Background. An Introduction to Cisco Unified Communications Manager

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1 Upgrading Cisco Unified Communications Manager

2 Background Cisco s Unified Communications Manager (UCM) has been available to the market since What started as an innovative niche product, promoting the use of voice over IP, has now completely redefined an industry. UCM now occupies the dominant market share position globally and is the standard platform by which all competition measures themselves across all aspects of communications. Whilst UCM was originally promoted and adopted as a replacement to existing telephone systems, it would be a mistake today to view it in this way. Cisco, through massive and consistent R&D investments, have continued to develop the product to a point where it now represents the single most compelling platform available for companies who are looking to provide their people, customers and partners with rich collaborative tools to enhance business performance. Essential collaborative functionality such as video, presence, location service and policy can now be added to the exceptional call processing capability of UCM and are available to any business which has invested in the platform and kept its software up to the latest releases available. When planned and adopted correctly, the UCM platform represents the first building block in an organization s collaboration, customer contact & broadcast communications strategy, allowing them to enable all business applications (Microsoft, Oracle, SAP etc) with consistent collaborative functionality to speed up business process and improve the customer experience. This is a long way from a telephone system but the challenge is that the majority of companies that have invested in the platform over the past 11 years still view it as a technology which makes and receives telephone calls. In ignoring or not understanding the additional capabilities of the UCM platform, companies are missing a major opportunity to provide their people with valuable tools which drive competitive differentiation, faster and more efficient operations, and happier customers. The purpose of this Best Practice document is to give the reader an understanding of the breadth of capability of the UCM platform and the major considerations for them when looking to really leverage it across the business. The timing of this document ties in with the forthcoming end of life of Version 4 of UCM so that companies have something, other than the threat of non-support, to consider when looking at the significant investment required to upgrade to the latest version of software. This document provides: A brief overview of UCM The challenges Touchbase has seen with its clients who have older versions of UCM Advice Touchbase would give to those organizations A recommended approach for companies who need to upgrade the technology now An Introduction to Cisco Unified Communications Manager Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM) is the leading IP based, multi-media communications management platform available today. It provides the foundational interaction layer against which all Cisco Unified Communications and Advanced Collaboration Tools extend (including compatible Microsoft, Sametime and other collaboration manufacturer products). Cisco UCM offers organizations the ability to transform how their people, customers and partners communicate in a way that dramatically improves the users experience while significantly reducing system complexity and total cost of ownership. UCM supports all communications media management including integrated voice, video, , voic , unified messaging, and others, onto a single enterprise platform supporting common business management rules across all connected employees in all global locations. This is whether they are inside company buildings, in remote offices, working at home or truly mobile. It provides full support for availability or presence sensing, and location sensing to allow companies to embed this vital collaborative functionality into any business application or interface that they wish. Importantly at the application layer, UCM functionality is completely device agnostic which is becoming more and more important to any companies collaboration strategy as their users demand access through tablets, smartphones and other devices. As companies look to move their communications technology forward in-line with their business requirements and business constraints, those who own and operate the Cisco UCM platform are in a unique market position to gain competitive business advantage. Those who have chosen to align their communications strategy with the latest version of UCM (v8) will reap the greatest rewards in reduced operating expenses by an average of 10% annually, and increased productivity gains of an average of 25% annually.

3 UCM Commercial Benefits When correctly implemented, managed and optimized UCM has a transformational impact on a company s ability to: Manage high volumes of communications across all media using a single set of business rules (voice, video, text, , chat) Provide centralized global and enterprise wide reporting and accounting of communications across all locations and all media Maximize employee productivity by using presence sensing to avoid unnecessary calls, voic s or contacts to unavailable people Minimize telecom toll, long distance and international call charges by moving telephone calls to the WAN Minimize external voice conferencing charges by integrating with on-premise / hosted / cloud-based private audio conferencing solutions Reduce facilities costs by providing remote and home workers with a full enterprise grade communications platform Support mobile workers with automated compliance management, call reporting and integration to enterprise systems Support advanced features such as expert gateways to allow field personnel and clients to find the best person to engage in a conversation immediately, wherever they are in the enterprise, and then to automatically bring those people into a conversation Support advanced requirements by integrating and supporting additional capabilities such as workspaces and video conferencing Create secure collaborative communications networks of your employees, business partners and customers with low cost, high quality interconnected communications and collaboration capabilities UCM Technical Benefits For Technology Teams UCM provides: Geographic redundancy and failover Security and centralized management support Centralized configuration support Enterprise wide communications reporting Integration with many leading enterprise applications Compatibility with the largest portfolio of third party collaboration tools (including Microsoft and Sametime) Integration with all leading mobility platforms The highest communications management capacity available in the market today Flexibility in terms of platforms (Windows, Linux and Virtualized UCS) Flexibility in platform management whether the technology is on premise, hosted, private cloud or public cloud based

4 Considerations in upgrading Cisco UCM In many cases organizations have failed to keep their version of UCM up to date simply because the work has not been done around the 3 drivers mentioned below. This is understandable if one views UCM as a telephone system but if it is seen as a powerful collaboration platform to be leveraged to serve user communities on a global basis with their needs today and into the future, it becomes much more compelling a case for investment. For companies who are operating UCM on old releases of software there are three primary drivers which require consideration to justify the investment into the technology: Functional & Operational Benefit Depending on which release of software you currently operate today there are a significant number of functional benefits which can be derived from the latest software release; v8. Huge improvements have been made around mobility, integration, reporting and centralized management, all of which need to be analyzed in the context of the business requirements to identify if they are valuable. Risk Mitigation The first end of life / end of support cycle for a widely deployed version of UCM, v4, is set for May This event represents a significant risk for companies still using version 4 within their business as Cisco will no longer provide any level of support or development on this release past May A major consideration for all companies on this release. Future Collaboration Strategy Correctly designed, UCM is a fully capable platform which can deliver rich collaboration functionality to any application through any device, anywhere. At a minimum, planning around the future use of basic collaborative tools such as video, IM, web conferencing and document sharing should form a major part of the consideration for upgrade as the platform has a major impact on the value of all of them to the business user. Functional & Operational Benefit For the purposes of this section we have assumed that the reader is on version 4 of UCM and would be considering moving to version 8. For those readers who are somewhere in between, the differences may be less significant but important nonetheless. It should be noted that the features of UCM v8 run into the hundreds so the areas mentioned below are a highlight of them. Key things to consider in understanding potential benefit are the ability to: Anchor mobile devices to clusters to deliver enterprise functionality wherever they are Allow users to log in anywhere anytime to any cluster through cross cluster mobility Bring UCM into your data center strategy with virtualization capability on Cisco s UCS Connect your system to your clients and suppliers systems to make them a seamless part of your operations Automate countless administrative tasks to reduce system administration time Provide native support of SIP devices and SIP trunk enhancements for external applications Support many new device models including video enabled handsets All of the functional, technical and administrative improvements in UCM v8 have been developed to help companies improve the user experience, increase integration and develop open platform standards, and make the system easier and quicker to administrate whether you are supporting 1,000 users or 100,000. Improvements are numerous and it requires detailed work to map them against a specific company s requirements / set up to establish how valuable they would be.

5 Risk Mitigation In May 2011 UCM v4 comes to the end of its life and support with Cisco. This introduces significant risks to all users of the old version which need to be addressed and managed. Of course the systems in place will work the day after the end of life and maybe for years to come but the lack of support from the manufacturer in fixing bugs, providing support and developing the product will create risk. UCM is not a telephone system in the old sense of the term. It is a fully integrated software application which works with other business applications in most cases Microsoft, Blackberry and other enterprise applications. As an integrated software application, an end of support milestone means that, should another application change, there will be no compatibility fix issued by Cisco to match that and those features will fail. Directory lookup, accounting integration, compliance, enterprise reporting for customer accounting and billing purposes; all of these are in jeopardy past the end of life date. Risk only is never a great reason to spend significant sums of money but the risk here must not be underestimated. Organizations must ensure they are fully aware of the implications of being end of life not just in the UCM platform itself but the knock on effect from other applications. This, with a balanced view of the other benefits, should drive companies to get up to date with the platform. Future Collaboration Strategy All companies should be considering collaboration and what it means to their organization today and into the future. Technologies which come under the umbrella of collaboration are numerous and there is much confusion around what to choose, how to apply them and what the future may hold. Whilst it is impossible for anyone to predict the future in what is a very fast evolving segment of the technology industry, it is possible to bank on the fact that the collaborative future will include presence, location services, video, voice and all the normal policy controls and security. If this is the case then the key decisions to be taken now by companies are around the platform, and how they invest in that platform to provide specific functionality to the user community, whatever happens at the application and interface layer. It is here that UCM, and Cisco s proposition generally, is so powerful. Companies that understand the future of collaborative technologies and the impact they are going to have on the work place can get significantly ahead now by investing in a platform that can power whatever comes in the next few years to the benefit of the user. This logical approach to considerations around upgrading UCM will establish whether there is a balanced justification across all three areas to allow organizations to invest in their platform and get it fully up to date. Whilst one area, such as risk, may outweigh the others, it is vital that companies take a broad look at all of the potential benefits before making the investment. These decisions should not be made around point solutions such as Tandberg video or Microsoft Lync but should be looked at in the following way: A Balanced Justification for Cisco Unified Communications Manager User Community What are my user communities across the enterprise and what can these tools do to help them do their jobs better, or get a vastly improved customer experience? Devices What are the trends that we are seeing in the adoption of new devices and how much flexibility is required around access to collaborative functionality? Business Applications What are my core business applications (SAP, Oracle, Saleforce, Microsoft etc.) today and how could we make them more valuable to the user by enabling them with collaboration functionality? Communications Platform What are the components of collaboration which we need to be pervasive across all applications, interfaces & devices (voice, video, presence etc) and how can we ensure they are embedded at the platform layer rather than in seperate applications.

6 Best Practice Recommendations Since the release of UCM v8, Touchbase has undertaken countless upgrades on behalf of its clients. Unlike many upgrades, the move to v8 is not straight forward and needs to be approached in a disciplined manner. This is to ensure that it is executed without negative business impact. In taking the key functionality benefits of the latest release of UCM, and from our experience in working with many clients to justify the investment and help them execute upon it, Touchbase would have the following recommendations for anyone considering the change: Local / National & Global Design Ask how are your systems configured today and how can you use this change as an opportunity to significantly increase efficiency and reduce cost of ownership of the updated platform. With the latest release of UCM the ability to centralize the platform, and build in five 9 s reliability and redundancy, is vastly improved. Mobility UCM v8 has significantly improved mobility capability so organizations should look closely at how they can leverage this for people who are in offices but away from desks, people who are constantly on the road, or those people who work from home. A review of mobile requirements in the context of newly available features should be undertaken by the organization to ensure that this extremely valuable capability is built into the business case for upgrade. Integration A full analysis of the integration requirements of the system is necessary. This should span the basic level integration with directory services but also should look more broadly at the requirements of the users. Microsoft Lync, Webex Connect, Sametime, and many others, benefit enormously from having call capability directly from their interface. In addition to this companies may wish to leverage presence and location capabilities into their business applications; all of which is possible. Risk Analysis If you are using UCM v4 today then a risk analysis must be produced as part of the investment case for upgrade. The platform is coming to the end of its life in May and therefore the business needs to understand the risks this represents. This is particularly important for companies which have their UCM connected to other applications, such as billing systems or Active Directory, as the end of life will mark the end of development of the product. Any changes in the systems that are linked to UCM will not be reflected in UCM going forward. Over and above this, for any user, the simple fact that if it goes wrong it will not be fixed means that there is a major business risk which needs to be considered. Reporting In tandem with the redesign of the system, organizations should also look at the reporting requirements / benefits that they can drive from the investment in version 8 of UCM. Developments in the software, and the correct centralized design, mean that companies can report across the entire enterprise on key areas such as call spend, user behavior, call recording etc. Obviously some of these capabilities require additional products but it is the platform which allows for these reporting engines to deliver more intelligent and consistent information to the business. Cost of Ownership Major enhancements to the platform in how it processes and transports calls can have a radical impact on the cost of telecommunications to the business. An example of this is introducing SIP trunking into the design of the solution which can reduce carrier charges by up to 33%. In addition to this the significant number of administrative improvements in the way the technology is deployed, managed and updated mean that there is far less time required to perform regular tasks. Future Requirements Whilst day to day requirements drive a lot of thinking about what is required now, platform investments are general made with a 5 to 7 year outlook. With this in mind it is highly recommended that companies spend the time understanding what the collaborative workspace is going to look like in the future so they can map out the platform requirements to support it now. Much of this will be activities for the future but decisions made now in what the platform is going to deliver will make these activities far simpler to execute.

7 The investment case for an upgrade to UCM v8 should be balanced across an analysis of the value of each of these areas in the specific context of the organization. Having conducted the review, either internally or with a partner, the organization can make a well informed decision of whether the spend is justified, and where the return should be seen now and in the future. Once the decision to invest has been made, organizations need to consider the execution of the upgrade. From early versions of UCM to v8 this is critically important as it is not a straight forward upgrade. In most cases the upgrade is similar to a new system build, so similar attention that would be given to a major implementation, should be given to the upgrade. The way in which a company approaches the key elements described in this document will determine how successful the investment is. It is this that Touchbase has focused on in building its offering to clients around UCM Upgrade. Touchbase as your Upgrade Partner Clearly in putting this document together Touchbase would like to demonstrate its knowledge and capability in this area so that you consider us to work with around your upgrade of UCM. With 19 years of experience in helping companies leverage value out of communications technology we are well placed to guide you through this process and make it a valuable investment for you. To this end we have built a specific program which draws on our four service areas of Discover, Design, Deliver & Optimize to help organizations work through the process of justification and investment for an upgrade and maximize the outcome for them. This proven approach is as follows: Expert Workshop - this kicks off the process and allows Touchbase to gather all required information for us to build out the high level justification and execution plan on behalf of the client. The workshop takes between 3 and six hours and usually involves people from the business, operations and technology to cover all areas mentioned within this document. there is no charge for this activity. Proposal - from the workshop Touchbase will gain all the required information for us to deliver a compelling proposal which will include: High Level Design of Upgraded Platform including integration requirements Overview of business benefits of Upgraded Platform including mobility & reporting Overview of cost benefits of Upgraded Platform including carrier savings & management savings Overview - of the business risks of not upgrading and of the future benefits of the platform Summary Investment / Return detail Planning once the client has signed off on the proposal and engaged Touchbase to move forward with the execution Touchbase will: Produce the detailed design of the upgraded platform Build a migration plan from the old version to the new version Agree a project timeline with the client which meets their requirements Execution with all of the planning completed and with sign off from the client Touchbase will execute against the agreed project timelines and manage all aspects of the delivery wherever it is in the world. Optimize should the client require Touchbase to manage the platform on an ongoing basis we would take on this responsibility once the new platform is in operation and has been fully signed off by the client. This would require a separate workshop to scope out requirements and ensure our support offering is exactly in line with those requirements.

8 Guarantee In order to share the risk with the client, Touchbase also offers a guarantee on all upgrades that we undertake. This is to demonstrate the confidence in our ability to deliver against the commitments we make and involves us putting the services element of the project at risk. If our clients are not 100% happy with our performance in executing the upgrade we refund the money paid which relates to Touchbase provided services. Suffice to say we have never had to do this to date and we hope we do not have to but we do believe in sharing the risk when clients entrust us with business critical projects such as this. Next Steps If you are running old versions of UCM or are looking at the benefits of a later version, or have made the decision to upgrade, then Touchbase is available to assist. In line with our specified Upgrade Program the first step in the process would be to engage Touchbase to conduct an Expert Workshop. There is no charge for this activity but we do ask that the client ensures we have access to all required information prior to the workshop and that attendance is maximized around the key areas of the business from which we require input. With this, Touchbase can put together a compelling and aligned proposal for your consideration. To arrange an Expert Workshop please contact your Touchbase representative or contact one of our offices across the world. Thank you for your time in reading this

9 Areas of Expertise Bui l d i n g The Pl a t f o r m Dri v i n g Bus i n e s s Re t u r n Maximizing Per f o r m a n c e Multi-location migration from legacy technology to Cisco technologies Complex upgrades of existing Cisco technology Unlocking stalled Cisco migrations Embedding advanced collaboration technologies into business process Leveraging customer contact technologies to transform experience Introducing broadcast communications technologies to improve awareness Worldwide, 24 hour, every day support direct from Touchbase engineers Dedicated engagement management with regular technology & value reviews A range of modular service management options Approach Differentiators The Engagement Model is a comprehensive and globally consistent service offering covering all needs and opportunities in optimizing business communication: Cov e r a g e Multi-site global & national programs Touchbase has delivered & is supporting technology in over 60 countries Master Unified Communications Cap a b i l i t y Highest level industry & partner accreditations 19 years expertise Focus on business communication Managed Unified Communications Customer Satisfaction Excellence Customer Satisfaction Excellence Con s i s t e n c y Consistent global client engagement Regular collaboration between global teams Cli e n t s Multi-Location Contact centers Exceptional client satisfaction levels 100% referencability Cul t u r e An obsession with delivering on commitments to clients, whatever it takes Business Outcomes Ope r a t i o n a l Ou t c o m e s Pro d u c t i v i t y Ou t c o m e s Str a t e g i c Ou t c o m e s Cost reduction Accelerated product development New market development and entry Improved profitability Reduced sales cycle New business models Increased revenue Faster time to market Heightened innovation Meeting compliance & risk demands More efficient processes Faster, better decision making

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