Martello BLOG

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 Mitel Performance Analytics (MPA), UC Performance Management solution to simplify monitoring and management of Mitel UC systems in schools. We asked MXN VP of Product Development Michael Lippman for his observations.

Q: Why have you deployed Mitel Performance Analytics for your education customers?
MXN: Everyone wants to save money, but schools are really working with lean IT teams. MPA makes sense from this perspective. It’s a fairly low cost way to let the software do the legwork of monitoring multiple devices, alerting IT staff quickly when a problem is detected. Then, with secure remote access, you can troubleshoot equipment without leaving your desk – eliminating the cost of travel to multiple locations.

Q: What sets MPA apart from other UC monitoring and monitoring solutions?
MXN: We’ve used competing solutions in the past, and we’ve found MPA to be the better solution for management of Mitel systems. MPA gives us greater visibility, empowering the customer with key data such as voice quality ratings, CPU and memory utilization, ping time and license usage. A key drawback of other solutions is their complexity – the presentation of information is overwhelming and it’s difficult to use the data effectively. MPA offers simplicity – the right information, presented in the most useful way. In fact, we like it so much that we’re including the dashboard as part of our ePortal program. Customers will receive secure tablets that include the MPA dashboard alongside other tools, such as HVAC and video. This gives IT and Facilities staff a simple way to access information on their systems.

Q: How is the education sector unique in terms of its UC management needs?
MXN: I’ve touched on the subject of budget. Another consideration for schools is emergency preparedness. Voice lines and other communications such as SMS can become a lifeline in emergency situations, so it’s important that these systems are there when they are needed most. MPA helps keep them running optimally around the clock. Also, school boards and universities tend to operate across multiple locations and campuses, making network management an even greater challenge. MPA not only simplifies this with 24/7 monitoring, alerts and remote access, it helps with planning.

Q: How does MPA help universities and schools with planning and forecasting?
MXN: Interestingly enough, the reporting feature of MPA recently helped us make the sale to a university. After viewing the reports wedetailed-reporting can generate from MPA  – showing voice quality, device availability statistics, alarm trends, and memory utilization over a period, the customer was sold. For schools, the MPA reports can help with capacity planning – knowing when to move to SIP, for example.

From cost-effective troubleshooting to capacity planning, MPA simplifies the task of managing UC service quality and maintaining uptime in schools.

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: Mitel Performance Analytics (MPA). This UC Performance Management solution tackles complexity and ensures Mitel systems always function optimally. Here’s just a glimpse of the problems you will solve with MPA:

1. We spend too much time trying to get systems back up when they fail – We want you to be proactive and prevent downtime, rather than picking up the pieces afterwards. That’s where performance monitoring and alarm management come in. MPA has a series of severity thresholds for voice quality and other metrics such as memory utilization. Devices on the network are monitored on a 24/7 basis, and when a threshold is maximized or breached, you’ll receive an alarm – allowing you to address the issue BEFORE it can cause downtime.

2. Sending a technician onsite every time there’s a problem is too costly – We can help you eliminate up to 80% of onsite visits. Every Mitel device can be accessed remotely, without the need for a VPN, from the MPA dashboard. This means cost-effective troubleshooting without truck rolls.

3. We know there’s a problem, but we can’t pinpoint the source – Mitel reseller ComRes found that MPA simplified the task of identifying the cause of the problem. “In a geographically widespread network, there are multiple components, including different ISPs and internet connection types. That makes it more difficult to know what is causing a problem. With MPA, we can isolate an issue more specifically to the right location or ISP, and access these locations remotely”

4. Phones are disconnected, and we don’t know it – MPA monitors IP handset connectivity to MiVoice Business or Mitel Border Gateway. A real-time alert is generated if a handset is disconnected or unprogrammed, ensuring the issue is detected before any losses can occur

5. Our network has multi-vendor equipment that we want to monitor without using a separate tool – MPA specializes in Mitel equipment. However, recognizing the many components of the network infrastructure, MPA can provide basic monitoring (availability/reachability, system information) for any IP device. The software also supports monitoring of a range of device types: routers, servers, managed Ethernet switches, call recorders, voice mail.

6. It’s hard to produce good reports that show what’s happening on the network – MPA helps IT professionals demonstrate service level agreement assurance, and assists with capacity planning. Reports can be generated on demand or monthly that deliver service level data on all of the devices for a customer, region or specific location.

7. Preventing downtime is especially important for some of my customers – Some customers operate in a mission-critical environment, in which downtime of the communications system can cause lost revenues or even danger to occupants. MPA helps prevent downtime, giving you peace of mind. Some Mitel authorizedPARTNERs choose to adopt MPA as part of the Premium Software Assurance & Support subscription*, which also delivers Mitel software updates and 24/7 Mitel support.

8. I’m a small reseller, and it’s harder to compete with the bigger players – MPA is the ultimate equalizer! Even the smallest reseller can support customers around the globe with MPA. MPAhelps IT departments do more with less, since the software is constantly monitoring systems, and alerting you when something needs attention.

9. We have difficulty with weekend/off hours coverage for network support – MPA simplifies support of business communications networks during off hours. Alerts can be dispatched via email, SMS or Twitter, and special conditions can be set for off-hours. For example, the system can be configured to only send Critical or Major Alarms on the weekend, ensuring that staff is only dealing with true emergencies on weekends or evenings.

10. Our IT staff can’t keep up with support calls –MPA reduces the demands placed on your IT department. Since IT staff is alerted before the issue can impact service quality, you’ll have it fixed before the user can detect it. Mitel’s Remote Monitoring and Access Service (RMAS), which uses MPA, is also an option for those requiring a managed monitoring service.

*Premium Software Assurance & Support Mitel Performance Analytics offer is available to Partner sales on Mitel premise-based products. It is not applicable to Service Provider CapEx offers or Subscription licensing.

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 Performance Analytics is UC performance management solution 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.