Unified communications management encompasses the policies, procedures, and tools for both administration and operations management of calling, messaging, and meeting applications. A successful UC management strategy must accomplish the following goals:
- Provide IT operations staff with insight into real-time performance of voice and video, and enable both proactive identification of potential issues before they occur, as well as rapid recovery from outages and/or performance problems that do arise
- Optimize the day-to-day management of UC applications to reduce operational cost, save time, and enable IT staff to avoid time-consuming repetitive tasks
End-to-End Management Critical As UC Shift to the Cloud
UC management should address end-to-end needs. That is, UC management tools must enable management (both performance and administration) across endpoints including phones, audio devices, and video conferencing systems, as well as core application platforms.
The nature of UC management has shifted as UC applications have moved to the cloud. Nemertes’ recent Cost-Benefit Analysis: Workplace Collaboration and Contact Center global study of more than 564 end-user organizations found that more than 34% were now using Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) for all or part of their real-time collaboration and communications needs. Though shifting UC platforms to the cloud reduces some of the operational burden on IT shops, it does not eliminate the need for proactive strategies for performance and administrative management. IT organizations are still responsible for ensuring the performance of real-time applications across their networks, as well as day-to-day administrative operations, they cannot simply offload management onto their UCaaS provider.
Key Requirements for Success
Key requirements for a successful management strategy, whether on-premises, in the cloud, or hybrid, require leveraging specialty management tools that enable automation of day-to-day administrative tasks. Organizations should focus on the following building blocks for success:
- Automate management workflows – including provisioning of users as well as moves/adds/changes, and deletions. An ideal approach integrates provisioning and change management with HR and ITSM / IT tools used to onboard (and offboard) employees to enable productivity benefits from faster access to new employees, and to eliminate the need for engineering staff to perform repetitive tasks
- Apply company-wide security policies – governing provisioning of users as well as change management, and access to applications and services.
- Enable self-service capabilities for password and profile management, as well as for features including voicemail, eliminating the need to involve IT staff in routine administrative tasks
- Delegate administrative functions to lines of business or department heads, again reducing the administrative burden (and cost) on expensive IT staff
- Enable multi-vendor support if operating multiple UC platforms – leveraging specialty administrative management tools in a multi-vendor environment is especially critical as such tools provide a unified administrative console for disparate underlying systems, saving IT staff from managing via separate consoles, and reducing potential for error
Achieving UC management success requires a proactive approach that address performance and operational requirements to minimize cost of operations and to ensure consistent governance of UC applications, whether on-premises or in the cloud. Adopt tools that optimize UC management across all platforms to reduce cost and improve user satisfaction.
By Irwin Lazar