An Enterprise Guide to UC Management – Part 1
Guest Blog by Mike Frayne, CEO, VOSS Solutions
As technology evolves and the demand for automation increases, organisations must find a way to deliver automated processes that decrease costs and increase operational efficiencies, while at the same time remaining agile so that they can keep up with the pace of change for unified communications (UC). The challenge of delivering a comprehensive and successful UC platform, ensuring service quality to end users, and doing this all at lower costs, is getting harder. Most UC deployments involve multiple solutions, vendors, interfaces, and management methodologies, which leads to extraordinary complexity and higher costs: e.g. the cost and time required to troubleshoot problems, introduce new features, reconfigure systems, and manage user onboarding/offboarding.
An organisation’s UC environment has never been under greater pressure to overcome a range of emerging challenges:
- Weather the storm of digital transformation, to provide a consistent and reliable communications framework during and after intense times of change
- Absorb the complexity of an increasingly diverse UC infrastructure and ever-changing parameters to support remote working, hot-desking, flexible employment contracts, and fixed mobile convergence
- Successfully mesh an array of multi-vendor technology into a seamless collaboration experience
- Seamlessly integrate the sophisticated UC platform with multiple operational systems
- Implement automation to address these challenges to get this all done accurately, efficiently and at a lower cost point
What is UC management?
A UC management platform is an automation engine that provides a central point of control over the UC environment, applies AI techniques to make it faster, easier, and less costly to execute any given task, respond to any given problem, or scale to support new services or higher headcount. Access to an effective UC management solution means that your UC environment can be fully flexible and configurable to your specific use cases, with a centralised management view. A UC management platform offers a major change to way that UC can be automated, and it significantly lowers operating costs and enables the organisation to implement digital transformation of their business workflow.
Who needs a UC management platform?
The more complexity – the more you need management! Complexity can be a consequence of any of the points below
- Organisational size –large numbers of employees, for example, more than 3,000 employees, typically results in the amount of manual moves/add/changes/deletes becoming unmanageable
- Highly regulated Organisations
- Organisations that have multiple offices spread across geographies
- Organisations that require various layers of administrative control and those that want to empower end user self service
- Organisations that want to speed business process and introduce zero touch provisioning by the introduction of automation
- Organisations that want to create a flexible and agile UC infrastructure that suits the evolving needs of the business
Not all UC management systems are created equal. Here’s what to look for in a UC management platform:
- Introduce faster, easier, and more repeatable business processes by automating any business communication workflows across the UC architecture, interlinking with third party business systems
- Better manage the complex workflows of multi-applications/devices, hybrid-cloud, and multi-vendor UC environments, with ease (e.g. the ability to create a single “wizard” to simplify a multi-step, multi-platform, hybrid communications workflow process)
- Add or modify features and applications to their organisation by the rapid manipulation of end-to-end communication workflows (e.g. with the rapid change in the UC industry, adding or changing an application and its features no longer becomes a massive effort or cost)
- Customise UC management platform to suit the specific business communications processes of their industry vertical (e.g. the workflow integration between industry standard IT systems and the organisation’s business communications platform)
- Fully automate network and data centre tasks as part of a dynamic workflow
What about UCaaS?
Unified communications as a service (UCaaS) is the delivery of a variety of UC applications and services via a cloud model. Enterprise organisations often choose UCaaS as it carries less risk than a hosted UC solution, while enabling the organisation to benefit from a flexible and scalable platform. The typical features you can expect from a UCaaS solution include enterprise messaging, presence technology, online meetings, team collaboration, telephony and video conferencing.
Often, UCaaS vendors will also offer contact-centre capabilities, such as auto-attendant, interactive voice response, call routing and customer relationship management integrations.
For UCaaS providers, UC management introduces high levels of automation into a UC platform, to improve workflows and business process. For a provider that is offering UCaaS packages to enterprise organisations, this is a critical success factor of the business model. Without automation, it would be impossible for the provider to manage the many day-to-day administrative tasks that are required to support a UCaaS offering.
With UC management, the introduction of automated processes and flow through provisioning allows the provider to provision multiple UCaaS solutions from a single point of control.
UC management has the added benefit of offering devolve administration, which distributes the administrative burden and allows end customers and even end users various of levels of admin control, depending on their role and technical ability.
Organisations that implement a UC management platform should expect benefits in three critical areas of their business:
- Productivity benefits – Improved integration of the UC stack with other business services, freeing engineers from repetitive tasks, faster triage times, retaining knowledge within the organisation
- End user benefits – Role-based access control and real-time self-service, faster service delivery and improved visibility with analytics and reporting
- Financial benefits – Reduced TCO through advanced levels of automation, implementation and operational savings, and capital savings