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The Power of Staying Connected

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Diane RoyerBy Diane Royer

If you're like me, you usually take the "status quo" for granted and put off worrying about things that seem hard to get your head around. When I had my first second-hand car (a metallic blue Volkswagen Bug), that spent more time at the mechanic's shop than in my driveway, I only worried about it breaking down when I had somewhere really important to go. As a young college student, I always figured things would work out and someone would come to my rescue, if need be.

After just experiencing Superstorm Sandy – through the stories of relatives and friends – it causes me to reflect on what it means to "stay connected" and also what it means to have someone "come to the rescue." I must admit that it's quite nerve-wracking to try and reach family members who are in harm's way and not know for sure it they are safe or suffering from the lashings of the storm. Living in Florida, I'm usually the one to be on the receiving end of phone calls from my parents and son who are up north. The worst feeling was dialing their cellphone numbers and getting no response ... I think it's more torturous to feel helpless and "in the dark" than it is to know the facts about a situation and be able to put a specific plan in action.

It reminded me of a much less life-threatening situation (perhaps job threatening) — the feeling you get when your network starts crashing, your employees are in an uproar and your customers begin to call your competitor. That "Excedrin meltdown headache #99" is just about enough to push anyone over the edge ...

I'm going to make my prescriptive advice very to-the-point, on two fronts. On the superstorm front, there were two rather significant lessons that I learned:

  1. Take the time to develop multiple backup plans for ways to connect with family – in case of an emergency.
  2. Generators and gas cans can be worth their weight in gold.

On the network-management front, don't underestimate the value of a proactive network diagnostics. It's critical to have proactive network diagnostics in place to help prevent disasters and also to be able to step in and rapidly remediate any communication network issues. With most networks being heterogeneous, it pays to have a managed-services vendor that fully handles multi-vendor environments and takes accountability for complete problem resolution.

Avaya just introduced a neat suite of Managed Assist offers for midsize-to-large businesses that includes items such as proactive monitoring along with flexible add-on options for things like change management and release management. Don't just take my word about how critical these types of services are; read about it in a recent NetworkWorld article.

Let's all do our best to stay safe and stay connected.

Diane Royer is senior marketing manager of Avaya Client Services. Her focus is directing thought leadership for Avaya Client Services and integrating services into Avaya solution launches. Diane’s more than 30 years of business experience includes telecommunications marketing, sales and field operations. She has also worked as a market researcher for a leading international firm and as a loan officer for the U.S. Small Business Administration. Follow her on Twitter @Royer_Edge.

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