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Cisco Small Business Support Community

May 30, 2013 at 11:25 am PST

As a Small business owner, you know how to run your business efficiently.  So what do you do when you need support for your current Cisco small business network?  If you are like me, you will search the internet for a solution.  Hopefully your search will lead you to the Cisco Small Business Support Community where you will find helpful support documents, videos, and active conversations regarding all Cisco Small Business Products. 

Look at what you will find within the Small Business Support Community:

SBSC-map 2

A) Check to see if you have the latest firmware by clicking on the product family.  You can download the latest firmware from there too.

B) Search the community by typing in your question to see if there is another discussion or document already available that may have an answer. 

C) Use our Guide Me Tool to search our knowledge base or troubleshoot your equipment.

D) This area has all of our popular links such as contact information for our Small Business Support Center locations where you can speak directly with an Small Business Support Engineer.

E) Log in to post your question.  To post a question, all you need to do is to register for a Cisco ID or if you have a Cisco ID just login

F) Go directly to the product area to see all the conversations and documents related to that product.

G) Stay up to date with the latest firmware release by following @CiscoSBsupport on Twitter or to see what is new in the Small Business Support Community, follow the Small Business Community Blog.

The Cisco Small Business Community is available 24X7 and encourages participation from everyone.  We update the community frequently and strive to make the community the first place to go for your Cisco Small Business Product support needs. 

Please bookmark or add to your favorites, this URL: www.cisco.com/go/smallbizsupport

If you have any ideas on how we can improve, please leave a comment.

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ACE Network: Empowering Users with Self-Service Provisioning and Support Tools

When the ACE pilot network began inside Cisco, it supported a much smaller audience.  In those days we only had around 1000 users, and for the most part these were very technically savvy people.  Mostly they were power users, who could use tools normally provided to our engineering group with ease.  As our ACE “service introduction” network has grown to support over 13,000 users, we are now reaching a much wider audience that still wants to use leading-edge, first-deployment services; yet, with production-level support and ease of use.  To keep up with the needs of our evolving user base, we needed to reduce the amount of time our team was spending on routine provisioning and support tasks – which can take up a lot of time.

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IT Mobility Social Support Leads to Reduced Costs

May 15, 2013 at 2:09 pm PST

Cisco IT’s Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program allows employees to be most productive on whatever device they choose.  Whether it’s an iPhone, iPad, Android, Mac or PC they can connect to the Cisco internal network easily, but that’s not what this blog is about, if you’re interested in that initiative click here and here. This blog is about how adding a social layer, specifically Cisco WebEx Social, resulted in an improved user experience and reduced caseload and therefore avoided cost.  Personally, I’d like to say the easy onboarding of devices has caused me less wrinkles, but I’ve yet to find a quantitative way to prove that hypothesis true, so let’s stick to the facts:

  • In November 2010, Cisco IT had 4,566 cases per 33,354 devices or about 0.14 Cases/Device
  • In October 2011, Cisco IT had 3,921 cases per 48,530 devices or about 0.08 Cases/Device
  • Cisco IT has had a 52% increase in devices and 16% more users

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Why Engage Expert IT Services for Mobility and BYOD?

March 14, 2013 at 1:29 pm PST

BYOD blogThree Reasons: More Productivity, Revenues, and Savings

How can you control the connections and user experiences—and security—of BYOD and other mobile devices that access your business network?  Maybe you or your IT staff have the expertise and time to do-it-yourself (DIY). Or, maybe not.

In my last blog,I outlined the benefits of mobility technologies and the hot bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend that is shaping the future of how business is done. When you consider the amazing things that happen when we connect people, process, data, and things, it’s no surprise to see the demand accelerating from employees, business leaders, and customers for mobile device connectivity.

So, how do you take care of it all—including security? Is DIY really the answer? The devil is in the details.

In this blog, I’ll give you two real-life examples of an alternative to DIY that has a high value proposition: engaging expert IT services for planning, building, and managing mobility—and quickly getting full ROI. 

Example #1: Higher productivity, lower OpEx: A small business wanted to trim the large operating expense (OpEx) for its office space in the city by getting employees to work remotely. But the business also wanted to preserve its data security and employees’ feeling of working collaboratively. It decided to engage TekScape, a Cisco Premier Certified Partner, to come up with a solution.

TekScape specializes in “landscape technology”, its term for technology that facilitates more mobile and productive working environments. TekScape delivers and manages advanced IT solutions to help businesses increase employee productivity and reduce operating expenses. Its services include tailored design, implementation, and support of network integration, data center, unified collaboration, and mobility.

TekScape provided the 30-employee business with design and implementation services, as well as an ongoing managed service. The technology solution included Cisco collaboration and security products, and hosted communications services for mobile device apps and Cisco SMARTnet technical support service. To enhance the support, Cisco SMARTnet gives customers direct access to Cisco experts and online resources that can quickly resolve problems, lessen risk by detecting security issues, and keep customers’ IT staff up to date on technology advances and security threats. Solutions like this one position small businesses competitively for current and future mobility opportunities.

Following are the quantitative results:

  • Over 75 percent of the employees moved out of the office and now work from home or the site of their choice, using BYOD.
  • Their productivity immediately increased by 10 to 15 percent, due to less commuting, more flexible work hours, and the greater efficiency of participating in meetings in a videoconference format
  • The annual OpEx for office space shrank by more than $125,000
  • The business realized full ROI from its mobility products and services in less than a year

Example #2: Revenue and business continuity: A 200-employee business that provides medical records services had an ongoing contract with TekScape to monitor the performance of its network. The network equipment included a Cisco Unified Communications Manager platform and IP phones, and Cisco Compatible Extensions (CCX)for client devices.

When Hurricane Sandy hit the business’s building on a Monday, 30 feet of water flooded two floors beneath the business. All power, Internet, and phone services for the building were knocked out.

Early the next morning,TekScape engineers wearing water boots showed up at the customer’s business, ready to help it resume operations. They quickly assessed that the utilities’ restoration of power and communications services to the building would take days (if not weeks), a delay the business could not endure due to client contracts and compliance requirements.

So TekScape devised an interim BYOD communications network solution, using the customers’ existing network equipment. TekScape engineers carried the communications platform to a co-location center, where they configured it for remote contact center agents, softphones, point-to-point video, and Cisco Jabber. The 200 employees quickly resumed work from locations all over the city, using their tablets, laptops, PCs, and smartphones to connect securely via VPNs.

It turned out that full restoration of operations at the site of the business’s building took two months, a delay that would have cost the customer $5 million in lost revenues. 

The quantitative results: In less than a day, the customer realized full ROI from TekScape’s mobility services. And without them, the customer said, it would have gone out of business.      

How could your business use expert mobility services to increase its productivity, revenues, or savings on operating expenses? The ROI from engaging expert IT services for planning, building, and managing mobility can be big and fast.

So if you are thinking of an alternative to DIY, consider working with a Cisco Partner.  Find a partner today.

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BYOD: No Longer a Four-Letter Word to Enterprise IT Leaders?

Until now, it’s been assumed that enterprise IT leaders probably view the current BYOD (“Bring Your Own Device”) movement with about the same enthusiasm as a farmer awaiting the next locust invasion.

A recent survey from the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), however, indicates that BYOD may no longer be a “four-letter word” in enterprise IT departments. In fact, the study of 600 U.S. enterprise IT leaders—all from companies of 1,000 or more employees—shows that, if anything, BYOD now has a predominantly positive reputation in U.S. enterprise IT circles. Read More »

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