Q: CIO Participant: Cybersecurity is essential, and there was a time when my team wasn’t doing anything else. There were clear responsibilities, and we had minimal crossover with what the network administrators were doing. Can you talk about how that is changing and what enterprise IT organizations might look like in the future?

A: Justin Rice, CBTS: It’s definitely worth having a deeper conversation about that. We’re going to get to a world where the application team and the network team are the same team. Now they may have different roles, but they are going to be the same team because networkers are going to be developers, as well. We’re going to get there. The cool part about what we do, with SD-WAN in particular, is now we can start to understand the performance of applications. If you tell me you’re having a challenge with whatever ERP you’re using, I can help troubleshoot. By looking at the application layer, we can determine if there’s an issue with the network, where does that challenge lie, and what we can do to help you fix that challenge. Because now we have that intelligence at the application layer that we really didn’t have before. We had it at some level but over the WAN. Now the network team can start identifying application issues and help remove the barriers between those two organizations.

Related: SD-WAN helps staffing firm manage explosive growth

Convergence or specialization

Q: CIO Participant: We have some specialized voice and specialized data requirements, and still others focused on applications. Are you saying we’re going to see convergence there?

A: Jon Lloyd, CBTS: You’re still going to see specialization. But you’re going to have a business leader within the organization who understands the synergy between the different areas and has a line of sight into how they work together. So, you’re going to have someone who’s in charge of application and also responsible for the network. Voice may not apply to a lot of you in the room who are in the financial industry, with turret systems and complex voice requirements that most organizations don’t have.

Sideloading technologies solution

Q: CIO Participant: Can you discuss the ways to address technologies that are sideloading? And they cannot talk to one another?

A: Jon Lloyd, CBTS: This is the number one issue our voice team has to deal with. The good news is that for the first time in my career, all of these technologies are coming together. If we look at our story and approach to unified computing and communications, we started with the Cisco UCS, then to BroadCloud and BroadWorks, built WebEx CCA into that, and then the Customer Journey Platform into our voice core. And now we have greater flexibility for implementing WebEx video endpoints, for example, meaning they can be registered to your cluster in the CBTS cloud or the Cisco Cloud. Given the right partner can bring together all of these technologies under a full or hybrid Unified Communications as a Service deployment, IT can drive value for the organization. With a more integrated network strategy, organizations can support collaboration among today’s mobile and remote workers, their partners, and their clients.

Related: Learn more about the CBTS Communications Practice.

Orchestration with SDN

Q: CIO Participant: In the case of SDN, have you run into a situation where you’re responsible for putting in the parameters of orchestration to stop things like sporting events? When, for example, you have 200 traders in the UK, all watching the World Cup on TV sets while streaming on their devices, and wondering why the Internet is slow?

A: Jon Lloyd, CBTS: In Cincinnati, we are the ILEC, so we actually have run nearly 12,000 route miles of fiber and are an Internet provider in the Midwest. And we get those same calls every March. Now, lucky for us – I was a University of Cincinnati grad and Justin, here, went to Xavier – that’s only typically the first weekend, so it’s no big deal – but for other cities, it’s a bit longer. I’m glad you find that funny! The big thing with software-defined – Justin talked about our ability to recognize and define applications. In the past, we would have a choice – do I want to restrict the network or restrict the person? We could say, on Wi-Fi, we want to limit it to 2 megs per host. Or, in general, the host can consume as much as they want, but no more than 5 megs on this network. In our world, you can now talk about how we can do it from an applications level – whether source, application, signature, etc., and orchestrate it.

Related: CBTS is helping many single-site retailers overcome connectivity issues with standard ISP (Internet Service Provider) service

Summary: Let CBTS help you manage the enterprise network

It was great meeting with all of the CIOs and business leaders in NYC. I hope that we were able to answer your questions to help bring your networks to the next level.

The investments enterprise organizations make today in SD-WAN, NaaS, and UCaaS ensure enterprise network resources are available consistently, securely, and cost-effectively to give employees the flexibility they need to perform at their best.

Speaking of performance, good luck to all of you with a tournament bracket in your hands! And be sure to give CBTS a call when you want to get your enterprise network ready for FIFA Women’s World Cup, Wimbledon, Champions League playoffs, or the MLB World Series.

Retail networking solutions support security needs

Network security is a critical issue for retailers and their customers.  CBTS offers retail networking solutions that include data protection services to ensure retailer data is neither lost nor compromised, and we partner with leading security and technology manufacturers to identify vulnerabilities in retail systems.

CBTS offers support 24x7x365

CBTS performs penetration, social engineering, and phishing tests, as well as environment, application, architectural infrastructure, wireless, and technology-specific assessments. These evaluations locate problem areas and recommend retail networking solutions to support your security.

Retailers also must have an extensive network security plan in place, complete with training on how to implement the plan in the event of an attack or breach. CBTS designs, builds, implements, documents, and tests disaster recovery preparedness programs to ensure retailers are covered 24x7x365. Our highly trained experts manage and monitor our retail networking solutions, and react immediately in the event of a threat.

Let CBTS help you address major network security issues

CBTS retail networking solutions address the major network security issues that today’s retailers face. With CBTS Network as a Service (NaaS), anti-malware and perimeter defense technologies protect your mission-critical systems against digital threats that could compromise business and customer data. CBTS NaaS also offers enterprise-grade firewall and security components to shield your network from malicious attacks.

Our NaaS solution works with current payment card industry (PCI) compliance solutions and adds state-of-the-art Intrusion Detection (IDS) and Intrusion Prevention (IPS) Systems. In addition, our Optical Sensor Cameras provide a continuous headcount of visitors while monitoring and recording their behaviors and patterns to provide enhanced visibility of your physical retail location’s security needs.

CBTS retail networking solutions help clients focus on customers

Customers will engage with retailers, and buy their products, if retailers can demonstrate customer data is protected. CBTS retail networking solutions facilitate network security for retailers, so that these businesses can focus on supporting customers.

At CBTS, your business is our priority. With a variety of solutions from data management to cloud serviceswe have what retailers need to increase sales in 2019 and beyond. Contact us today to see what CBTS  can do for your retail environment.

SD-WAN and the single-site retailer

Retailers with multiple sites and remote operations aren’t the only ones that benefit from advanced applications such as voice and video conferencing. The single-site retailer also relies on hosted voice and collaboration tools to improve customer service. For many of these retailers, every phone call and customer interaction is a revenue opportunity.

Read our Case Study: SD-WAN Improves Voice Quality, Access, Connectivity and Support for Single-Site Businesses.

The single-site retailer has traditionally used broadband MPLS or LTE connections to support mission-critical applications. However, these technologies are expensive to provision and maintain, and can deliver poor quality that ultimately diminishes the user experience. And while a single-site retailer needs reliable connectivity to support services such as video conferencing, instant message, and remote presence, that business often lacks dedicated IT resources to manage this technology.

SD-WAN from VeloCloud enhances access to voice, collaboration, and other Software as a Service (SaaS) applications, which gives even the smallest single-site retailer access to world-class infrastructure and services without the burden of a significant upfront capital expenditure.

SD-WAN improves voice quality for revenue-generating calls

SD-WAN powered by VeloCloud offers a number of advantages to a single-site retailer that depends on cloud-based, hosted voice, and SaaS applications. Voice quality, for example, is vastly improved because the platform can tolerate severe changes in service while maintaining top-quality support for real-time applications. Real-time voice and video are delivered reliably, even when packet loss approaches 40 percent.

SD-WAN powered by VeloCloud also delivers a single-site retailer reliable connectivity through its ability to make dynamic decisions in real time regarding which Wide Area Network path to use for voice and video traffic. It performs these dynamic path changes without breaking the connection, and with minimal degradation.

This is critical when navigating blackouts and brownouts. And even under normal conditions, this functionality allows a single-site retailer to maintain a continuously optimized cost structure by constantly recalibrating to the most efficient consumption of network resources.

SD-WAN gives single-site retailer cutting-edge technology

VeloCloud’s SD-WAN technology is within easy reach of a single-site retailer. CBTS has over 800 highly certified engineers who take on the burden of IT management and maintenance for your retail business. As a result, single-site retailer clients receive higher Quality of Service (QoS), reliable access to real-time voice and video services, and the luxury of focusing on their core business operations instead of overseeing complex networking infrastructure.

With SD-WAN powered by VeloCloud, every business can have all the tools of a Fortune 500 company at their disposal.

NaaS offers single-site retailers flexibility

CBTS is helping many single-site retailers including restaurants, salons, and other establishments overcome connectivity issues with standard ISP (Internet Service Provider) service. The CBTS Network as a Service (NaaS) solution mitigates many of the most common problems these retailers face, and provides useful amenities that add value to the broadband connection.

Single-site business challenges

Broadband connectivity offers single-site retailers a more affordable solution than an MPLS (Multi-Protocol Label Switching) connection. However, broadband doesn’t always cover all of these retailers’ needs. For example:

  • Most broadband providers do not offer Service Level Agreements. Instead, their contracts include “best effort” language that limits their responsibility in the event of a service interruption, and requires only that they make a good-faith effort to restore connectivity as soon as possible. Retailers know that every minute counts, and that connectivity issues can create negative customer experiences that ultimately impact the bottom line.
  • Many single-site retailers provide free Wi-Fi to customers. Standard network configurations that allow for unrestricted customer access can slow down the overall network, and cause problems for the retailers’ mission-critical operations such as Point of Sales (POS) applications.
  • Most broadband providers offer only a stateful firewall that doesn’t scan adequately – or at all – for malware and other hacker intrusions, which means the Wi-Fi connection these retailers offer to customers may not be secure.
  • These retailers need actionable analytics to better serve customers. Standard ISPs don’t offer this service, and don’t support push notifications over the Wi-Fi connection that are useful for targeting customers with special offers.

CBTS Network as a Service solution

The CBTS NaaS solution is built on Cisco Meraki technology, and is a cost-efficient way to deliver the broadband connectivity services that single-site retailers require.

  • The CBTS network architecture offers a second, failover broadband connection to ensure that mission-critical operations never go offline.
  • NaaS allows retailers to regulate guest Wi-Fi usage, limiting access to more bandwidth-intensive content like video. This helps smooth usage over the network and gives customers a speedy connection that won’t adversely impact POS and other vital business operations.
  • NaaS Unified Threat Management (UTM), which includes malware protection, anti-virus, intrusion detection and prevention, and application or content filtering addresses security issues under a fully managed service offering. ISP firewalls simply don’t provide this level of protection.
  • Finally, the CBTS NaaS solution turns Wi-Fi networks into a powerful tool that retailers can leverage to enhance customer offerings and provide a stronger, more personalized customer experience.

Conclusion

The CBTS NaaS solution offers a significant improvement over basic broadband services from standard broadband providers. The NaaS solution allows single-site retail customers to leverage these lower-cost connections and still benefit from a fully-managed service with strong network security protocols, redundant connections for zero downtime, and actionable analytics to improve the customer experience and drive business outcomes.

To learn more about the CBTS NaaS solutions, read this case study.

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.

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

CRM in retail builds loyal relationships

Customer relationship management (CRM) software is critical in today’s competitive and technologically advanced retail environment. CRM in retail provides a unified sales, marketing, and customer service hub that both recruits and retains customers. The top benefits include:

  1. Increased customer satisfaction
  2. Reduced costs
  3. Improved sales
  4. Enhanced customer service

However, businesses must understand how CRM in retail works in order to select the appropriate software and ensure it has the features necessary to manage their specific business needs.

CRM in retail unifies the customer experience

An omnichannel experience is key for today’s retailers, who must seamlessly connect with consumers. Leveraging real-time customer data allows retailers to create relationships and drive loyalty by better targeting individual consumer needs.

Busy consumers demand a fast, convenient shopping experience. CRM in retail is critical in order to organize and manage customer data so retailers can provide a tailored sales approach to every consumer at the right time and through the right channel.

This is advantageous for both retailers and consumers: Retailers communicate their information to the consumer, and the consumer receives the information through the channel(s) they desire.

Retailers can personalize the shopping experience through the following CRM in retail tools:

  • Social media. By interacting with customers via social media, merchants gain public exposure and create “brand ambassadors” who recruit potential new customers.
  • Artificial intelligence. New voice technologies such as Google Home and Apple HomePod allow consumers to investigate and make purchases without human interaction. Similar technologies, such as self-checkout lanes and virtual or augmented reality options, are increasingly popular with both consumers and retailers.
  • Blockchain. Blockchain is a digital ledger that maintains a record of a product’s lifecycle, including origin, manufacturing, transportation, and logistics data. This provides consumers with transparent product information and streamlines the record-keeping process for manufacturers, distributors, and merchants. (Click here to read more about Key Technologies for Retailers.)

CRM data enhances the entire sales approach

CRM in retail software gathers customer information such as preferences, demographics, and location. Merchants can then leverage this easily accessible data to segment their market and customize their sales approach. For example, if the demographic information indicates a significant number of young customers with children, retailers can focus on creating a more family-friendly store environment.

CRM in retail data also enables retailers to target individual customers. If a customer has visited a merchant website and viewed certain products, retailers can focus on driving advertising deals and promotions on these products to the customer, and encourage them to make a purchase. Retailers can also manage promotion effectiveness by eliminating products and promotions that do not interest a specific consumer.

A CRM in retail system maintains a structured record of customer purchases, service calls, and even warranties. With this data, retailers can manage several different digital marketing campaigns and disseminate special offers to customers when their warranties are about to expire. This low-cost strategy keeps products in front of the customer, and provides them with purchase information when they need it the most.

CRM technology retains customers by serving them in a focused and convenient way

The end goal of CRM in retail is to increase customer retention. Retailers can further this effect by using CRM software to implement customer loyalty campaigns. These programs and applications track purchases and issue rewards. Such programs are extremely valuable and cost-effective, as it costs less to maintain an existing customer than it does to recruit a new one.

CRM systems are vital tools that allow retailers to manage the entire sales process. By building long-lasting customer relationships, retailers ensure their relevance and success in the future.

CBTS helps retailers improve their businesses

CC-One, for example, is a unified contact center solution that provides omnichannel web, email, chat, and social customer interactions. This CRM in retail solution allows retailers to engage with customers in their preferred way while optimizing and managing the workforce to connect with consumers via phone, SMS, email, and even messaging apps.

Successful retailers are combining Wi-Fi with analytics to drive store sales and loyalty. Through CBTS Network as a Service (NaaS) solution’s single-pane of glass dashboard, business decisions can be made to improve the customer experience. Our solution provides instant access to real-time analytics of consumer behavior, and enables retailers to leverage their ability to send “sale” offers to shoppers’ smartphones. It also allows shoppers’ barcode readers to find product ratings, which can finalize a purchase that otherwise might not have taken place.

Cisco’s Meraki platform features Edge router appliances for top quality in-store Wi-Fi. The platform is easy to deploy across branch locations. Meraki’s auto VPN feature provides secure data connectivity between the central office and all branches, for real-time, company-wide communications.

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Contact CBTS today to learn how our solutions can benefit your retail environment.

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.

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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.