Following on from the Wireless Solutions feature this month our mysterious caller has decided it’s time to do something about the Wi-Fi in the office. He has some excellent fibre coming into the building but the wireless signal is slow and doesn’t seem to cover all parts of the building. He wants to embrace this BYOD trend and realises that his staff are being hindered by not being able to get connectivity in certain parts of the building. Whilst he is embracing this mobility trend he is also concerned about his staff walking around with company data on their tablets and mobiles. He wants to know what his options are from a security point of view and what are the implications or trying to get staff to put software on their personal devices.
What an excellent call to kick off the year! I got through immediately and a very polite girl who transferred me to an account manager called Azar. I explained the poor Wi-Fi situation and he asked me a few standard questions about the router we were using. Very quickly he suggested that what we needed was an access point and if we wanted to go down this route his recommendation was a Cisco access point which would cover us up to 64 users. Azar explained that we could either buy the access point, have it installed and off we go or we could have ongoing support for the product from them for minimal cost. He did say if we went for this they would prefer to come in and do a survey of the building to make sure they are putting it in the right position so everyone has the coverage they need. Unfortunately Azar pointed out while this would probably be the easiest way to fix our problem it does require spending a bit of money. We moved onto the devices and what Virocom could offer here. Azars knowledge was excellent and said there are apps you can buy from the app stores for iOS and Android that will provide security measures but really they are aimed more at the consumer market. Blackberry was Azars recommendation for MDM because they allow you to manage everything from a central point and they are set up for this exact scenario. Whatever our set up was though he said it would be manageable even though we have a lot of people with personal devices. Azar said to really understand what we needed it would take a face to face meeting where they would look at access first, then the devices.
Helpfulness – 4/5 Manner – 4/5 Knowledge – 5/5 Understanding – 3/5 Sales Technique – 4/5 Clarity – 4/5
Total – 24/30
Great score. Azar was very confident and knew his products well. He took me through exactly what Virocom could offer and the process we would go through to make sure they delivered a solution that worked well for us. At one point Azar even said you will probably want to get a few quotes from different companies to compare them against! You have to take your hat off to someone that can confidently say that to a customer…
Premier Choice Telecom
I initially got through to a customer services representative that asked me what I was looking for and put me through to their broadband specialist Chris. I explained the problem to Chris and he immediately said they would be able to do something for us. One of the options he mentioned was placing wireless points around the building to boost signal but really they would need to come into see us and do a survey of the site to make sure what was needed for the job. Chris tried to extract an address out of me which had to be deflected swiftly so I moved the questioning onto the mobile device management. Chris told me the management of the devices was really down to the network but there were ways it could be done so employees weren’t wondering around with sensitive company data in their pockets. One possible way was to have them stream content instead of storing it locally on the device. I did ask if there were any issues around putting software on employee devices and Chris had to admit he wasn’t sure as his expertise was the broadband and no the IT bit. Although not to be defeated Chris took my details so he could pass me onto the specialists that would be able to give me more definitely answers from that respect. I did get a call back within the hour but unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to speak.
Helpfulness – 4/5 Manner – 4/5 Knowledge – 2/5 Understanding – 3/5 Sales Technique – 3/5 Clarity – 3/5
Total – 19/30
Average. Although Chris was very helpful his knowledge let him down in certain areas. I liked his mantra of saying ‘yes’ to everything, he was clearly planning to worry about the ‘how’ later on! I wonder if this has highlighted a growing problem when technologies merge together and finding a person with the right knowledge base and skill set to cover it all becomes harder.
After being passed over from the switchboard I spoke to Terry who had a very friendly demeanour. I explained the issue and Terry assured me they could definitely handle everything. It would have been a shorter conversation if I hadn’t pressed on but on reflection what was good ol’ Terry meant to say? Metropolitan are one of Extreme Networks partners and the solutions they deploy handle these exact scenarios! After slinging a few more questions at Terry he said that it would be a good idea to talk to one of their engineers as they would be able to go over what would be needed and take us through the next steps. He mentioned that they work with businesses of all size and quite often they come across businesses that have a set up which is three or four years old and as those businesses grow and demand for bandwidth increases the wireless just can’t cope. Terry talked briefly about another client that they have worked with and they also provide them ongoing support which might be an avenue we wanted to explore. As for a site survey we could didn’t necessarily need one if we could provide them with plans for the building as they may be able to construct a suitable map of access points to get the right coverage. However he did say depending on the outcome with the talk with the engineer it might require an onsite survey too. When it came to the device management piece of the puzzle Terry was still confident as ever that they could provide an application that could sit on an employee device which could contain all the work data which could be managed from a single point. Again he said that we would really need to sit down to discuss the ins and outs.
Helpfulness – 4/5 Manner – 5/5 Knowledge – 4/5 Understanding – 3/5 Sales Technique – 4/5 Clarity – 4/5
Very solid. This was another good call in which Terry knew exactly what I was asking and had all the appropriate tools in his kit bag to deliver. I enjoyed the chat with Terry as everything seemed effortless and his confidence in the solutions he sold shone through.
There was nothing to choose between the winners this month so we have a joint first place! Both winners knew what we would need in the office to supply excellent Wi-Fi coverage and then to manage the devices that would be connecting to the network. Interestingly I called several companies that simply either didn’t deal with these type of issues or didn’t really have a clue what I was talking about. When I sat back and thought about it I could see why, really I was experiencing an IT issue and not a telecoms one. However it got me thinking how many others might be having similar sorts of issues and then perhaps end up ringing the wrong supplier? In a market where everything is converging this could have been mistaken for a mobile, connectivity or perhaps even a telecoms issue. It goes to show how partnering with the right people can really give your business everything your customer could ever need. Why wouldn’t you want to sell your customers all of their IT/ Telecom (inc mobile) kit?