Remote Control: How your phone system may be stifling remote employee productivity

Imagine for a moment that you’re a sales manager at a growing company and you’ve just been tasked with building a remote team of 40 sales reps. Your company’s headquarters is in Boston, but these reps will primarily work out of their home offices and much of their time will be spent on the phone — either initiating conversations with prospective clients or engaging existing customers.

While most of your sales reps have personal smartphones they can use on the go, you know that business calls are better conducted on a private line that provides more reliable call quality. Your sales reps will appear more professional, while the features of a business phone system also allows them to be more productive.

But here’s the issue: How exactly are you going to set up each of those sales reps with their own phone lines and all the tools they need to be as productive as possible?

The challenges with remote workers and on-premise phone systems

With traditional onsite phone systems, business owners or in-house IT experts would need to take several laborious steps to get remote workers’ phones connected to the company’s internal network.

First, they’d have to purchase an expensive phone for each employee — typically through their TelCo provider. Next, they’d need to do some circuit work to ensure that the company’s on-premise system could manage the additional call load. And lastly, they’d have to perform regular monitoring and maintenance of the onsite equipment to ensure its ongoing reliability.

Then there’s the issue of system features and functionality.

Generally, the benefits of legacy onsite phone systems are limited to reliability, caller identification, and voicemail functionality. Modern VoIP systems, however, allow employees (including remote workers) to easily link their phone to CRM and ERP applications, leverage click-to-dial technology, and unleash powerful call analytics.

If your business can’t provide those tools to remote employees, then it’s likely limiting your remote staff’s efficiency and productivity.

Is a cloud-based phone system the answer?

The emergence of cloud-based VoIP technology has largely rendered each of the challenges and obstacles listed above moot. With a cloud-based phone system, getting a remote employee up and running with a phone system is as simple as purchasing a phone, connecting it to the Internet, and downloading some software.

There’s no added setup, maintenance, management costs, or headaches, and your remote employees can immediately tap into the same functionality that in-house employees have access to. Even better, cloud-based phone service providers ensure the system is constantly upgraded and protected, which improves uptime, call reliability, and customer experience.

In a word, a cloud-based phone system just makes things easier.

If your business has a legacy onsite phone system that’s failing to deliver that kind of connectivity to your remote staff, or if you just think there’s a more effective way to sync remote workers to your company’s network, then you may want to consider moving to the cloud. Your remote employees — and their customers — will thank you for it.

People Matter

Tech Talk

Jim-MBy Jim Mayne – Business/Technology Officer, Deerwood Technologies

The most important component of any business process is people – Employees and Customers!  Technology acquisition, depreciation, maintenance, support, education, change management, business disruption, retirement and decommission all have their hard dollar contributions to Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

However, the impact of technology on your customers’ ability to engage and do business with you has significant and very real costs – AND benefits.  Likewise, your staff’s productivity and effectiveness can be enhanced or inhibited by technology.  Ideally you deploy, USE and then retire technology – minimizing or eliminating the need to service, maintain, upgrade or repair during its useful and economic life.  Service calls or touching technology often or at all during its useful life is an often unrecognized and large component of TCO.

Technology that is simple and intuitive to use significantly enhances both customer (revenue) and staff time/effectiveness (cost).  Contact your Deerwood Technologies account manager today to learn more about ensuring you realize and leverage technology benefits, in part by minimizing TCO and reducing complexity.

What Are Collaboration Solutions?

Tech Talk

with Amanda MacDonald – Deerwood Technologies

Collaboration solutions are tools for communication that enable workers to share knowledge, processes, ideas and information among each other and with customers and vendors effectively and efficiently. Collaboration tools have become commonplace amongst Deerwood’s customer base because of the synergies realized by joining efforts through seamless communication. The end results are a convergence of communications and applications through the integration of process and products that facilitate the use of multiple enterprise communication methods, including software, equipment and services.

While tools such as telephony and email are very commonplace within many organizations, most have been slow to onboard the full suite of collaborative tools available because of the ability to define the ROI behind collaboration solutions. Deerwood’s ability to do calculations behind staff productivity and response times are key elements toward this justification, and quantitatively scoping this will help cost justify collaboration solutions.

Improved communication and savings around telecom, meeting and travel costs are among the measureable and tangible returns for building a proof of concept for collaboration solutions.

Getting clients and their end users to start adopting collaboration tools into their daily workflow at first may be no easy task, but once the solutions are utilized the adoption rate is quick as end users start to see how easy they can access information, people, and crucial data.

How Do Deerwood’s Collaboration Solutions Benefit My Business?

Collaboration solutions can enable you to:

  • Eliminate duplicate efforts
  • Enable converged  access to      limited resources—anytime, anywhere
  • Increase workflow efficiency and effectiveness
  • Greatly reduce time of resolution of issues

If you are ready to explore the many ways Deerwood’s communications solutions can enhance your business productivity and efficiency, contact your Deerwood Technologies account rep today!

Mobile Device Security

Tech Talk with Jeramy Mercil, Enterprise Solutions Architect, Compliance Officer – Deerwood Technologies


When most people think of information technology and security, their cell phone isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.  Everybody has a smart phone these days and little effort is put in to secure them. From a hackers point of view though, what better target!  There is usually no antivirus or firewall.  They are online and connected to the internet 24/7.  In addition to all of that, they’re usually quite vulnerable as it takes so long to get a security update, that by the time it’s applied to your device, it’s already affected by a new set of vulnerabilities.

From a business owners point of view this could be a nightmare.  With everything that people do on their phones (email, banking, games, pictures, web browsing, and social networking) there is no separation of work activities from personal activities.  The permissions that you grant some of those games and funny little gadgets are sometimes quite startling.  Whoever reads those security or legal notices anyways, right?  Often you are giving these applications complete access to your phone and the network it connects to.  So when you mix personal activities on a phone that has your business emails or corporate application, you’re exposing your phone and increasing the risk of being exploited.

What can I do to mitigate these risks?  Throw your smartphone out the windows and go buy a dumb phone (one of those old style flip ones, with no internet access).  No, I don’t see everyone devolving or starting to wear fashionable metal hats, but I do see people becoming more aware of the risk and actually taking action it.  For starters make sure you lock screen pin and encrypt your SD card.  After that I would get an antivirus and firewall app.  For the extra paranoid user, install a log viewer app and see what your phone is doing.

That’s a good start, but what if you’re running a business and are managing 10’s, 100’s, or even 1000’s of devices. That’s where mobile device management (MDM) comes into play;  by implementing an MDM solution you can force security features to be enabled or policies to be applied.  You can remotely wipe a lost device or install a new company supported app for the mass of phones that you manage.  Location tracking and remote log collection features could be enabled in more advanced systems. So whether you are ready to explore a full blown MDM environment or just want to learn more about ways to keep your or your staff’s mobile devices secure, take the next step and reach out to your Deerwood Technologies Account Executive for more information.

Workflow Technology

Tech Talk

with Jason Przymus, VP Business Development – Deerwood Technologies

Workflow technology first made its appearance known in the business world in the 1980’s when computers were all beige and paper was king. It was first incorporated in the insurance industry, where it drastically decreased the documentation involved in claims.  Since then, there have been several industries that have incorporated its services. Healthcare has recently joined the other industries by leading the way in incorporating the benefits of workflow technology; creating a more effective work environment; and increasing efficiencies across multiple practices. And more importantly – accurate and more effective billing and coding processes are realized. As the Government is mandating electronic workflow in healthcare the increases in revenue from proper coding is proving very fruitful for all involved.

Workflow deals with the responsibilities, triggers, and assets related with a defined process or procedure. Then it incorporates the computerization of these processes. Now you are able to manage, synchronize, supervise and report the various actions related with distinct procedures.

Certain procedures do not adapt very well to automation. An aging workforce resistant to technological change, people that love to print and outdated systems are all suspects. However processes that involve parallel steps, or sequential steps in their implementation are able to adjust rapidly to such computerization. These processes are also found to require automation at specific points, communicating the tasks as well as alerting systems.

Feel like you are ready to take a hard look at ways to improve efficiency through examining how technology enhances your workflow? Be ready to face some interesting results and push-back from staff. There is one key ingredient to increasing efficiency through technology, the human interaction. The human effect can be a major hitch in any giddy-up. Implementing technologies such as single sign-on can improve log-in times by multiple-seconds times 300 staff logging in 50-60 times a day. This adds up to some actual dollars. But if you have staff that refuses to accommodate change, you are dead-in-the-water. Positioning, buy-in and training are imperative elements to any efficiency process.

Streamlined workflow processes have been key to the productivity gains found at many of Deerwood’s most forward thinking clients, but there are many other benefits as well. Small things add up too. Like not having to worry about synching up staff smartphones so they have the most up-to-date contacts or schedules, or the function to collaborate on a document and immediately know when changes have been made. If you are ready to start creating a more streamlined approach to delivering results for your customers as well as allowing yourself the ability to refocus the lost time on growing your business, let us show you the way!

Technology Roadmap

By Jim Mayne – Business/Technology Officer, Deerwood Technologies

It’s that time of year – as leaders of businesses, organizations and departments – when many of us look ahead to set goals, priorities and plans for the future. Planning processes take many shapes and forms, but one way or another we attempt to assess our current state and place in the environment, determine our intended direction and velocity, and finally develop strategies and tactics for getting there – along with milestone and goals to hit along the way.

All organizations small and large are increasingly dependent on information technology. IT systems are critical to manage production, sales, the customer experience, and back-office administration. IT capabilities must be aligned to meet these needs.

Concurrently, the same organizations who are focused on optimizing IT benefits for their business are also concerned about IT’s life cycle costs. It is imperative that IT spending is controlled and ensure that IT investments are enabling the right capabilities – those that make a difference for their business.

A Technology Roadmap will help achieve both goals. It helps to see through the fog to the road ahead – a road where IT is aligned to meet the needs of your business.

Our experienced consultants can support and assist your organization’s existing planning efforts. Specifically, we can help you develop a strategic technology plan and roadmap for YOUR business. Call to engage us today!

Tired of feeling tired while sitting at work all day? Then stand up!

 Tech Talk with Jason Przymus, VP Business Development – Deerwood Technologies

If you’re like me, you’ve read those articles and wondered, “Is that really an option?” Aside from switching occupations to swinging an axe, your best bet might be a standup desk. Right now, such desks are a tiny niche market but thanks to many recent articles it is growing.

The phenomenon of standup desks may still be small, but proponents are vocal. Donald Rumsfeld is said to be a fan, as is my favorite Kare11 anchorwoman. I know of a creative director for an ad agency who got a standup desk several years ago because he heard Ernest Hemingway used one.

Now, I don’t have a bad back (yet) and am not overly worried that sitting all day will cause me to have a heart attack. But I feel like I get more done when I am standing up. When you’re sitting, you’re naturally unassertive, you’re receiving, when you’re standing, you’re ready to do something, ready to take action.

These solutions don’t always come cheaply however. An electronic adjustable desk like the ones we sell to radiologists will run several thousand dollars but if that’s out of your reach at the moment there are countless more affordable options in the few hundred dollar range. If that still isn’t an option at least start taking more breaks and walk around a bit, do some stretching. This type of advice may be hard to take, especially from a bunch of security and server techies but as any stand-up desk evangelist will attest, it’s better to look weird at work than to have bad knees, carpal tunnel and an ever expanding waistline.

Real-Time Location System (RTLS)

Tech Talk with Jason Przymus, VP Business Development – Deerwood Technologies

As the nation’s population ages and more people are in need of long-term care, facilities must be prepared to meet this heightened demand while maintaining high standards of care. Deerwood Technologies’ Real-Time Location System (RTLS) puts you in touch with resources the instant you need them. Through the use of location technologies, residents are enabled to request staff assistance throughout the entire facility. Staff, caregivers as well as residents wear a small, lightweight badge that is affixed with a tiny paper thin asset tag. These badges and tags emit a signal containing a unique security code, which identifies their location anywhere in the facility. Another benefit realized is an increased level of resident care with these solutions in place.

Through the resident monitoring features, staff members are alerted when cognitively challenged residents enter a possibly harmful or restricted area, which facilitates the proactive prevention of resident conflicts, residents entering the wrong room, or residents attempting to exit a facility without authorization. Pre-determined rules are completely customizable, allowing staff to be alerted to such instances as: a mobile resident without their walker, residents getting up in the middle of the night, residents entering stairwells, etc. Many facilities in the Midwest are already deploying such technologies including the Minnesota Veterans Home in Minneapolis Minnesota. To learn more about our innovative solutions for Long Term Care facilities contact your Deerwood Technologies sales rep.

No Guts, No Glory: Partners, ‘Be Bold or Go Home’

May 15, 20120 Comments
By Michael Sotnick

Here’s one thing I am sure of: There’s never been a better time to be in the channel. That said, there’s never been a worse time to be in the channel, either. Why is this true? Dramatic changes in the computing paradigm are creating unprecedented, new business opportunities, especially for channel partners with both the motivation and foresight to embrace new service delivery models. Now more than ever, savvy partners can take a leadership role in guiding their customers through complex initiatives like Unified Communications (UC), BYOD, Big Data and the cloud. And moreover, for those channel organizations that maintain the status quo regarding the on-premises business model, it may be their last mistake.

Amid major industry shifts, partners need to be bold or go home. There’s no question that innovators will be early adopters of new customer engagement models that accelerate the delivery of solutions and services encompassing cloud and SaaS-based offerings. Their reward will be new, sustainable revenue streams and reinforced customer relationships. For those that are slow to move, I don’t need to tell you what will happen to the laggards — they’ll become the poster children for channel disintermediation.

As Khali Henderson wrote in her April post, “The Myth of the Channel-Less Cloud,” migrating to the cloud is no easy task, so there’s plenty of room for VARs and IT integrators to participate in the process with a variety of compelling solutions and services. Of course, to lead this endeavor requires progressive thinking, specialized skill sets, and new ways to solve customer problems and drive the time-to-value continuum from all technology investments.

For some channel partners, capitalizing on these major industry shifts requires rebuilding their business and financial models. Others are making gradual shifts to introduce service provider models as a means for staying on top of shifting customer requirements. Still others are joining forces with managed service providers to support mixed services delivery. And yet another option calls for increased partner-to-partner collaboration that blends front-end solutions with emerging services.

In all cases, partners need to continually retrench from a sales standpoint to ensure they’re helping customers solve their toughest problems, whether it’s migrating to the cloud, mastering a worldwide UC deployment or empowering a mobile workforce. The payoff is the opportunity to help customers expedite the adoption and management of potentially game-changing technologies that will empower users and strengthen their competitive edge.

This takes vision, commitment and a real desire to go well beyond business as usual. Taking the plunge into uncharted waters forces a move out of your comfort zone to offer new and often adjacent technologies and solutions. Here are some examples:

  • Deerwood Technologies, a Minnesota-based integrator, offers managed services, technology deployment and consulting/planning, all in response to a changing communications field. Jason Przymus, vice president of business development at Deerwood Technologies, said the proliferation of mobile devices and dynamic user workspaces has fueled signficant business growth.
  • Likewise, Herb Hogue, vice president of data-center and professional services for En Pointe Technologies, a Los Angeles-based IT solutions and services provider, said his company’s ability to double business each year for the past three years was driven by delivering custom software solutions, as well as professional services, and private, public, and hybrid cloud platforms.
  • To support its evolution as a diverisified solutions provider, TechXtend, a software, systems and services reseller in Shrewbury, N.J., realigned its business focus on virtualization and cloud computing, storage and data management, mobile device management, and business intelligence and information management.

All partners can take a lesson from organizations such as these. They have reinvested in their businesses and shifted their operational models to add more value and respond faster to customer requirements – the true litmus test for success in any channel-driven enterprise.

And like them, you should realize that the time is now. The winning combination likely will comprise a blend of “build,” “buy” and “partner” strategies to speed delivery of on-demand technologies. In fact, a recent online survey conducted by Forrester Research indicates that many partners already are hybrid organizations. According to the Forrester/Outsourced Channel Executives Q3 2010 Global Channel Partners Cloud Business Models’ Online Survey only 15 percent of partners surveyed actually self-identified as MSPs, while 52 percent of those same partners reported that they have a managed services business today.

If you’re still reading – you get it. Maintain the courage and conviction to embrace new service delivery models and then seize the opportunity to take it still further by capitalizing on the untapped potential of the industry’s hottest trends – cloud, BYOD, UC, Desktop-as-a-Service and user workspace management.

The pacesetters staking their claims to new solutions and business models will be proof positive that there has never been a better time to be in the channel.

Michael Sotnick is vice president of worldwide channels and alliances at Quest Software, which focuses on cloud, access management, performance monitoring and other areas within IT.           

The Ever Evolving Role of Cyber Intelligence Within Compliance

Tech Talk
with Jason Przymus, VP Business Development – Deerwood Technologies

Today, suppliers, partners and consumers connect from device to device and network to network at anytime and from anywhere.

Its more apparent than ever that online commerce, new communications channels and business innovation have transformed the way people work, play, shop, communicate and conduct business in general.

Along with these advances come profound changes in the way organizations protect their business habitat—that interconnected network of employees, customers and partners whose trust, safety and well-being drive business success. Security is no longer just about the protection of IT infrastructure and confidential data, it’s about protecting the entire business—its information, assets, individuals and their interactions.

At Deerwood Technologies we have developed and provide both managed and custom cyber intelligence services and solutions to deter threats and attacks before it impacts a client’s environment.

The challenge has shifted from one of “defending reactively” against attacks from outside the perimeter to one of “proactively knowing” about threats before they cause damage and taking these proactive steps to mitigate them. To this end, companies and their compliance regulations are demanding an intelligence-led approach to security, an approach that is enabled and supported by solutions that identify risks early to speed prevention and mitigation.

When the Department of State, National Health Providers and United States Army Corp of Engineers need to expertly secure critical data they call Deerwood… do you?