Avaya Files For Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, What Now?


Avaya, after much anticipation, finally made it official by filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.


Avaya is one of the recognized leaders in providing global solutions for customer and team engagement, business phone systems, unified communications, networking and a host of other telecommunications products.

The move was made in an effort to get out from under some massive debt. According to Avaya’s CEO, Kevin Kennedy:

“We have conducted an extensive review of alternatives to address Avaya’s capital structure, and we believe pursuing a restructuring through Chapter 11 is the best path forward at this time. Reducing the company’s current debt through the Chapter 11 process will best position all of Avaya’s businesses for future success”

Source: Avaya Inc. Files for Chapter 11 Protection

Now what does that mean for all the Avaya customers and partners? According to Phil Edholm, President and Founder of PKE Consulting, which consults to end users and vendors in the communications and networking markets, the outlook is a bit cloudy, but not too gloomy:

“Considering all of this, what does the bankruptcy mean for Avaya customers? Clearly, the path forward is now very cloudy (pun intended). However, I do believe that, regardless of the bankruptcy’s outcome, the Avaya businesses will go forward in some form and customers can be assured that their investments will continue to be supported and useable.”

Source: Avaya Bankruptcy: Good or Bad for Customers?


In fact it looks like only the US subsidiaries will be affected and it’s business as usual for the UK and the other foreign entities.

Avaya B159 Conference Phone 700501530

Ronald Rubens, VP of Avaya’s Europe North says he actually thinks it’s a good thing and not just business as usual.

“If we hadn’t got a bankruptcy protection then that would have meant our operation was compromised.”

Source: Avaya's bankruptcy protection is a 'good thing,' says Europe North veep

Avaya is hoping this will get them back on track. John Sullivan, CFA, VP and Corporate Treasurer, Avaya Inc. actually wrote an article addressing the move and how they arrived at chapter 11.

So even though this may look like it’s deja vu all over again, I’m thinking this time around, with the Nortel history as reference, Avaya should do fairly well after all the dust has settled.

And we are wishing them all the best.

Hospitality Industry – Top 10 Communication Trends in 2017


If you’ve been inside of any hotel, motel or other hospitality business in the last few years you know that they are, technologically, light-years ahead of anything you parents may have booked back in their day.


(Is this one of those “places” you can’t help believing? I don’t think so.)

Most now are great little hubs for activity ranging all the way from family-friendly vacations to business seminars, with the occasional night-club thrown in for the locals.

In order to stand out they are willing to do whatever they can to entice their customers. The folks at mitel created a cool post about the latest trends that will be coming to the forefront in 2017. If you aren’t aware of what they are, it’s a great idea to go check out that post and check out the link for an in-depth review of each trend and see how you measure up.

We’ve created a little graphic for those wanting a sneak peek:


Speaking of “back in the day”, here are some examples of some of the hospitality technology that’s still being used today. (and this was back in 2014!)

Visit this link for more information on the Hospitality Industry Technology and Telecommunications

Government IT Still Ok Despite Trump Freeze?


With President Trump making news with his latest signing, freezing government jobs. It looks like it’s not ALL jobs are affected. The Government IT jobs will be a bit tougher to get because of the signing, but it’s still very possible for those in the Defense and Cybersecurity positions.

Defense agencies are big users of IT and appear to be unaffected by the freeze. Cybersecurity hiring is a major impetus at civilian agencies and, depending on how broadly the government defines IT jobs related to “public security,” there could still be quite a bit of hiring.

Cybersecurity-related hiring was a top IT priority in the last year of President Barack Obama’s administration. It follows high-profile government breaches, including some 20 million records from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Source: Trump's federal hiring freeze won't kill government IT hiring

As to be expected, not everyone is on board with a government hiring freeze. In fact an independent watchdog, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GOA), issued a report stating that a hiring freezes had very little effect on actual federal employment levels and it was unknown whether they even saved the government money.

The last time there was a federal hiring freeze was in 1982.

Check out this section for more Government IT News and Notes 

Top 10 Higher Ed IT Issues for 2017


Educause, the largest technology association for higher education, released their annual list of top 10 issues for higher education information technology professionals.

This is an in-depth report that we will breakdown for you, but if you just can’t wait, here is the first part.

The 2017 EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues are all about student success.

Information technology in higher education continues to have many priorities and serve numerous constituents. IT service catalogs comprise hundreds of services to meet the many needs of faculty, students, and staff in various fields: the humanities; social, biological, and physical sciences; law; music; theater; art; business; and healthcare and allied professions.

You name it, higher education offers it, and the IT organization supports it.

Every academic and administrative area makes its own, separate demands on the IT organization, at any time and from any place. Despite the many and disparate requirements of each user and each technology, a predominant focus has risen to the top for higher education information technology in 2017, and that focus is student success.

Colleges and universities are concentrating on student success to address concerns about the costs, value, and outcomes of higher education.

Student success initiatives are making use of every available resource and opportunity and are involving every relevant stakeholder. Institutional technology is all three: resource, opportunity, and stakeholder.

2017 Top 10 IT Issues

  1. Information Security: Developing a holistic, agile approach to reduce institutional exposure to information security threats
  2. Student Success and Completion: Effectively applying data and predictive analytics to improve student success and completion
  3. Data-Informed Decision Making: Ensuring that business intelligence, reporting, and analytics are relevant, convenient, and used by administrators, faculty, and students
  4. Strategic Leadership: Repositioning or reinforcing the role of IT leadership as a strategic partner with institutional leadership
  5. Sustainable Funding: Developing IT funding models that sustain core services, support innovation, and facilitate growth
  6. Data Management and Governance: Improving the management of institutional data through data standards, integration, protection, and governance
  7. Higher Education Affordability: Prioritizing IT investments and resources in the context of increasing demand and limited resources
  8. Sustainable Staffing: Ensuring adequate staffing capacity and staff retention as budgets shrink or remain flat and as external competition grows
  9. Next-Gen Enterprise IT: Developing and implementing enterprise IT applications, architectures, and sourcing strategies to achieve agility, scalability, cost-effectiveness, and effective analytics
  10. Digital Transformation of Learning: Collaborating with faculty and academic leadership to apply technology to teaching and learning in ways that reflect innovations in pedagogy and the institutional mission

Stay tuned for more on these topics.

Source: Top 10 IT Issues, 2017: Foundations for Student Success

Managing IT – One Way to Reduce Inconvenience and Cost


It’s probably safe to assume you know that managing information technology (IT) is a critical element of running a successful business.

When it comes to IT, one thing you might not be aware of is “hyperconvergence.”

In our fast-changing technological landscape, it’s not uncommon to encounter a word such as this and not be completely sure what it means. With many businesses implementing hyperconverged systems, let’s quickly understand what exactly it is.

Hyperconvergence defined.

During his time as Chief Technology Officer of UK-based VCE, Steve Chambers noticed that businesses were investing a significant amount of time, effort, and money into combining his company’s three products into what technologists call a “virtualization stack.” In other words, companies were buying computers, storage, and networking separately, then trying to bring it all together themselves.

Chambers helped introduce the term hyperconvergence to the industry in 2012, with the publication of The Infrastructure Continuum.

By combining the three products into one, he and his team thought they could provide better customer service while also making more money.

With hyperconvergence, IT departments purchase everything at once, saving the time and effort they originally put into combining everything. “In one server, you have network, compute, and storage, so it was hyperconverged, and that’s where the phrase came from,” says Chambers, who now serves as CTO of Viewyonder, a U.K.-based tech industry analyst.

Reducing inconvenience and cost.

IT teams consistently look for ways to simplify their infrastructure, not only to save money but also to make things easier for employees who always have overflowing to-do lists. Scott Lowe is CEO of ActualTech Media, an organization of industry experts who provide surveys, reports and blogs to IT professionals. He says hyperconverged products are a critical resource and by simplifying certain processes, professionals can concentrate on other areas that may have more importance.

“One of the primary goals of hyperconvergence is to eliminate the need for separate storage resources,” Lowe says.

And we’re putting that storage into the server container and managing that as a single device rather than multiple devices that we then have to go through and connect together. It eliminates a lot of the complexity and cost in the data center environment.”

For businesses interested in switching to hyperconvergence solutions, Lowe advises looking at solutions holistically, choosing solutions that meet their needs while also being scalable.

Chambers says there’s generally a lower cost of entry to hyperconverged infrastructure compared to traditional configurations because you can make a smaller initial purchase and then grow it over time. If you’re able to fully replace your old equipment, you may eventually be able to save up to 60 percent of your prior infrastructure costs, he says.

Who needs hyperconvergence?

The size of your company isn’t the best indicator that you need hyperconverged infrastructure. How fast your company is growing is more important.

Chambers recommends researching the pros and cons of each “HC” platform so you can nail down your specific IT needs. Nutanix, SimpliVity and the VCE/VMware divisions of DellEMC are considered top vendors in the space. Publications like Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Integrated Systems provides detailed information about the outlook for the technology, as well as rating service providers.

Budgeting for hyperconvergence.

Chambers has found one of the biggest obstacles IT departments face relates to budgeting. When everything is separate, companies budget separately for storage, network equipment, and computers. Prior to moving toward hyperconvergence, Chambers advises thinking carefully about procurement.

“It’s an organizational challenge because you’re moving to a new way of spending money,” Chambers says. “You’re going to need someone very senior who can control budgets and say, ‘This is how hyperconvergence works. We’re going to have to rearrange our IT finances.’”

Hyperconvergence solutions give IT departments the option of an all-in-one platform, which helps increase efficiency. When professionals can manage everything in one place, they can operate more productively, increasing the time they can put toward other efforts.

Source: One Way to Reduce Inconvenience and Cost of Managing IT

Technology, Media and Telecommunication (TMT) Dramatic $700 Billion Impact


The savvy CEOs anticipate that trends in 2017 are likely to follow the path of disruptive events in 2016.

Change is the norm. Digital technology will continue to have a dramatic impact on legacy players in the marketplace.

Technology, Media and Telecommunication (TMT) sectors completed 3,021 deals worth $698.2 billion in 2016, representing a decrease of 4.5% in value and 5.7% in deal count compared to a record 2015, while deal count remained consistent, according to the latest market study by Mergermarket.

The TMT sector accounted for 21.4 percent of global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity – that’s up from 18.5% in 2015, and its second highest share on Mergermarket record (since 2001) after 2013 (22.4%).

TMT sector market development

Deal activity accelerated towards the end of 2016, with deals announced in the final quarter of the year (683 deals, $295 billion) marking the highest Q4 value on record.

U.S. M&A activity ramped up in the run up to November’s presidential election, with dealmakers looking to complete business before a winner was announced.

High profile mega-deals, such as AT&T’s $105 billion takeover of Time Warner, the largest transaction targeting any sector globally in 2016, and the $34.5 billion acquisition of Level 3 by CenturyLink, were both announced in the month prior to the election.

Such big-ticket deals consequently led to the U.S. being the most active region last year having recorded its second highest deal value on Mergermarket record with 1,101 deals worth $362.7 billion, accounting for 41 more deals compared to a record 2015 (1,060 deals, $393.8 billion), despite a 7.9 percent decrease in value.

According to the Mergermarket assessment, the outcome of the American 2016 election spurred the markets, with dealmakers hopeful that a more business-friendly climate will encourage more mergers and acquisitions in 2017.

Outlook for the global TMT market

Europe followed in terms of deal activity, with 992 deals worth $168.6 billion reaching the highest annual value since 2007 ($181.8 billion, 933 deals), while increasing its market share to 24% from 19 percent in 2015.

This increase was largely due to a rise in activity targeting Technology (708 deals, $121.3 billion) and Media (199 deals, $29.2 billion), up 72.6% and 107.7% by value year-on-year, respectively.

Virtual and augmented reality software apps will be the TMT sectors to watch in 2017. Moreover, sector dealmakers are expected to invest millions into start-ups that are promising to turn new technologies into commercial opportunities in 2017.


Source: Technology, media and telecom M&A hit $698.2 billion in 2016

Healthcare IT’s Most Influential Women


Seven women from across the globe learned that they are the inaugural recipients of HIMSS’s Most Influential Women in Health IT Award, sponsored by Verizon and EY.

Our distinguished judges, themselves notable influential women, selected our awardees from more than 140 nominations.

I am honored to share this exciting news with you. Each of these women has demonstrated transformational influence in the health sector. They are at various stages of their careers, which was a defining philosophy of our Awards program – that a woman at any stage of her career can be influential and positively change health and healthcare in meaningful ways.

Each Awardee collaborates and innovates within her area of health IT-related expertise.

Each understands, and has acted upon, the power of harnessing the best of IT across many different components of health and healthcare including nursing, pharmacy, medicine, government, public policy, industry and business management. The accomplishments of these women matter not only within their respective organizations, but across the healthcare trajectory.

As many of our nominees demonstrated various characteristics required of the Award, our judges had a challenging time determining our inaugural recipients. The stories and accomplishments are inspiring; one Awardee has positively impacted the lives of millions of citizens, while another has shaped the entire trajectory of the health IT sector. And, we have recipients who have used IT in health settings to utterly transform the ability of a region’s population to remain well, and to receive optimal care when needed.

Inaugural recipients of HIMSS’s Award are:

Shareefa Al Abulmonem, MSc CPHIMS

  • Head of eServices
  • King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, Saudi Arabia


  • Senior Advisor, IBM-Center for Computational Health, USA
  • Professor Emerita, Johns Hopkins University

Rachelle Blake, PA

  • CEO and Managing Director
  • Omni Med Solutions, Germany

Christina Caraballo, MBA

  • Senior Healthcare Strategist
  • Get Real Health, USA

Karen DeSalvo, M.D., MPH, MSc

  • Acting Assistant Secretary of Health
  • US Department of Health and Human Services, USA

Karen Guice, M.D., M.P.P.

  • Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs
  • US Department of Defense, USA

Lisa Stump, MS, RPh, FASHP

  • Chief Information Officer
  • Yale New Haven Health and Yale School of Medicine, USA

When I reviewed the nominations of our recipients, I found consistent references that captured the accomplishments and drive of these seven leaders. As leaders in their respective careers, these seven women also understand the strategic role IT plays in improving health and healthcare. They acted on that knowledge, and as a result, made patient care better, more accessible and more affordable.

Here are examples from the nominations:
Marion Ball has and is mentoring many young women and men in her long career as a national and international leader in health IT.

Dr. Karen Guice’s leadership has already created profound improvements for our military’s fighting forces, and will shape military medicine’s engagement with the world for the coming decades.

With a focus on innovation, Lisa Stump is leading efforts to experiment and roll out new technologies aimed at improving population health, patient engagement, and the patient’s experience with the healthcare system.

Dr. Karen DeSalvo is a physician who has dedicated her career to improving access to affordable, high quality care for all people, especially vulnerable populations, and promoting overall health.

Recognizing Shareefa Al Abulmonem as one of the Most Influential Woman in Health IT will set the female population of her home, Saudi Arabia, ablaze as to an example of what can be accomplished when you put your passions to purposeful use.

Christina Caraballo is highly respected in the community for her passion to move health IT forward, working with other thought leaders and getting involved in her community to learn, share ideas and solve problems.

Rachelle Blake’s critical thinking and problem solving skills allow her to equip professionals to meet policy, business, and regulatory requirements in everyday practice – to take the possible in health IT and make it real.

HIMSS knows that women in health IT seek resources and community:

About a year ago, after surveying over 20,000 women about the current state of women’s professional needs in health IT, we identified a need for expanded recognition of women sector-wide.

Some 83% of respondents said there remains insufficient recognition for the women executives in health IT. And, an overwhelming 85% would find value in a resource recognizing contributions, and supporting the career advancement, of women. Women across all career levels within health IT seek community and resources.

HIMSS is answering that call.

Our resources include a biweekly enewsletter from HIMSS Media and HIMSS webinars, podcasts, roundtable reports and more offered online for anyone ready to enjoy and benefit from this information.

Women have been making a difference in health IT for decades, but their accomplishments and contributions are not often visible to all of us. Recognizing these seven recipients of the HIMSS Most Influential Women in Health IT Award changes that scenario. I congratulate them and encourage all of us to embrace and learn from their collaborative spirit and success.

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Women in Health IT events at HIMSS17:

We will honor the recipients of the Most Influential Women in Health IT Awards at HIMSS 17 on Monday, Feb. 20. You can register for the Most Influential Women in Health IT Awards Dinner and the Women in Health IT Reception preceding the dinner. Both are on Monday evening, Feb. 20 and require a separate fee. Register for HIMSS17 and use the online registration to sign up for both events, which each require a separate fee.


Source: HIMSS’s Most Influential Women in Health IT Are Most Impressive

Cisco’s Conrad Clemson on how to empower networks

Cisco’s Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company’s Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading’s Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he’s bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators. “If you think about where we’re going… whether it’s a mobile application, or a video application, or quite frankly a VPN application… it’s a service. I think what you’re going to see from us is making those services more and more ubiquitous and being a much stronger horizontal play for our service providers,” Clemson said in the interview.

Source: Cisco’s Clemson on Mobile Cloud Videocisco-conrad-clemson.png

What Big Tech Companies Can Teach Your Business About Going Green


A new Greenpeace report explains why Apple gets an ‘A’ for its clean energy efforts while Netflix gets an ‘F.’

Messaging, sharing photos, streaming videos — can you even recall what life was like before the internet? Those days are long gone, and today the internet is the backbone of the modern economy.

All of this connectivity comes at a price, however.

The amount of energy it takes to manufacture and power our devices and data centers accounts for nearly 7 percent of global electricity, explains environmental organization Greenpeace in its recently released “Clicking Clean” report.

Greenpeace has been measuring energy consumption and performance in the IT sector since 2009.

In its new report, the organization issued letter grades to major tech companies based on their green efforts. Big players Google, Facebook and Apple each received an overall grade of “A.”

The scores are based on five categories: energy transparency, renewable energy commitment and siting policy, energy efficiency and mitigation, renewable procurement and advocacy. Apple and Facebook both earned all As and a B in advocacy, and Google received all As and a B in energy transparency.

Unfortunately, a number of major tech players have yet to demonstrate similar efforts.

A high number of Ds and Fs were reported among video streaming companies including Netflix, HBO, Hulu and Vimeo. (YouTube, which is part of Google, received an A.) Video streaming generated 63 percent of global internet traffic in 2015, and Greenpeace expects that share to increase to 80 percent by 2020.

Netflix, which earned a D overall, accounts for one-third of internet traffic in North America.

Because the company provides no regular data regarding its energy consumption, energy sources or greenhouse gas emissions, it scored an F in transparency. In the past, Netflix has claimed that streaming its videos is “more energy efficient than breathing,” but Greenpeace identified room for improvement.

Because of their size, the tech companies mentioned above have the power to sway others in the industry to go green, and these efforts also factored into their overall grades. Although smaller businesses don’t wield the same influence, here are three lessons they can learn from the tech giants about transitioning to renewable energy.


Facebook and Apple lead the industry in transparency, providing easy-to-access information about their facilities and their consumption. By releasing this data to the public, they’re holding themselves accountable. Not all companies are big enough, or have a large enough budget, to invest millions of dollars in green energy, but transparency indicates that a company takes the issue seriously.


Transitioning to renewable energy won’t happen overnight. After pledging to become 100 percent renewable, Facebook broke down its commitment into smaller, actionable goals. The company set the goal of being 25 percent renewable by 2015 — and 50 percent by 2018.

Google took a similar approach, although before getting started, the company clearly articulated its own set of principles and criteria for renewable energy. It created a plan for executing its goals.


A key to transitioning to renewable energy is partnering with companies or clients who also commit to this green effort. In some cases, that may mean drafting guidelines and company policies require production plants, data centers or any other partners to use or be moving toward renewable energy usage.

Source: What Big Tech Companies Can Teach Your Business About Going Green

Corporate IT Lessons from Geek Squad Legal Case


Make sure end users sign off on allowing forensic searches of computers

The life of the corporate desktop team can turn into a legal nightmare quickly if end users haven’t agreed that it’s OK for techs to search their machines, something that has come to light in a California child pornography case involving Best Buy’s Geek Squad.

In that case, Geeks working on a customer laptop found a pornographic picture and turned it over to the FBI, which paid them $500 and prosecuted the owner of the machine.

Now the Geeks in question are in hot water because the arrangement with the FBI violates the corporate policies of Best Buy, which runs Geek Squad.

And the admissibility of the evidence they found is in question because it’s not clear they had the right to access the picture, which was stored in free space on the hard drive; it had been deleted and no longer appeared on the file system.

At issue is the matter of illegal search and seizure, says Steven M. Abrams, an attorney who practices cyber law and digital forensics in Mount Pleasant, S.C. To legally search the hard drive requires a warrant that spells out beforehand what’s being looked for, where you can look and what crime is being investigated.

The exception is if the evidence is in plain view – can be seen by someone without using special tools requiring special expertise, he says. “Anyone legally in this space could see this thing,” he says. In the Geek Squad instance, a digital forensic carving tool was used to recover an image from free space, so it was not in plain view.

In many states computer technicians are obligated by law to tell police if they find child pornography.

If they find it, they must report it to police. In a corporate setting, that means if a desktop tech finds such images, they must report it, too, Abrams says.

If the image was in free space, it could be argued that the tech had no business looking there. If the user were charged and the charges were dismissed because the evidence was tainted, the defendant could sue the tech for damages caused by publicity in the case, he says.

The way to avoid this is to get all employees to sign affidavits saying that the techs have the right to search the hard drives including free space.

That way they have consent up front to search and don’t have to worry about lawsuits.

Techs should check with their HR departments to see if such policies are in place, and recommend them if they’re not, he says.

Abrams says that in discussions with FBI and Secret Service officials in South Carolina, he heard that agents there had considered paying Best Buy Geek Squad members for finding child pornography on customers’ machines. The regional U.S. attorney nixed the idea based on the interpretation that the arrangement to pay the Geeks would make them agents of the Secret Service or the FBI.

That would make them subject to having warrants before they could look at customers’ computers.

Source: Lessons for corporate IT from Geek Squad legal case