People with Passion

November 27, 2012

by Steven Madick, Nexus Senior Director of Applications Engineering

I recently attended a technical conference and got into a rather animated conversation with another attendee regarding the problems she was having with her network.  After a few minutes, she kept trying to position herself so that she could see my name badge.  After she finally succeeded, she said, “Gee.  I’m surprised!  I thought you were a sales person.”

“Why”, I responded, “just because I’m passionate about what I do?”

“I guess so,” she said.  “I haven’t met many Sr. Directors of Engineering that cared so much about helping people.”

I thought that was a big compliment.  But it wasn’t a compliment that was just for me.  It was a compliment for the entire Pre-Sales Engineering team at Nexus.

Many companies believe that their biggest differentiator is their people.  We believe that as well.  But at Nexus, we go one step further.  It’s not just the people, it’s the people married to our best in class processes and procedures, an organizational structure designed to provide the best service to our customers, the latest tools, and lots of on-going training.

The People

We spend a lot of time at Nexus making sure that we find the “right” people.  In Presales Engineering, that’s doubly important.

Presales Engineers need to have a unique blend of technical training and expertise, business savvy, and a passion for ensuring that every solution we design and sell meets the needs of our customers’ businesses for today and tomorrow.  But that’s not all.  One of the unique traits we look for when hiring a Presales Engineer, is their willingness to share information and mentor other members of the Nexus team or customer.  We look for people who take pride in helping others – with technical issues and with business problems.  And, we want our people to be involved and active in their communities as well. We thrive at Nexus as we approach 100 Presales Engineers who all are committed to team!

The Processes

Our processes are designed to ensure that our engineers have the support they need, when they need it.  Whether it is to check a bill of materials against an original design or track a project from design through implementation.  Nexus makes sure that Presales Engineers can solve customer problems with solutions that work, backed by processes that don’t get in the way of getting things done.

The Organization

One of the things we’re proudest of at Nexus is that our Presales Engineers are just that – Presales Engineers.  They have one job, planning and design, and we believe that they do that job very well.  Additionally, each engineer is assigned to specific customers and prospects.  That means they’ll take the time to get to know their customer’s business from top to bottom before suggesting a solution.

The Tools

Whether it is the significant investments in network design software, social media applications, Business Video, untethered access to information or traditional infrastructure, Nexus is hyperfocused on providing our Presales Engineers the tools needed to build great customer solutions.  Our tools enable Nexus Presales Engineers to collaborate with our customers and other members of the Nexus team more effectively and design solutions that help our customers become more efficient – and profitable.

The Training

Training is how we keep our engineers fresh.  We don’t have a “Unified Communications” specialist, or a “Security” specialist.  Instead, we encourage our engineers to attain certifications from any or all of our partners’ technologies.  This helps them meet the Nexus goal of providing solutions, not selling technology to our customers, and ensures that there are a variety of career path options for them as they grow as individuals and members of the Nexus team.

The Presales Engineering team at Nexus is a passionate bunch.  We love to solve problems and collaborate with our customers and other members of the Nexus team, succeed.  But we couldn’t do it without the processes, organization, tools, and training that enable us to connect, collaborate, and create solutions that work.


Accidental Benefits

November 19, 2012

by Alex Osorio, Nexus Practice Manager, Data Center – End User Computing

Sometimes the best discoveries are those that happen by accident.  Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming because he didn’t clean up his workstation before going on vacation in 1928.  For one of our customers, it was that his Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) had become a strategic corporate asset.  Here’s the story.

Our customer had a problem.  He’d found this specialized application for one of the corporate departments that would help them share information and collaborate more efficiently.  It would also help everyone to measurably increase their productivity.  But, after stirring up lots of excitement about the new application in the department, our customer realized that he was in a bit of a predicament.  The application only ran in a Windows 7 environment.  Everyone in the department used Windows XP.

Implementing this wonderful new application would mean new desktops and laptops with a new operating system for every end user.  Existing applications would have to be upgraded to the new environment and end users would have to be trained to use the new operating system.  Our customer sat down and calculated that the cost would be high and that implementing the solution would take nine months.

VDI looked like a good alternative.  So, working with our team, we put together a VDI solution that enabled our customer to roll out the new application in just sixty days.  Department members were ecstatic and our customer was a hero.  But, after a few months more, our customer discovered that his VDI implementation was doing much, much more for him than he’d expected.

  • It saved him lots of money – So much money in fact, that he was able to take those funds and invest them into a new storage and server environment that improved the performance of applications used by the entire company.
  • Software upgrades become a “snap” – With only one software image to manage, upgrades that had taken weeks in the past, took minutes instead.
  • Calls to the help desk were reduced by thirty percent – Users and technical support didn’t have to worry about the idiosyncrasies of the devices and applications anymore – and the calls went away.
  • It increased the security of corporate data – Access to corporate applications and data is provided only through a virtual desktop that is centrally controlled, and the company no longer had to provide laptops to contractors to ensure the security of the system.
  • It enabled the company to provide mobile access to applications and data – VDI made it simple to integrate mobile access for tablets and other wireless devices.

In fact, our customer was so successful, that other business units within the company came to him wanting their own VDI environments!

VDI was a pleasant surprise for our customer.  Initially, it was just a solution to a specific problem.  But VDI’s “accidental benefits” have transformed it from a tactical solution to a strategic corporate asset.

Hungry For Secure Wireless – and Pizza!

November 8, 2012

by Mike Zozaya, Nexus Practice Manager, Security/Mobility/Infrastructure

My favorite restaurant makes great pizza, but I think they could use injection of wireless technology.  The entire process just isn’t very efficient, and that inefficiency often results in frustration for both customers and staff – and reduced profits for the owners.  Here’s what happened last Friday night:

  • Our server showed up at the table and took our order by writing it on a piece of paper.
  • The server took the piece of paper and waited in line with other servers to enter the order into the proprietary point of sale system.
  • The server must have made an entry error because instead of putting onions on our pizza, the kitchen staff added olives.
  • The server picked up our order and brought it to the table, but as noted above, the pizza didn’t have the correct topping.
  • So, our pizza went back to the kitchen (and became a loss), and a new one was prepared.
  • Meanwhile, we sat at the table waiting.
  • When the new pizza arrived, we were HUNGRY, and it vanished in a flash.   It was time for our check.
  • The server again waited in line at the point of sale machine to print out our check, then brought it to the table and left to take care of other customers.
  • I placed my credit card on the tray with the bill and waited for the server to return.
  • The server returned and picked up the check, then waited in line at the point of sale terminal AGAIN to process my credit card.
  • Finally, the server returned to our table with my credit card and my receipt.

Wouldn’t it have been easier if:

  • The server used a smartphone or tablet to enter orders wirelessly.
  • A secure, cloud-based application automatically sent the order to the kitchen and the restaurant manager and, at the same time, removed the ingredients from inventory.
  • The server picked up the order (which was correct because the server also owns a smartphone or tablet and is very comfortable using mobile apps) and delivered it to the table before customers were so hungry that they were ready to consume almost anything.
  • When it was time for the check, the customer had the option of viewing the check on the server’s device or requesting a print out of the check from a portable printer.
  • The server processed credit and debit cards at the table using a card reader attached to the smartphone or tablet.
  • Receipts could be sent to a customer email address or again printed at a local portable printer.

Using a secure wireless solution, my favorite restaurant would be able to:

  • Assign more tables per server
  • Serve more customers at peak times
  • Reduce waste due to errors
  • Track inventory in real time
  • Make their customers happier

Bottom line, my restaurant would make more money and I’d probably go there more often because I knew that I’d get great food, fast.

Because I can’t live without the good pizza my restaurant serves, there’s a good chance that I’ll be back at my favorite spot in the very near future.  But I’ll be dreaming about a place where the pizza is great and secure wireless technologies make the service fast, the orders accurate and the restaurant so profitable that they become an international chain.

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