Friday, October 5, 2012

How Smaller Colleges’ CIOs Can Compete with Larger Staffed Schools

Costs maintaining IT and Telecom at Colleges per student are rising. Even with larger enrollments, device and access-demands per student, faculty and classroom abound challenging your capacity to deliver. Streamlining all communications & technology with one consolidated application may not have been possible before now. It's crucial to explore how this now solves the question of how to do more with less.

Do you have multiple helpdesks? Usually staffed by expertise, both highly-skilled and inexpensive transient student resources, these often use multiple and different applications, spreadsheets and ad-hoc databases. Uniformity and consolidation, using an already built, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) solution, greatly reduces the amount of time and effort required to address work completion. With the right information, work doesn’t have to be limited to only highly skilled, experienced interpretation, enabling less skilled staff to balance the load getting more work done faster by all.

How does your operation work with the community you serve? Self-service has become the entitlement of our time. Why not, it naturally saves them time when they need your services, but back office people save just as much time. And there’s more of those you serve than in the back office. Why not leverage Self-Service, also tied to the desk, orders, inventory, approvals, etc.

How are inventory and assets tracked? These are best done simultaneously when acting upon them so that when new work arises, there’s already an up to date view of what’s available, deployed and needed with all the histories required to decipher and troubleshoot. Using a separate way to manage this eats time, is error prone and is an opportunity to reduce applications.

Is Telecom now part of IT? Call & Cost Accounting is unique for Telecom with multiple vendor invoices, split by multiple departments with multiple payments. The rest is no different in many ways than IT. For instance, helpdesk, inventory, assets, ticketing & work-orders, equipment configuration and cable plant management has identical function to that of the rest of the converging IT environment. In fact, resources are probably shared. If your operation is converging with the technologies, converging the way you manage brings you enormous economies of scale while organizing, tracking and managing telecom expenses. Now you can manage Telecom Expense and its operation with IT using one application.

How are you protecting the millions invested in Cable Plant Infrastructure? People, drawings, spreadsheets, and well organized and tediously labeled closets is the norm where it remains difficult to understand, maintain, change and repair. Integrating the entire physical plant with the same common system described here ensures accurate, highly available and well understood, graphic data to get the job done by even lesser skilled resources. Service orders should work in tandem with the cable plant to avoid repetitive, expensive audits,knowing each and every available connection, path and equipment.

Finally, are all your applications easy to use? Have they kept up with today’s expectations, have the option to run in the cloud as a service, come from a viable vendor, is catalog-based or otherwise coming into question? Why not take a look at what’s out there with just one, combined-by-design solution to bring you economies with increased service levels, PCR-360. What have you got to lose, but, the need to spend more to keep up with the fastest growth we’ve ever experienced. Don’t forget about dropping maintenance on several, outdated applications, too.

It’s all about the visibility!
Byron Druss is the Director of Northeast Sales at PCR, and has over 22 years of operational performance experience across engineering, service & project management disciplines. He can be reached at, @byrondruss and (856)381-1177.

PCR is headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, and is owned by Koniag Development Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Koniag, Inc. Koniag is an Alaskan Native Corporation, certifed as an SBA 8(a) SDB-ANC.

See or contact PCR at 616-554-0000
or see for yourself at:                    WP20121005BDv1.1

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

10 Reasons to Consolidate Communications & Technology Management

Keeping the lights on is most of your IT budget. Device growth of thousands of combined desktop & mobile phones, laptops, PCs, routers and other infrastructure increases much faster now. As IT converges with IP-based Telecom, it’s even harder keeping expenses down, deliver more predictably with higher service levels with the  same staff & shrinking budgets. Here are 10 reasons why you should also simply converge & consolidate your operational support to make it through the next 5 years & beyond:
  1. Cost. It takes a village, but that’s too expensive. Without plans to hire more staff, reduce the work that needs to get done across all devices and functions. Just because different resources are used for different jobs, doesn’t mean they can’t all be on the same page. Be more efficient and accurate. One system can fit all, in fact it’s necessary.
  2. Insist on combined work or service order capability with your ticketing and helpdesk. Think you already have that now? A review of time-consuming tickets usually shows gaps in what you thought was managed well.
  3. Financials. Reduce revenue and cost leakage on projects. Whether you’re footing the bill for your departmental customers, simply passing along material charges or even project time, you’ve got to account for it with as much consistency and little effort as possible. Look for an out-of-the-box way to include this by design and avoid re-entry in yet another system, especially one that’s very expensive & time consuming to adapt.
  4. Visibility and justice for all. Getting the job done means playing “Where’s Waldo” in email strings, multiple applications and document versions, resulting in highly skilled people doing work without organized information. Take advantage of having instant visibility into every task, device, line, connection, conduit, server, router, switch, service order, phone number, software and anything else you want to manage, simplifying the tasks enabling all resources to now help.
  5. Predictability & Governance. If you can’t manage it, you can’t control it. You can’t control it if you can’t measure it. You can’t measure it if you can’t define it. Catalog-based systems lend themselves to organizing every item, service, expectation and process, manage it by design and deliver to a level of quality you set. Meaningful dashboards tied to this manage by exception and take you right to what’s happening in the myriad of activities. If you’re expected to deliver, then expect to easily get to the right information.
  6. Untangle the ball of wires. Big one! Your closets look great, rails and conduits orderly and it’s all in spreadsheets from the very beginning. When was the beginning? Even if it was yesterday, cable information becomes outdated fast because it’s too much to expect multiple systems will be updated, especially a spreadsheet, with the latest changes and context. Naming conventions will only take you so far and quickly, your high-skilled labor is tacking on hours each time that closet door opens. Integrated Cable Plant functions should be part of the Service Order, tied to the Catalog, Inventory and Assets unless you have unlimited time and resources getting work done quickly enough. Integrated, accurate cable plant graphics on-demand saves expensive in-house or outsourced labor.
  7. Inventory & Asset Management. Inventory and asset management should leverage the changes managed in an integrated system, right from the catalog as work orders take place. Save audit time, understand where everything is and what’s in the field without investing in a separate system. In fact, separate systems are counter-productive for the same reasons as above.
  8. Self Service. Everyone wants it, expects it and you benefit the most without arming your staff with mere telephones and email to manually process incidents, requests, status, etc. Yeah, some like the telephone and no one said it’s going away. Otherwise, you’re spending your staff’s time doing something a system can do, especially one that’s already tied into every other function mentioned here.
  9. Reduce training, conversations, emails and coordination efforts. Resources change, need ramp-up time and the benefit of history. One easy, intuitive system enables new and existing employees to come up to speed quickly on the system, the task at hand and the entire operation regardless of role.
  10. Upgrade your helpdesk. Six out of ten companies don’t like or aren't using their helpdesk properly. If you must keep yours, OK, but add this now to your existing helpdesk. Later you might wonder why you need both when an integrated helpdesk is already there and then you can decide to drop your current one. Your option. Meanwhile, save annual maintenance expense of several applications, spreadsheets and databases, not to mention gaining staff productivity within the same solution.
IT Executives, Managers and staff can now get more work done in less time with better results. With IT & Telecom converging, increasing user demand and technology expectations for productivity and shrinking budgets, why not consider a converged operational system strategy for all communications and technology management?

Reduce your applications five or more to one, as a strategic necessity, and consider PCR-360, premise or in the cloud. Leverage 30 years of experience and 2 years developing the latest solution in efficient communications & technology management. PCR-360 offers an exciting ROI that answers the question, “How will I improve for the upcoming year?” It’s ready now, from a reliable vendor that always does the right thing and we’re looking for someone like you that’s interested in simply knowing what’s now available to make ends meet, improve service capacity and levels of customer service.

It’s all about the visibility!
Byron Druss is the Director of Northeast Sales at PCR, and has over 22 years of operational performance experience across engineering, service & project management disciplines. He can be reached at, @byrondruss and (856)381-1177.
PCR is headquartered in Grand Rapids, MI, and is owned by Koniag Development Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Koniag, Inc. Koniag is an Alaskan Native Corporation, certifed as an SBA 8(a) SDB-ANC.
See or contact PCR at 616-554-0000
or see for yourself at:          WP20120927BDv1.2

Monday, February 27, 2012

Squeezing More Expense Out of Telecom Management – The Final Frontier

Managing telecom is an often overlooked, growing expense, in higher education, government and private industry. Analysts consider it a top 5. Traditional cost-cutting carrier and switch upgrades, staff reductions and billing re-negotiations omit gaining Operational Efficiencies, largely an untapped, immature market. Your opportunity to lower expenses further is getting rid of business-as-usual (BAU) manual costs, recouping economies for cost-avoidance, direct cost reductions and massive time inefficiencies also affecting QOS.

Telecom Service Management is costly in labor without integrated Cable Plant, Switch I/F & Cost Accounting

Provisioning and caring for a telecom environment is technical, procedural and financial. Telecom management is also more patterned than IT. However, telecom’s needs are often manually met, lumped in with IT’s ticketing system yet unable to handle telecom specifics. Complexities arise with telecom change requests involving cable plant, switch interface, approvals, provisioning, inventory, ordering, process flow, initiation, oversight, financial accuracy and integration, helpdesk triaging (time and an otherwise need for high expertise) and more. This simply eats time, reduces QOS and costs real money by believing traditional service management software, spreadsheets and manual processes can handle them.
New devices, wired, wireless or static, bring productivity for the person, group and organization. Supporting them adds a central burden where cost-center budgets are shrinking.  Answering cost-center back office needs for financial information adds even more work with growing device types and ever-changing business needs. Enforcing governance and cost cutting becomes elusive.

Of course, any solution would have to pay for itself, be easy to use, bringing economies of scale and improve an organization’s capabilities.

Lowered operational costs is a competitive advantage. In the expense category of telecom management, it's the final cost-cutting frontier in a new world of increasing complexity. Ask yourself how much manual work is still done amidst your sea of automation and check out the latest, geared at telecom service management.

Who's Byron Druss