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Much has been said lately about the impending death of premises-based unified communications, and the growth of cloud-hosted solutions. Infonetics’ annual business cloud VoIP and UC services report forecasts cloud-based UC revenue growth of 13% this year, following a 20% increase in 2013. While premises-based UC dominates today’s installed base, its growth forecast is flat, with only a .01% revenue increase expected this year. By 2018, Infonetics expects a worldwide cloud PBX and UC market of $12 billion, with 62.6 million seats in service.

There are plenty of good reasons why cloud-based UC appeals to organizations – starting with the pay as you go model that reduces capital outlay. Just as appealing to corporate IT departments is the chance to relinquish responsibility for managing and supporting a growing network of PBX hardware and software. As David Michels notes in Premises-Based UC Is Over: “UC complexity has spread like a cancer across IT. To troubleshoot a call, the modern telecom/IT professional is expected to be savvy with a series of UC applications, firewalls, SBCs, SIP, IP, virtualization, VLANs, wireless, and more”. By moving to the cloud, organizations shift the burden of support to cloud service providers.

So, for the corporate IT department, life gets easier with the adoption of cloud-based UC. For the cloud service provider faced with managing these complex environments, there is both opportunity and threat. Those who manage this complexity successfully get an edge on their competition – but it’s not an easy task, and poor service quality drives customers away quickly.

Tools that help service providers deliver UC service quality more easily are gaining traction amongst cloud-based service providers. Software offering actionable data on problems that can impact service quality, delivered in real-time, makes the service provider more proactive in preventing service quality degradation. Offloading much of the work of monitoring and pinpointing the source of a problem to software like MarWatch is a better use of service provider resources and delivers better outcomes.

A recent study on Johns Hopkins Hospital addressed the rising alarm rate (a whopping 350  alarm conditions per bed, per day on average) in hospitals, and the dangers resulting from ‘alarm fatigue’ – the desensitization of staff to alarms. Alarm fatigue in hospitals has resulted from too many monitoring devices, alarm thresholds set too low, duplicate alarms and false positives.

What does all of this have to do with IT? Though lives are typically not in danger from a missed alarm in IT, alarm fatigue can negatively impact productivity. An array of multi-vendor devices generate alarms – often with little user control over alarm conditions or prioritization of alarm severity.

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Mitel unified communications (UC) equipment is popular in the education community, favoured for its flexible and budget-friendly business communications tools. Mitel authorizedPARTNER MXN Corporation works closely with a number of school boards, colleges and universities. MXN uses MarWatch fault & performance management software to simplify monitoring and management of Mitel UC systems in schools. We asked MXN VP of Product Development Michael Lippman for his observations.
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Today’s business communications network is more complex than ever – and users have high expectations for reliability and service quality. problemsolved504226It’s created a perfect storm for enterprise IT professionals and telecom resellers. Mitel customers and partners have a secret weapon: MarWatch. This fault & performance management software tackles complexity and ensures Mitel systems always function optimally. Here’s just a glimpse of the problems you will solve with MarWatch:

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The cancellation of a popular free remote access service in early 2014 had some telecom resellers searching for a quick and cost-effective replacement. While there are several comparable alternatives, few are equal to the task of remotely accessing customer sites to troubleshoot and support Mitel Unified Communications (UC) systems. As the industry shifts towards a more proactive network support model and losses from downtime loom, there is a business case for a single pane of glass that will offer not only remote access, but also monitoring and management of these business-critical systems. Consider the following questions:

Is my visibility into Mitel UC systems deep enough?

Remote access to a PC can be appropriate to troubleshoot issues, but could your customer benefit if you had deeper visibility into UC systems – MiVoice Business, MiCollab, MiVoice Border Gateway, MiVoice Office, or even a glimpse into IP handsets?

Is security an important concern when accessing customer networks?

Simple remote access solutions can be convenient, but are you confident that accessibility is secure? Look toward solutions with strong standards-based SSL and SSH encryption and authentication methods, and an access control methodology that ensures only authorized personnel can access the customer’s network.

Could I provide better support to customers?

UC management for proactive detection and resolution of issues will soon be the de facto standard, if the predictions of industry watchers hold true. Ask yourself if your current support approach is reactive – are you scrambling to fix problems once they’ve happened? Consider the increase in your productivity and your customer’s satisfaction if you received early warning before the problem occurs, so that downtime can be avoided.

Mitel MarWatch is fault & performance management software that offers secure remote access for lower cost troubleshooting. The software also monitors UC systems and the associated network infrastructure on a 24/7 basis, generating real-time alerts whenever an issue occurs that is predictive of a larger problem and ultimately downtime. Together, these tools shape your support offering, allowing you to proactively detect and resolve issues before they become a problem for your customer.