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Small Business – Make it Big with Positive Customer Experience

Last week, I had an opportunity to attend an event for small and medium-sized businesses. It was an amazing experience. The business leaders there shared a passion for their solutions and a desire to take their companies to the next level and “make it big”. In a technology-enabled world, the features and functionalities of a product or service typically do not provide a sustainable competitive advantage. It’s certainly possible to grow a company if planned well. So why do only a few small businesses succeed in “making it big”?  What differentiates companies and how do certain small companies become large enterprises?

The answer lies in understanding the end-customer behavior of such businesses. Typically, small companies expand based on their initial customers, who become their “brand ambassadors”. This is especially true with social media. Typical buying behavior no longer depends only on a supplier’s marketing activity. It’s largely driven by word-of-mouth from happy or unhappy customers.

Total Customer Experience                                                                  

Customers engage your business at multiple touchpoints – far more than ever before. And in the end, the total customer experiences across those touchpoints makes them happy or unhappy (Figure 1).

Figure 1 – Connecting the customer journey

Figure 1 – Connecting the customer journey

The “Total Customer Experience” for a particular customer becomes Read More »

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Mobility Express Bundle: A Fast & Simple Wi-Fi Solution for Small and Mid-sized Deployments

smb mobility expressCisco is making the new 802.11ac standard appealing to everyone. Cisco Mobility Express Bundle is a simple, affordable solution. It is designed for small to medium sized deployments, leveraging Cisco’s enterprise class Wi-Fi.

Cisco Mobility Express Bundle introduces a simple, easy-to-use user interface with fast over-the-air provisioning in a few minutes. Small and medium businesses get access to Cisco’s industry-leading 802.11ac portfolio without the premium price. Read More »

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New US Patent formally granted for Unique functionality in Cisco SMB Switches

Deploying a Voice over IP network can be daunting given all the technologies required to deliver consistently high voice quality. This becomes especially troublesome as the network grows and more network infrastructure and endpoints are added. Cisco has found a unique solution to this problem and has formally been granted a patent for these technologies by the US Patent Office. The patent (US Pat: 8867405) has been granted for technologies enabling a zero-touch, network-wide, voice deployment. And the best part? This is supported today on the Cisco SMB 500, 300, and 200 Series Switches.

The Cisco solution incorporates a combination of VSDP (Voice Services Discovery Protocol), CDP, LLDP-MED, Auto Smartports, and mDNS. This unique solution addresses the auto-configuration of the network of switches as well as the auto-configuration of the Voice endpoints, AP’s, UC, and desktops/servers. Endpoints are automatically discovered and instructed which QoS and Voice VLAN parameters to use, and the switch ports are dynamically configured. The entire network converges on (and automatically adjusts to) the parameters needed to deliver high quality voice.

What makes this solution especially unique is that one can literally take a new switch as it arrives from the factory, plug in the IP phones and other endpoints, and have a functioning network without any configuration.

“Cisco has raised the bar for this product category

– Kevin Tolly, Founder, The Tolly Group

For a more detailed description of the capabilities, a document has been posted on Cisco’s Support Forum.

A demo showing how this capability compares to competitive products in the market:

Another demo showing the ease of deployment with the Auto capability in action:


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Cisco Small Business Named a Top 100 Champion in the 2014 Small Business Influencer Awards


We are so excited that for the second year in a row, Cisco Small Business has been chosen as a Top 100 Small Business Influencer.


Ved Sharma, Dir/GM, Cisco SMB Services states, “I could not be prouder of our teams whose combined efforts continue to make Cisco Small Business products and services an industry-leading preference for our customers. Our focus on reaching the Small Business community via Facebook, Twitter and other social media avenues helps us to engage with and communicate to small and mid-sized companies. ”

The Small Business Influencer Awards are presented to those who are influential to small businesses in North America, through the products, services, knowledge, information or support they provide to the small business market.

The Champions are selected by a panel of judges steeped in the small business market, based on the following criteria;

  • advocating on behalf of small businesses,
  • providing products or services that address the unique challenges faced by small businesses,
  • revolutionizing how small businesses do business or how they solve business challenges,
  • helping small businesses grow,
  • or otherwise impacting small businesses in a significant way.

Says Anita Campbell, CEO of Small Business Trends and one of the co-founders of the Awards, “Influencers are those who play crucial roles in the small business ecosystem, but who often are in the background. The Top 100 Champions have distinguished themselves in some way. Check out the Cisco Award. The Small Business Influencer Awards enable the small business community to nominate and show their support for those that influence and support them.

Read more about the Cisco Small Business portfolio:

Read more about Cisco Small Business Services

Read and participate in the  Cisco Small Business blog

Thank you everyone for helping make us a Top 100 Small Business Influencer!



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A Partner Experience with the new Cisco WAP371 802.11ac Wireless Access Point

Hello all,

Hello all, I trust everyone’s week is going well. Today we get to hear from Michiel Beenen, the founder of TechConnect, based in the Netherlands. Michiel recently heard about the new Cisco WAP371 and wanted to see if this new 802.11ac wireless access point hit the mark. He has already deployed the WAP321 and WAP561, so the new WAP371 was peaking his interest. Here is what Michiel had to say:

“After many years of working with Cisco Aironet and Small Business devices, it was time for our company to start testing new access point models that would support Wi-Fi AC (higher speeds). But for many smaller companies and even for at home, Aironet products are just a bit to much and require way more knowledge than then you would simply need in a SMB/Home environment.

So after testing out the WAP321 and WAP561 last year we decided to buy a couple of Cisco WAP371 access points and so far the experience has been great. Installation was as easy as plugging it into your network, browsing to the IP of the access point and then following the Wizard.

The wizard will simply ask for a new admin password, Wi-Fi network names and security and if you want to setup a ‘cluster’ of WAP access points. A cluster can be very handy in a lot of cases, when you have more than one access point, a cluster takes care of a lot of things like roaming between access points and automatically updating the most important settings to each access point within a cluster (things like SSID and other settings will be automatically synced between all devices).

After the wizard is finished you get back into the graphical user interface and from there you can basically do whatever you want. Adjust settings like QoS, Radio channels, VLAN but also Guest support (with or without a Portal).

So far we have been testing with multiple iPhones, iPads, Android devices and Macbooks plus some Airplay speakers and it all seems to work perfectly fine.

Speed-wise we have reached speeds of up to 870Mbps so far over AC Wi-Fi and up to 250mMbps on the 2.4GHz band.

All in all, we are very satisfied with this product and happy that Cisco is coming up with products like this for the Small Business and Home users.”

More about TechConnect:  TechConnect started in 1997, from the melting pot of several successful tech community web sites. Through the years, it has evolved into an internet company whose focus lies on technology solutions, gaming, music and online advertising.  In the beginning, TechConnect was about the passion for technology, and the drive to making dreams come true.

TechConnect’s strength lies in the unique blend of skills and knowledge brought about by the varied and international nature of its employees. Hailing from across Europe, and from all walks of life, TechConnect employees are the lifeblood and heartbeat of the company, with their ideas, varied life experience and professional training. TechConnect helps small and medium sized companies in the Netherlands and Belgium with IT solutions and web services.

Michiel Beenen is the Founder and Managing Director of TechConnect. Internet entrepreneur and online gaming enthusiast, Michiel started the online community (GameConnect) through a combination of his passion for bringing friends together. Michiel has worked on many projects on the cutting edge of online and offline technology, and each has allowed him to build an unparalleled amount of personal connections at all levels of the advertising and gaming worlds, and he loves nothing more than creating new opportunities and projects driven by passion and technical aptitude.

 Thank you to Michiel for taking the time out to pen this up for us. Make it a great rest of the week.



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