Communicado-Inc of Santa Ana CA has developed a really solid product-software-service combination that promises to really shake up the market for quality of service management by making it VAR-friendly, scalable into small organizations of as few as 50 users, and commercially attractive.
Our research on the quality of VoIP service management shows a compelling need for defect-free communications and a solid differential between the Poor Performers and the Top Performer.
The appliance only model falls short on two counts – the box makes it very costly (software licenses and on-board storage for historical analysis), and the engineering expertise of the person manipulating the UI and the data means that the enterprise-user has to be large enough to afford one or more headcount skilled in VoIP network operations. Not something easily found in a 100 person organization. In the sub-500 user environment, IT professionals pretty much have to be generalists, or specialists in only the core business applications/environments, where VoIP quality is not usually considered one of those.
Communicado's solution is called Streamline and it involves deploying one or more small processing platform, called the OpenToolBox in the customer network. This device is a Windows Embedded platform that is designed to reflect meta data about the VoIP sessions in progress to the central service – called Streamline Central. Here's where the presentation of graphics, alarms, alerts and analytics are made available to both the supporting VAR and the enterprise in question. Knowledgebase and context-sensitive links are available to accelerate diagnosis and problem resolution.
The Streamline Central service is uniquely designed to allow collaboration across the various levels of support, so it's not just a multi-tenant type service. This is a critical capability for VARs that are transitioning to Managed Services. They can share dashboards with multiple customers and be the only ones to see all the alarms from all the customers, while each customer can see their own specific dashboard.
Communicado is running a promotion for free network assessments, which involves a lengthy report from a software-only automatic audit of the network's capabilities for handling VoIP traffic. Of course you should assess your network readiness before deploying VoIP. Analysis by others show that you can double the probability of a successful implementation by doing so. But usually, these cost thousands and take months to perform.
Streamline simplifies the painful process of network assessments and makes it fast, and inexpensive (can't get much cheaper than free).
Communicado is positioning the legacy service-intensive assessment solution of the past (bring in an engineering guru who deploys specialty hardware for a few weeks and then delivers a written report) as obsolete. Communicado is positioning the trusted VAR as a key local resource for managing the ongoing satisfaction with the quality of the service since here is where the 50+ user organization is going to find expertise able to solve typical voice quality problems.
Management-as-a-service is an idea who's time has come.