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Best Practices… Taking it Step-by-Step to Your Smooth, Resilient Cloud Migration

With more companies moving to the cloud to support remote work requirements, due diligence is essential. Moving to the cloud is a major undertaking, but it has to happen. There’s not only a pandemic to deal with, but legacy systems are expensive to maintain. To ensure your cloud migration is smooth and resilient keep these three principles in mind…

1. Plan for Now, Plan for the Future

Doing your homework pays off in the long run. First, identify all the relevant stakeholders – those who will be most impacted by changes in applications and accessibility – and discover what’s most important to them. What are their key workflows? What applications and tools are essential for them to do their work? What’s most likely to be impacted by the migration? After completing this process, you will be better able to develop a detailed deployment plan that takes each stakeholder’s unique needs into account.

Next, decide what will go to the cloud. Examine each application and determine if it makes more sense to migrate it, keep it local, or upgrade it to a native cloud application or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application. Evaluate how each decision will impact your overall infrastructure. The discovery and evaluation process may also help you to project future needs.

2. Actively Manage Change

When designing your cloud migration, identify each significant moving part that could create problems, and develop a plan to mitigate the issues.

When you shift applications to the cloud, will you have the IT personnel with the skill set you need? If not, you might have to hire new team members or retrain current employees. Workflows will change. Responsibilities and roles may change. Think ahead and assemble the players you need. Consider forming a dedicated team just to manage the migration.

3. Test for Resilience before Migration

Because resilience is so crucial to the business, it pays to prepare and test your systems before deployment…

Ask your vendors for demonstrations before you go live. They should be able to walk you through every step in the process.

Because there will be bumps along the way, make sure you’ll have access to real-time data in case you want to step back and change your plan.

Preparing for cloud migration is a good time to reevaluate your back-up and recovery solutions to make sure they’re strong and aligned with the company’s business strategy.

Moving your communications to the cloud shouldn’t be intimidating. With a strong partner like TCI on your side, you and your stakeholders can rest assured that the migration will go smoothly. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Looking Ahead… Evolving 2021 Cloud Trends

The vast majority of businesses are now utilizing cloud services. But just because the cloud revolution has already happened doesn’t mean it has reached an endpoint.

With the cloud still evolving in 2021, it is worth examining how three emerging trends will impact businesses, and what business owners can do to prepare.

1. Artificial Intelligence

AI is going to be making a big impact on the world of cloud computing, as machine learning and automation create new efficiencies for decision makers and users. The arrival of AI will bring opportunities for some restructuring – many labor-intensive tasks will now be automated. This will leave your teams with additional working hours and resources that can be deployed to more strategic initiatives to grow your business.

2. Cloud-hosted Desktops

Cloud-hosted desktops will become more prevalent with the increase in hybrid and remote work. With a ‘Virtual’ desktop, the workstation is delivered directly to a remote computing device – laptop, tablet, smartphone – via a broadband connection through the cloud.

With Cloud computing technology, you’ll be able to securely deploy remote teams, and provide the tools they’ll need to handle collaborative tasks with their colleagues. To prepare, define hybrid and remote work policies within your organization, and make sure your teams get the technical skills training they’ll need.

3. A Unified Cloud Environment

Despite the best efforts of cloud providers to keep their offerings separate from their competitors, expect more multi-cloud arrangements to break down those artificial silos this year. Look for more cross-platform, cross-provider collaboration – which will benefit businesses and consumers. As these new collaborative services gain traction, equip your team so they can exploit the enhanced tools and functions to benefit your business.

Reach out to TCI today to learn more about how your business can fully leverage the latest technology throughout 2021 and beyond. Contact us at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Remote Work and Hybrid Workplaces… The Future of Work is Now

Remote and hybrid work is no longer the future of work – it’s the “now” of work. But connecting and collaborating with coworkers can be a challenge. We’ve all had our share of setbacks and lessons learned, but at TCI we’ll make sure your business communications are optimized for your future success. We’ve been designing, deploying and supporting technology for over 40 years.

Let’s talk about your new opportunities and the new ways your teams can work together…

  • Cultivating easier collaboration for improved Customer Experience
  • Migrating to the Cloud for flexibility and growth for the “now” of work
  • Industry-specific solutions and tools, including field service apps and distributed call centers for customer support
  • Leverage next-gen apps, including customized Google AI solutions
  • Improving the security and compliance of remote work

Regardless of what the future holds, it’s clear that hybrid and remote workers are here to stay. It’s up to you to keep your employees engaged, productive and safe, no matter where they’re working.

For insights on building solutions and processes for hybrid work that can scale into the future, arrange a planning session with your local TCI experts.

TCI can help your business thrive in 2021. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

 

Top Tech Trends in the Hospitality & Lodging Industry… Some May Make Sense for Your Business

Hotels, motels and other hospitality businesses once occupied a fairly simple space in people’s lives – they were a place for guests to lay their heads while away from home.

But anyone who’s spent time on the road in recent years knows that the role of technology has greatly expanded. Here are some of the top communication technology trends in hospitality today…

  1. Cloud migration – The hospitality industry is making the transition to the cloud, where opportunities abound for back office efficiency with low technology acquisition costs. Cloud technologies are simplifying operations, reducing staffing needs, and providing a better guest experience.
  2. Service automation through AI – Automation continues to be a trend that’s changing the way guests are served. With the advancements in Artificial Intelligence, hotels are interacting with guests digitally while freeing up hotel staff to work on other tasks. This also improves the travel experience as language differences can be eliminated, ensuring clear communication with travelers wherever they’re from.
  3. Integrated guest applications – Guest apps for personal mobile devices are the natural place to host everything from deal notifications to hotel services to loyalty programs. Innovative capabilities can be integrated into these hotel applications to grant guests increased ability to engage with hotel staff and other guests.
  4. Touchless interactions – The pandemic has emphasized the need to reconsider how guests interact with amenities. From digital room keys that allow guests to unlock doors using their phones to motion sensors that turn on lights, to voice-activated control of appliances, reducing contact with commonly touched interfaces allows guests to stay safe and housekeeping staff to sanitize and prepare rooms faster.
  5. Self-service meeting spaces – No longer are meeting spaces just about table and chair arrangements. Today’s meetings rely on multimedia presentations and videoconferencing to bring in remote attendees. And for marathon meetings, access to services like catering must be handled with minimal interruption. Advanced technology enablement is also becoming a must-have in ballrooms and event halls.
  6. Predictive Analytics – As more technology is added to improve the guest experience, more data is being collected about how guests interact with staff and amenities. When analyzed, the data can provide insights that can improve internal operations as well as the guest experience, resulting in your property becoming a preferred place to stay and the one that gets recommended to others.

If you see an application here that could help your business get ahead, reach out to the experts at TCI. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Strengthening Collaboration in the Evolving Workplace

Today’s pandemic has changed the way small and medium businesses perceive the workplace. Responding to stay-at-home mandates, SMBs with existing remote work programs have expanded them, and those that lacked work-from-home options prior to the pandemic started implementing them.

The Hybrid Workplace

Some employees will eventually go back to the office full-time when the pandemic subsides. Many will continue to work at home full-time, while others divide their work between home and office. The workplace is also likely to remain fluid, accommodating changing business and employee situations on the fly.

People who had turned off their cameras for online meetings started turning them on. In the process, everyone has become accustomed to the occasional technical glitches and security breaches, or scenes of family life playing out in the background. But video conferencing is not the only online tool that has helped sustain businesses…

Cloud to the Rescue

Cloud applications – remote IT and access, real-time collaboration, file sharing, backup, security, and identity management – have proven their value in supporting remote work and keeping businesses operational.

Integrating a mix of old phone systems, web and video conferencing, SMS, file-sharing and other tools often cost more – in terms of both time and money – than it does to move to a unified solution where the applications work together.

Unified, cloud collaboration solutions pull all of the things you need to do every day into one place. Many cloud solutions offer integration with key business applications, such as email, CRM, human resources, and other solutions to help streamline business workflows and help remote workers thrive. For example, your communications can be arranged to integrate with G Suite, Salesforce, SugarCRM, Microsoft Office or Microsoft Dynamics. Unified collaboration solutions also offer enterprise-grade security and reliability safeguards that businesses need.

Making the Transition

As your business transitions from meeting immediate needs to long-term planning, taking a more holistic approach can help you bring people and processes together, and put your business on the path to sustainability and growth as the workplace continues to evolve.

Collaboration in the evolving workplace can be a big challenge. TCI can help make it happen. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

4 More Reasons We Built TCI Host on a Mitel-Powered Business Cloud Platform

Mitel is #1 in Cloud Communications Worldwide… This is good for TCI-delivered Cloud services and better for you…

When it comes to communications and collaboration, the DC region’s fastest moving businesses choose solutions that give them choices.

TCI’s flexible, easy-to-use cloud service is powered by Mitel, making us the choice of public and private sector customers across the region. Supporting ‘anywhere’ connections, our TCI Host service supports their office-based, remote and hybrid workers across the country.

Industry experts and customers of all sizes are reinforcing our choice of a Mitel-powered platform over any other provider for our clients:

  • Synergy Research – Mitel is the #1 market leader in total cloud seats for the 7th consecutive year
  • Frost & Sullivan – Mitel named leader in UCaaS growth and innovation
  • Newsweek – Mitel named Best Business Communications Tool Provider
  • Tolly Report – Mitel was compared to 8×8 and RingCentral and emerged superior

Just 4 more reasons to choose TCI Host – powered by Mitel – for all your communications needs… Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

 

Remote Work is Here to Stay… Keep Your Staff and Customers Well Connected over the Long Haul

Only a year ago, the typical business provided voice and IT support on-site, from within the company’s offices. With the pandemic, things changed suddenly, requiring your IT team to deliver more support to everyone at home.

The concept of work as an activity primarily done within a company’s office has been completely transformed. Many employees now prefer the ability to work remotely for greater flexibility and to minimize health risks. Many companies are responding with a hybrid approach enabled by new technologies.

Reliance on the Cloud

The need to support remote and dispersed working scenarios will only grow as more organizations develop an appreciation for their flexibility and efficiencies. Defining a cloud migration strategy with your trusted technology partner should be among the top priorities of every business.

Artificial Intelligence  

AI has proven extremely helpful in responding to fluctuating demand during COVID-19. A company’s cloud contact center, for example, can make it easy for staff to work from home and easily manage the influx of orders and support requests by leveraging an AI-based chatbot that helps offload higher call volumes. AI can also be exploited to better manage network traffic and access, and perform data analysis so you can refine your operations with better information.

Supporting Flexible Work Arrangements

Additional requirements that will need your IT team’s attention…

  • Ensuring that there are enough devices for all remote employees and that users are adequately equipped for multiple work environments
  • If any employees will be using personal devices, IT will need to confirm that each employee’s setup supports encrypted communications
  • Securing remote devices to meet data privacy and compliance requirements when they are in an open environment

Some organizations were caught flat-footed last March because they never imagined a scenario in which all their workers would be remote. Since then, many have adapted, but we recognize that deploying and managing remote work and hybrid arrangements will always be a big challenge.

Need help? Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

Your Business Isn’t “One Size Fits All”… How TCI Customizes Every Cloud & UCaaS Deployment

Powered by technology from global leader Mitel, our Hosted “Unified Communications as a Service” (UCaaS) solution fills a crucial gap in the DC Region’s fast moving Cloud Voice market.

Whether you’re a small or large business, we custom design and manage every solution specifically for your unique requirements. Every TCI UCaaS client is provided a fully-featured, dedicated arrangement that doesn’t share resources with any other customer. Unlike “One Size Fits All” offerings, our solution will not restrict access to features or limit your deployment options.

Flexible Deployment & Acquisition Options

Exploiting the flexibility of today’s technology, your virtualized UC platform may be deployed on your premises, in a public or private cloud, or any datacenter location, including TCI’s. You can Rent, Lease, or Purchase and we offer Fully Managed or Self-Managed support.

A Seamless, Easy Transition

Unlike other Business VoIP providers, TCI takes care of all the important details for you, from delivering phones to network testing and set-up, feature programming, training, and ongoing support.

Learn more about The TCI Advantage

Proven & Experienced 

  • TCI has been providing service and solutions for 40+ years
  • More than 3,500 systems installed – local, nationwide, globally
  • Over 40,000+ lines under service contracts
  • Mitel-certified Voice & Data Technical Engineers
  • 24 x 7 x 365 Live Answer Customer Service

Ready to simplify and improve your Business Communications? Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

Work Arrangements for Reopening… Supporting Hybrid Workers at-Home and in-Office with UC

COVID-19 has become a global orientation session for remote working and opened the eyes of many to the productivity advantages of working from home.

As some employees start returning to the office while others remain at home – some permanently – it’s time to consider the best technology solutions for supporting this new hybrid work arrangement.

Unified Communications (UC) delivered from the Cloud offers a straightforward way to bridge your home and office workers. The cloud makes it easier to access company resources, like documents and spreadsheets, as well as meet and collaborate using built-in audio and video conferencing and messaging tools.

Mitel CMO David Silke sits down with Zeus Kerravala, founder and principal analyst of ZK Research, to explore the technologies and practices that will support the emerging hybrid work environments many businesses will adopt…

Watch the 27-minute Video

When it comes to customizing technology for your business or non-profit, we can map out the best mix of cloud, on-premises and hybrid deployments to connect your workforce at the office, in the field and at home.

Contact TCI today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.

 

What’s Driving Adoption of Hybrid & Cloud Computing?

IT systems and data networks should move a business forward, not hold it back. That’s why companies in every industry are looking to the cloud. By using a network of remote servers to store, manage and process data, rather than the traditional local servers they might have on-site today, businesses can reap the advantages of high performance, reliability, affordable prices, easy collaboration, and secure data access.

And that’s not all… Hybrid and cloud arrangements offer a number of practical bottom-line benefits:

  • Deliver secure remote access to employees: Ensure your employees receive a consistent, high-quality user experience to rely on for secure access to the apps and data they need – no matter what type of network connection they use.
  • Provide employees with flexibility to work anytime, anywhere: Work is no longer a place – it’s something you enable with the greatest security and flexibility. Use app and desktop virtualization to embrace workforce mobility and empower your employees to work anywhere, anytime, on any device.
  • Empower mobile users without compromising security: Having sensitive business data stored on employee devices increases vulnerability. By virtualizing your apps and desktops to keep data secure in your datacenter or the cloud you don’t have to worry about lost or stolen devices.
  • Make managing desktops easier and more efficient: Implement app and desktop virtualization to automate and centralize management. You can stop patching and updating your employees’ desktops on an individual, manual basis – saving you time, money and frustration.
  • Get new employees up and running in minutes: Use any available devices – aging legacy PCs, thin clients, laptops or mobile devices – and reduce new employee time to productivity.
  • Keep employees productive during business disruptions: Empower your employees to work remotely during business disruptions – anywhere, anytime, on any device – with secure access to the apps and data they depend on.
  • Reduce IT costs: App and desktop virtualization significantly reduce your IT costs, management time, and complexity compared to traditional desktop management.

Many businesses are still under the impression that the Cloud is a one-size-fits-all solution. That’s why having a trusted technology partner who can work with you to develop a cloud roadmap and strategy is so important.

Have questions about what IT platform and cloud deployment option is best for your business? Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or info@tcicomm.com.