What Customers Want From Telecom and IT

By Khali Henderson Comments
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Behrenbrinker keeps in touch with the needs of his customers with a twice annual Town Hall meeting. Peckham's Business Services division, which employs disabled people in more high-paying skilled jobs as contact center agents, was one result. That means Behrenbrinker's team also runs a facilities-based call center employing 600 knowledge workers.

While Peckham doesn't operate under the same financial metrics as for-profit organizations, instead reinvesting its profits back into the businesses employing disabled workers, Behrenbrinker still must be mindful of his technology budgets. That's a main reason his No. 1 priority in 2013 is looking for opportunities for migration to the cloud. "We spend a lot of money on infrastructure," he  said, noting that with Microsoft Office 365 delivered at $5 per user per month for nonprofit organizations, cloud services are attractive. "From a price perspective, I cannot not consider it."

Behrenbinker and his team take care of day-to-day technology management, but makes good use of technical advisers, which he calls "virtual partners," for expert guidance on new or specialized technologies. "We are unique so we seek our partners in alignment with our mission of helping people with disabilities."

Bank of Alameda's Andrew HernandezAndrew Hernandez, Information Systems Officer, Bank of Alameda

In his post as information systems officer for the Bank of Alameda, Andrew Hernandez also relies on solutions provider partners — increasingly so since he became a department of one. In an all-too-familiar scenario, the  CIO left the company about a year ago and was not replaced. Now, Hernandez is in charge of IT for the community bank, which has six offices serving Northern California. Solutions providers help Hernandez with tasks such as inventory management, network monitoring, hosted VoIP, carrier services, data backup and virtualization.

The company also is outsourcing several functions, such as email and help desk and is considering virtual desktops as a service. Hernandez said running VDI on its own has proved unreliable, and downtime is not well tolerated. "We see a lot of value in outsourcing, but we see value in keeping it in-house, too," he said. "I can't control it if I can't get to it physically. That's a challenge for support reasons, so service levels are key."

While financial institutions tend to be fairly progressive technology consumers, Hernandez said that community banks fall back on old ways of doing things. "The community bank culture is more personal service," he said. "When lenders and business development officers are in the field are talking to customers, it's still face-to-face."

But that doesn't mean they don't want to communicate back with the office. Presently, Bank of Alameda doesn't have a mobility strategy, but Hernandez is planning a BYOD initiative. Other initiatives are upgrades to network security and employee workstations.  

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