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Welcome to ThinkGig, a blog dedicated to helping you run your business more efficiently. At ThinkGig, you’ll find discussions on the topics that matter to you most – such as tips and best practices on securing your business, improving customer service, driving revenue and cutting costs – as well as unique perspectives on industry trends that impact your business.

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Are You a Customer Service Hero…or Zero?

When it comes to being customer-centric, are you plugged in to customer needs or tuned out? Your network could be to blame.

What tools does your company use to be more “customer-centric?” No doubt, most enterprises would mention their CRM system, their call center, sales force automation…

True, these tools are important, but just as the world’s top chef can’t be successful without flour and salt, these sophisticated apps provide limited value without the right foundation – a converged voice and data network.

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Securing Your Business: One Size Does Not Fit All

During the downturn, you streamlined operations to make them truly lean. Now, with economic conditions brightening, you don’t want to take your eye off the ball. But, during all this belt-tightening, did you let things go that exposed you to risk?

Network security often lands on the back burner when the going gets tough. We hear about security risks every day and understand what could happen…but dismiss the likelihood it will happen to us.

The truth is, the risk is just too high and now is a good time to evaluate your security strategy. But how do you know what’s right for you?

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Controlled Chaos: Oxymoron or the Future of Enterprise Mobility?

Employees can be demanding. They want to be able to access all their favorite applications from any device, anywhere, and it’s hard to deny this request when it’s actually making someone more productive. But what is the norm? All too often, only email is approved for use on nontraditional corporate devices, which puts significant limits on true mobility.

Take sales reps as an example. Imagine what they could do if they could access their CRM and ordering systems while at a customer visit – faster quotes, faster order placement and faster service or product delivery. Seems like the way to become a well-oiled, customer-centric machine.

But put this scenario in front of IT managers and notice the fear in their eyes. Far from utopia, it represents pure chaos and risk. Visions of issues start running through their heads:

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Groundhog Day in the Great Outsourcing Debate

A question we see more businesses asking as they assess their workload coming out of the recession:

“What is the business of my business?”

While seemingly self-evident, this question gets down to important considerations. Is this process or function our core business or should we consider outsourcing to a partner? What is really the best use of our people and resources right now?

We’ve been hearing this more often lately, and it’s a bit like the movie “Groundhog Day” – in a good way.

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Five Must-Haves on Your Unified Communications Checklist

So you’ve moved from being “interested” in Unified Communications (UC) to actively considering UC. Here are a few UC best practices to think about before you implement. Together, they may save you hours of headaches, not to mention significant amounts of time and money.

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SIPping the Kool-Aid: Are You Ready for SIP Trunking?

If you’re thinking about deploying or upgrading a VoIP solution, you’ve heard about SIP trunking as a way to reduce both hard and soft costs, while tapping nearly unlimited bandwidth and enabling access to rich communications.

One of a SIP network’s biggest virtues is the ability to share resources cost-effectively. For example, a business with 10 locations nationwide can streamline down to one central call center in a way that’s invisible to customers. Or a company whose inbound calls come in bursts can dedicate bandwidth to voice when needed, instead of paying for more bandwidth to handle a few heavy traffic days a year.

SIP talk seems to be everywhere this summer, but the standard continues to evolve. Interoperability issues make the technology appropriate for some enterprises, but not all. In short, your communications platform may not work with the SIP gateway or edge device you want to buy.

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It’s Official

When we heard that Microsoft used its B2B Worldwide Partner Conference to show off phones, an iPad-like slate, and motion sensors for the Xbox video game system, it confirmed one of our latest theories and one of our customers’ biggest challenges: Consumerization has hit the corporate mainstream.

Jason Hiner, editor of TechRepublic, calls the consumerization of IT one of the industry’s key trends. When the topic first arose, “It was primarily an annoyance involving a few power users who were bringing their own Palm Treos into the enterprise and using some unauthorized Web tools to get their work done.”

But these days, corporate IT must deal with personal laptops and smartphones and a mobile workforce. The buzz around unified communications, and the growth in popularity of Web-based tools such as Evernote, Skype and Google Docs, raise questions about where your enterprise data lives and who can access it.

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