SMEs opt for ‘one-stop shop’

Local network specialist company, Network Platforms, has launched several new services and now provides a “one-stop shop” for its clients. This will provide clients with peace of mind of using one IT specialist company rather than having to deal with multiple companies.

Network Platforms recently installed a state-of-the-art call logging system and call service desk which is developed by AdventNet. ManageEngine OpManager is an integrated network, system, application and data centre monitoring software that offers advanced levels of fault and performance management functionalities.

It is a complete network monitoring software that offers combined WAN, server, applications monitoring with integrated help-desk, asset management and WAN traffic analysis functionality.

Network Platforms managing director Bradley Love says OpManager automates several network monitoring tasks and removes the complexity associated with network management. “This network monitoring software will help us manage our clients’ networks, but more importantly, it will help us manage our entire data centre infrastructure.

“It will enable us to be the first to know in case of any deviations so that our clients can feel assured that we are in control of their entire network infrastructure. Our customers can now log calls via the Internet. Once a call is logged, the relevant technicians are informed via e-mail and SMS. Once a technician takes a call, the customer is continually notified as to the status of the call, until the call is closed,” he explains.

The system also allows for an inventory of the customers’ infrastructure, allowing Network Platforms to monitor software changes on the clients’ network. It also enables Network Platforms to ensure its clients PCs are running anti-virus and the latest Microsoft patches.

Network Platforms has also implemented a showcase system which is an ideal benchmark for SMEs. The first thing is VPN (virtual private networking) which enables remote offices to access the main server remotely. Besides having immediate access to information throughout the business, one of the largest benefits is cost-effective communication. VOIP allows one to use the Internet connection to talk to remote offices without incurring addition costs.

Another costly expense for any small business is the PABX. Network Platforms has decided on the Asterisks, the best and most cost-effective solution today. Asterisk is free software which is available for download. It enables one to install and run a full-blown PABX system at a very low cost, which traditionally would have cost in excess of R25 000.

Love says one of the biggest advantages is least-cost routing. “In a nutshell, it is the cheapest route to one’s destination. For example, if you are calling a cellular phone, the Asterisks PABX will automatically detect it and the data centre will rather connect cellular to cellular. Unlike before, there is no need to install Primi cells at one’s office, and this applies to all cellular networks. Because we drive huge volumes, we get fantastic rates from the service providers.”

Network Platforms also offers Internet connectivity including leased lines and ADSL from its data centre in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

“We can now offer our customers a ‘one-stop shop’ where we ensure quality of service. Traditionally, Internet services and IT support were offered by two different companies with a lot of finger-pointing when something went wrong,” he concludes.

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