Cloudy Days

Gaining Visibility for Managing Enterprise UCC

in Today’s Multi-vendor Environments

by Michael Stahl, Vice-President

There’s been a lot of talk about the business need to adopt a cloud technology infrastructure. The global pandemic has accelerated the timeline, according to the Gartner Board of Directors Survey, and migrating UC and contact centers to the cloud offers real advantages. But large enterprises are proceeding cautiously. That’s partly because they have significant investments in legacy systems, and the systems still work.

With some modifications, on-prem communication systems have held up even through last year’s massive stress test of many more employees working from home. After all, so-called Zoom fatigue only became “a thing” because telecom teams were able to provision employees with new collaboration tools.

Another reason to move forward deliberately but not too quickly is that simply moving UCC to the cloud won’t help large enterprises tackle some of today’s most pressing communication management challenges. Dave Michels from TalkingPointz notes, “larger organizations know they are heading to the cloud, but the complexity of the migration is keeping them cautious. Migration is both tedious and risky.”

Automating all aspects of communication management—from provisioning through delegated administration and resource management—is key to optimizing operations for UC and contact centers, on-premises or in hybrid and cloud environments.

The Value of Automation Now and in the Future

Enterprises that have automation solutions are more agile and experience less disruption as business conditions change. That’s proved true through the pandemic, and it will be true as digital natives predominate and large enterprises continue to move IT infrastructure to the cloud.

Last year, UCC administrators who could leverage automation were able to more easily provision the new applications users needed to be productive outside their traditional offices. They were also able to migrate necessary resources more quickly and accurately to new targets, as was the case when Starfish helped a customer automatically migrate H.323 to SIP endpoints. Because the customer already had an automation partner who understood their environment and had the expertise to map a solution, the transition was painless in comparison to competitors.

Meanwhile, the clamor is only growing for better end user experiences. As employees and consumers alike expect faster services, the speed of automation and scalability and new features of cloud UC and contact center services hold promise. But how do large enterprises get there?

Automation is a First Step to More Agile and Efficient Communication Management

Ensuring great employee and customer experiences will require faster, more consistent, and more secure communications than ever before. If IT administrative processes are clunky, or if they’re labor intensive, time-consuming, or error-prone, they can be a business problem that can’t be solved just by migrating resources to the cloud.

Processes don’t suddenly become lean and agile when they move to a new platform. Migrating and managing communication resources is a little bit like moving house: if you just pack up everything and transport it, you’ll end up with all the same stuff in the new place, including everything from the junk drawers, regardless of whether you need it. So, a wise first step to more efficient management of UCC resources is to streamline, automate, and optimize workflows in your current environment, and then bring leaner processes to the cloud.

Michels observes, “Starfish was built on its automation expertise which extends to every major UC and CC platform. Its libraries and integrations can also be used to automate migrations to cloud-delivered services. Starfish can simplify what would otherwise be a very complex implementation via automation. They start with an automated discovery process and can then replicate whatever to whereverquickly and accurately."

When an enterprise identifies the steps involved in employee onboarding and offboarding, inventory tracking, drift management and compliance reporting, they can more easily determine the right touch for executing moves, adds, changes, and deletes (MACDs) as well as auditing, monitoring, and more. Many workflows can be fully automated and even triggered by an IT service management application like ServiceNow or BMC Remedy.

Visibility is Key to Full Optimization

Many UCC administrators don’t have visibility into their available inventory, from hardware to licenses. Lack of insight leads to many uncertainties, first, about the number of users across the enterprise. So, administrators must make educated guesses when they budget for additional resources, including the costs for new cloud services. Enterprises could wind up paying for more than they need.

In addition, lack of visibility raises red flags for network security: do terminated employees have access to systems? Can bad actors exploit those accounts for nefarious purposes? How many contact center agent IDs or phone are idle? For how long? Have those users been deprovisioned? Can idle resources be repurposed?

Automating communication management doesn’t need to stop with provisioning or deprovisioning. Administrative portals that offer role-based access also add efficiency to UC and contact center operations; and one of the best ways to improve the employee experience (EX) is to offer self-service for simpler tasks like resetting passwords.

Moreover, automated monitoring of configurations hardens network security and better ensures both availability of services and regulatory compliance. After all, when communication systems fail, it’s more often due to human error than because of bad actors. Automating the monitoring of configuration drift brings clear return-on-investment for highly regulated industries.

Learn about Starfish automation solutions by contacting me at
sales@starfishassociates.com or (908) 243-2900. To stay current with trends in enterprise communication management, subscribe to the Starfish blog using the form below.