Jane Flemming writes for us Breeze™ ‘ticks all the boxes’ for Auroz
11 | 2011 Do managed services still make good business sense? Special offer on Plantronics CS500 series headsets
On call When Auroz, a successful Plantronics headset distributor, began planning the relocation of their Sydney head office to larger premises, the telephone system was definitely on the ‘need to review’ list. Should the existing system be moved even though it was nearing end of life? Should the company purchase a new system? or lease one? A medium-size business employing sales, customer service and logistics staff, Auroz needed a solution that was cost-effective and easy for the business to manage. “After exploring a number of options, we found that NSC’s Breeze managed service ticked all the boxes,” said John Sexton, Director of Auroz. Breeze enabled Auroz to provide employees in different roles with the kind of phone they needed to do their job without requiring the company to invest capital in purchasing a phone system themselves.
Auroz were able to choose user profiles from a range of BREEZE options for office-based staff, call-centre staff and mobile staff. “Not only did NSC’s proposal mean that we could avoid capital expenditure and replace it with a pre-set per-user per-month charge, the monthly cost includes management of the system by NSC. That means that we have communications experts monitoring the system, a service/help desk available to us 24/7 and monthly reviews of patches and security notifications,” Mr Sexton continued. “What’s more, when we trialled the Plantronics headsets on the ShoreTel equipment that NSC will install as part of our Breeze system, we were very pleased with the audio clarity.” For more information on NSC’s BREEZE™ managed service, go to www.nsc.net.au/index.php?cID=208
Auroz is a distributor of the complete range of Plantronics headsets and telephony products, specialising in office, call centre and UC solutions. The company delivers leading-edge technologies through a nationwide network of approved resellers. To find out more, phone Auroz on 1300 650 571 or visit their website at www.auroz.com.au
02/ converge 11/2011
welcome In good shape I’m pleased to be ‘speaking’ to you this month from the pages of our new-look customer magazine. I hope you find the new format easy to read and navigate. Our decision to upgrade to an e-zine is just one of a number of initiatives that we’ve taken recently to enhance our interactions with you. At NSC Group, we pride ourselves on being a business partner, not just a technology provider, so it’s critically important that we develop and maintain high-quality, long-term relationships with each of you. To this end, we have engaged Jane Flemming to host a number of unique events for us this year, providing an opportunity for us to meet in relatively informal circumstances. Jane, of course, is well-known for her achievements in track and field in years past. Although she retired from athletics in the mid-1990s, she remains the Australian record holder for the women’s heptathalon by a sizeable margin, and her best 100m hurdle time is the still the third-fastest ever run by an Australian woman. Jane is now active in the corporate world and we’re delighted that she’s added NSC to her client list. In addition to organising events for us, Jane will be writing a regular column for Converge. We’ve positioned it on the back page in lieu of the more customary sport reports!
NSC’s annual accounts have been signed off by our auditors in recent weeks, and I’m able to confirm that we remain in sound financial health. The annual growth in revenue has slowed, but that is to be expected as we focus on providing more customers with managed services. In this context, I was interested to read the column written by our head of Managed Services, Guy Simons (see page 4) that indicates that the business case for customers to adopt a managed-services model for communications remains compelling. NSC offers a range of managed-services options. One that I’ve spoken about a great deal this year is BREEZE™. Although BREEZE can be implemented in firms of any size, we designed it to be of particular interest to medium-size organisations. Among the customers who have recently chosen BREEZE is Auroz (see page 2). With a small call centre, only one physical site in Sydney and mobile workers in other states, BREEZE was an ideal solution for their business-communications needs. We are in discussions with a sizeable number of other companies who have identified BREEZE as an excellent fit with their business. More on that next time. Regards, Craig Neil Managing Director, NSC Group
11/2011 converge /03
Do Managed Services still make good business sense? by Guy Simons
I thought for my first column in NSC’s Converge magazine it would be interesting to review the landscape for Managed Services. When I was appointed to head up NSC’s Managed Services business a number of years ago, I considered the key business drivers for the service and the reasons organisations were committing to this selective-outsourcing path. They formed the cornerstone of a presentation entitled The Business Case for Managed Services. Now, some years later, I was keen to see how much of that presentation still rang true in the world of Unified Communications and Contact Centres. At that time, I identified five business drivers that supported the case for Managed Services. They were:
1. Capex vs Opex – IT infrastructure considered to be commodity items should be acquired as a monthly service charge, freeing up valuable working capital for core business initiatives.
2. Project vs Operational – Companies should be investing in their value-based workers who contribute to the strategic direction of the business and leaving the day to day operations to external organisations that can provide a leveraged resource capability.
3. Technology Complexity – IT departments find it a challenge to keep pace with the technological complexity of unified-communication environments and the proliferation of application services within contact centres. This, in contrast, is core business for system integrators/service providers.
4. Skillset Shortage – The cost of recruiting and training personnel is continually rising and skillset shortages are a perennial issue. Selective outsourcing removes the operational and human-resource impact of managing such shortages by acquiring the appropriate skillsets through leveraged resource models. 04/ converge 11/2011
5. Business-outcome Focus – IT projects in the past have been IT-led initiatives, seldom addressing genuine business requirements. The results have often been major budget blowouts and inferior business benefits. Selective outsourcing ensures that the business needs are addressed through the consultative approach that is inherent in mature Managed Services models. In the four years since I set up the Service Management model for NSC’s Managed Service offering, the principal drivers have remained consistent. The approach taken to addressing those drivers, however, is continually evolving. In my column in the next issue, I will focus on how those drivers are being addressed today. Guy Simons is the Managed Services Executive at NSC Group. With a background in finance and IT, he combines skills as a strategic visionary with a capacity to achieve tangible and pragmatic results. NSC provides a full spectrum of Managed Services that address both financial and operational challenges. Our reputation as a leading managed-service provider in Unified Communications and Contact Centres has been achieved through financial strength, professional maturity, accredited technical capabilities and a strong service culture aligned to world’s best practice IT Service Management. For more information, go to www.nsc.net.au/index.php/services
Customers are talking, but are you listening? Organisations that are genuinely committed to their customers will, among other things, provide opportunities for customers to offer feedback. Lots of opportunities. In this day and age, that means using a range of different media: in person, by phone, by email, by text message, on Facebook. Just as importantly, this customer feedback will be recorded, reviewed, ‘owned’ by senior management, and responded to in a way that customers find meaningful and respectful.
enables organisations to detect, gather, analyse, and act on insights from a variety of channels.
What’s more, customers are now using a range of media to talk about your organisation: word of mouth can now spread to literally thousands when someone posts a blog, adds their opinion to a review site or tweets to friends and followers.
As part of the quarterly Tech Talk series, NSC hosted briefings in Sydney and Melbourne this month featuring Verint’s Head of Consulting, Belinda Haden. She discussed: the concept of ‘the Voice of the Customer’ how Voice of the Customer programmes support a company’s wider customer-experience strategy and customer-service goals how to deploy an integrated solution that incorporates an ‘outside-in’ perspective of customer service, experiences and satisfaction by using speech analytics, text analytics and customer feedback.
According to Verint, a leading global supplier of software-based analytics, “listening to, understanding and acting on ‘the voice of the customer’ is paramount to operational and organisational improvement”.
Keith McDonald, Director of Customer Service for Carnival Australia (the parent company of P&O and Princess Cruises) profiled the project that his organisation has undertaken using a Verint solution to achieve higher levels of customer satisfaction.
The variety of channels that customers use to communicate creates new opportunities to detect and leverage customer sentiment, but it also poses a challenge: how can you efficiently analyse information from multiple channels and tie it together to identify trends, issues and competitive advantages?
The presentation material from this briefing is relevant not only to technical/IT staff who may be involved in implementing Voice of the Customer projects but also to those whose roles are focussed on customer service and customer satisfaction, such as a contact-centre manager, customer service manager, sales or marketing manager.
Verint’s Voice of the Customer Analytics solutions address this challenge by providing a platform that To obtain a copy of the presentation material, email firstname.lastname@example.org
11/2011 converge /05
Part of the exterior of Silver Top Taxis’ new facility in Collingwood.
A successful taxi operation requires not only drivers in taxis, but also the means of effectively communicating with them. So it was a very dark day in the history of Melbourne’s Silver Top Taxis when the offices of their Collingwood-based call centre were destroyed by fire in July 2009.
Photograph by Michael Embelton, courtesy of Silver Top Taxis
It’s good to be home Without any warning, a fleet comprising almost half of Melbourne’s taxis was off the air, leaving passengers stranded and drivers denied the possibility of any bookings. NSC Group, which has supported Silver Top’s communications infrastructure for many years, responded immediately, and within a few hours, Silver Top was able to offer customers a limited phonebooking service. In a remarkable effort by Silver Top management and a range of supplier companies, alternative premises for the contact centre were leased by late on the evening of the fire and technicians worked throughout the night to re-establish full operations. The system was switched on in the new offices at 6.30am the following morning – less than 24 hours after the fire had broken out. Now, just over two years later, Silver Top has moved back to its original address in Collingwood, into a purpose-built, state-of-the-art facility. 06/ converge 11/2011
Melbourne’s taxi fleet numbers more than 4000 licences, with about half of those Silver Top Taxis. The Silver Top Taxis contact centre takes more than 500,000 incoming calls from customers each month. Silver Top Taxis has a long history of technology leadership in the industry. its first call centre was established in 1939 the dispatch system was computerised in 1991 in 1995, a new digital switch allowed the use of screen pops in 2000, Silver Top Taxis implemented its first Interactive Voice Response (IVR) solution designed to process calls based on street addresses, resulting in an immediate increase of 27% in automated bookings
This time, of course, the move was able to be planned well in advance. Six months before the scheduled date, Silver Top began working with a range of suppliers both collectively and individually. The objective was to ensure that the relocation of a contact centre that handles more than 500,000 incoming customer calls per month occurred with minimal disruption to the fleet’s operation. Planning and preparation were key. The NSC team – many of whom had been involved in rebuilding Silver Top’s communications systems immediately after the fire – worked tirelessly on the weekend of the move to relocate all of the company’s telephony infrastructure and adjuncts, including Avaya Communications Manager, Avaya Voice Portal, Verint Call Recording, CTI Server (AES), a range of servers and ISDN trunks. A temporary PABX was established to handle phone calls while the move from the temporary premises in Mulgrave was underway. The team then backed up during the Monday-morning peak to be on-hand if support was needed. Drivers and passengers experienced minimal disruption.
five years later, the IVR solution was upgraded to incorporate Avaya Text-to-Speech (TTS), which significantly lowered the company’s administration costs and improved customer/driver satisfaction by capturing the correct pick-up address prior to a dispatch. in 2008, the company upgraded its core software to Avaya Communication Manager 5 and installed a Verint call-recording solution, which captured, indexed and retrieved every caller interaction Even while operating in temporary premises and project managing the building of their new facilities in Collingwood, Silver Top continued to innovate with technology. In June 2010, the company implemented the Avaya Voice Portal (AVP) to automate more bookings.
Silver Top were very pleased by how smoothly the relocation was executed. “From the very first stages of the initial project planning and management to the actual relocation day, the NSC team assigned to the project were extremely professional and well rehearsed,” said Anthony Gorman, Technology & Communication Systems Manager. And everyone at NSC Group is delighted to see Silver Top Taxis back home in Collingwood, especially now that ‘home’ is a world-class, state-of-the-art facility. “We are very proud to have been able to support Silver Top for many years, ensuring that they maintain a competitive edge with technology,” commented NSC Group’s Managing Director, Craig Neil. “NSC understands how critical it is to Silver Top that their communications systems operate efficiently and effectively. To have been able to move the contactcentre system back to Collingwood without disruption to services was a terrific outcome for all concerned.” 11/2011 converge /07
Special headset feature
Get a head start You might think that of all the decisions to be made in running an effective call centre, choosing the best headset for your agents would be one of the easiest. Unfortunately, there’s much more to it than meets the eye – or, in this case, the ear! Among the issues to consider are: compatibility with the phone system comfort sound quality microphone quality compliance with OH&S requirements durability length of warranty mobility (corded or wireless?) cost and, if it is to be shared among a number of agents, whether the headset can be adapted to suit each person’s preferences. In recognition of the range of variables that each call centre needs to take into account, NSC has recently appointed a specialist headset consultant. Andrew Pearson is able to help you profile your requirements and then shortlist the headset options that best meet the needs in your call centre. If you haven’t conducted a review of your headset requirements in the past 12 months and would value specialist input, contact Andrew for an obligation free consultation on 0417 088 421 or email him on email@example.com
08/ converge 11/2011
CS500 Series: Plantronics legendary CS family is setting a new wireless standard for desk phone communication with the CS500™ Series. The new system features the lightest DECT™ headset on the market, a new streamlined design and improved performance all with the same reliability for hands-free productivity that has made the CS family a best-seller for nearly a decade.
Introducing the new Plantronics CS500 series headsets
CS510 – Over the head DECT Monaural Wireless Headset System
CS520 – Over the head DECT Monaural Wireless Headset System
CS540 – Convertible (over head or ear) DECT Wireless Headset System
Buy any of the ABOVE CS500 Series DECT headsets and receive either: a free HL10 Straight Plug Lifter
or compatible EHS (e.g. APV-62, APV-65)
For a limited ti me only, choose your w earing style & save $$$ wit h a free EHS or Lifter with e very headset purchased. To confirm the best option for your phone/s, contact NSC Client Services: Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Toll Free: 1300 366 304 (press 1 for ‘Sales’)
A free EHS / HL10 is only available with the purchase of a CS500 series headset. This promotion is available for a limited time only.
11/2011 converge /09
NSC Group named Avaya ‘Partner of the Year’ Winner of major Avaya award two years in a row Forgive us for blowing our own trumpet, but we’re very pleased to announce that NSC Group has again demonstrated its market leadership in the provision of Avaya business communications solutions by taking out the prestigious Avaya Partner of the Year award for 2011. The significant accolade was announced at the annual Avaya Connect Asia Pacific Channel Partner Conference in Bangkok several weeks ago. The award is given to the Avaya partner that performs best on a range of sales and performancecapability criteria. NSC was also one of the top three Avaya data partners for the AsiaPacific region. This is the second consecutive year that NSC has received a major Avaya award, having taken out the award for Top Performer Channel Partner in 2010. NSC’s Managing Director, Craig Neil, attributes the firm’s success to its commitment to excellence in every aspect of the customer experience. “NSC
continually invests in training, quality assurance, project management infrastructure and service delivery systems to ensure that we offer our customers outstanding support. “NSC has more than 650 customers using Avaya solutions in a wide array of industries, including education, government, healthcare, finance, utilities and hospitality. As an Avaya Platinum Partner, we are able to implement the best and mostappropriate solutions to meet each customer’s business needs,” he said. “We aspire to be the very best Avaya partner in our region, so it’s very pleasing to achieve that goal and have our investment and hard work recognised in this way.” Jeremy Butt, Avaya’s Vice President, Worldwide Channels, said, “Avaya Connect channel partners are key to our success. This award honours NSC as a leading member of the Avaya channel partner program across key Avaya solution areas during the past year.”
NSC’s Managing Director profiled in The Australian NSC’s Managing Director, Craig Neil, was profiled in the August issue of The Australian’s monthly business magazine, The Deal. The article chartered Craig’s history of successfully identifying emerging trends in the communications sector, including the convergence of voice and data and the emergence of managed services, and positioning NSC at the forefront each time. Click on the picture to read the article on the News Ltd website.
10/ converge 11/2011
Building (business) requirements
by Belinda O’Dwyer
In times like these, when the global financial future is far from certain, people often look towards good old bricks and mortar as a means of long-term investment. With this in mind, I recently embarked on a small-scale development project near Sydney. Nothing major – a nice plot of land on which I’m building two houses to hopefully sell on. (Please let me know if you’re looking to buy a beautifully designed and built house in the near future!) This is the first time that I have gone through this process. I was fortunate, therefore, to be introduced to a great architect before we had even made an offer on the land. Through my discussions with him, it occurred to me that this type of project has many parallels with the type of technology-implementation projects that we typically manage at NSC, not least during the early stages. Whilst I am eager to get going on the build, I wouldn’t dream of letting the builders loose on site before I had
communicated to my architect exactly what I wanted to achieve. Throughout my career, I have seen so many instances of technology being purchased and installed before the business really understood what it wanted to accomplish. In every example I can think of, some major headaches could have been avoided by taking the time to consult stakeholders and document the requirements. After all, you wouldn’t want to pay for a penthouse in the city and end up with a bungalow, would you??! To find out more about NSC’s businessrequirements process and how it will assist your project (technology or otherwise), contact me at email@example.com Belinda O’Dwyer is Head of Consulting at NSC Group. She has 15 years’ experience in contact centres around the world and has consulted on productivity improvements, improving processes and enhancing customer experiences.
11/2011 converge /11
for harsh environments RAD Data Communications has launched a new range of switches that allow users to optimise operational processes on an Ethernet-based network even in mission-critical, harsh, industrial environments.
of small unmanned facilities since, in such situations, an attacker that successfully gains access to a single remote location can maliciously manipulate the behaviour of all the devices in the network.
The RADiFlow 3080, 3300 and 3700 switches/routers: have enhanced security, with an integrated, service-aware firewall per port
Other features of the RADiFlow switches/routers include: up to 28 x GE throughput; RS-232/RS485 interfaces; redundant power supply; network resiliency using MSTP/RSTP, G.8032 rings; 802.3ad link aggregation; IP routing using including OSPF; multicast routing using IGMP snooping; secure IPSEC VPN tunnels and industrial protocol gateway.
can handle temperatures from -40°C to 75°C without fans are operationally simple have been built to be especially robust, ensuring high reliability. The integrated firewall on each port of the RADiFlow switches provides a network-based distributed security solution equivalent to the use of personal firewalls on all the systems. The firewall is “application aware”: it inspects the contents of the data packets according to the rules of the industrial protocol used. It operates on user-defined access rules for each end device up to the level of the industrial protocol command. In addition, the switches provide an integrated set of security tools so that a complete, in-depth defensive solution can be readily deployed. The enhanced security features of the RADiFlow are of particular value in nationwide infrastructure applications that have a wide geographic distribution 12/ converge 11/2011
RAD Data Communications is a leading provider of high-quality access and backhaul equipment for data communications and telecommunications applications. The company’s installed base exceeds 11 million units. In Australia, RAD products are available from the company’s local datacommunication partner, NSC Group. Distributed by: NSC Group RRP: On application For more information, contact: David Treacy NSC Network Solutions (02) 9856 4305 www.nsc.net.au/index.php/solutions
Success in a highly competitive environment by Jane Flemming
Having spent 20 years of my life in one of the most competitive environments existing – the elite world of track and field (or athletics to some) – I have seen, experienced and learned from some extraordinary people what it takes to be truly successful.
on the earth. After all, every able-bodied person in the world has tried to run as fast as they can, but they haven’t always had the opportunity to swim, row a boat or ride a bike. The world 100m-sprint title is competition at its most extreme.
Track and field stands atop the sphere of world competitiveness. I say this because:
To be successful in this competitive environment takes some truly unique skills, attributes and behaviours.
there are few socio-economic or physical barriers to participation virtually every nation on the planet has track and field athletes – more countries are represented in track and field than in the United Nations track and field is about human endeavour: who can run the fastest, jump the longest or highest or throw the furthest. It is a sport comprised of running, jumping and throwing: the three elements that make up nearly every other land-based sport track and field athletes compete against up to three contenders from every other country when it comes to major championships such as Olympic Games, World Championships and Commonwealth Games. In almost every other sport, it’s only two. It is in this context that we can truly say that the world record holder for the 100m sprint is the fastest human
I have now had many years out of that environment. I’ve moved into the corporate world and am astounded by the lack of these environmental and personal attributes in business. After much reflection, I now realise there are many learnings that can be transferred from sport and the daily pursuit for ultimate human performance to business; learnings that will result in better corporate and personal outcomes. In the next issues of Converge, I shall detail some of these learnings. They may at times seem very basic, but they are also rarely practised. Jane Flemming is one of Australia’s best known sporting personalities. During her sporting career, the dual Olympian won two Commonwealth Games Gold and two Silver medals, 13 national titles and broke literally hundreds of records in elite competition.
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Converge is published by NSC Group Pty Ltd Publisher: Craig Neil Editor: Megan Fisher firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors: Jane Flemming, Belinda O’Dwyer, Guy Simons © 2011 No part of this magazine may be reproduced by any process without written permission. All reasonable measures have been taken to ensure the quality, reliability, and accuracy of the information in this magazine at the time of publication. Statements, opinions and views of contributors may not necessarily reflect those of the NSC Group or its affiliates.