An Enterprise Guide to UC Management – Part 2
Guest Blog by Mike Frayne, CEO, VOSS Solutions
In part 1 of this blog post, I introduced the concept of UC management. In this post, we dive into more detail about the value that a UC management can bring to your organisation.
UC management – a single point of integration
You should expect your UC management tool to be able to fully integrate your UC platform into other IT functions, while carrying out a core role in provisioning the UC applications themselves. With a single point of integration, your company can achieve much higher rates of automation, and IT staff have a framework to optimise their business communications and improve end user adoption.
This adaptable framework will allow flexibility to fit into any unique enterprise environment without expensive customisation. This allows the UC management platform to function as a single point of integration, which comprises:
- Zero touch provisioning – Synchronisation between the Active Directory (AD) and the UC management platform can be extended to support flow-through, zero-touch provisioning from HR and AD systems, into automated work-flows that configure subscriber services
- Business integrations – The UC management platform synchronises UC subscriber data with other enterprise IT systems providing near real-time updates on UC subscriber services, simplifying internal billing and cost allocation
- Service request systems – REST-APIs offer two-way integration with Service Request Systems such as ServiceNow, allowing service tickets to be actioned and the results fed back
- Notification systems – Workflows can be readily extended to send emails and provide event updates
- Identity management – Integration with other administration portals, giving single sign-on capabilities to administrators, allowing integrated access to all management systems from a single log-in
- Inventory tracking – Enterprise can track all UC assets, serial numbers, and devices, to streamline expenditure and optimise resources
- UC analytics – Analytics pulls data from multiple applications, devices and infrastructure, into a single dashboard, giving a big picture view of resource utilisation
Demand an agile framework
Until recently, UC management has tended towards standardisation as this is a way to introduce automation. The rationale being – by standardising on certain business processes, automation can be introduced. However, standardisation does not promote agility or flexibility …or mobility. And, there are a number of factors that contribute towards a trend for enterprise organisations to desire agile and flexible UC.
Digital transformation is looming. Traditional communications are nothing like the collaborative environment that we operate in today. UC must adapt to suit the evolving requirements of your staff. In order to weather the storm of digital transformation, we must provide a consistent and reliable communications framework during and after intense times of change.
The increasingly diverse UC infrastructure, and the ever-changing parameters to support remote working, hot-desking, flexible employment contracts, and fixed mobile convergence is complex. Basic or homegrown UC management tools just are not up to the job of catering for the demand that is being put on them. UC management tools need to be flexible enough to change, agile enough to respond quickly, and resilient.
Enterprises want best in class, and therefore need to successfully mesh an array of multi-vendor technologies into a seamless collaboration experience. This requires a highly intelligent management solution that allows technologies from disparate vendors to coexist and cooperate.
Embrace workflow automation
Extensive UC management capabilities that are underpinned by a workflow automation framework ensure that you can achieve unprecedented levels of automation of your UC environment, in an agile and highly dynamic way.
At the heart of a UC management platform you should expect to see a workflow automation framework that includes the following three major benefits:
1 – Business / operational element abstraction from the core framework
All major business operational elements, such as workflow logic, configuration data, GUI presentation rules, and business rule models, are abstracted from the core UC management architecture. This means that key operational and business elements are not hard-coded so can be configured in real-time by IT specialists.
2 – Auto-generation of UC application features and settings into the core framework
The core framework automatically includes all UC features and settings that are in a UC vendor’s application APIs (for multi-vendor environments), and, the auto-generation of all those UC features and settings into the APIs, the GUI framework, the workflow framework and bulk loader reader. This makes them available to the abstracted operational elements, which means that the UC management platform can support feature parity for all UC applications and devices, and full automation of UC workflows is now possible.
3 – Support for complex IPT, non-UC network and data centre elements
The UC management platform administers the full range of PSTN or SIP trunking elements, as well as managing mobile devices and supporting BYOD and FMC. It offers dial plan management, taking care of the complex configuration of the PBX, the local access, as well as the aggregation layer call routing. It also makes it possible to integrate directly with the network and data centre, supporting the creation of SIP trunks and the configuration of SBCs, as well as the automatic creation of UC application OVAs, and static configuration of those applications within the data centre.
Multi-vendor UC is the future
As collaboration tools become more sophisticated, organisations are selecting best of breed tools that suit specific requirements, rather than a single-vendor option. By offering multi-vendor UC services and applications, employee satisfaction and productivity increases. However, UC management becomes much more complex.
A quality UC management platform will take that complexity away, by giving a single pane of glass view into all tools – no matter which vendor – without the need for “swivel chair management” across applications or vendor solutions. The UC management platform should manage all end-to-end processes to deliver multi-service and feature-rich UC. Additionally, administrators will no longer be required to have expertise in all vendor-specific platforms, as all collaboration tools can be managed from a single portal.
Wherever you are in your UC lifecycle, consider the operational benefits that a UC management platform can offer. By increasing advanced levels of UC automation, your staff productivity will soar, and your business will reap the rewards.